Dr. Alan Stevens, Artistic Director

Bryan Underwood is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New
Jersey. His studies included piano performance, and collaborative piano. He studied
collaborative piano with Glen Parker and Dalton Baldwin, piano performance with Ina Bronstein
and Zabrack. As a member of both the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and the Westminster
Choir (under Joseph Flummerfelt’s direction), performances included collaborations with the
Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Princeton
University Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsal accompanying under the direction of Joseph
Flummerfelt, Ricardo Mutti, and multiple Grammy Award winning choral conductor, Charles
Bruffy. Accompanying also with composer/conductors Pepper Choplin, Matthew Erpelding.

Alan Stevens was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Appalachian Men's Ensemble in January of 2015. He is the Associate Director of Choral Activities and Coordinator of Vocal Music Education at East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN) where he conducts the BucsWorth Men's Choir and Greyscale, an unaccompanied vocal ensemble that explores alternative music through a fusion of styles. His choirs have collaborated with Alice Parker, Ola Gjeilo, Daniel Gawthrop, Chanticleer, New York Voices, Deke Sharon, and many local ensembles. Greyscale has performed at invited concerts in New York City, Washington D.C., and extensively throughout the eastern Appalachian region. BucsWorth has performed for the Intercollegiate Men’s Choirs National Seminar (Urbana, IL), and as the featured ensemble at the Young Men’s Power Sing in Atlanta.

Dr. Stevens maintains an active conducting, performing, and research schedule in addition to academia. He is a contributor to volume four of the Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir series, published by GIA. In 2016 he was selected by the American Choral Directors Association as an International Conductors Exchange fellow and will travel to Brazil in 2017 to guest conduct. He is the Artistic Director of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus, a professional vocal ensemble (Cleveland, TN), as well as the Appalachian Men’s Ensemble (Johnson City, TN), and the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus (Knoxville, TN). He sings each summer with the professional vocal ensemble, Choral Pick Up, based in Atlanta. He also regularly performs with Dada Cabaret, an experimental chamber ensemble formed in 2013. This non-traditional chamber ensemble explores the boundaries of classical music and the divide between audience and performer. Dada Cabaret was featured at a regional conference of the College Music Society in 2015. Dr. Stevens currently serves as the Tennessee American Choral Directors Association Repertoire and Resources Chair for Men’s Choirs and is on the Advisory Council of the Mountain Empire Children’s Chorus (Bristol, TN).

Prior to Tennessee, Dr. Stevens was based in Arizona and sang for two seasons with the Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Charles Bruffy. Dr. Stevens appears on the album Northern Lights (2012, Chandos/Naxos) with the Phoenix Chorale. He also sang for three seasons with True Concord (Tucson, AZ), and was the Assistant Director for the 2011-2012 season. He appears on the Grammy-Nominated album Far in the Heavens: Choral Music of Stephen Paulus (2015, Reference Recordings). He also appears as a featured soloist with the CORO Vocal Artists on the album Sweet Music Here (2013). 

Dr. Stevens began his career teaching secondary vocal music in Illinois, followed by two years as a freelance musician in New York City. In NYC he studied voice with the late Shirlee Emmons while performing in a variety of opera, theatre, and choral productions. Dr. Stevens is devoted to the research of early-American music, pre-1850. His dissertation focused on the performance practice of William Billings' music, and Dr. Stevens presented on this topic at the 2013 National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (Dallas, TX).

Dr. Stevens received undergraduate degrees in music education and vocal performance from Millikin University, where he studied conducting with Brad Holmes. Dr. Stevens completed the Master of Music degree at Northern Illinois University, followed by the Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Arizona with Bruce Chamberlain and Elizabeth Schauer. Dr. Stevens is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Recording Academy, National Collegiate Choral Organization, Chorus America, National Association for Music Education, National Association of Teachers of Singing, College Music Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Lambda Theta, and Phi Mu Alpha.

Artistic Leadership

Bryan recently served as accompanist for the First Annual Appalachian Summer Modern Music Festival, under the direction of Mr. Bryant Jesse Denmark. He is in demand as vocal and instrumental accompanist, and as accompanist with many regional, state, and national choral events. He currently serves as Staff Accompanist for Emory & Henry College’s Department of Choral and Vocal Studies, and is a member of the full time staff of State Street United Methodist Church in Bristol, VA, where he leads the Music & Worship ministries. Bryan is a proud member of BMI and ASCAP.

Bryan Underwood, Pianist & Organist