Eric Stark continues to build on a highly regarded career as conductor, educator, collaborator and community leader. He has conducted in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, has made frequent conducting appearances in South America, and has led choirs on domestic tours in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa.
In December 2008, he made his podium debut as guest conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, performing Handel’s Messiah to a sold-out audience in Clowes Memorial Hall (“galvanic performance….the Choir sang excellently throughout.” Nuvo Newsweekly). His December 2007 Washington DC debut with the Washington Chorus was met with critical and popular acclaim (“Eric Stark had the chorus singing crisply and brightly….its rich, close harmonies shimmering.” Washington Post). In February, 2006, he led the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in the final concert performance of the American Choral Directors’ Association Convention in Chicago, Illinois. In June of 2010, he travels to Shanghai to conduct Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem in the Shanghai Oriental Art Center Concert Hall with members of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Festival Orchestra.
As conductor of major works for chorus and orchestra, Stark has led performances of Britten’s War Requiem and Saint Nicolas, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and numerous cantatas, Handel’s Messiah, Zipoli’s Te Deum, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass and Requiem, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. He has prepared choruses for such notable conductors as Raymond Leppard, Jahja Ling, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Mario Venzago, Carl St. Clair, Erich Kunzel and Jack Everly. His choruses are heard on three compact discs, including From East to West, (2005) a holiday compilation with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, The Harmonies of Hoosier History, (2001) featuring works by Indiana composers performed by the Indianapolis Arts Chorale and A Festival of Carols (1997) with the Muncie, Indiana Masterworks Chorale.
Stark’s work as artistic collaborator and community leader has been both broad and unique. Under his leadership, his choirs have performed with such groups as the Indianapolis Symphony Orhcestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Repertory Theater, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, American Pianists Association, Jordan College Academy of Dance, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Clowes Memorial Hall, Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and Butler University. He was honored with a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis in 2005. A firm believer in the power of music to connect diverse audiences and enrich lives, Stark has led a revitalized program of innovative educational outreach programs since joining the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in 2002. In-Choir-ing Minds is an interactive discussion/performance featuring engaging dialog interspersed with live musical examples. Hallelujah-What’s It to Ya?! is a light-hearted musical inspection of the greatest musical work of all time, Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. The in-depth Choral Colloquium focuses on the contextual issues surrounding the great works for chorus and orchestra, and has featured such notable participants as composers Morten Lauridsen and Kyle Gann, scholar/performers Vance George, John Shirley-Quirk, Byron Adams and R. Larry Todd, and theologians Richard Hamilton and Frank Burch Brown.
In addition to his duties as Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Stark is also Associate Professor of Music at Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts where he conducts the Butler Chorale and Chamber Singers, teaches courses in conducting and choral literature, and serves as coordinator of the vocal and choral areas. As a teacher of conducting, his former students now hold leading choral positions around the United States, including Stetson University, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Los Angeles Opera and the University of Wisconsin. In 2003 and 2009 he taught a Butler University honors course he designed, Putting Wings on Dreams-the First 100 Years of Powered Flight, using the dramatic stories of aviation pioneers as case studies in human determination and innovation. He has served on the faculties of Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne and Earlham College. He received the doctoral degree in choral conducting from Indiana University, where he was a student of Jan Harrington, Robert Porco and Thomas Dunn. A 1988 graduate of Wabash College, he is also a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a non-profit network of pilots providing free air transportation for those with medical needs.