Almeda Berkey
conductor / soprano / teacher

Almeda Berkey; conductor, lyric soprano, and lyricist; co-founded Nebraska’s Professional Chorale Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum in 1988 and continues to direct its artistic endeavors. Forty-six years’ conducting credits include seven Cantorum recordings. Her Master of Music degree in voice was augmented by much conducting study, and her choral conducting style is derived from diverse sources of inspiration such as America’s Norman Luboff and Sweden’s Eric Ericson. For several years, she was the American jurist for the annual International Folksong Choir Festival in Barcelona, Spain, and she conducts biennially at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. In July 2012, Almeda will conduct at the International Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece.

After singing many American-Canadian tours with the Norman Luboff Choir, she was Director of Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for four years and has conducted the Omaha Cantata Choir for 30 years. Almeda has written texts for and conducted several premières of Jackson Berkey choral and solo works. For nine years she served on the Board of Directors of Chorus America, an organization representing North American professional and independent choral ensembles, and on the international ChoralNet board. Frequently serving as adjudicator and master class clinician, she also maintains a private voice and conducting studio in Omaha.

Playing keyboards with Mannheim Steamroller in concerts since 1973 has taken her across America, Canada, and Europe. Almeda recorded Jackson’s Voices from the Earth song cycle with her husband playing the Horowitz Steinway and sang the première of two Berkey songs with the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra. She continues to sing and guest conduct, including a 1994 telecast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the AmericaFest 2001 International Women’s Choir Festival in Seattle, as well as massed choirs and orchestra at the new Harmony Hall in Fukui, Japan in 2002. Being comfortable in all styles of music, Almeda is especially gifted at creating a diversity of tonal color and a full range of emotional intensity of the choral ensemble as she develops its complete performance potential.