Donald Loach

Donald Loach

Donald Loach is Associate Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Virginia. A specialist in Renaissance polyphony, he conducted numerous student ensembles throughout his career, including the Virginia Glee Club, University Singers, and Coro Virginia, as well as serving as music director and conductor of the Charlottesville-based Oratorio Society.[1]

Loach completed his undergraduate education at the University of Denver and did graduate studies at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in musicology. While at Yale he studied under Paul Hindemith and managed Hindemith's Collegium Musicum.[2]

Loach joined the University of Virginia community in 1963 and began teaching in 1964, including directing the Virginia Glee Club. Under Loach's leadership the Glee Club developed a specialty in Renaissance polyphony, including the development of a countertenor section within the choir. During his time as music director the group undertook numerous European tours, beginning with a tour of Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland in 1972 and continuing with performances in Amsterdam, Bruges, Cologne, Freiburg, and Merzberg in 1987.[2]

As a professor, Loach was popular and his classes well-subscribed.[3] However, Loach's tenure as Glee Club conductor came to an end in 1988-1989, when he served as a member of a McIntire Department of Music curricular committee that recommended combining the Glee Club with the Virginia Women's Chorus, ending the independent identities of both groups.[4] The proposal, which was rejected by the Glee Club and Women's Chorus, led to the Glee Club's separation from the Music Department.

In his retirement, Loach continues to lead the University community's annual Messiah sing-alongs.[5] He also serves as a Friends Director of the Virginia Glee Club Alumni and Friends Association. He was awarded the Gilbert J. Sullivan Distinguished Service Award by the Glee Club in 2010.


Loach was the director of the Glee Club from 1964 through 1989:

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