Aaron Paul Mitchell, DMA
Conductor, Composer, Clinician
DMA, Choral Conducting (composition cognate), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
MM, Choral Conducting; BM cum laude, K-12 Choral Music Education
Dr. Aaron Mitchell has an impressive record of building programs and leading ensembles to the highest level of artistic achievement. Whether working with symphonic chorus, university, secondary school or children's chorus, his choirs have received numerous accolades. Choirs under his direction have been selected to perform at the national conference of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities, the national conference of the American Orff Society, the multi-state conference of the American Choral Directors Association, chosen by the Vancouver Olympic Committee to perform the official torch relay anthem, and to perform in Carnegie Hall. His is a record of growth, outreach and collaboration with numerous community arts organizations, symphony orchestras, and other ensembles. Currently on the faculty at California State University San Marcos, he is also founder and Artistic Director of the One World Children's Choir and foundation in Del Mar, California. He recently returned from teaching at Amazon State University in Manaus, Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar with the U.S. Dept. of State.
Dr. Mitchell served as Director of Choral Activities at Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne and the University of Regina in Canada, where he also led the University Orchestra. He previously taught vocal and choral courses at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, and taught grades 4-12 in the Connecticut public schools. In his critically-acclaimed work with children's choir, he has prepared children for performances with groups such as California Ballet, the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Master Chorale, and Sacra Profana, and is frequently noted for a "transformation" in the sound. His choirs were called "well-trained and fierce" by the San Diego Union-Tribune (performance of Carmina Burana with the San Diego Symphony). He headed a successful grant project with the Parker Foundation and released a CD with Westwind Brass, commissioning and collaborating with such significant composers as Emmy-winning film & television composer Larry Groupé. He was guest conductor for SDUSD's Elementary Honor Choir in 2015.
Dr. Mitchell has lived and led choirs in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. He is an active guest conductor and clinician nationally and internationally, working with singers of all ages. As guest conductor, he has led such prestigious ensembles as the Grammy-winning King's Singers and the San Diego Symphony in performance. Guest conducting highlights include the San Diego Symphony as part of Home for the Holidays, FECORS Alegrete Choral Festival in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, the Grammy-winning King's Singers at the Three Rivers Choral Festival, the International Music Camp in Manitoba, Canada, and festival and honor choirs in Montana, Saskatchewan, Indiana and California. He has presented sessions on vocal technique for choirs at the Indiana Music Educators Association and for the Alberta Choral Federation.
Mitchell holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting with a cognate in composition from the University of Cincinnati's prestigious College-Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and received his Bachelor of Music Education (K-12 Choral) degree with honors. He has studied under some of North America's top choral pedagogues, including Mack Wilberg, Ronald Staheli, Earl Rivers and Alan Harler, and had additional study with Grammy-nominated conductor Dale Warland and orchestral conducting study with Luis Biava (Philadelphia Orchestra), Mark Gibson and Chen Lin (Cincinnati Conservatory). Mitchell had training as a conducting apprentice with the Berkshire Choral Festival in the preparation of choral-orchestral masterworks under chorus conductors of the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as conductors of the Oxford Bach Choir and the Washington Bach Consort, and performed as a member of the symphony chorus of the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, he has studied in workshops and masterclasses with Eric Whitacre, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, Stephen Darlington, The King's Singers, and many others.
As assistant music director of the San Diego Master Chorale, Dr. Mitchell prepared Holiday and Summer Pops performances and assisted in other performances with the San Diego Symphony. He also served as guest interim director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus. He has frequently conducted choral-orchestral masterworks in performance and prepared his choirs for performances with several professional orchestras, including the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Cincinnati Symphony as assistant chorus conductor under guest maestro James Levine. Recent works prepared include Verdi's Requiem, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, Shubert's Mass in E-flat, Dvorak's Te Deum, Orff's Carmina Burana, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, Faure's Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Vivaldi's Gloria, Mozart's Requiem, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer, Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, and Berlioz's Requiem.
Dr. Mitchell is one of the world's leading scholars on the Latin American work "Misa Criolla" by Ariel Ramírez--a work recorded by world-renowned tenor José Carreras. His research also includes Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos and he was the recipient of a Tangemann grant to study at the Villa-Lobos museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mitchell is a contributing editor for the publication "A Teacher's Guide: Integrating Music into Latin American History & Culture" (2009), authored a comprehensive conductor's guide to Ariel Ramírez's Misa Criolla, and published two articles in The Choral Journal, including the featured cover article in October 2008. His research earned him a nomination for the national Julius Herford award. He has twice served on the national panel for the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa, ON where he reviewed choral arts non-profits and allocated nearly $4 million in federal funding as part of his work on a four-person committee. He has also served as a reviewer for Oxford University Press Canada.
Mitchell is active as a composer and arranger, having studied choral arranging with the prolific and skilled Oxford University Press composer Mack Wilberg and earned a cognate in composition from the Cincinnati Conservatory. His works for choir and orchestra have been performed at Copley Symphony Hall, on local public television, and appear on the CD recording San Diego Salutes: A Tribute to America and Those Who Serve.
International study and performance tour credits include China, Taiwan, Brazil, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Mexico, and Costa Rica. In his free time, Dr. Mitchell enjoys spending time with family, reading and learning something new.