Shenandoah Conservatory is delighted to announce that Jeffrey Murdock, Ph.D., the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year and director of choral and vocal studies and associate professor of music education at the University of Arkansas, will serve as its honored guest and speaker for the 2022/23 Conservatory Convocation. Convocation happens this year at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. Each year, Conservatory Convocation welcomes incoming and returning conservatory students with a dynamic lineup of music, theatre and dance performances showcasing the conservatory’s extraordinary student artists. The event also features a keynote address by a noted arts leader. Last year, the conservatory’s honored guest and speaker was leading dance choreographer and Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico Eduardo Vilaro.
Conservatory Convocation is for current Shenandoah Conservatory students, faculty and staff; it is not open to the general public.
Dr. Murdock is internationally known as a conductor, clinician and music educator. In addition to serving as the director of choral and vocal studies and associate professor of music, he is also the director of the Black Music Institute at the University of Arkansas. He is a 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, a 2018 recipient of the Golden Tusk Award, and the 2019 Most Outstanding Faculty Member among all university faculty.
Murdock appears regularly in concert, recital and stage performances, having previously conducted the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the (Mississippi) Gulf Coast Symphony and has also performed as a soloist with the Fort Smith Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Mississippi Opera. Murdock’s love of scholarship and performance has led him to study and perform around the world. As a music educator, he loves to invest his knowledge and experience in the next generation of young musicians through clinic opportunities with secondary choral programs, conducting honor choruses and mentoring choral music educators. Murdock is highly sought after as a clinician in the field of choral music and education, having conducted All-State and All-Region choirs, or headlined conferences in 26 states and seven countries. In 2013, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Millington Chorale in a well-received concert of diverse repertoire.
While Murdock is an accomplished classical musician, he is also a skilled gospel musician. He has served on the conducting staff of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and has collaborated with gospel recording artists, including Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood, Mary Mary, Marvin Winans, Marvin Sapp, Lisa Knowles, Kathy Taylor and numerous others.
Murdock’s research interests include cultural hegemony in choral music education, social justice in music education, culturally responsive pedagogy in music education and music in urban schools. He has been invited to present at the National Research Conference for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) as well as two World Conferences of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) – (Glasgow, U.K., and Helsinki, Finland). Murdock is also a frequent research presenter at local and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) where he is president-elect of the Southwestern Division (SWACDA), past president of the Arkansas Chapter and serves on the national subcommittee for diversity. He holds both Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Conducting degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education from the University of Memphis. In addition to NAfME and ACDA, his professional memberships include the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.