Gary R. Schwartzhoff, Artistic Director and Founding Conductor and Professor Emeritus, served as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 1991 to 2016. Schwartzhoff received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa and a Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa. A recipient of the Helen Kemper Doctoral Fellowship Award, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Conducting at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, where he studied conducting with Dr. Eph Ehly.
In 2016-2017, Schwartzhoff marks his forty-third year as a music educator. He has been active throughout his professional career in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) where he served as President of the North Central Division from 1992-94. In 2010, the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association (WCDA) bestowed the Morris Hayes Award for lifetime achievement in the choral art to Schwartzhoff. In 2007, WCDA named Schwartzhoff the Outstanding Church Musician in the state of Wisconsin.
Schwartzhoff has presented choirs on over thirty conventions before the state, divisional and national levels of ACDA, Intercollegiate Male Choruses and The National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In 2009, Schwartzhoff was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma in recognition of scholarship, service, and commitment to student success. In 2011, Schwartzhoff conducted the Minnesota Men’s All-State Choir and Wisconsin Choral Directors Association Men’s Honor Chorus. In 2009 and 2013, he conducted the President’s Day Choral Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Schwartzhoff has a choral series in print with Colla Voce Music, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. Schwartzhoff is a contributing author to a book released in 2015, entitled Brothers, Sing On! published by Hal Leonard. He presented The Singing Statesmen at the 2015 Wisconsin Music Educators Convention and at the 2016 National Seminar of Intercollegiate Male Choruses. Schwartzhoff conducted The Four Freedoms Franklin Delano Roosevelt Choral Festival in Washington D.C. In 2017, Schwartzhoff will conduct the Oklahoma All-State Chorus.
In the community, Schwartzhoff serves as Director of Music at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire, where he conducts the Chancel Choir. Gary is married to Nancy Schwartzhoff and they have two daughters, Jenifer Morgan (Jerry), and Rebecca Johnson (Andy), and grandchildren Brady, Alex, Anna, Emma, and Clare.