Brian A. Schmidt is the Grammy-nominated founder and artistic director of the South Dakota Chorale. His leadership has guided the ensemble to rapid growth and recognition in nine years, including educational programs, guest conductor residencies, three commercial recordings, and an international recording contract with the Dutch classical label PENTATONE. Their most recent album Tyberg Masses was nominated in three categories: Best Choral Performance, Best Surround Sound, and Best Engineered—Classical. The choir has also been featured in the Mormon Tabernacle for the 2015 National ACDA Conference in Salt Lake City and on the Duke Performances series at Duke University Chapel. In the fall of 2015 Brian represented ACDA in the International Conductor Exchange Program with Sweden, resulting in study and guest conducting opportunities in Sweden.
As Associate Professor of Choral Music at Baylor University he conducts the esteemed Baylor A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers, and teaches courses in graduate choral conducting and literature. In his short time at Baylor, four of his undergraduate and graduate student conductors have earned positions as semi-finalists in the SW-ACDA conducting competition and several of his singers have received invitations to participate in professional choral masterclasses and institutes.
Prior to Baylor, Schmidt worked at Duke University where he conducted the Duke Vespers Ensemble and popular monthly Bach Cantata Series. Performances by the all-volunteer Bach Choir, professional soloists, and Cappella Baroque (a professional period-instrument orchestra founded by Schmidt in 2013) drew large audiences and were hailed as “the Triangle’s not-to-be missed event.” The Duke Vespers Ensemble led weekly candlelit Choral Vespers services in Duke Chapel and presented a range of concerts from Renaissance and Baroque masterworks with period instruments to modern works for organ and saxophone. They performed at conferences such as the 2016 Southern Division Convention of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) and Boston Early Music Festival in 2013 and 2015. Schmidt produced two commercial recordings at Duke—which can be found on the MSR Classics label—and prepared and conducted the Vespers Ensemble for a performance with the Rolling Stones on their Zip Code tour.
Brian graduated from the University of North Texas, where he completed MM and DMA degrees under Jerry McCoy and Richard Sparks, along with early music studies under Lyle Nordstrom and Lenora McCroskey.