Robert Shoup's choral ensembles have been hailed as "totally enthralling", "superb", "completely mesmerizing" and "impressive" by critics. In addition to his work with the Virginia Chorale, he serves as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor of the Virginia Symphony.
As a conductor who has been noted for his dynamic phrasing and ability to draw precision from the forces before him, Mr. Shoup appears regularly on the podium with the Virginia Symphony, conducting choral and instrumental repertoire on many of the orchestra's concert series. Recent performances have included Schubert's Mass in Eb. Beethoven's Mass in C and Meerstille und Gluckliche Fahrt, Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Vivaldi's Beatus Vir, as well as numbers of overtures, symphonies and concertos. He will appear on the VSO's Masterworks series in October of 2001 conducting the beautiful Mass in D by Antonin Dvorak, an encore performance of his European Tour program from July. He also prepares the Virginia Symphony Chorus for programs under the batons of Maestra JoAnn Falletta and guests. He has prepared Orff's Carmina Burana, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Poulenc's Gloria, Debussy's Nocturnes and works by Haydn, Mozart and others. In addition, he prepared the Chorus for its debut performance at Kennedy Center with the Virginia Symphony in January of 2000 when it presented Walton's Belshazzar's Feast under Maestra Falletta's baton.
In addition, Mr. Shoup is gaining respect abroad, having been invited by the International Dvorak Festival to return in the summer of 2001 for performances in Brno and Prague, Czech Republic, Salzburg, Austria, and Munich, Germany. Invited with the Virginia Symphony Chorus as a result of their performances with the Prague Radio Orchestra in Prague and Vienna in 1999, the tour will feature choral works by Dvorak and Bernstein. Mr. Shoup will conduct the Virginia Symphony Chorus and members of the Czech State Philharmonic in four performances which includes appearances at the famed Spilberk Castle, Munich's Theatinerkirche and Prague's renowned Rudolfinum.
As Music Director of the Virginia Chorale, Mr. Shoup oversees all aspects of the ensemble's artistic profile, and conducts all of its subscription concerts. In the four years since he has taken the position of Music Director, he has expanded the scope of the subscription series, introduced a wide variety of new repertoire, recorded the compact disc Heavenly Light, and developed an extensive series of educational outreach programs, including high school Master Classes, and the Young Singers Project, a high school chamber ensemble which receives mentorship by professional singers in a "side by side" format. The 2001 Young Singers Project ensemble was selected by the Virginia Arts Festival and PBS to appear in a special series of concerts with British star Petula Clark for national telecast. The Virginia Chorale has long received critical praise in the Hampton Roads region, receives regular concert rebroadcasts on WHRO-FM in Norfolk, and has enjoyed numbers of national radio broadcasts on NPR's Performance Today and Chorus America's The First Art. Recent programs have included works by Chen Yi, Schoenberg, Ravel, Gorecki, Vaughan Williams, Howells, Rachmaninoff, Libbly Larsen, Vincent Persichetti, Edwin Fissinger, Morten Lauridsen and Adolphus Hailstork. The ensemble is especially known for its signature a cappella sound and its performance of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. The Chorale annually programs masterworks by the likes of Bach, Palestrina, DesPrez and Byrd, and its popular holiday concert is broadcast live each year by WHRO.
Robert Shoup earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (voice) at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA), and his Masters Degree in Conducting in the studio of Grammy winning conductor Robert Page at Carnegie Mellon University (also in Pittsburgh). As a singer, he has performed professionally with the Music Department of Carnegie Mellon University, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette called him "especially fine", and his recent performances with the Virginia Symphony were enthusiastically received (Beethoven's 9th Symphony, New Year's Eve Viennise Celebration). His solo appearances have included Messiah, Bach's Magnificat and Mozart's Requiem, and his operatic roles included Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutti and Camille de Rosillon in Lehar's The Merry Widow.
Also an active composer and arranger whose works have been performed by the Carnegie Mellon University Concert Choir, the Canton Symphony and Chorus, the Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Chorale and numerous church choirs, Mr. Shoup lives in Norfolk with his wife Rebecca, a core cellist with the Virginia Symphony.