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.
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 for an international dance film festival competition. In Spring of 2021, 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.” During the 2023-24 academic year, Dr. Mason hosted a November event, “Shakespeare in Song,” featuring students from the UA Little Rock School of Literary and Performing Arts. This event was a collaborative effort between all areas of the school, with mentor opportunities for students from faculty in Music, English, and Theatre. The performance featured the UA Little Rock Choirs, vocal music majors, and performing faculty, with program notes by English students and faculty.
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. 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. In the 2021-2022 academic year, Dr. Mason participated in a group commission project through Consortio with composer Ellen Voth. The UA Little Rock Women’s Choir performed the Arkansas premiere of Voth’s The Harbor and the Sea in March of 2022.
Throughout her conducting career, Dr. Mason has conducted in workshops and performances throughout the United States and abroad. In the autumn of 2020, 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. Dr. Mason made her Carnegie Hall conducting debut on June 26, 2022, conducting Poulenc’s Gloria, with UA Little Rock Choirs and additional singers from across the United States. Most recently, in June of 2023, Dr. Mason conducted the Ozark Festival Singers in a concert at Cadogan Hall in London entitled “The Music and Lineage of Paul Mealor.” This performance was through Vox Anima London and in collaboration with the composer Paul Mealor and the ensemble Apollo 5.
Often invited to speak to young conductors and future music educators, Dr. Mason has been a guest lecturer on campuses across the company. 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 in 2020. 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. Her research covers a variety of topics, with a focus on the pedagogy of conducting. 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 soon return to the Carnegie Hall stage, conducting Vivaldi’s Magnificat on June 1, 2024, and Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass on June 1, 2025.