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 has served as Chorus Director of the Fort Wayne (IN) Philharmonic Chorus since 2013, and he has also appeared as Guest Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago and Guest Music Director of Chicago a cappella. Rivera also serves as Music Director and Choirmaster of the Church of the Ascension and High Holidays Choir Director at Temple Sholom, both featuring fully professional ensembles.
In his twentieth season as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus—including twelve seasons as bass section leader—Rivera also sings professionally with the Grant Park Chorus; he also sang for many years with Chicago a cappella and several other ensembles. He has appeared as a soloist on numerous programs—in repertoire from chant to contemporary—and he has sung on dozens of recordings.
He has been on the faculty of several colleges and universities, directing choirs and teaching conducting, voice, diction, music theory, and history. In addition, he has adjudicated competitions (solo and ensemble), led 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.
Dr. 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).