Pianist and conductor Luke McEndarfer has been on fire since his 2004 appointment as Artistic Director of the National Children’s Chorus (formerly the Paulist Choristers). Under his direction, the group has led numerous performances with critically acclaimed interpretations of Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna and Madrigali, Fauré’s Requiem, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Rutter’s Dancing Day, Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor, Castelnuovo- Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Dvorák’s Mass in D, Copland’s Old American Songs, and Handel’s Messiah, the latter written up as “the best performance in many years” in Overture, the Musician’s Union official publication. His ambitious and innovative plans have resulted in major program expansion taking the organization bicoastal, forging a reputation for excellence and adventurous programming. To date, his world premiere conducting performances include works and arrangements by Grammy-nominated Morten Lauridsen and Emmy winner Stephen Cohn, while current commissions include new music by Nico Muhly.
Heavily invested in collaboration, Mr. McEndarfer has pioneered unique performance relationships, which have culminated in concert appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera Company, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Joffrey Ballet, the Kronos String Quartet, the Stephen Petronio Dance Company of New York, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, and Josh Groban. Equally at home in the studio as well as on the concert stage, Mr. McEndarfer has worked on several motion picture soundtracks, most recently on Paramount Pictures’ 2009 feature film Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy, where McEndarfer selected, arranged, and conducted sections of the score, and also appeared as the Music Teacher on screen. Television credits include conducting performances in the musical act on Jay Leno’s former Tonight Show.
Passionately committed to music education, Mr. McEndarfer has vowed to make the National Children’s Chorus an incomparable resource for youth music education in Los Angeles, New York City, and soon, Washington, D.C., offering rare, cutting-edge training, as well as once-in-a-lifetime performance experiences to musically gifted children. Through his inspired vision, the National Children’s Chorus has grown to offer its students university-level conducting instruction, Kodály technique, music theory, advanced ear training and composition study. With a strong contingent of supporters, McEndarfer has led the National Children’s Chorus confidently into a class of its own, significantly enriching the lives of youth daily on both coasts.
Since the age of six, Mr. McEndarfer has studied piano extensively, winning competitions and musical honors with the Music Teachers’ Association of California. He is also a two-time graduate of UCLA, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and a Master of Music degree in conducting, the latter with full scholarship under the tutelage of Donald Neuen. Studying privately, McEndarfer has been the pupil of Kenneth Kiesler and Marianne Ploger at the University of Michigan, Lucinda Carver at USC, Susan McClary at UCLA, and Paul Salamunovich. Currently, he resides in New York City, and travels to Los Angeles weekly.