Dr. Lorissa Mason is the Director of Choral Activities and Voice Area Chair at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she directs the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Women’s Choir and teaches undergraduate conducting, advanced conducting, and music education courses. Prior to her appointment at UALR, Dr. Mason directed the undergraduate chamber choir and the University Singers and taught undergraduate conducting and music education courses at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory as a graduate teaching assistant. Dr. Mason’s research covers a variety of topics, with a focus on the pedagogy of conducting.
Dr. Mason is a valued member of the UA Little Rock community and frequently collaborates with campus departments. Under Dr. Mason’s leadership, the university’s choral department, in partnership with the UA Little Rock Department of Dance, recorded Eric Whitacre’s A Boy and Girl. The final collaborative project will be submitted for consideration at an international dance film festival competition. Recently, she and the UA Little Rock Women’s Choir developed and performed a program in collaboration with the university’s Diversity Council, Department of History and Department of Theatre entitled “We Sing! A Celebration of Women’s Heritage.”
In March of 2020, Dr. Mason and the UA Little Rock Choirs welcomed Dr. Sandra Snow and the professional women’s ensemble, mirabai, to share the stage in concert. During her time in Kansas City, Dr. Mason conducted a portion of the UMKC Conservatory’s performance at the ACDA National Convention. She lectured and conducted a performance of Marianna von Martines’s Dixit Dominus, and during the following year, she was invited to conduct for Kansas City’s annual Bachathon celebration, hosted by the Kansas City American Guild of Organists. Currently, projects underway include participation in a group commission project through Consortio with composer Ellen Voth. The UA Little Rock Women’s Choir will perform the Arkansas premiere of Voth’s The Harbor and the Sea in March of 2022.
During her conducting career, Dr. Mason has conducted in workshops and performances throughout the United States and abroad. Recently, she joined Dr. James Meaders and the Hurst Green Singers in England as part of a panel of notable conductors to speak on the topic of structure and history of Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms. She has also performed as a conducting fellow in symposiums and concerts in Italy. For a number of years, Dr. Mason served as founding artistic director for Canticum Novum, a chamber vocal ensemble for professional singers in and around the Lubbock area. Plans are currently underway for Dr. Mason to conduct the London premier of Joanna Gill’s Choral Symphony in summer of 2023.
Dr. Mason often receives invitations to speak to young conductors and future music educators and has been a guest lecturer on campuses across the country. She served on the National ACDA committee, screening undergraduate conducting videos for the conducting masterclass, and served as a clinician for the College Immersion Day at the Southwest ACDA Conference. Dr. Mason is an active member of ACDA, NAfME, Chorus America, and the International Conductor’s Guild and continues to present at state, regional, national, and international conferences.
Dr. Mason enjoyed a thirteen-year career teaching high school choir in Texas. She holds degrees from Texas Tech University, with studies in Music Education and Conducting under the tutelage of Dr. John Dickson. In 2019, she completed a DMA in Conducting at the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, where she studied conducting and choral literature with Dr. Robert Bode. Dr. Mason will make her Carnegie Hall conducting debut on June 25, 2022, conducting Poulenc’s Gloria, with UA Little Rock Choirs and additional singers from across the United States.