National Children's Chorus

Artistic &
Administrative Team

The National Children's Chorus is proud to offer its students instruction with some of our nation's finest musical and creative minds. Our visionary Artistic Team is most certainly changing the face of music through education and is here to be a resource for you!

Luke McEndarfer
artistic director

Cristina Demiany
executive director

Dr. Pamela Blackstone
associate artistic director

Kurt Cereske
Kodály studies director and associate conductor

Michael Dean
vocal studies director

Dr. Ian Krouse
compositional studies director

Ryan De Korte
executive administrator

Mollie Birney
associate conductor

Christopher Yraola
associate conductor

Kara Simpson
associate conductor

Judith Chan
Kodály musicianship instructor

Lisa Fenderson
Kodály musicianship instructor

Kelly Callirgos
Kodály musicianship instructor

Ethan Wagner
associate conductor & Kodály musicianship instructor

Dr. Vivian Liu
principal pianist

Dr. Hiroyo Hatsuyama
associate pianist

Nick Nicassio
associate conductor and musicianship instructor

Alexis Tantau
voice instructor

Griffith Frank
voice instructor

David Stech
principal pianist

Dr. Rose Beattie
voice instructor

Helen Zalantis
Kodály musicianship instructor

Gustavo Hernández García
voice instructor

Luke McEndarfer
artistic director
Luke McEndarfer

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.