SU Choral Director Receives Award for Choral Excellence
August 14, 2006
SELINSGROVE, (Pa.) – Cyril Stretansky, director of choral activities and holder of the Cyril M. Stretansky Professorship in Choral Music at Susquehanna University, is the newest recipient of the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence. Named in honor of the long-time professor of music and director of choral activities at Temple University who founded the nationally revered Singing City Choral Society, the award recognizes distinguished artistic leadership and excellence in choral conducting. Stretansky received the award at the summer conference of the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania, held at Penn State University earlier this month.
A professor of music at Susquehanna, Stretansky holds the first endowed chair created at the university in fine arts. It was established in his honor in the fall of 2001. Stretansky most recently completed a 24-year tenure as music director and conductor of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale and the Orchestra of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. During this time he conducted over 70 major choral works scored for soloists and chorus with orchestra.
His credits as a guest conductor, choral clinician, adjudicator and baritone soloist are extensive and encompass a wide geographical area, including 14 states, Canada, Mexico, France and Italy. He served for eight years as the artistic director and principal conductor of the International Music Festival in Italy, where he conducted massed festival choirs at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Cathedral of Florence, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and the Cathedral of Milan. In this capacity he also conducted a Radio Free Europe broadcast from the Vatican. Stretansky served similarly for one year in Mexico and France where he conducted massed choral performances at the ancient cathedral of Mexico City and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
His lifetime study of the cultural heritage of the Slavic-speaking people of Eastern Europe has gained him a national reputation as a performer and interpreter of their classical, liturgical and folk music. He has twice served as musical liturgist and cantor for the Eucharistic Celebration at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. for the First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States and Canada. As a result of its tours and numerous broadcasts for the Lutheran and Presbyterian Series of the Protestant Hour, heard weekly over 500 radio stations across the country, Stretansky has received national recognition as the conductor of the Susquehanna University Choir. Under his direction, the choirs have also recorded 18 volumes of choral literature, the last 11 of which are available on compact disc.
A native of Nanticoke, Pa., Stretansky holds degrees from Mansfield University and Temple University. He performed additional study at the Meadowbrook School of Music in Michigan and Cambridge University in England. In 1999, he undertook a study in the interpretation of Gregorian chant at the Benedictine Monastery of St. Pierre in Solesmes, France.
During the summer of 2000, he was invited to join the faculty of the Assisi (Italy) Music Festival, where he also served as baritone soloist and cantor in the churches of Assisi. In July 2003, Stretansky accepted an invitation to be guest conductor for the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pa., and has returned in that capacity each summer since then. Prior to joining the faculty of Susquehanna University, he served as choral director at Montrose Area High School in Montrose, Pa., where his choirs were chosen to perform at state and national conferences and developed a reputation for excellence in the performance of difficult and demanding choral repertoire.
Stretansky was the 1987 recipient of the John C. Horn Award for Distinguished Service from Susquehanna University. In 1988, he was named to Mansfield University’s first Music Department Honor Roll as one of its most distinguished graduates. Sigma Alpha Iota, a national professional music fraternity, recently named him a National Arts Associate, and in 1995, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association awarded him a citation for excellence in teaching for higher education. He was listed in the 2004 edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, a publication dedicated exclusively to the recognition of our country’s premier teachers.
Contact: Victoria Kidd