Michael Slon

Michael Slon

Professor, Director of Choral Music

Old Cabell Hall, Office B013


Active as a conductor of choral, orchestral, and operatic repertoire, Michael Slon is Director of Choral Music and associate professor at the University of Virginia, where he leads the University Singers, UVA Chamber Singers and also guest conducts the Charlottesville Symphony.  Having led the Singers and Symphony in a gala performance in front of 20,000 for UVA’s 2017 Bicentennial Launch Celebration (which included Copland’s Appalachian Spring with the Martha Graham Dance Company, and a feature on regional PBS), he and the Singers presented the regional premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at UVA in fall 2018.  His ensembles have recently sung for composer Philip Glass and the creators of Les Misérables (Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg), taken a two-week European concert tour, and created videos receiving nearly half a million views on UVA’s platforms.  

Since 2011, he has also served as Music Director of the Oratorio Society of Virginia.  In that time, he has created a series of new artistic partnerships with the chorus, including a 2014 semi-staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with Ash Lawn (now Charlottesville) Opera, performances with regional orchestras and youth choruses, an Adolphus Hailstork-Rita Dove commission for the group’s 50th anniversary, and a Community Sing-In to benefit local charities.  Recent repertoire with the UVA and Oratorio choruses has also included Bach’s St. John Passion and Magnificat, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42, Verdi’s Requiem and La Traviata, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, and a range of shorter a cappella and accompanied works. 

After substituting on one hour’s notice for a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, Slon served as Interim Director of the Charlottesville Symphony in 2005-2006 conducting works including Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.  In 2005, he also created the University Singers-Symphony Family Holiday Concerts, now a beloved Charlottesville tradition.  Opera and musical theatre engagements have included Paulus’s The Three Hermits in Buffalo, Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza with the Heritage Theatre Festival, South Pacific and The Magic Flute with Ash Lawn Opera, and Into the Woods and Bernstein’s Mass at Indiana University.  He has also participated as an artist with the Staunton Music Festival, Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, and Wintergreen Music Festival, and as a musician committed to the education of young musicians, remains active as a guest conductor for honors choirs and orchestras.  In this unusual pandemic time, he likewise remains committed both to the fundamental values of the choral art, and to developing new platforms to engage singers and audiences. 

Prior to UVA, he served as visiting conducting faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory, and assistant conductor of the Cornell University choruses and Cincinnati's May Festival Chorus, where he prepared and co-prepared choruses for concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  His ensembles have worked with artists including Moses Hogan, Bobby McFerrin, Meredith Monk, Peter Phillips, and Franz Welser-Möst, and commissioned composers including Stephen Paulus, Forrest Pierce, Adolphus Hailstork, Judith Shatin, and Eric Whitacre.  Also a pianist, composer, and writer, he holds degrees from the Indiana University School of Music and Cornell University.  His first book, Songs from the Hill, has been cited in a variety of other publications, and his work on Leonard Bernstein has appeared in the Choral Journal and also won the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Julius Herford Prize.  As a composer, he had a 2019 residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and recently had work presented by the Vocalis Chamber Choir at NYC’s Merkin Hall, and at the 2018 ACDA Eastern Convention. 


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu