Robert Geary, Artistic Director
For more than 30 years with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir—since founder Susan Rahl tapped him to be the first (and only) Artistic Director of the organization—Robert Geary has developed a relationship with PEBCC, its students and the community it serves that is unique and profound in the world of choral music today. Daring his young students to conquer their fear of the unknown, to withhold judgement of the unfamiliar, and helping them acquire the tools they need to master and appreciate the adventurous programming he sets forth, Geary sees the resulting qualities of intellectual and technical focus, discipline, and long term commitment as building blocks in the development of the young person for the adult challenges of tomorrow.
In 1993 Geary was awarded the International Peace Child Medal for his role as co-founder of the historic Golden Gate International Children’s Choral Festival which is triennially hosted by PEBCC. In 1997 he received a special award for Outstanding Conductorial Achievement in Giessen, Germany and in 1998 Geary received a special award for interpretation at the Miedzyzdroje Choral Festival in Poland. In 2002 he was named Music Educator of the Year by KDFC and in 2003 he received the Lois Blair Rawlings Educational Inspiration Award.
Geary has served on the California Arts Commission’s Peer Review Panel and as an adjudicator and guest conductor in the United States and internationally. Recordings of his choirs can be found on Harmonia Mundi, Koch International, Swiss International Radio and Innova. Geary also founded the new music chamber choir Volti and he is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Choral Society.
Refusing to only explore historical music, Geary defines PEBCC through his determined advocacy of “new music," commissions, premiers, and recordings of innovative and demanding new works by today’s leading composers. Under his direction, PEBCC has the distinction of twice having received the award for Adventurous Programming from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), an accomplishment equalled by only one other children's choir in the United States.
Geary and his choirs have performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Maylasia, Singapore, Croatia and Serbia. The Choir has performed at the Oregon Bach Festival, the Newport Music Festival, with Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Oakland East Bay Symphony. They have performed for the national conferences of Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the College Music Society. They have been heard on National Public Radio, BBC Radio, on various television stations, and in film scores.
Julia Richter, Executive Director
Julia Richter brings more than twenty-five years of non-profit and corporate leadership experience - focusing on children, education and the arts - to the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir. While living on the East Coast, Ms. Richter served as the Manager of Technical Education and Training at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia where she designed and developed a state of the art training facility and trained law enforcement in all 50 states and 14 countries on the Center's programs. She is a recipient of the “Hammer Award” presented by Vice President Al Gore for her team's work on “Picture Them Home.” She served as the Director of the Education Wing for the Barter Theater where she developed a popular Children's Theatre Studio. Trained as a network engineer, Ms. Richter worked as a Business Analyst/Education Consultant for Siebel Systems, and as Senior Vice President, developed marketing and communications systems for a popular Napa Valley winery. Ms. Richter taught Voice at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and has served a Music Director and Stage Director for many East Bay theatre companies including the Marin Opera Company, Solano College Harbor Theatre, Diablo Light Opera Company, Contra Costa Music Theater and Woodminster Amphitheatre. She studied voice with C. Dickson Titus and coached with opera greats Donna Petersen and Blanche Thebom. She holds two teaching credentials - in music and in theatre, two Bachelor's degrees - in voice performance in opera, and drama, and a Masters degree in Theatre Arts. A huge choir enthusiast, Ms. Richter sang with a choir, every year from first grade through college and continues her love of music through solo and stage work.