Joel M. Rinsema joined Kantorei (Denver, Colorado USA) in 2014, becoming the second conductor in its 25-year history. A frequent collaborator and champion of new works for chorus, Joel has commissioned and premiered works by many of today’s leading composers, including Kim André Arnesen, Mason Bates, René Clausen, Jean Belmont Ford, Ola Gjeilo, Jocelyn Hagen, Mark Hayes, Cecilia McDowall, Sarah Quartel, Jake Runestad, and Eric Whitacre. In the summer of 2022, Joel conducted the Central American premiere of Jake Runestad’s El Último Hilo (The Last Thread) in Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala with Kantorei and the Guatemalan choir Vocalis. He will return in late May of 2023 to conduct Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil.
Under Joel’s direction, Kantorei has released two recordings on the Naxos label. Sing, Wearing the Sky: Choral Music of Jake Runestad (2020) was the #3 best-selling classical album on iTunes, reached #4 on the Traditional Classical Billboard Charts, and was in the top ten in both the best-selling classical album and new classical release categories on Amazon. Infinity: Choral Works of Kim André Arnesen (2018) climbed to the #2 best-selling classical album on iTunes, #6 on the Traditional Classical Billboard Charts, and #19 on the overall Classical Billboard charts. Santa Barbara Music Publishing Inc., publishes the Joel Rinsema / Kantorei Choral series.
Joel led Kantorei in performances at the 2019 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association, and prepared Kantorei as the primary chorus for the Aspen Music Festival for Maestro Robert Spano in the summers of 2021 and 2022. More recently, he conducted Kantorei along with the Canadian Brass in December of 2022, commissioned and prepared Kantorei for the world premiere of the string orchestra version of Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil, led by the composer, and guest conducted The Sacred Veil with the Washington (DC) Choral Arts Society in May of 2023.
Joel is a passionate advocate for the professional choral art form, and he frequently consults with choral arts organizations around the country. Because of his leadership in his field, he received the Louis Botto Award for “Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal” from Chorus America, the industry’s advocacy, research, and leadership development organization for choruses, choral leaders, and singers.
From 2017-2020 he was the North American Choral Promotion Manager for Oxford University Press based in Oxford, England, a tenure during which he worked closely with and represented roster composers John Rutter, Mack Wilberg, Bob Chilcott, Sarah Quartel, Cecilia McDowall, Gabriel Jackson, and Will Todd among others.
Joel holds music degrees from Arizona State University and Whitworth University and he is a member of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA).
He came to Kantorei from the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale. Throughout his 23-year tenure with the Phoenix Chorale, he served in nearly every capacity with the organization, including his last 15 years as President & CEO and Assistant Conductor. He negotiated an ongoing recording contract with the prestigious U.K.-based Chandos Records, and Phoenix Chorale recordings received a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards during his tenure. Joel appears on all Phoenix Chorale recordings and was a soloist on the Grammy Award-winning “Spotless Rose: Hymn to the Virgin Mary.” In addition to his work with the Phoenix Chorale, he was the founding chorus master of the Arizona Musicfest.
Photo: Willams Pérez