Richard Coffey, Music Director
Since 2005, Richard Coffey has been the Music Director of The Hartford Chorale, the region’s principal symphonic chorus, appearing frequently with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and offering significant concerts on its own and in association with other orchestras and instrumental ensembles. In this role, Mr. Coffey has conducted the Chorale and The Hartford Symphony in concerts of major works in Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and other venues. Whether as chorusmaster or conductor, Mr. Coffey has served Hartford Chorale in recent regional performances of the Bach Christmas Oratorio, the Beethoven Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony, the Berlioz Te Deum, the Bernstein Chichester Psalms, the Brahms Requiem, the Britten War Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Poulenc Gloria, the Vaughan Williams Hodie, the Verdi Requiem, and Xian Xinghai’s Yellow River Cantata.
In 2008 Mr. Coffey and the Hartford Chorale, with the New York Choral Society, engaged in a singing tour of China at the invitation of the Chinese Cultural Ministry, presenting performances of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony and Philp Glass’s epic tone poem Itaipu.
In 2014 the Chorale again toured under Mr. Coffey’s direction, with performances in Chartres Cathedral and Paris’ American Church and Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, where Maurice Duruflé was for many years organist and director of music.
Since 1972, Mr. Coffey has been Minister of Music for the South Church of New Britain, Connecticut, where he directs a distinguished choir of professional and volunteer musicians in liturgy and in concert. In 1973 he established The Music Series at South Church, a community performing arts presenter, and in 2003, he established, through South Church, a region-wide nonsectarian choir for children, The Main Street Singers. Mr. Coffey has served on the music faculties of the Hartt School and of the University of Connecticut. From 1988 until 1993, he was Chorus Master for the Connecticut Opera Association.
In 1992, Mr. Coffey was named Choral Director of the Year by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, in recognition of “outstanding contributions to the advancement of choral music through distinguished service and the highest standards of performance.” In 2007, he received a Major Achievement Award from The Hartford Symphony Orchestra in recognition of his “outstanding and inspiring artistic leadership of the Symphony’s two major choral partners, CONCORA and The Hartford Chorale,” and in 2008 the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance presented him its award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Mr. Coffey is the 2009 recipient of the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to choral singing and its culture within New England.
Mr. Coffey holds music degrees from the University of North Carolina and the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 1979 he received the premier prix d’orgue after studies with organist Marie-Claire Alain at France’s École National de Musique, Rueil-Malmaison.
In 2014, Mr. Coffey stepped down as Artistic Director of CONCORA, Connecticut Choral Artists, which he founded in 1974 as the region’s first all-professional concert choir.
Jack Anthony Pott, Assistant Music Director
Jack Anthony Pott, tenor, has been a featured soloist with many ensembles in Connecticut, including the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, CONCORA, Voce, Inc., Hartford Chorale, Greater Middletown Chorale, The Concert Choir of Northeast Connecticut, Con Brio, and Cappella Cantorum. Mr. Pott has soloed in numerous performances of Handel’s Messiah, as well as Bach’s Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Magnificat, various Cantatas, and as the Evangelist in the Christmas Oratorio. He has performed a variety of operatic roles with Connecticut Concert Opera, CONCORA, UConn Opera, and the Asylum Hill Music Series in Hartford. In April, 2013, he sang the role of Dr. John K. Meneely in the world premiere of the new dramatic oratorio, Letter from Italy, 1944. He is also featured on a recording of the music of Morten Lauridsen by the Hartford-based professional choir, Voce. Mr. Pott is member of the voice faculty at Central Connecticut State University, The Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University (CCY), and the Hartt Community Division at the University of Hartford, where his is also the founding director of the Hartt Community Division High School Chamber Choir. Since 1995, he has been a soloist and assistant to the Minister of Music and Arts at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. He holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from The University of Michigan, and also did graduate studies in choral conducting and voice performance at the University of Connecticut. Mr. Pott resides in South Windsor, CT, with his wife and two children. He is thrilled to be joining the Hartford Chorale for the 2013-2014 season, and looks forward to working with so many friends and familiar faces.
