The American Spiritual Ensemble was founded in 1995 by Everett McCorvey, professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Kentucky. McCorvey and César Leal, conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and assistant professor of music, are longtime friends and colleagues. The visit by the ASE takes place as part of the SSO’s 30th anniversary celebration.
Leal and McCorvey met at the University of Kentucky when Leal was appointed assistant conductor for the UK opera; Leal has considered McCorvey a mentor ever since. “He was extremely supportive and offered constant feedback,” said Leal. “Our collaborations helped me refine my conducting technique.”
Leal introduced McCorvey and the ASE to the International Sacred Music Festival in Quito, Ecuador, in which the ASE has now participated several times. “For the last few years, Everett McCorvey and I have had the idea of having an artistic residence in Sewanee,” said Leal. “I am thrilled our musical paths will now intersect in Sewanee; I know this collaboration will enhance the musical life on campus.”