Dr. Heather Buchanan

Australian born conductor Heather J. Buchanan, PhD is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University, where she conducts the Chorale (symphonic choir), University Singers, Vocal Accord (chamber choir), and Prima Voce (SSAA). Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their “heartfelt conviction,” “grace and precision,” “vibrant sound,” “eloquence,” and for singing with the “crispness and dexterity of a professional choir.” During her tenure, Montclair choirs have collaborated with world-renowned artists/composers including VOCES8, Rhiannon Giddens, Meredith Monk, Neeme Järvi, Jacques Lacombe, Xian Zhang, Patrick Duprè Quigley, and Richard Alston Dance Company (UK), with Eric Whitacre upcoming in April 2024.

Her numerous mainstage orchestral collaborations with the New Jersey Symphony (NJS) include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mahler Symphony No. 3, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azbakan, and Howard Shore’s Academy Award winning The Lord of the Rings Symphony, with Handel’s Messiah annually since December 2014. In June 2023, the NJS celebrated her 20-year relationship with the orchestra at the New Millenium Gala, their Centennial Season culminating event. Dr. Buchanan’s choirs have also sung on commercially produced recordings with Meredith Monk (Songs of Ascension) and the NJS (Carmina Burana & Verdi Requiem), and in March 2020 the University Singers released their own professionally recorded CD I sing because…

Dr. Buchanan holds degrees from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Australia), Westminster Choir College of Rider University (USA), and the University of New England (Australia). A Licensed Body Mapping Educator since 2002, she specializes in the teaching of this neuro-anatomical technique for enhancing musical performance.  A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer, and passionate musicians’ health advocate, Dr. Buchanan is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician & adjudicator in the US and abroad.