About Philip Brunelle
Philip Brunelle is a globally-recognized conductor, choral director, organist and musical entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At age six, he requested and received a vocal score of Handel’s Messiah for Christmas. As a teenager he was already working as a professional church organist; at 19 he became the youngest member of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Minnesota Opera for 17 years.
Philip believes listeners and musicians alike must experience music of many genres and styles. He has worked enthusiastically—and tirelessly—to expand audiences for rarely heard works of the past and vocal, choral, operatic and orchestral music of the present.
Since 1969 he has served as organist and choirmaster at Plymouth Congregational Church. In that same year, he founded VocalEssence and remains its artistic director today. He currently serves on the boards of Chorus America and the International Federation for Choral Music. He was the Executive Director for the 2014 World Choral Symposium held in Seoul, South Korea. U.S. audiences recognize Philip through frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, beginning with the very first show in 1974. He also appears with Garrison Keillor at the invitation of orchestras around the country.
Philip conducts across the United States, South America and Europe, including with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berkshire Choral Festival, the BBC Singers, the Hollywood Bowl and the Seattle Symphony. He is often called upon to adjudicate choral competitions all over the world, with recent visits to South Korea, China, Norway, Togo and Hungary.
He is an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and is a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit; has received the Kodaly Medal (Hungary), the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden), the Ohti Recognition Award from the government of Mexico, and the Michael Korn Founder's Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art (Chorus America's highest lifetime achievement award). He holds honorary doctorates from St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. John's University, United Theological Seminary and the University of Minnesota.
Philip's choral editions and opera orchestrations are published by G. Schirmer, Theodore Presser, Walton Music, Editions Salabert (Paris, France), and Boosey & Hawkes.