The Singers—Minnesota Choral Artists
Matthew Culloton, Founder & Artistic Director
The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists have shared their inspiring artistry and community impacts through remarkable performances for twenty years. Audiences have come to recognize their peerless singing, vocal flexibility between musical styles, their commitment to ensemble singing, and their willingness to sing music that speaks to a changing world.
Proud standard-bearers of the midwest choral tradition, The Singers are as comfortable singing Bach as they are Bob Dylan. The choir, under the artistic leadership of its founder Matthew Culloton, have performed four times at the famed Ravinia Festival (the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Ordway Performance Center in St. Paul, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and churches, auditoriums, and schools across the midwest. The Singers frequently collaborate with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, where they have performed under conductors Jonathan Cohen, Jeannette Sorrell, Jory Vinikour, and Paul McCreesh. The choir has been honored to sing under other leading conductors including Craig Hella Johnson, René Clausen, and Kathy Romey.
The Singers’ discography includes their latest collection, Come to the Woods, which features works by American composer Jake Runestad, Moira Smiley, Dominick Argento, Samuel Barber, and John Corigliano. Lauridsen: Mid-winter Songs is a collection of works by one of the world’s most beloved composers, Morten Lauridsen, who is featured on the piano in collaboration with The Singers. Tonight, Eternity Alone and Splendid Jewel are collections by René Clausen and Stephen Paulus, respectively. Along with three Christmas albums, a folk song collection, and live concert recordings, The Singers also feature a concert video library on their website.
Always a distinctive element of The Singers’ concert programming is the inclusion of new music by both established and emerging composers, including nearly 100 premieres of new works by Dominick Argento, Jocelyn Hagen, Joshua Shank, Abbie Betinis, Stephen Paulus, Timothy C. Takach, Craig Carnahan, Linda Kachelmeier, Paul Rudoi, Christine Donkin, William Malpede, Dale Trumbore, AJ Harbison, Paul Winchester, Jennifer Brandon, and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. Artistic Director and Conductor Matthew Culloton writes new holiday settings each season, and far-reaching Calls-for-Scores have brought new works from around the globe to the attention of the leadership team.
The Singers and Matthew Culloton host educational events aimed both at students and the community at large. Choral Festivals that bring together students from around the region have been held to honor Morten Lauridsen and René Clausen, and school classroom visits and masterclasses are a frequent offering. The Community Sing events have been aimed at the wider community of choral enthusiasts, and have been centered on the Justice Choir Songbook, and works by Fauré, Mozart, and John Rutter. Over the years, thousands of students and community members have taken part in these meaningful programs.
The Singers are a 40-voice professional choral ensemble based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The organization was founded in 2004 by its current Artistic Director Matthew Culloton, and is currently celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season in 2023-2024. The Singers deliver compelling and thought-provoking performances and educational opportunities that can bridge cultural differences and invite appreciation of the choral art. The core values that guide the organization as it brings this mission to life are Respect & Openness, Courage, Collaboration, Excellence, and Passion.
Founder & Artistic Director
Matthew Culloton brings a love of shared community singing, exacting musical standards, and an engaging sense of humor to the podium. He exhibits an uncanny ability to shape and trust in the individual artistry of the musicians in front of him, resulting in stirring moments of musical synergy and soul. Beloved composer Morten Lauridsen wrote to him, “Your glorious performances still resound in my ear and in my heart…it was my great honor to have you do my music, which could not have been in finer hands.”
Culloton is recognized equally for his interpretations of early music all the way to brand new works – hot off the press. As artistic director of The Singers, he has creatively programmed seasons of concerts that call on the music of Palestrina and Bach alongside Jocelyn Hagen and Damien Geter. “The Singers are a wonderfully well-shaped instrument, with pure and balanced vocal textures and pristine articulation. It is a clean-sounding ensemble, enormously flexible, and, for its size, it is capable of a sonority that can be equally fulsome or transparent.” (Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press) “Culloton has cultivated a cooly sweet, Scandinavian-style sound and endearing warmth of expression.” (Lindsay Koob, American Record Guide)
Culloton has led the world premiere performances of over 100 works, including Timothy Takach’s Helios (2019), Craig Carnahan’s Ghost Camp (2015), Joshua Shank’s He Was Singing (2012), and Jocelyn Hagen’s amass (2012). He is also an active classical recording producer, collaborating in that role with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, the National Lutheran Choir, the Concordia Choir, and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale (Dale Warland, conductor). Culloton worked closely with Warland on the editing preparation on the final four recordings of the Dale Warland Singers. Recordings made with The Singers include Come to the Woods (2022), René Clausen: Tonight, Eternity Alone (2015) Lauridsen: Mid-Winter Songs (2011), and six additional collections. A recording of his Christmas carol settings, On a Christmas Morn: Carols of Matthew Culloton (2021) is on the Arsis Audio label.
As a composer, Culloton has been commissioned by The Singers, the Dale Warland Singers, Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester (MN), Ames Chamber Artists, Chanson, the Minnesota MMEA All-State Choir, and numerous professional, community, school, and church choirs. He is the editor of the Christmas with The Singers Choral Series published by MorningStar Music Publishers, and co-editor of the Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series with Santa Barbara Publishing Company. His choral music is published by MorningStar Music, E.C. Schirmer, G. Schirmer, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Hinshaw Music, Mark Foster Music (Shawnee), Kjos Music, and Graphite Publishing.
An experienced and celebrated music educator, Culloton began his teaching career in the Long Prairie – Grey Eagle School District. From 2000-2006, he was Director of Choral Activities at Hopkins High School. His passion for connecting with singers of all ages through valuable collaborative opportunities is still apparent through the engagement work of The Singers, and the many classroom masterclasses he leads each year. In November 2004, Matthew was presented with the MN ACDA Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year Award. In the fall of 2003, he was the recipient of the VocalEssence/ACDA of Minnesota Creative Programming Award for his work at Hopkins High School.
From 1999-2004, he was a member of The Dale Warland Singers, having served as Music Adviser to Dale Warland, Assistant Conductor, and Bass Section Leader. As Warland’s Music Adviser, the two worked closely together on artistic programming and recording projects, including the editing preparation for that organization’s final four recordings. His singing career has also included the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale and the Mirandola Ensemble.
Based in the Minneapolis area, Culloton has also been Choirmaster at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul since 2010. He earned degrees from the University of Minnesota (M.M. in Choral Conducting; D.M.A. in Conducting) and Concordia College, Moorhead (B.M. in Music Education).