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Faculty Profiles

Department: Music

Lester SeigelLester Seigel

Joseph Hugh Thomas Professor of Music


Hill Hall 114

Contact Information:

Birmingham-Southern College
Box 549033
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4957
Office Fax: (205) 226 3058
E-mail: lseigel@bsc.edu

Brief Biography:

Lester Seigel's work as a conductor has been internationally noted for his choir's "seamless phrasing and sensitive blending" and "wonderfully exuberant and euphonious" sound (Gramophone, July 2010). His busy schedule of performances as a conductor and accompanist includes prestigious venues throughout the United States and abroad. His select vocal ensemble Sursum Corda performed in March 2011 at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Chicago, and in 2012 the ensemble appeared in performance with Maestro Justin Brown and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas. Prof. Seigel has led the BSC Concert Choir in concert at prestigious venues throughout the eastern United States and in Europe, including the choir's New York performance at Alice Tully Hall.

In 2014 Prof. Seigel led the BSC Concert Choir's tour to the Washington, DC area and the annual College Service of Lessons and Carols in December 2013.  As a chamber musician, he was featured in recital in September 2013 with his son, baritone Daniel Seigel, and in October in an all-Brahms program as part of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's Concertmaster and Friends series. With Sursum Corda, he will conduct fall and spring concerts both in Birmingham and elsewhere in the region. Prof. Seigel's new compact disc release, "Welcome Yule!," featuring Sursum Corda, was released in early 2014 on the MSR Classics label, and has already garnered very positive critical reviews.

Prof. Seigel spent the spring term 2010 on sabbatical leave, conducting research on the choral music and hymnody of the American Reform Synagogue of the turn of the 20th century. As part of his research, he was awarded the Davis Fellowship for study at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, part of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he spent a month in residency and presented a lecture on his work. While on sabbatical Seigel appeared as conductor of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro in the acclaimed production by Opera Birmingham, featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, in March 2010.

In addition to his work at BSC and with Sursum Corda, Seigel recently completed his 25th year on at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook, where he is Choirmaster/Organist, and regularly presents the choir in special choral programs. He holds the AAGO certificate from the American Guild of Organists, and his choral music is published by Oxford University Press.

Educational Background:

D.M.A. (1991); M.M. (1983), University of Colorado-Boulder
B.M. (1979), Birmingham-Southern College

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • Choral Music
  • Conducting (choral, orchestral, opera)
  • Chamber Music, especially literature for the Piano Trio Aesthetics of Music Opera Liturgical Music of the Synagogue, with emphasis on the Reform traditions of the late 19th-early 20th centuries

Courses Taught:

MU 123: Literature and Language of Music
An introduction to the terminology, forms and structures of classical music, with an emphasis on basic genres, as well as an introduction to bibliographic research and writing about music. Prerequisite: MU 151. Spring.

MU 211 Concert Choir (1/4)
A mixed-voice ensemble that presents performances on-campus, records and tours regionally each year, and nationally and internationally frequently, and often performs major works with orchestra in local performances. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent.

MU 271: Beginning Conducting

MU 371: Advanced Conducting
Designed to teach the student majoring in music how to train ensembles, to read scores, and to conduct efficient rehearsals. May be repeated for credit (a Leadership Studies designated course). Prerequisite: MU 271. Fall.