In a dynamic career that combines performance, scholarship and collaborative leadership, conductor Eric Stark has established himself as a choral-orchestral specialist.
Stark has led performances of the Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, Britten’s War Requiem and Saint Nicolas, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Mass in B minor, the Weihnachts-Oratorium and numerous cantatas, Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Zipoli’s Te Deum, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass and Requiem, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. He has prepared choruses for such notable conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Raymond Leppard, Jahja Ling, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Mario Venzago, Carl St. Clair, Erich Kunzel, Krzysztof Urbanski and Jack Everly. His choruses are heard on multiple compact discs, including A Festival of Carols with Sylvia McNair (Naxos, 2019), the world premiere recording of Fairouz's Zabur (Naxos, 2016), Festival of Carols Vol I (2014), Mendelssohn’s Elijah (2011); From East to West (2005) a holiday compilation with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir; The Harmonies of Hoosier History, (2001) featuring works by Indiana composers performed by the Indianapolis Arts Chorale; and A Festival of Carols (1997) with the Muncie, IN Masterworks Chorale. Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2019, Stark was invited to teach and conduct at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and the Pontifical Catholic University in Porto Alegre (Brazil).
Stark’s work as artistic collaborator and community leader has been both broad and unique. Under his leadership, his choirs have performed with such groups as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Repertory Theater, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, American Pianists Association, Jordan College Academy of Dance, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Clowes Memorial Hall, Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and Butler University. He has conducted in the Oriental Art Center Concert Hall in Shanghai, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, MD, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. He has made conducting appearances in Greece, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay, and has led choirs on domestic tours in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa.
In 2012, Stark served as chorus master for the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, featuring Madonna, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj and LMFAO. He was honored with a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis in 2005. A firm believer in the power of music to connect diverse audiences and enrich lives, Stark has led a revitalized program of innovative educational outreach programs since joining the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in 2002. In-Choir-ing Minds is an interactive discussion/performance featuring engaging dialog interspersed with live musical examples. Hallelujah—What’s It to Ya?! is a light-hearted musical inspection of the greatest musical work of all time, Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. The in-depth Choral Colloquium focuses on the contextual issues surrounding the great works for chorus and orchestra, and has featured such notable participants as composers Morten Lauridsen and Kyle Gann, scholar/performers Vance George, John Shirley-Quirk, Nick Strimple, Byron Adams and R. Larry Todd, and theologians Richard Hamilton and Frank Burch Brown.
Stark serves as Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music of the School of Music at Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts. There he leads the graduate program in choral conducting, conducts the Butler Chorale, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and choral literature. His former conducting students have received appointments at leading choral positions around the United States, including Stetson University, Hollins University, Purdue University, Princeton University, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Los Angeles Opera, Transylvania University, Fort Wayne Children’s Chorus and the University of Wisconsin. In 2003 and 2009 he taught a Butler University honors course he designed, Putting Wings on Dreams—the First 100 Years of Powered Flight, using the dramatic stories of aviation pioneers as case studies in human determination and innovation. He has served on the faculties of Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne and Earlham College. He received the doctoral degree in choral conducting from Indiana University, where he was a student of Jan Harrington, Robert Porco and Thomas Dunn. He is a 2014 Sagamore of the Wabash, the state of Indiana's highest civilian honor. A 1988 graduate of Wabash College, he is also a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a non-profit network of pilots providing free air transportation for those with medical needs.