University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum

The University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum represents the pinnacle of choral singing in the state of Arkansas. Since 1957, Schola Cantorum has attracted the most talented singers from across the country, and has performed widely, both domestically and internationally. Schola Cantorum is under the direction of Dr. Stephen Caldwell in his seventh year at the University of Arkansas. The 2018-2019 ensemble consists of 47 auditioned undergraduate and graduate students from a broad variety of disciplines at the University of Arkansas. Schola Cantorum performs a variety of musical styles from German Baroque cantatas to opera choruses and modern a cappella works. Schola Cantorum has a rich history of exploring a global repertoire from all eras of music history. Schola Cantorum also frequently collaborates with other university ensembles, including the University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Wind Symphony. Schola Cantorum regularly appears at both the Faulkner Performing Arts Center, and Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR, and tours often throughout the state and abroad.


Schola Cantorum [Latin for 'School of Singers'] was founded in 1957 by Professor of Music Richard Brothers. Originally only 32 voices, Schola Cantorum quickly flourished under his baton. In 1962, Schola Cantorum became the first American choir to win the coveted first prize—The Guido d'Arezzo Award—at the prestigious International Polyphonic Competition in Arezzo, Italy.[1][2] In honor of its achievement, Schola Cantorum soon after appeared on NBC TV's "Today Show" and performed for U.S. President John F. Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden.[3] In 1964, the choir was invited to the Vatican in Rome to sing for Pope Paul VI. More recently, Schola Cantorum has performed at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization, as has toured to Puerto Rico, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.

World Premiers

1982 - Isabella Leonarda's Messa Prima[4]

2011 - Augusta Read Thomas' Floating Temples[5][6]

2012 - Donald Patriquin's Titanic Requiem

2013 - Stephen Caldwell's Three Meadows

Regional Premieres

2012 - Ola Gjeilo's Evening Prayer

2013 - Stephen Caldwell's Euge Serve


1957 - 1976 - Professor Richard Brothers

1977 - 1997 - Dr. Jack Groh

1998 - 2002 - Dr. David Saladino

2003 - 2009 - Dr. Graeme Langager

2009 - 2012 - Dr. Todd Prickett

2012 – Present - Dr. Stephen Caldwell[7]


  1. John F. Kennedy, , The President's News Conference, August 29, 1962 - Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
  2. Northwest Arkansas Times, , University Chorus Wins International Laurels, August 25, 1962
  3. John F. Kennedy, , Remarks to University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum, September 4, 1962 - Online by John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  4. Leonarda, , Artist Bios
  5. NWA Tuned In, , New School Composition with August Read Thomas April 13, 2011
  6. Music Department Blog, , Two New Works Receive World Premiere Performance Tonight April 15, 2011
  7. The City Wire, , UA’s Schola Cantorum premieres with new director November 9, 2012
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