Performance Year: 2013
At age 6, Philip Brunelle asked for a score of Handel’s Messiah for Christmas, thus sealing his fate as one of America’s leading choirmasters. In 1969, he founded the Minnesota ensemble now known as VocalEssence, and remains its artistic director, while also guest-conducting many of the nation’s major choirs and orchestras. He has received awards and honors for his longtime advocacy of choral music in the United States, Mexico, Hungary, Sweden, the U.K., and his home state of Minnesota. He played piano on the very first episode of A Prairie Home Companion in 1974, and has frequently been involved in that show’s choral and vocal features ever since.