February 11, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
BLUE HERON APPOINTS KATHLEEN C. BRITTAN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Contact: Kathleen Brittan, Executive Director
617.960.7956 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The vocal ensemble Blue Heron is delighted to announce the appointment of Kathleen C. Brittan as its first fulltime Executive Director, following a nationwide search that attracted candidates from across the country. Ms. Brittan takes over from John Yannis, who retired from the organization in December after leading it for many years as its first General Manager.
Raised by a concert pianist and trained in voice at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music, Ms. Brittan is an expert in leading and nurturing nonprofit organizations, particularly in the arts, higher education, and special education. She has served the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis University, the Perkins School for the Blind, the Umbrella Center for the Arts, the New England Colleges Fund, and the Crotched Mountain Foundation. She has also led the board of directors of the New England Philharmonic and was a long-time board member of the Boston-area chamber group Radius Ensemble. (A brief biography is appended below.)
“We are thrilled to have hired Kathleen Brittan to join Blue Heron at a time of tremendous growth for the organization, with ever-increasing activity and national and international visibility,” says Scott Metcalfe, Blue Heron’s Artistic Director since its founding in 1999. “Kathleen brings to the job an impressive array of administrative skills, a stellar record of successes leading a variety of non-profit organizations in the arts and education, a deep love of music, and an enormously inspiring enthusiasm for Blue Heron’s mission.”
About Kathleen C. Brittan
Kathleen C. Brittan is an expert in leading and nurturing nonprofit organizations, particularly in the arts, higher education, and special education. Raised by a concert pianist and trained as a mezzo-soprano, Kathleen is passionate about the role music plays in shaping vibrant communities.
She has served such institutions as MIT, Brandeis University, Perkins School for the Blind, The Umbrella Center for the Arts, New England Colleges Fund, and Crotched Mountain Foundation. She has also headed the board of directors of the New England Philharmonic, and was a long-time board member of the Boston-area chamber group Radius Ensemble.
Her educational background is eclectic. She has studied at New England Conservatory, Simmons College, Harvard Extension School, Longy School of Music, and the American Institute for Holistic Theology, from which she holds a master’s degree.
An avid chorister, Kathleen currently sings with the Newburyport Choral Society. One of the highlights of her musical life was touring China with the chorus of the New England Conservatory.
Kathleen is delighted to be a member of the Blue Heron community and looks forward to sharing her skills and experience on its behalf.
About Blue Heron
Winner of the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music, Blue Heron (Scott Metcalfe, Artistic Director) has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for its “expressive intensity.” The ensemble ranges over a wide repertoire from plainchant to new music, with particular specialties in 15th-century Franco-Flemish polyphony and early 16th-century English sacred music, and is committed to vivid live performance informed by the study of original source materials and historical performance practices.
Founded in 1999, Blue Heron presents a concert series in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival; in New York City at Music Before 1800, The Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and the 92nd Street Y; at the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; at the Berkeley Early Music Festival; at Yale University; in Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Providence, St. Louis, San Luis Obispo, Seattle, and Vancouver; and in Cambridge and London, England. Blue Heron has been in residence at the Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University and at Boston College, and has enjoyed collaborations with A Far Cry, Dark Horse Consort, Les Délices, Parthenia, Piffaro, and Ensemble Plus Ultra.
Blue Heron’s first CD, featuring music by Guillaume Du Fay, was released in 2007. Between 2010 and 2017 the ensemble issued a 5-CD series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, including many world premiere recordings of works copied c. 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral and restored by Nick Sandon; the fifth CD was awarded the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music and the five discs are now available as a set entitled The Lost Music of Canterbury. In 2015 Professor Jessie Ann Owens and Blue Heron won the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society, providing initial stimulus for the world premiere recording of Cipriano de Rore’s first book of Madrigals for Five Voices, which was released last October. In 2015 Blue Heron also embarked on Ockeghem@600, a multi-season project to perform the complete works of Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497), which will wind up around 2021 in time to commemorate the composer’s circa-600th birthday. A parallel project to record all of Ockeghem’s songs and motets bore its first fruits last fall with the release of Johannes Ockeghem: Complete Songs, Volume I. Blue Heron’s recordings also include a CD of plainchant and polyphony that accompanies Thomas Forrest Kelly’s book Capturing Music: The Story of Notation and the live recording Christmas in Medieval England.
# # #