Robert Gurney, Music Director
Music Director Robert Gurney is Organist-Choir Director at San Francisco's historic Trinity Episcopal Church, Assistant Organist at San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Organist at Marin County’s Temple Rodef Sholom. Mr. Gurney is the Co-Founder of the San Francisco Lyric Chorus and has served as Music Director from its inception in 1995 through Summer 2009 and from January 2012 to the present.
A resident of San Francisco since 1978, he has been an active church musician, organ recitalist, vocal coach, and has served as Interim Assistant Organist at Grace Cathedral, and Assistant Conductor-Accompanist for the San Francisco Choral Society, the Sonoma City Opera and the Contra Costa Chorale.
A native of Ohio, he received his education at Youngstown State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying conducting with William Slocum. At Youngstown, he served as Student Assistant Conductor of the Concert Choir that won first place in a college choir competition sponsored by the BBC. In Summer1997, he was invited to participate in an international choral music festival Music Of Our Time, held in Parthenay, France, and directed by John Poole, Conductor Emeritus, BBC Singers. He studied again with Maestro Poole in a June 2003 workshop sponsored by the San Francisco Lyric Chorus.
Robert Gurney has directed the San Francisco Lyric Chorus in innovative performances of little-known works by composers of exceptional interest. The Chorus’ Discovery Series has introduced an eight-part Ave Maria by Tomás Luis de Victoria, the West Coast premiere of Four Motets To The Blessed Virgin Mary, by Robert Witt, music of Amy Beach, including her monumental Grand Mass in E Flat and the Panama Hymn, written for San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, premieres of works by San Francisco composer Kirke Mechem, and the San Francisco Lyric Chorus’ 10th Anniversary commissioned work, This Grand Show Is Eternal, a setting of naturalist John Muir’s texts, by Illinois composer Lee R. Kesselman.
Former Music Director
Train Adams, Music Director, Fall 2009-Fall 2011
Dr. Adams joined the San Francisco Lyric Chorus originally in Fall 2006 as Assistant Conductor and Concert Accompanist. When Robert Gurney resigned as Music Director in September 2009, Dr. Adams graciously agreed to become Music Director, and served in that position from Fall 2009 through Fall 2011.
In addition to working with the San Francisco Lyric Chorus, Dr. Adams was Minister of Music at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Orinda, where he directed the Chancel, Handbell, and Children's choirs. He retired from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, having served at the University of Massachusetts, Susquehanna University (Pennsylvania) and the University of Montevallo (Alabama) as music professor and department head over a 25-year career.
Dr. Adams received music degrees through the Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley, having studied composition with Joaquin Nin-Culmell, Richard Felciano, and Olly Wilson. After being awarded the George Ladd Prix de Paris, Dr. Adams studied composition at the Paris Conservatory with Tony Aubin and the Amsterdam (now Sweelinck) Conservatory with Ton de Leeuw. His compositional activities focus on works for choral and instrumental chamber ensembles. The first volume of his liturgical piano works, I Come With Joy, was published by Augsburg Press in Spring 2007.
Prior to joining the Lyric Chorus, Dr. Adams was Music Director of Oure Pleasure, an Attleboro, Massachusetts-based auditioned choral ensemble.