Richard Coffey, Artistic Director of CONCORA, is one of New England’s principal choral conductors. He founded CONCORA, Connecticut Choral Artists, as a professional vocal ensemble in 1974. Mr. Coffey is Organist and Minister of Music of the South Church of New Britain, where he conducts a choir of professional and amateur singers and serves as Artistic Director of its Music Series, which annually presents concerts by visiting artists. He is also Music Director of the Hartford Chorale.
In frequent demand as a chorusmaster, Mr. Coffey has prepared choruses for many orchestras and festivals including the Hartford Symphony, Orchestra New England, the Springfield Symphony, the New Britain Symphony, the Waterbury Symphony, the Bard Music Festival, and the Harkness Summer Music Festival. For five seasons, Mr. Coffey was chorusmaster of the Connecticut Opera Association.
For three years, Mr. Coffey was Visiting Artist in Choral Music at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, where he conducted the Hartt Chamber Singers and taught graduate seminars in choral literature. He has served on the faculties of SummerTerm at Central Connecticut State University, the President’s College of the University of Hartford, the Colby Church Music Institute in Waterville, Maine, and the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
Mr. Coffey has served on the boards of directors of the New Britain Symphony, the Hartford Chapter, American Guild of Organists, and Chorus America, the Washington, D.C.-based national choral service organization. He also serves regionally as adjudicator and clinician for keyboard and choral competitions and festivals. He served for five years on a panel of advisors to the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University.
Mr. Coffey often makes presentations at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the American Guild of Organists, and writes reviews for The Choral Journal.
Mr. Coffey holds degrees in music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Sacred Music of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. He was awarded France’s “premier prix” in organ performance following studies with organist Marie–Claire Alain. In 1992 Mr. Coffey was named Choral Director of the Year by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2007 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance and a Major Achievement Award by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, in recognition of outstanding and inspiring artistic leadership.
Mr. Coffey is the 2009 recipient of the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually by Choral Arts New England to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to choral singing and its culture within New England.