Michael Bower

Michael L. Bower, Conductor and Organist, has enjoyed the privilege of directing wonderful groups of talented musicians on Long Island. A native of Floyd, Virginia, he began formal piano lessons at age six and was playing for Sunday school services in his home church by 12. He began teaching himself to play the organ at age 13 and held his first position as church organist at Zion Lutheran Church in Floyd at age 15. He had early exposure to the Great Choral Masters with Mrs. Sandra Rector Smith, Floyd County High School, and Dr. Fenner Douglas, and Duke University. He sang in such masterworks as Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Dubois’s “Seven Last Words of Christ,” Schubert’s “Mass in G,” Faure’s “Requiem,” and Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Mr. Bower received his Bachelor’s Degree Magna Cum Laude in Sacred Music and Organ Performance from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, where he studied organ with Donald McDonald, harpsichord with Mark Brombaugh, and conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt. He was a three-time recipient of the William and Mary Renneckar merit scholarship. During his undergraduate years, Mr. Bower pursued additional organ study with Marilyn Keiser of Indiana University and boys choir training with James Litton, Director of the American Boys Choir, Princeton and Gerre Hancock, St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. He was also a member of Donald Allured’s Concert Handbell Choir. In 1985, he was appointed Associate Director of Music for St. Agnes Cathedral. At this time, he assisted Christoph Tietze in the development of a professional music program, including multiple choirs. He founded the Cathedral Girls Choir and trained the probationer group of the Boys Choir. In 1987, Bower continued specialized studies in organ and boys choir training with Stephen Cleobury at Kings College, Cambridge, and conducting with John Rutter at Clare College, Cambridge, England. Michael earned his Master’s Degree with Honors in Organ Performance from Manhattan School of Music in 1992, where he studied organ with John Walker, Baroque continuo with Kenneth Cooper, and conducting with Amy Keiser. At graduation, Bower received the John Cerovalo award for his outstanding performance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He has also done graduate work in liturgy at Notre Dame University and the National Pastoral Musicians Institute. Bower has performed organ recitals on the East Coast, the Mid-West, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and England. He has performed on the organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and with the Long Island Choral Society of Garden City, New York. Bower also performed Ned Rorem’s “Quaker Reader” in a concert at Columbia University as part of a festival celebrating the composer’s 75th birthday in 1998. Michael is featured on the Christmas CD of the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys released in December 2002, playing five solo organ selections. He has been a regional workshop clinician in choral vocal production, boys choirs, and organ performance. Michael’s duties at St. Agnes Cathedral include directing the 65-voice Choir of Men and Boys, the 65-voice Cathedral Chorale (Adult), and the Schola Cantorum (16-voice a cappella ensemble), and the Cathedral Singers (extremely vocally gifted octet ensemble of the Cathedral’s professional singers). More recently, he created the Diocesan Boys Choir of Rockville Centre and the New MasterChorale 2013. Mr. Bower has prepared and conducted the Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra in performances of many choral masterworks including Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, and Mozart’s Requiem. He has also toured with the Choir of Men and Boys to sing at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City, The White House, and the Cathedral Basilica of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In 1998, he prepared the Cathedral Chorale for a performance at Carnegie Hall conducted by John Rutter. In 2000, Michael prepared the Chorale and other Rockville Centre choral singers for a Millennium performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Michael was the Dean of the Nassau County Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Chair of the International Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians, and past member of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission of Rockville Centre. Other projects of Mr. Bower include recording at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College for Pipedreams Radio Broadcast in October 2004, playing Widor’s Opus 42 Symphony in g minor with the South Shore Symphony of Rockville Centre, and performing on the famed Cavaillé Coll organ at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, in July of 2005. In 2007, he performed a solo organ recital at Westminster Abbey, London. In January of 2008, he hosted the Conference of Cathedral Music Directors of the United States and Canada at St. Agnes Cathedral and presented a number of choirs and soloists in concert. That February, he performed Samuel Barber’s organ concerto Toccata Festiva with the South Shore Symphony and conducted the Schola Cantorum. Other events in 2008 included taking The Choir of Men and Boys on a singing tour to Washington, D.C., and teaching a choral conducting seminar at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. Seven years ago, he founded a new Diocesan Boys Choir of 45 select young singers and performed organ concerto works at St. Peter’s Church, Citicorp Center in 2011. He also prepared and conducted the Cathedral Choirs in a performance of John Rutter’s Requiem, and recorded a new Christmas CD with the Choir of Men and Boys and Diocesan Boys Choir. In July of 2012, he took 100 singers from the Cathedral Choirs and Diocesan Boys Choir on a 10-Day Tour of Italy singing in St. Peter’s-the Vatican, Florence, and San Marco Basilica, Venice. Next up, projects included taking a select ensemble of 60 singers to perform in the Hallmark Christmas Concert at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, New York City, presenting the Brahms Requiem and a Mozart Mass with professional soloists and orchestra, and the concert tour to Ireland/England for 2015! Events in 2015/16: conducting again Handel’s “Messiah,” and taking the Choirs to perform in Carnegie Hall working with Jerry Blackstone, and Rene Clausen. Last year found Maestro Bower conducting the 9/11 Memorial Concert of John Rutter’s “Requiem,” taking the Cathedral Choirs to perform at St. Francis Xavier Parish, New York City, preparing the Cathedral Choirs for a performance of Beethoven’s “9th Symphony,” and taking the Choir of Men and Boys, and Diocesan Boys and Teens Choir to perform the National Anthem at Citifield, and the Long Island Ducks. Special endeavors for the 2017-2018 Season: The Choir Recognition Mass, preparing and conducting The Cathedral Parish Christmas Concert, performing Poulenc’s “Organ Concerto,” and the Cathedral Choirs performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, while on a two week Concert Tour, to include Prague, Munich and Salzburg as well!