Artistic Director

Brian J. Winnie, Artistic Director & Founder


Brian J. Winnie, D.M.A., is the Director of Choral Studies at Western Illinois University where he supervises the graduate choral conducting program, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral conducting, choral pedagogy, and choral literature, and conducts the "flagship" ensemble, the University Singers as well as Chamber Singers and Treble Choir. He previously served as the Director of Choral Activities & Voice and chair of the music department at Southwestern College in Winfield, KS. Prior to his tenure in higher education, Dr. Winnie was the Artistic Director of ChoralSounds and VocalSounds NW, a community choir based in Burien, WA, and he taught for seven years in public education at both the middle and high school levels.

An award-winning, active festival conductor and adjudicator, Dr. Winnie has been artist-in-residence in Ekaterinburg, Russia and has worked with festival choirs throughout the United States in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Washington, Kansas, and Alaska. He is a frequent guest lecturer/workshop leader and has presented at international and national conferences on "Contemporary Vocal Technique in the Choral Rehearsal," "Redefining the Choral Warm-Up," and "21st-Century Choral Pedagogy." Dr. Winnie has published articles in the Voice and Speech Review, Choral Journal, Voice Foundation Newsletter, International Choral Bulletin, and ChorTeach. He is also the editor and contributing author of The Choral Conductor's Companion and The Voice Teacher's Cookbook: Creative Recipes for Teachers of Singing both published by Meredith Music Publications and distributed by GIA Publications.

Choirs under his direction have been selected to perform at multiple state conventions and regional ACDA conferences, and they have also received accolades in both international and national competitions. Most recently, the Western Illinois University Singers won the 2021 American Prize in the Performance of American Music (University/College division) and won first place at the 2021 International Choral Festival Wales. They have also won gold medals at the 2020 Rimini International Choral Competition (Italy) and the Harmony of Cultures International Competition (France). 

In addition, Dr. Winnie was the second-place winner of the 2020 national American Prize in Choral Conducting (Schools Division), received the WIU College of Fine Arts and Communication "Excellence in Scholarly/Professional Activities" award, the "Exemplary Teacher" award at Southwestern College, and the "Outstanding Young Conductor" award presented by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Winnie currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Voice and Speech Review and the Estill Voice International Board. His past positions have included the University/College Repertoire chair for IL-ACDA, Secretary for the Central New Jersey Music Education Association, and the Middle School/Jr. High Repertoire and Standards Chair for ACDA-PA. He is an active member of the ACDA, NCCO, NATS, EVI, and NAfME.

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Winnie received his B.S. in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University, Master of Music Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington. Additionally, he is a certified Estill Master Trainer and Estill Mentor & Course Instructor with Testing Privileges for Estill Voice International. His research interests involve the integration of gesture and voice training in the choral rehearsal and the development of a 21st-century choral pedagogy encompassing all styles of music.