After a nationwide search for a new Artistic Director, Chora Nova has named John Kendall Bailey to that position. Bailey will begin his tenure June 1, and will conduct the chorus in concerts beginning in November 2024. Programs for the 2024-25 season will be announced in the near future.

John Kendall Bailey
John Kendall Bailey

John Kendall Bailey is currently Music Director of the Mozart to Mendelssohn Orchestra, the Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. In 1994, he founded the Berkeley Lyric Opera and served as its Music Director and Conductor until 2001. Since then, he has held positions including Principal Conductor of Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Guest Conductor with Oakland Symphony and  Oakland Ballet, among others. He has conducted productions for Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, West Bay Opera, North Bay Opera, Pocket Opera, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, among others. Mr. Bailey has taught conducting at the University of California-Davis and Notre Dame de Namur University.

As a choral director, Mr. Bailey has served as Music Director of Voices of Musica Sacra, Chorus Master for Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Opera San Jose, and Trinity Lyric Opera, and has been guest conductor for the University of California-Berkeley Chamber Chorus, the University of California-Davis Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Alumni Chorus, Contra Costa Chorale, and the Berkeley Broadway Singers.

As a composer, Mr. Bailey’s works have been performed and commissioned in the Bay Area and abroad, including arrangements for Carlos Santana and Oakland Symphony performed in 2010.

Mr. Bailey is also a baritone, oboist, and pianist, and has performed with the San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Marin, Oakland, and Berkeley symphonies, American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, San Francisco Bach Choir, the Mark Morris and Merce Cunningham dance companies, the Berkeley, Golden Gate, and Oakland Lyric Opera companies, and many more. He has recorded for the Harmonia Mundi, Koch International, Pro Musica, Wildboar, Centaur, and Angelus Music labels.

He has been a pre-performance lecturer for Oakland Symphony, San Francisco Opera, American Bach Soloists, and Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, and is a regular lecturer for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State East Bay and Santa Clara University. He has also been a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice and a writer of real-time commentary for the Concert Companion.

Join us! We welcome potential new members to audition for the chorus at the beginning of weekly rehearsals for each concert set (in September, January, and late March).