Anne Harrigan, Music Director
Anne Harrigan, Music Director of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, has earned a reputation throughout the country for her innovative programming, commitment to artistic excellence and community engagement. In May, 2005, Ms. Harrigan was selected to become the Music Director of the Billings Symphony Orchestra. According to the chairman of the board, “Ms. Harrigan was ranked first by the musicians of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, and unanimously endorsed by the Board of Directors.”
Harrigan also serves as Music Director of the Battle Creek Symphony, a position she has held since 2002. Projects at the Battle Creek Symphony have included the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the WK Kellogg Foundation, a national commission through Continental Harmony celebrating the diversity of Battle Creek, and participation in the $5M renovation of the WK Kellogg Auditorium.
Recent guest conducting engagements have included the Richmond, Annapolis, Arlington, Lansing, and Honolulu Symphony Orchestras, the Indianapolis and Missouri Chamber Orchestras, the Naples Philharmonic and cover conducting for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with exceptional artists such as Leon Fleisher, Lynn Harrell and Janos Starker. Her commitment to innovation in programming has resulted in groundbreaking multi-disciplinary programs that have attracted national attention. These include the US premiere of Shaun Davey’s “A Brendan Voyage,” a concerto for uilleann pipes and orchestra with the renowned piper Christopher Layer; collaborations with Alexander Streltsov, aerialist, silent movies with live orchestra, live video projections of performances, and Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: Dream of America – a chronicle of the journey of seven immigrants through Ellis Island.
Dr. Steven Hart, director of the Billings Symphony Chorale, conducts choral ensembles and teaches conducting, choral methods, vocal pedagogy and private voice at Rocky Mountain College. He is the also the conductor and founder of the High Plains Chamber Singers, a 24-voice ensemble dedicated to the highest standards of the choral art. Dr. Hart maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
Dr. Hart’s areas of expertise include: an approach to choral singing that draws heavily on studio teaching practice, artistic conducting gesture developed from the study of theater and pantomime, implementation of historically informed performance practice, and the use of teaching models and techniques based on current neuroscience research and best practices in education. He has been studying the relationship of conducting gesture to performer response for over 20 years, with special attention to the intersection of vocal pedagogy and conducting gesture.
Conference presentations include “Expanding Expressive Possibilities: Choral Style and Vocal Production,” “Vocal Health for Conductors and Singers,” “Brain Research: Implications for Music Educators,” and “Warm-ups: A Time-sensitive Approach.” Dr. Hart was one of twelve conductors invited to participate in the Fifth Annual International Conducting Workshop in Varna, Bulgaria.