Collaborations in music, and perhaps in life in general, can be among our most rewarding experiences. At Yarlung, these collaborations and camaraderie are what keep us going. Nostos offers an example of just how fruitful this sort of relationship can be.
Music director Robert Istad is one of the most exciting choral conductors in the next generation of American music. He recently inherited the venerable post of Music Director of the Pacific Chorale, led by the eminent John Alexander since 1972.1 Dr. Istad also serves as president of the California Choral Director’s Association, and is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Rob has conducted the Cal State Fullerton University Singers for eleven years.
The School of Music at Cal State University Fullerton justifiably prides itself in excellence, and has done so for many decades. In the vocal arts alone, singers such as Deborah Voigt and Charles Castronovo studied at Fullerton. Cal State University Fullerton President Mildred Garcia takes special interest in music and she counts herself among the many fans of the University Singers. She has described the members of the ensemble as worldwide ambassadors for the university.
President Garcia should be proud. One week before our recording sessions, Rob Istad and the University Singers returned from a triumphant tour in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia. Happily for me, the ensemble sang the same repertoire as in our recording, so the singers arrived perfectly rehearsed and in an ideal psychological frame of mind for our project.