Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau brings to Princeton Pro Musica broad and deep experience conducting choral and orchestral ensembles. In addition to leading Princeton Pro Musica, he serves as Artistic Director of the Monmouth Civic Chorus. He is also on the faculty of Westminster Choir College, where he works with the Symphonic Choir. Previously, he was Director of Choral Activities at Santa Clara University, where he led the choral ensembles and taught music history and conducting in the music department; Artistic Director of the Santa Clara Chorale; choirmaster of the highly-acclaimed professional choir of Christ Church, New Haven; and Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Smith College in Northampton, MA. He has worked with a variety of other professional, community, collegiate, children’s and church ensembles. He has prepared ensembles for performances with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Daniel Barenboim, and others. As a professional singer, Ryan has been heard with ensembles in the US, Europe, and Asia, including the American Bach Soloists, the Arcadia Players, Yale Schola Cantorum, and the Choir of Clare College Cambridge. He remains active as a choral arranger, composer, and clinician. His arrangements and compositions have been featured by choral ensembles all across the globe.
Ryan received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he studied conducting with Simon Carrington and Marguerite Brooks. Prior to pursuing graduate study in conducting, Ryan attended the University of Cambridge in the UK as a Gates Scholar, earning an M.Phil. in historical musicology. In Cambridge, he founded a women’s chamber choir, Conspiratio, and sang with the choirs of Jesus, King’s, and Clare Colleges. He received his B.A. in music, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.
Artistic Director Emeritus
Frances Fowler Slade, Artistic Director Emeritus of Princeton Pro Musica, has earned a reputation for achieving high musical standards and presenting adventuresome programming. She specializes in the great choral-orchestral masterworks of the past and new works by American composers. She also conducts purely orchestral compositions. She has made substantial contributions to music education, presenting many concerts in schools over the years and involving young people in concerts.
Ms. Slade was a member of the choral faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from 1986 through May, 1998. She has conducted choral groups at Wellesley College, Northwestern University, William Rainey Harper College, Raritan Valley College and Westminster Choir College of Rider University. She has also conducted the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Virtuosi of London, and the Teplicé Philharmonic of the Czech Republic. She has been Music Director at All Saints Church, Princeton, and Grace Lutheran Church, Trenton.
She has prepared choruses for the New Jersey Symphony, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and New York’s Concert Royal, as well as the Westfield Symphony, the Princeton Chamber Symphony, the Greater Trenton Symphony, and the Delaware Valley Philharmonic.
Slade was named Woman of Distinction in the Arts by New Jersey’s Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council. She was awarded the Douglass Medal for outstanding service to the Douglass College community. She is a recipient of the Princeton YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry Award.
Slade, a native of Atlanta, holds degrees from Wellesley College and Northwestern University. She has done postgraduate work at Rutgers University and Westminster Choir College.
Eric Plutz is the accompanist for Princeton Pro Musica. Additionally, he is University Organist at Princeton University, where his responsibilities include playing for weekly services at the Chapel, Academic Ceremonies, solo concerts and accompanying the Chapel Choir in services and concerts. He also coordinates the weekly After Noon Concert Series at the University Chapel. In addition, Mr. Plutz is rehearsal accompanist for the Westminster Symphonic Choir at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ.
Mr. Plutz, who “performs with gusto, flair, clarity, and strong yet pliant rhythmic control (James Hildreth, The American Organist),” has two solo recordings to his credit, both on the Pro Organo label: Music Héroïque and Carnival. Two future recordings are planned as well. As an organ concert soloist, Mr. Plutz has concertized across the United States and abroad, including Salzburg, Austria (Franziskanerkirche), Philadelphia (Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s, Center City), New York City (Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Cathedral of St. John the Divine), Washington, DC (Washington National Cathedral), and West Point, NY (Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy). He has been a featured artist at two Regional Conventions of the American Guild of Organists (Region III in 2007, Regions I & II in 2011), and was a featured performer for the 2007 American Handel Society Conference. At the 2010 National AGO Convention in Washington, DC Mr. Plutz performed twice, in collaboration with two local groups.
Recent performances include two tape-delay solo concerts and a live broadcast of an all-Bach concert on WWFM, and a Verizon Hall appearance under the baton of Helmuth Rilling. In addition, his playing has been broadcast on WRTI’s Wanamaker Organ Hour and NPR’s “Pipedreams.”
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