Music Director and Founding Artistic Director
Music Director and Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum has been the conductor of the Verdi Chorus since its beginning in 1983. Well recognized as a singer, conductor, stage director and educator, she taught on the voice faculty of Pasadena City College for 34 years until her recent retirement. In 1996 she began an opera program at the college, which at the time was one of only two opera programs in community colleges in Southern California. Since then several other programs have been established in two-year schools using the Pasadena program as a model. During her tenure at Pasadena she directed a full opera each spring to critical acclaim.
As a singer, she has appeared internationally and is well known for her performances of contemporary art music, vocal chamber music, solo recitals and opera. She has made several recordings of contemporary music (RCM, Orion, North/South Consonance, RYCY, and Raptoria Caam labels) in addition to a CD of vocal chamber music, a collaborative project that she launched with the Los Angeles based Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble. Her recordings of Morten Lauridsen’s Cuatro Canciones and of Aurelio De La Vega’s Recordatio were both honored with Grammy nominations. She has premiered numerous works by such composers as Ernst Krenek, Aurelio De La Vega, Schulamit Ran, and Hans Werner Henze. A well-known interpreter of contemporary art music as well as twentieth century Latin American art music, Ms. Ketchum has appeared at the Tenth International Forum of New Music in Mexico City, the Santa Fe chamber music series, the Southwest Chamber Ensemble, the Monday Evening Concerts series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella New Music series, and Los Angeles County’s Sundays Live series. Her various performances with Long Beach Opera include the U.S. premiere of John Cage’s Europera 4, which was subsequently released on CD. Also, for five years Ms. Ketchum was the Stage Director for the Metropolitan Opera National Council – Western Region Showcase Concerts in Palm Springs.
Among Ms. Ketchum’s creative activities is This and My Heart: A Portrait of Emily Dickinson in Text and Song – a concert/theater piece which she co-wrote and performs with actress Linda Kelsey and pianist Victoria Kirsch. This was first presented as part of Grand Performances in Los Angeles and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles.
Ms. Ketchum and the Chorus have received commendations on several occasions from the county of Los Angeles and from the city of Santa Monica.