Lauded for leading performances of "pure magic" (Washington Post), conductor Eugene Rogers is at the vanguard of American musicians, recognized as a musical leader and teacher across North America and, increasingly, around the globe.
Animated by a commitment to championing timely new works, bringing historically overlooked music to life, and supporting next-generation talents, Rogers brings wide-ranging artistic vision as a conductor for orchestra, chorus, and opera; as a teacher and arranger; and as an industry thought leader.
He is a two-time Michigan Emmy Award winner, a 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015. Musical America magazine has named him one of the top music industry professionals, and his work has been profiled on CNN, PBS, and on radio stations and in print and online publications across the world.
Rogers was announced in February of 2020 as the fifth Artistic Director of The Washington Chorus (TWC), one of America’s leading choral music ensembles. As Artistic Director, Rogers has brought forth a compelling new vision for TWC rooted in fresh interpretations of choral-orchestral masterworks, a bold commitment to commissioning and premiering new music, and a strong connection to community. Rogers leads TWC’s live performances on the podium and in collaboration with leading conductors at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Music Center at Strathmore, Live! at 10th and G, and National Presbyterian Church.
A recent program led from the podium by Rogers with TWC in collaboration with The National Philharmonic, “Anhelos Universales,” elicited a rave review from Michael Brodeur in The Washington Post, writing:
“... Rogers delivered a powerhouse turn at the podium leading a fighting-shape Phil in a potent two-part program: the Washington-area premiere of composer James Lee III’s ‘Breaths of Universal Longings,’ a suite in four parts for chorus and orchestra, and an absolutely gripping rendition of Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez’s ‘Cantata Criolla,’ featuring a pair of blazing performances… Rogers led the works with confidence and clarity,” noting the program was “a fine use of this formidable chorus.”
Brodeur later named the performance one of the ten best in classical music of the year for 2023. The program was one of many expressions from Rogers’ visionary “Mahogany” initiative with the Chorus - a multi-year, multi-genre commitment to celebrating and supporting artists and creators of color. Other expressions under his leadership have included TWC’s commissioning, premiering, and recording the world premiere of Damien Geter’s “Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow” and the co-commission and premiere of Geter’s “Justice Symphony,” leading a rare performance of Undine Smith Moore’s landmark oratorio “Scenes from the Life of a Martyr” with chorus and orchestra, serving as chorus master for the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s “A Knee on the Neck” requiem (noted by the Washington Post as one of the ten best performances of 2022), and an upcoming performance: an immersive new staging of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with The Washington Chorus and orchestra at The Kennedy Center with acclaimed baritone Will Liverman in the title role.
In addition to his work on the podium, he has proudly served as chorus master to leading conductors including Gianandrea Noseda, Marin Alsop, Joe Hisaishi, and James Conlon for works including Beethoven Symphony no. 9, the Verdi Requiem, the Bernstein Kaddish Symphony, and many others.
Rogers is increasingly active as a guest conductor for orchestra, chorus, and opera. Recent highlights have included guest conductor engagements with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Concert Choir and Orchestra (Oregon), the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra’s critically acclaimed 25th anniversary concert tour of Michigan and Washington, D.C., the Charleston Gospel Choir in a program for gospel chorus and orchestra, and for leading youth ensembles across the globe. In 2015, a new recording of Darius Milhaud's monumental opera L'Orestie d'Eschyle, on which Rogers served as a chorus master, was nominated for a GRAMMY Award.
In 2015, Rogers founded EXIGENCE, a professional vocal ensemble affiliated with the world-renowned Sphinx Organization, founded by Aaron Dworkin. EXIGENCE is a professional vocal ensemble highlighting artistry within Black and Latinx communities, comprised of vocal artists including solo performers, educators, conductors and composers. As Founding Director, Rogers has toured EXIGENCE to festivals, concerts, and conferences, and the ensemble remains an important part of his artistic and community practice.
Additionally active as an arranger, Mark Foster Publishing began the Eugene Rogers Choral Series in 2015, a series featuring emerging composers who specialize in contemporary classical and folk music traditions, and the EXIGENCE Choral Series in 2018 which features folk and contemporary works by Black and Latinx composers.
Rogers serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of University Choirs at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where he teaches and trains the next generation of conductors and collaborates with composers and across departments on major artistic initiatives for the University.
Rogers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from U-M. He currently serves on the board of Chorus America and is the former national chair of the Diversity Initiatives Committee for the American Choral Directors Association.