Australian-born conductor Heather J. Buchanan, PhD, is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University (MSU) where she conducts choral ensembles ranging in size from 24 to 175 voices. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their "heartfelt conviction," "vibrant sound," and for singing with the "crispness and dexterity of a professional choir." During her tenure, MSU choirs have collaborated with a variety of renowned international artists and composers including Meredith Monk, Richard Alston Dance Company (UK), Chen Yi, Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin, members of the Vienna Philharmonic strings, and conductors Neeme Järvi, Jacques Lacombe, George Manahan, John Maucceri, and Susie Benchasil Seiter with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). Dr. Buchanan conducted the MSU Singers with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble for the Grammy nominated recording Songs of Ascension on the prestigious ECM label under legendary producer Manfred Eicher (May 2011). The MSU Chorale (symphonic choir) is featured in the NJSO's CD recordings of the Verdi Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana.
Dr. Buchanan holds degrees from the University of New England (Australia), Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (Australia). A licensed Andover Educator, Dr. Buchanan also specializes in the teaching of Body Mapping, a neuro-anatomical educational technique that trains musicians to attain freedom of expression through effective movement. Her publishing activities include the landmark GIA choral series Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, Vols. 1-3 (founding co-editor and compiler), a DVD Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals, choral octavos in the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA), and a book chapter on Body Mapping in Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (Springer). A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer, and passionate musicians' health advocate, Dr. Buchanan maintains a busy schedule of guest conducting and somatic and choral clinics in the USA and abroad.