Joseph Baldwin | Music Director
A person of diverse artistic interests, Joseph Baldwin is a conductor whose primary work explores the integration of choral music, dynamic programming and presentation, the conductor as servant leader, and the transformative power of community engagement. He has a keen interest in non-profit leadership at the academic and professional levels.
In 2017, Joseph was appointed as Music Director of the Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana (BACH), succeeding Chester L. Alwes. From 2012-2015, Joseph served on the faculty at Smith College (MA), where he was the Iva Dee Hiatt Distinguished Assistant Director of Choral Activities and taught full-time in the Department of Music. He has held key appointments with the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a Visiting Professor of Music, Berkshire Choral International as a Staff Conductor, the Grammy® Award-winning choral ensembles at the University of Michigan, and the choirs of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An active guest conductor and collaborator, he has enjoyed conducting engagements with SongFest at The Colburn Schooland the Five College New Music Festival (MA) as well as conducting fellowships with the Oregon Bach Festival (as a member of the renowned Master Class in Conducting) and the Yale School of Music -- Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Joseph is passionate about contemporary music and regularly partners with thriving composers, including Dominick DiOrio and Anne LeBaron. He has assisted in the preparation of choruses for performances with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Kent Tritle, and Nicholas Cleobury. A strong advocate for the choral arts at all levels, Joseph is an active guest clinician and adjudicator with ensembles in the professional/young artist, collegiate, secondary, and spiritual settings. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Founding Artistic Director & Conductor of the Community Chorus of Detroit, now a cultural force in the Detroit-area arts scene. A baritone, he sings as a professional member of some of the nation’s leading ensembles, including the Yale Choral Artists, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival Singers, and the University Musical Society Choral Union/Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Joseph's passion for non-profit leadership has led to a wide variety of service opportunities. He is currently a full-time member of the Admissions and Public Engagement team for the University of Illinois School of Music. He is also the Director of Development for Three Spinners, a local non-profit dedicated to welcoming and providing support for refugee and immigrant communities in the Champaign-Urbana community. He served as National Board Member (MA) for the National Collegiate Choral Organization from 2012-2015. While on the faculty at Smith College, Joseph was an active participant in departmental leadership and spearheaded a variety of innovative initiatives within the Department of Music and collaborations with other departments and institutions. In 2010, he co-founded the Community Chorus of Detroit, where he served on the Board of Directors and the executive team that achieved 501(c)(3) non-profit status. While at Northwestern University, Joseph was Chairman of the Student Advisory Board for the Bienen School of Music, where he significantly expanded participation, the organizational structure, overall impact, and outreach efforts.
Joseph is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the mentorship of Andrew Megill. He received the Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Jerry Blackstone. At Northwestern University, Joseph graduated with the Bachelor of Music (cum laude), with additional studies toward a Bachelor of Arts in the five-year double-degree program. He is also a dedicated student of yoga, currently practicing at Lois Steinberg's B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute of Champaign-Urbana.
Hanqian Zhu | Pianist
Hanqian Zhu's early piano studies began at the Primary School of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. After graduating from the Conservatory's Middle School, she studied on scholarship with Prof. Yoshikazu Nagai from 2008 to 2015 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she received the BM, MM, and Professional Studies Diplomas. She is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, studying with Dr. Timothy Ehlen.
She has presented many recitals and performed in festivals in China and the United States, including the Sherman Clay Solo Recital Series in the Bay Area in 2011, PianoTexas 2011, Shanghai-San Francisco Celebration Concerts in both Shanghai and San Francisco in 2010, and Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra in 2010. Since the age of 15, she has regularly appeared in the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra's Weekly Chamber Concert. In 2006, she performed in the orchestra’s Mozart Anniversary Series. Hanqian Zhu has won many international prizes, including the 21st Century Piano Commission Award, first Prize of the Strum Page Piano Competition in 2012, the Fifth Prize in the Julia Crane International Piano Competition in 2006, and the First Prize in the San Francisco Conservatory's 2009 Concerto Competition. She was a finalist at the 2011 Kosciuszko Chopin Competition in New York.
Besides being a soloist, she is also a devoted collaborative pianist. She has participated inn chamber music activities since middle school and won the Second Prize in the Chamber Music Competition of Shanghai Conservatory in 2006. With intensive chamber music training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she enjoyed numerous collaborative performances every year. During 2013-2015 she was a member of New Music Ensemble of San Francisco Conservatory under Director Nicole Paiement and joined in special seasonal performances, including playing the orchestral reduction of three rarely performed modern operas. She is currently on the student accompanying staff at UIUC.
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