Conducting Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, BWV 131, by J.S. Bach, at the 40th Annual Baltimore Bach Marathon, March 13, 2016; Photo Credit ©Britt Olsen-Ecker Photography.


"The music series at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Roland Park, a series offering admirable variety and depth of repertoire, devoted an evening last weekend to works by the extraordinary composer Michael Hersch. In addition to two cello works, the program offered the world premiere of his 1997 a capella choral piece ‘From Ecclesiastes’….the expressive weight of the music, the sense of inner drama, impressed greatly. So did the assured, nuanced singing by the Choir of St. David’s and the Bridge Ensemble, led with a keen sense of mood, dynamics and pacing by Douglas Buchanan (he runs the remarkable series)."

— Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Douglas Buchanan, conductor

Uniting a “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) with the “ability to get under the skin of [the music’s] core material,” (The Scotsman), Douglas Buchanan cultivates cross-disciplinary careers as conductor, composer, performer, and educator. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, he teaches as composition faculty at Dickinson College, music theory and musicology faculty at the Peabody Conservatory, and serves as Artistic Director of the Maryland Choral Society and Choirmaster and Organist at St. David’s Episcopal Church.

Eliciting “assured, nuanced singing” from choral ensembles, Buchanan’s conducting inspires “a keen sense of mood, dynamics, and pacing” (The Baltimore Sun). Through his programming he particularly supports emerging composers, and advocates for an increasingly diverse body of repertoire through commissioning and recording. He has conducted world premieres by Michael Hersch, Amy Williams, Natalie Draper, Faye Chiao, Joshua Bornfield, and Tariq Al-Sabir, among many others. In addition to conducting canonical masterworks, he also assists in the rediscovery of overlooked composers. Recent performances have included leading the Mid-Atlantic premiere of Marianna Martines’ Dixit Dominus and the first performance by an American ensemble of Christoph Strauss’ Missa Maria concertata.

Dedicated to helping all people, regardless of background, realize their own musical potential, Buchanan co-founded Voices Rise: A Baltimore Choir of Hope with his brother, Benjamin, and with the assistance of a grant from the Peabody Conservatory. Voices Rise partners with Paul’s Place, an outreach agency in south Baltimore, and particularly invites those experiencing homelessness and financial distress to make music in a safe and inviting environment. Recently, he served as music director for a Johns Hopkins study focusing on the positive impact on patients with dementia rehearsing and performing music with their caretakers. He has worked closely with the Dallas Street Choir, and is a founding member of the National Alliance for Music in Vulnerable Communities.

Buchanan serves as Artistic Director of the Maryland Choral Society, and as Choirmaster and Organist of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Baltimore, where he leads the Concert and Evensong series, oversees the Ensemble-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence programs, and directs the Baltimore Bach Marathon, a Charm City tradition for over forty years. Previously he served as Director of Music at Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he conducted the St. Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys, the second oldest choir of its kind in the nation during his tenure. He has conducted the opening performance of the American Choral Director’s Eastern Division Conference, and has been named three times as Music Director for the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. He frequently serves as a clinician, leading workshops for ACDA Voices Unites, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and has received an American Prize for his choral conducting. Guest conducting appearances include the Canticle Singers of Baltimore, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, and the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, among others. He currently serves as a board member of the Maryland/DC ACDA chapter.

Recognized as a composer of “clear, personal music” that is “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling” (The Baltimore Sun), Buchanan has been the recipient of the Sackler Prize for Music Composition, grants from New Music USA for his residency with the LUNAR ensemble and from TACA for his residency with the Dallas Chamber Symphony, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, and a Symphony in C Young Composers Award. He is fortunate to have many opportunities to sing with and accompany his wife, Kelly, a mezzo-soprano, and also enjoys microtonal interspecies improvisation with his black lab, Grover.

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Johannes Passion, BWV 245, 1 - Herr, unser Herrscher

Christoph Strauss, "Missa Maria concertata"

Brahms, "Ein deutsches Requiem"

Marianna von Martines, "Dixit Dominus"

Michael Rickelton, "Ubi Caritas"

"Aus der Tiefen rufe ich," BWV 131, by J.S. Bach

Chiao, "Ave Verum Corpus"

Draper, "I have a bird in spring"

GIovanni Priuli, "Jubilate Deo"