Meet the Conductors

Nyssa Brown, National Children’s Choir Conductor  –   (CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO INTRODUCTION)

Nyssa Brown (National Children’s Choir) is an elementary vocal and choral Music Specialist, Performing Arts Coordinator and Specialist Team Leader at the American School of The Hague in the Netherlands. Ms. Brown has conducted school, festival and honor choirs in India, the Netherlands and across the United States. With a passion for global music, Ms. Brown focuses on music learning in context and values collaboration with culture bearers in the general and choral music settings. As an active international consultant, she draws on her PK-9 vocal/choral music experience in the US and abroad while presenting at local, regional, national and international conferences and while working with schools and arts departments using a backwards design model to create curriculum and assessments that are standards-aligned and forward focused. In the recent development of the National Core Arts Standards, Nyssa served as a Grade 3-5 sub-committee member. Ms. Brown served as Music Education Coordinator for Minnesota’s Perpich Center for Arts Education and coached teachers in over 100 school districts across the state of Minnesota. She was one of ten finalists for 2004 Minnesota Teacher of the Year and received a prestigious Milken Educator Award in 2004 from the Milken Family Foundation. Passionate about teaching in a global context, Nyssa taught at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India and in both Namibia and South Africa, through a fellowship offered by the Eastman School of Music’s Umculo: The Kimberley Project. Nyssa is a faculty member of the Kodály Levels Courses at Indiana University and the University of St. Thomas. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas and Augsburg College. Nyssa also studied in Hungary at the Kodály Institute’s summer seminar. She released her first CD in October, 2000, “Packwood or Paradise.” Ms. Brown graduated from the Hartt School of Music and Hartford College for Women in 1998 with a BMus in Education and a BArts in Women’s Studies. She completed her Master of Arts in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas, 2008. Her Kodály certification was earned at Brigham Young University in 2001, and she has completed Levels 1 and 2 of her Orff training at University of St. Thomas.

Julia Shaw, National Youth Choir Conductor

Julia Shaw, PhD, (National Youth Choir) is Assistant Professor of Music at the Ohio State University, where she instructs undergraduate students in choral methods and voice pedagogy. Additionally, she teaches graduate courses in qualitative research, arts in urban contexts, and advanced choral pedagogy. An active choral clinician, Dr. Shaw has served as guest conductor for numerous All-State, festival, and honor choirs. Recent engagements have included the Midwest Kodály Music Educators of America Children’s Honor Choir and the Kentucky All-State Junior High Treble Honor Choir. She has presented interest sessions at national, regional, and state conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association, National Association for Music Education, and Organization of American Kodály Educators. Dr. Shaw has taught in varied public school and community settings, specializing in child and adolescent vocal development. For her work with middle school choirs in Zionsville Community Schools, she was honored as district and county Teacher of the Year in 2007. She has worked extensively with community youth choirs, including the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. A certified Kodály educator, she has been an instructor for the summer Kodály institutes of DePaul University, James Madison University, and the University of Central Missouri. She has also served on the summer graduate faculty of the University of St. Thomas, where she taught a course in child voice development. Dr. Shaw’s research focuses on culturally responsive pedagogy, socio-cultural issues in music education, music teacher education, and urban education. Her publications appear in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Music Education Research, Arts Education Policy Review, Choral Journal, and Music Educators Journal. She has presented research at conferences including the International Research in Music Education Conference, the NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, and the Symposium on Music Teacher Education. Dr. Shaw received the Society for Research in Music Education’s Research Grant to investigate effective professional development experiences for urban music educators. In 2016, she received the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Early Career Paper in Music Education for her research on urban music educators’ culturally responsive practice. She serves as a Repertoire and Resources Chair for the Ohio Choral Directors Association and previously held a position on the editorial committee of the Music Educators Journal. She holds a PhD in music education from Northwestern University, a Master of Music in choral conducting from Butler University, a Bachelor of Music Education with high distinction from Indiana University, and Kodály certification from Indiana University.

Péter Erdei, National Chamber Ensemble Director

Prof. Péter Erdei (National Chamber Ensemble) was Director of the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music, Kecskemét from 1974 to 2008. He is a professor of choral conducting at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest,  guest professor of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, CN, and artistic director of the Alma Mater Choir of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. Mr. Erdei is co-founder of the Kodály Musical Training Institute, USA, 1969. For many years he has conducted choirs like the Hungarian Radio Choir, the Kodaly Choir of Debrecen, and the Teachers’ Choir of Kecskemét. Chairman of the Artistic Board of the Béla Bartók International Choral Competition of Debrecen, 2002-2008. Conductor of the World Youth Choir, 2000. In the last 3 decades he has given first performances, made recordings of many contemporary Hungarian choral works. He has given masterclasses and served as adjudicator at the most prestigious festivals and competitions like Arezzo, Cork, Debrecen, Hong Kong, Llangollen, Marktoberdorf, Tours, Singapore etc. The President of the Hungarian Republic awarded him the Order of Merit (civilian) Officer Cross in 1995. The King of Norway awarded him the Order of Merit Chief Officer Cross in 2002. Among many awards he holds the Liszt Prize and the Bartók-Pásztory Prize for performing arts in Hungary, Kodaly Prize of the Pro Renovanda Cultura Hungariae Foundation and the Honorary Doctorate of Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.



Andrea Solya, National Concert Women’s Choir Conductor

Andrea Solya, DMA (National Concert Women’s Choir) is Clinical Assistant Professor of Composition-Theory and Choral Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is also director of the UI Women’s Glee Club, UIUCs’ premier treble choir. She is also coordinator of Aural Skills, and teaches choral conducting and literature to undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to her duties at the University of Illinois, she is in daily contact with middle school and high school choral singers in the Champaign-Urbana area as the director since 2006 of the Chamber Choir and Youth Chorale of the Central Illinois Children’s Chorus. As a native of Hungary, her newly designed Aural Skills curriculum at the U of I is based on a Hungarian model, and stands on major pillars of the Kodály method. Each summer she teaches musicianship, conducting and choral methodology in the Master’s program of the Kodály Institute at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Her research interests include the choral music of Andreas Rauch (1592-1656), as well as the art of teaching sight singing to the choral singer and beyond. She has performed and presented on national and international stages, and has been working on a critical edition of 25 motets from Andreas Rauch’s 1625 collection “Thymiaterium Musicale”. Under her direction, the UI Women’s Glee Club has received numerous concert invitations and has undertaken memorable tours to Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta and, most recently, to New York City. The UI Women’s Glee Club also appears on renowned composer Augusta Read Thomas’s latest CD recording Astral Canticle, released in 2015 by Nimbus Records. Dr Solya is College and University Repertoire and Standards Committee Chair at ACDA-IL.