Dwight Jilek Appointed Magnum Chorum Artistic Director
Minneapolis, MN, May 31, 2018—Twin Cities choral ensemble Magnum Chorum announced Thursday the appointment of Dr. Dwight Jilek as its new Artistic Director, following a national search. Dr. Jilek assumes the position immediately in June and opens Magnum Chorum’s 28th concert season with performances on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4.
“We are overjoyed that Dwight Jilek is assuming our podium. Dwight brings outstanding musicianship and conducting, a strong passion for music making, and the ability to draw out a wonderful choral sound from our gifted cadre of singers,” said Charles Upcraft, Search Committee Chair and Board Chair of Magnum Chorum. “We are very excited about the future and continuing to present magnificent choral music and innovative programs to the community.”
Added Board Member Fr. Rolf Tollefson, “We are blessed that Dwight is a man of deep faith and personal humility as he leads our organization in its mission to transform audiences through artistry and spirit.”
In addition to his new role with Magnum Chorum, Jilek serves as Director of Choral Programs at Bemidji State University where he conducts the Bemidji Choir, Chamber Singers, Damenstimmen Women’s Chorus, and Musikanten Men’s Chorus, and teaches conducting, choral literature, and choral arranging. Previously, Jilek was Assistant Conductor to the Dallas Symphony Chorus from 2013-2016, and Chorus Master for the Christmas with the Dallas Symphony series. He worked with Director Joshua Habermann to prepare choruses for renowned conductors Jaap van Zweden, Jacques Lacombe, Simone Young, Nick Carter, Larry Loh, and Tomáš Netopil.
"I’m very honored and excited to serve as Artistic Director of Magnum Chorum," says Jilek. "It is a great time to be part of an ensemble with such a strong tradition of musical excellence that has served so many people for almost 30 years. I look forward to continuing the highest level of artistry and building on the rich musical heritage of Magnum Chorum while also celebrating newly-emerging works that capture listeners' hearts."
Dr. Jilek completed his doctoral studies in Choral Conducting at University of North Texas with related studies in Vocal Pedagogy, where he conducted the Concert Choir and received the Outstanding Graduate Conductor award in 2016. He earned his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University where he was assistant conductor of the Men’s Glee Club and State Singers, Chorus Master for the Opera Theatre Program, and director of the Young Men’s Chorus at the Community Music School. Jilek holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education from Concordia College in Moorhead. Before pursuing graduate degrees, Jilek served as vocal music director at Northfield High School where he oversaw nine choirs and the vocal lesson program. Under his direction, the Northfield Concert Choir was chosen to perform in the inaugural Minnesota ACDA Choral Arts Finale (2006), Minnesota State ACDA Convention (2007), Minnesota MEA Convention (2008), and was a featured choir at the Luther College Choral Invitational (2007), and St. Olaf Choral Festival (2009).
As a singer, Jilek has performed with Magnum Chorum as well as the University of North Texas A Capella Choir and Collegium Early Music Singers, Michigan State University Chorale, and Westminster Chamber Choir. His years of church music experience most recently include directing the Traditional Choir and Adult Handbell Choir at St. Andrew Catholic Parish in Fort Worth, TX.
Dr. Jilek currently serves as the Minnesota ACDA Repertoire and Resources Coordinator. Dwight, his wife Alyssa and three children, reside in Bemidji.
Recognized for expressive singing and inspired programs, Magnum Chorum brings transforming artistry and spirit to a cappella choral music. Founded in the choral tradition of St. Olaf College in 1991, the 60+ voice choir presents colorful concerts, commissions and premieres new sacred works, and provides music for worship. The choir also reaches out to under-served populations in prisons to offer a message of hope and faith and build community through fellowship and sacred choral music. Magnum Chorum serves as Choir in Residence at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Magnum Chorum has previously been led by Artistic Directors Jin Kim (Founding Director), David Dickau, Christopher Aspaas, and Mark Stover. The choir has performed under the direction of guest conductors Anton Armstrong, Kenneth Jennings, Sigrid Johnson, Brian Schmidt, Sandra Peter, Matthew Olson, Craig Arnold, Allen Hightower, Dale Warland, Weston Noble, and René Clausen; and performed with Philip Brunelle, Craig Hella Johnson, and Osmo Vänskä.
Magnum Chorum has championed young composers through its composer-in-residence program including Stanford Scriven, Benjamin Simmons, Scott Senko, and Zach Westermeyer, and recently premiered Sermon on the Mount by award-winning composer Paul John Rudoi. The choir has also collaborated with prolific composers including Stephen Paulus, Frank Ferko, Libby Larsen, Kenneth Jennings, Ralph Johnson and Jake Runestad.
The ensemble has been featured at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, American Guild of Organists, American Hymn Society and College Music Society. In 2017, Magnum Chorum performed in the premiere of the Raymond W. Brock commission with the Minnesota Chorale, Homing by composer J.A.C. Redford, at the 2017 National ACDA Conference in Minneapolis under the direction of Robert Spano.
The choir’s recordings are broadcast in the U.S. and Canada on public radio and classical music stations. The name, Magnum Chorum, is intended to convey the importance of the choir in expressing the divine and the infinite through voice, music, and text.