Alan Mann, Executive Director
Alan Mann is Executive Director of the Hartford Chorale and also Artistic Director and co-founder of Opera Theater of Connecticut. He served seven years as Artistic Director of Mississippi Opera and three and a half years as Executive Director of the Boston Chamber Music Society.
His work in professional theater and opera has taken him from New York’s Lincoln Center to London’s West End to the Edinburgh Festival to the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival to The Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy to New York’s Broadway. His directing assignments span traditional opera, contemporary opera, comic opera, musical theater, and classic and modern theater for, among others, Mississippi Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, the Sanibel Music Festival, Hartford Opera Theater, Center for Contemporary Opera, Opera Pacific, Opera New England, Gold Coast Opera, Stratford Festival (Ontario), Il Piccolo Teatro dell’Opera, Berkshire Opera, Village Light Opera and Jersey Lyric Opera.
As Artistic Director of Opera Theater of Connecticut, he has directed and designed all its productions, which include opera and Shakespeare, since its founding in 1985. He directed and designed all opera productions for the Sanibel Music Festival and has designed lights and sets for other productions of operas, plays, and ballets.
Mr. Mann is also a renowned guest speaker, known for his Opera Talks – a series of informal, informative talks on specific operas or composers and opera in general. He has also served as Master of Ceremonies for numerous concerts, punctuating them with interesting anecdotes and sharing his witty insights and knowledge of the “human” side of opera with the audience, allowing them to be more fully involved. He has been a Guest Speaker on cruise ships and, because of his commitment to increasing diversity in opera, he was invited to speak at Opera America’s international Diverse Voices conference.
He frequently serves as a judge for various competitions, including The Jenny Lind National Competition for Sopranos, The Connecticut Opera Guild’s National Vocal Competition, The San Antonio Opera Competition, and Opera Theater of Connecticut’s Vocal Competition, as well as the English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare competition. Mr. Mann has held Master classes in opera performance at Hartt School of Music, the University of Southern Mississippi, and UConn. He also serves on the board of Madison Lyric Stage.
He received degrees in directing from The Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, London – in a two-year program designed especially for him at the direction of the school’s former head, renowned Shakespearean director, Michael MacOwan. He also studied Set Design under Chris Hewitt and Lighting Design with Richard Pilbrow and Molly Friedel.
While with Mississippi Opera, he produced An Evening With Renée Fleming and the ground-breaking production of The Gospel at Colonus. Other recent directing engagements include two different productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Suor Angelica and of Verdi’s Falstaff. He also directed and designed Adamo’s Little Women for Hartford Opera Theater, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Britten’s Noye’s Fludde for Mississippi Opera, and the critically-acclaimed Gounod’s Faust for CT Lyric Opera. His upcoming events include two fully-produced concerts for the Sanibel Music Festival, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Romeo & Juliet, in verse and in music.
James R. Barry, Accompanist
Mr. Barry has been the accompanist for the Hartford Chorale since 1995, serving under three conductors and numerous guest conductors, and accompanying the Chorale on three international tours. He is the Minister of Music at St. James’ Church, Glastonbury and Assistant Organist at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, Hartford. In addition to earning degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, the Hartt School and Yale University, Mr. Barry has studied organ with Edward Clark and Thomas Murray, and conducting with Marguerite Brooks.
He was Director of Artistic Operations at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, managing the rehearsal and concert schedule of the HSO’s regular season as well as the Talcott Mountain Music Festival. For fourteen years, he was Canon Precentor at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, overseeing an active music program of choirs and concert events.
Mr. Barry was organ soloist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Aaron Copland Classical Conversations series and has played organ recitals at St. Thomas Church and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, as well as Washington National Cathedral. Choirs and soloists under his direction have collaborated on programs with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Opera, the Hartford Chorale, the Hartford Stage Company, South Church Music Series, Trinity College Concert Choir, and the Manchester Chorale. He served three terms as Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and as Region I Councilor, and served as Director-at-Large of the Association of Anglican Musicians.