Stephen Spinelli

Senior Lecturer, Assistant Director of Choral Programs


Stephen Spinelli is the assistant director of choral programs at Cornell University, where he conducts the Chorale and the Chamber Singers, and serves as the assistant director for the Glee Club and the Chorus. He also directs the choir at the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca. Under his direction the Cornell Chorale ( has tripled its student participation, and has performed the Vivaldi Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in the last year alone, collaborating with the Cornell Percussion Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra along the way. The Cornell Chamber Singers ( continue to present ambitious programs that challenge programmatic norms. Recent performances have featured the American premieres of Agazzari’s Eumelio and Roman Palester’s The Vistula. The Chamber Singers are frequently invited to perform as guest artists on local concert performance series, including Ensemble X, MayFest, and Music at Grace (Elmira, NY). In August of 2018, the Chamber Singers travelled to Maui, Hawaii, for a cultural exchange as guests of the Maui Chamber OrchestraIn August of 2019, the Chamber Singers completed a residency on the island of Nantucket, where they highlighted the influence of the African-American spiritual at Nantucket's historic African Meeting House.

As a performer, Stephen has sung with some of the country’s leading contemporary music vocal ensembles. As a tenor with The Crossing, he premiered works by eminent composers, including Eriks Ešenvalds, Lewis Spratlan, Gabriel Jackson, Ted Hearne, and Gavin Bryars. He performed on five albums with The Crossing, including the 2018 GRAMMY Award-winning recording of Bryars’ The Fifth Century. He has also performed with the genre-bending vocal octet Roomful of Teeth, for whom he  assisted in the production of their GRAMMY Award-winning debut album, which yielded the Pulitzer Prize-winning recording of Caroline Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices, as well as their GRAMMY-nominated sophomore album, Render

Stephen holds degrees from Williams College (BA, music), where he also recorded sixteen All-American finishes as an NCAA swimmer, and Temple University (MM, conducting), and Northwestern University (DMA, choral conducting), where he wrote his dissertation on the lost concerto-arias of the seventeenth-century Thomaskantor, Johann Schelle as a doctor of musical arts candidate Northwestern University.

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Courses - Spring 2022