Artistic Director & Executive 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), and Kjos Music.
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).
Matthew J. Olson is Assistant Conductor of The Singers, Director of Choral Activities at Carleton College, and Artistic Director of Bach Roots Festival. Under his leadership, performances with Bach Roots Festival have been hailed by the Star Tribune as “masterful” (B Minor Mass) and “a gripping realization” (St. John Passion). In 2018, he led The Singers in performances of Joby Talbot’s 17-voice choral symphony, Path of Miracles. Recently, he served as Visiting Professor at St. Olaf College and a guest conductor at Florida State University.
A passionate music educator, he often serves as a clinician for high school choral festivals, and his choral compositions and arrangements are published by Colla Voce, Santa Barbara, and via his website www.matthewjolson.com. He studied choral and orchestral conducting at St. Olaf College, The Oregon Bach Festival, Michigan State University, The Canford Conducting School (U.K.), and The University of Minnesota. He is a member of Beyond Artists, a group of professional musicians who donate a percentage of their artist fees to nonprofit organizations; he supports Redeemer Center for Life in North Minneapolis and College Possible (MN).
Bryon Wilson, beginning his first season with The Singers, is a freelance pianist, teacher, and coach based in Minneapolis. He has appeared with numerous artistic organizations including Schubert Club, Source Song Festival, Thursday Musical, NATS, Mill City Opera, Out of the Box Opera, and River Sounds in Ft. Lauderdale. In 2015 Bryon performed in the world premiere of Minnesota Concert Opera’s La Divina, a one-woman play about Maria Callas. Bryon also studies and performs music composed by holocaust prisoners in Theresienstadt and recently presented a lecture recital on the topic as part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas series on Holocaust survivors in Minnesota.
Bryon maintains an active piano studio, and his students have entered music programs at Indiana University, New York University, Boston University, and Interlochen Arts Camp. During his Masters and Doctoral studies in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota Bryon studied with Timothy Lovelace, Noriko Kawai, Debra Bakland, and Margo Garrett. Bryon is on the faculty of Macphail Center for Music and is organist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, MN. Bryon also spends two months every summer commercial salmon fishing in Bristol Bay, AK.
Bryan Blessing is a founding member of The Singers and is the vocal music teacher at Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington. Bryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Saint John’s University, his Master’s in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas, and is pursuing National Board Certification in Adolescent Music. Additionally, Bryan is an amateur composer and guitarist who has instructed classical guitar at Crown College. Bryan is on the advisory board of the ChoralQuest series through the American Composers Forum and is the Chair of the Commissioning Task Force for ACDA-MN.