Fankhauser, James Lee

James Lee Fankhauser. Choral conductor, singer, educator, b Lyons, Kan, 26 Aug 1939; B MUS (Oberlin) 1962, MA musicology (Berkeley) 1966. Fankhauser studied at Purdue U (1957-8), Southwestern College (1958-60), Columbia U (1955-60), and Oberlin College Cons (1960-2). He went on to graduate work at the RAM (1962-3), where he studied voice; Oxford (1963), where he pursued choral conducting; and the University of California, Berkeley (1963-6). As a student he received a Fulbright Grant (1962) for study in England and a full scholarship (1964) to the Tanglewood Music Camp as a solo vocalist. Fankhauser was active as a choral conductor at the University of California, Berkeley (1965-6) and at Smith College, Northhampton, Mass (1966-7), and as a choral conductor and teacher at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, (1967-73). He moved to Canada and joined the faculty of the University of British Columbia in 1973, where he remained as professor of voice and conducting in 1991. In 1973 he became the music director of the Vancouver Cantata Singers, and he has gained international recognition with this choir and also with the University of British Columbia Singers - both groups have been winners or finalists, for instance, in the BBC International Choral Competition and the CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs. The University of British Columbia Singers have recorded three albums under Fankhauser, one with works by Bach, Bruckner and others (Praise US-1978) and the others featuring works by Chatman, Ramona Luengen, Raminsh, Watson Henderson, Weisgarber, Eugene Wilson and others (University Singers U-1 and University Singers '84 unnumbered). Fankhauser has also served as clinician (1980, 1981) and as principal conductor (1987) for Saskatchewan Sings; he was director (1983) of the Manitoba Youth Choir Camp and has participated in many workshops in Alberta and British Columbia. Fankhauser, an energetic, sensitive conductor, gains enthusiastic response from his choirs; he has made a significant contribution to the quality of choral singing in western Canada.