Skip to main content

John Rowehl

Performance Practice


John Rowehl is Associate Director of Choral Music at Cornell University and a doctoral student in the Performance Practice program within Cornell’s Department of Music. He has conducted the Chorale and the Cornell Chamber Singers since 2010. Prior to that, he worked with the Cornell University Glee Club, as Assistant Conductor beginning in 2002, and in the following decade conducted the ensemble at such venues as Alice Tully Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as on international tours to Brazil, China, and the U.K. John was recognized with an Otto R. Stahl award for Choral Music in 2008 and with the Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Teaching in 2009.

Trained in classical piano from the age of seven and a competition-winning pianist as a teenager, John originally came to Cornell as a Ph.D. student in Philosophy (and still has philosophical tendencies). His performance focus is on choral conducting, and his dissertation—a project in applied bio-musicology—examines how our ideas about performance change when we take seriously the latest findings in the neurophysiology of music and the growing body of evidence that music is a hard-wired human activity, in part because of the role it plays in creating and nurturing community.

John has been heard as a baritone soloist in the Fingerlakes Bach Festival and with NYS Baroque. He also enjoys working with singers from the keyboard, as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist.

When not in the library or at a choral rehearsal, John learns Ghanaian music with the World Drum and Dance Ensemble, practices yoga, and indulges his love of beach volleyball as often as Ithaca’s weather permits.