The Choral Society is delighted to announce that Peter Steenblik will begin his tenure as our new artistic director this fall, succeeding Xiaolun Chen, who retired in May after 22 years with the organization.   

Dr. Steenblik, who is the director of choral activities at the University of West Florida, has served as the Society’s interim artistic director since September 2020, a particularly challenging time for choruses, which were identified as superspreaders of Covid-19. After thoroughly researching options, Dr. Steenblik developed safety protocols that have allowed the chorus to continue making music while successfully mitigating risks for singers and audiences. The search committee notes, “His rigorous effort to safely continue rehearsing and performing during this past year of the pandemic has revealed a creative energy that makes us know good things are getting ready to happen.”

Dr. Steenblik completed a doctoral degree at the University of North Texas, where he was the director of the Women’s Chorus and Assistant to the Director of Choral Studies.  Previously, he earned a master’s degree in choral conducting and a bachelor’s degree in choral music education from the University of Utah. In Pensacola, in addition to conducting two ensembles and teaching a variety of courses at UWF, he leads the Summer Festival Chorus, which he founded in 2017. He also has served as chorus master for Pensacola Opera.

With regard to his new position, Dr. Steenblik notes, “The CSOP affords me the opportunity to work with lifelong singers.  A civic chorus can dig deeper and create prolonged programming goals.  We will have the opportunity to prepare and perform some of the large masterworks, bring to light lesser-known works, and may also be involved in commissioning new music.”

He adds, “I look forward to creating connections with our supportive public by promoting inspirational and thought-provoking concerts and events, thereby fulfilling the group’s mission statement of ‘enriching our community through a variety of dynamic choral experiences.’”

For full list of Dr. Steenblik’s accomplishments, visit his website.