Portland State Chamber Choir

The Conductor and Co.

Born in New York City, Ethan Sperry began studying conducting at the age of eight, cello at the age of twelve, and singing at the age of eighteen.  He has earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Harvard College and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Choral Conducting from the University of Southern California. Ensembles under his direction have toured to Bermuda, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guadeloupe, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Taiwan, and have performed at major venues in the United States including The Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center, The Washington National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, The Nassau Coliseum, Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the United Nations.

A prolific arranger of World Music for choirs, Dr. Sperry is the editor of the Global Rhythms series for Earthsongs Music, one of the best-selling choral series in the country. Sperry is also a frequent collaborator with film composer AR Rahman and has appeared as a guest conductor for him numerous times including at Bollywood Night at the Hollywood Bowl and the 2008 Filmfare Awards, the Indian equivalent of the Oscars. He also serves as a consultant for the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, the first classical music school in India, which opened in 2009.

As a singer, Sperry has sung with some of the finest choirs in the country including the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Los Angeles Master Chorale.  He has sung under the batons of Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Slatkin, Christoph Eschenbach, Mariss Jansons, and Sir Simon Rattle and recorded with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and has appeared on several film soundtracks.

Currently Dr. Sperry is Director of Choral Activities at Portland State University, where he conducts the world-renowned Chamber Choir and University Choir and leads undergraduate and graduate programs in conducting. Beginning in the Fall of 2011, he will also be the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Oregon Repertory Singers, Oregon’s most distinguished adult chorus.

Sperry also serves as the National Repertoire and Standards Chair for Male Choruses for the American Choral Directors Association and the Vice-President of the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses. From 2000-2010, Dr. Sperry was on the faculty at Miami University in Ohio where he conducted the Men’s Glee Club, Collegiate Chorale, and Global Rhythms Ensembles and taught classes in vocal and choral music and The Music of Russia. From 2000-2006 he was the artistic administrator of the Arad Philharmonic Chorus in Arad, Romania, and from 2001-2003 was the principal conductor of the Choeur Regional de Guadeloupe, the only symphonic choir in the French West Indies. An enthusiastic cook, Sperry has won awards for his baking and his recipes have been printed in Bon Appetit magazine and the Cincinnati Enquirer.


Ethan Sperry