The American bass-baritone and choral conductor, Douglas Lawrence , received both his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in music from the University of Southern California. His teachers included Charles Hirt, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, William Vennard and Robert Marsteller.
Douglas Lawrence has long been one of the most sought after baritones in the world. His concert career as bass-baritone soloist took him around the world several times, including to South America’s Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the leading concert halls of Japan and Europe. In the USA he has sung with every major symphony orchestra and many of the American leading opera companies. He has sung with nearly every major orchestra in the world under the batons of such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Herbert Blomstedt, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Aaron Copland, Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, James DePreist, Akira Endo, Lukas Foss, Carlo Maria Giulini, Wolfgang Gönnenwein, Erich Leinsdorf, Raymond Leppard, James Levine, Andrew Litton, Jesús López-Cobos, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Eduardo Mata, Zubin Mehta, Jorge Mester, John Nelson, Eugene Ormandy, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Gerard Schwarz, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti, Michael Tilson Thomas, Hans Vonk and Edo de Waart, to name several. In 1980-1984 he performed at the Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival. He has also appeared frequently at the Carmel Bach Festival.
Douglas Lawrence sang in Hollywood studios for many years in dozens of movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and supplied singing voices for many of Hollywood’s biggest stars. In television he was involved in nearly 200 network programs over a 20-year span. He also conducted Brian Mann’s rich score for the film The Theory of Everything in 2004.
Douglas Lawrence is part of that unusual group of people for whom one career simply isn’t enough. He served in the academic community at five institutions of higher learning, including El Camino College, Occidental College, Chapman College, and the University of Southern California.
Additionally, Douglas Lawrence has been a very active conductor of major choral/orchestral works of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. He is the former Artistic Director and Conductor of the Schola Cantorum, which was founded by the late Royal Stanton. Though he still sings and guest conducts frequently, Lawrence is currently (as of 2004) concentrating on his role as Minister of Worship at the 5,000 member Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on the San Francisco Peninsula. He is personally responsible for the oversight and leadership of five duplicate weekly services. He has several associates and cares for a lay musical family of about 450. He has directed the Menlo Park Chancel Choir since 1986. The ensemble leads in worship at three Sunday morning services twelve months of the year.
For more than 40 years Douglas Lawrence’s influence was also felt as a conductor, visionary, and advisor to the churches of North America and parts of Asia and included major program enhancements at two of the largest Presbyterian churches in the world. He conducted hundreds of choir members in memorable concerts and services while also leading the famed San Francisco Bay Area’s Schola Cantorum through the celebration of their 25th anniversary. He is perhaps most at home singing the hymns of the church. Considered an authority on changing worship practices in the evangelical church, he is often asked to consult with churches anxious to begin a “blended” worship style.
Douglas Lawrence lives with his wife Margie and their daughter, Annelise, in Menlo Park, California..