The American choral conductor and organist, Richard M. Coffey, holds degrees in music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Sacred Music of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. He was awarded France’s “premier prix” in organ performance following studies with organist Marie-Claire Alain.
Richard Coffey is one of New England’s principal choral conductors. He is Artistic Director of CONCORA, Connecticut Choral Artists, which he founded in 1974 as a professional vocal ensemble in 1974. He is Organist and Minister of Music at South Church in New Britain, where he conducts a choir of professional and amateur singers and serves as Artistic Director of its Music Series, which annually presents concerts by visiting artists. He is also Music Director of the Hartford Chorale. Maestro Coffey plans to step down as artistic director of CONCORA after the 2013-2014 season.
In frequent demand as a chorus master, Richard Coffey has prepared choruses for many orchestras and festivals, including the Hartford Symphony, Orchestra New England, Springfield Symphony, New Britain Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Bard Music Festival, and Harkness Summer Music Festival. For five seasons, Coffey was chorus master of the Connecticut Opera Association.
For three years, Richard Coffey was Visiting Artist in Choral Music at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, where he conducted the Hartt Chamber Singers and taught graduate seminars in choral literature. He has served on the faculties of SummerTerm at Central Connecticut State University, the President’s College of the University of Hartford, the Colby Church Music Institute in Waterville, Maine, and the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
Richard Coffey has served on the boards of directors of the New Britain Symphony, the Hartford Chapter, American Guild of Organists, and Chorus America, the Washington, DC-based national choral service organization. He also serves regionally as adjudicator and clinician for keyboard and choral competitions and festivals. He served for five years on a panel of advisors to the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. He often makes presentations at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the American Guild of Organists, and writes reviews for The Choral Journal.
In 1992 Richard Coffey was named Choral Director of the Year by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2007 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance and a Major Achievement Award by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, in recognition of outstanding and inspiring artistic leadership. Coffey is the 2009 recipient of the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually by Choral Arts New England to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to choral singing and its culture within New England.