Recognized as one of Southern New England’s most engaging musicians, Joseph D’Eugenio has been bringing music to life across the region for more than twenty-five years. As a conductor, artistic director, music director, educator, pianist, vocal and conducting coach, and organist, D’Eugenio combines imaginative programming, skilled conducting, and deeply-informed musical versatility to bring freshly-conceived, captivating performances of choral, chamber, keyboard, and orchestral music to audiences across the region.
Known for his passion and dedication in preparing and presenting the great choral masterworks, for the past twenty years D’Eugenio has led several performances each season of major choral-orchestral works, most often with the GMChorale, where he has served as Artistic Director since 1988.
Under his leadership, the GMChorale, an auditioned symphonic choir of 80 voices that performs a wide range of choral music from several centuries, has become known as one of New England’s finest choruses, celebrated for its innovative choral presentations, appealing programming, and engaging performances. In addition to performing the more familiar masterworks (including the requiems of Mozart, Duruflé, Brahms, and Fauré, masses of Haydn and Mozart, and oratorios by Handel and Mendelssohn), under D’Eugenio’s leadership the GMChorale frequently presents lesser-known music of high artistic merit, and has a long history of commissioning and performing new choral works. In 2014, D’Eugenio conducted the GMChorale in the East Coast premiere of Mollicone’s Beatitude Mass for the Homeless for chorus, soloists, and instrumental chamber ensemble. In 2018, he led the ensemble in a performance of the early-Baroque oratorio Jephte by Carissimi, widely acknowledged as an important masterpiece but rarely performed. The GMChorale, which is often invited to perform across the region, has appeared (with D’Eugenio conducting) with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and in 2018 was invited to perform at Woolsey Hall in Singing Together for Peace, a gala choral event sponsored by the Saecula Choir Foundation. The GMChorale’s performance of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass was featured at the 2003 convention of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and the ensemble was invited to sing at both inaugurations of Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell. D’Eugenio conducted the GMChorale’s international concert debuts in Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Rome, Florence and Venice. D’Eugenio recently created a new initiative for the GMChorale—“Singing for a Lifetime”— through which the organization will sustain its long tradition of presenting concerts of choral masterworks while creating even more opportunities for life-long music-making in communities across the region, engaging more people, from all backgrounds and of differing abilities, to share the joy of singing together. He is particularly committed to creating learning and performance opportunities for young musicians and emerging music professionals across the region.
In 2016, D’Eugenio established Alchemy, the vocal chamber ensemble of the GMChorale, whose mission is to advance and support the GMChorale’s vision of “Singing for a Lifetime” through concert tours, collaborations, musical leadership, education, and community engagement. In establishing Alchemy, D’Eugenio looked beyond the traditional professional choir model, forming a company of musicians comprised of music educators, professional soloists and performers, and skilled ensemble singers and instrumentalists. D’Eugenio directs Alchemy in an annual state-wide concert series, collaborating often with local ensembles and performers, especially youth choirs. The ensemble is often invited to perform across the region in collaborative projects and special concerts, including giving the President’s Concert Performance at the 2018 convention of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
D’Eugenio’s model of choral leadership, wherein he combines high artistic and musical standards with an engaging, inclusive, collaborative approach and a commitment to teach as well as to lead, makes him in demand as a guest conductor and clinician. He has led various workshops and festivals, including the CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) Summer Festival in 2015, and has worked with choral groups at schools, colleges, and universities across Connecticut, including Wesleyan University in Middletown. An experienced music educator, adept at working with student and adult learners in a variety of settings, he is much in demand as a vocal and conducting coach.
D’Eugenio takes a special interest in creating meaningful, engaging, memorable presentations, often collaborating with other ensembles and performers to produce events that engage an entire community. As an example, in 2010, under his direction, the GMChorale, the United Girls’ Choir, the Choir of First Congregational Church in Cheshire, and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra offered a semi-staged performance of Mendelssohn’s grand oratorio Elijah, with more than 200 performers on the stage. D’Eugenio oversaw the production, which included vocal and dramatic coaching for the choristers as well as special lighting effects and staging. Complementary events in the community included a series of discussions that explored how Elijah could be understood within Islamic, Christian, and Jewish traditions. More recently, D’Eugenio oversaw and brought to fruition a project on a scale rarely undertaken by a community choir: the GMChorale’s commissioning and producing of an oratorio, Letter from Italy, 1944 by Grammy-nominated composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder and poet Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, for which he also wrote the book, conducted the standing-room-only 2013 premiere in Middletown, oversaw the production of two related videos, collaborated with director Karyl Evans to produce (in 2016) an Emmy-award-winning documentary of the creative process, Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio; and conducted the Hartford premiere in 2017, leading a semi-staged multi-media performance by the 200-plus singers of the GMChorale and the Hartford Chorale, vocal soloists, and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, the GMChorale has commissioned and premiered many new choral works by leading composers including Gwyneth Walker, Eugenie Rocherolle, Peter Niedmann, Colin Britt, Ellen Gilson Voth, Lee McQuillan, and Henry Mollicone.
An accomplished pianist and organist, and a collaborative pianist of the first rank, D’Eugenio performs often with vocal and instrumental soloists and has accompanied a variety of choral ensembles, including CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) and VOCE. He may be heard on In Delightful Company, a CD of choral music by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Charles Fussell. He has been Director of Music at First Congregational Church in Cheshire since 2003, where he oversees the church’s extensive music program. He maintains a busy private piano studio.
In 2009, D’Eugenio was named Conductor of the Year by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He earned the Bachelor of Music (cum laude) in piano performance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, and the Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Connecticut.