Benjamin Rivera has been artistic director and conductor of Cantate Chicago since December of 2000. He has prepared and conducted choruses at all levels, from elementary school through adult, in repertoire from gospel, pop, and folk to sacred polyphony, choral/orchestral masterworks, and contemporary pieces. He prepared the Fort Wayne (IN) Philharmonic Chorus and members of Cantate for a performance of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in March of 2013. He was appointed director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus in the fall of the same year. He has also served as Guest Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
In his nineteenth season as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, including twelve seasons as bass section leader, Rivera also sings professionally with Chicago a cappella, the Grant Park Chorus, and many other ensembles. He is a frequent soloist, appearing with these ensembles and others, most often in sacred and concert works. He has sung across the U.S., and can be heard on numerous recordings.
He has been on the faculty of several colleges and universities, directing choirs and teaching voice, diction, music theory, and history. In addition, he has adjudicated many competitions (solo and ensemble), led numerous master classes and in-school residencies, and he has presented at the Iowa Choral Directors Association summer conference.
Especially adept with languages, Benjamin Rivera frequently coaches German and Spanish, among several others. He holds degrees in voice and music theory from North Park University and Roosevelt University, respectively, and a DMA in choral conducting from Northwestern University. His studies also have included the German language in both Germany and Austria, for which he received a Certificate of German as a foreign language in 2001; conducting and African American spirituals with Rollo Dilworth; and workshops, seminars, and performances in early music. In 2011, he researched choral rehearsal and performance practice in Berlin, Germany.
Benjamin Rivera is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), Chorus America, and the College Music Society (CMS).