Conductor, composer, and pianist Caleb Wenzel’s artistic life lives at crossroads of performance disciplines and stylistic genres. At once at home with symphony orchestras, choral ensembles, experimental new music, historical instrument ensemble, opera, and musical theatre, Caleb enjoys the robust profile of a complete musician.
The 2019/20 season marks Caleb’s first season as Music Director of the Elkhart County Youth Honors Orchestra and his third season as Conducting Fellow of the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra. A tireless advocate for music of our day, Caleb serves as Associate Director of the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium and Principal Conductor of the American Creators Ensemble at University of Oregon, a position he has held since 2016. As the winner of the 2019 Respighi Prize in Conducting, Caleb guest conducted Chamber Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall and will return to work with CONY throughout the season as their 2019/20 Apprentice Conductor, culminating in a recording project for NAXOS records.
As a director of vocal ensembles, Caleb has made a substantial contribution to expanding the vibrant undergraduate vocal performance offerings at University of Notre Dame. There, he served as Music Director of Our Lady’s Consort, a highly-selective undergraduate chamber choir, for three seasons. He also served as the founding Artistic Director of Gold & Blue Co., a vocal performance troupe performing a broad range of vocal genres including pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, musical theatre, reggaetón, and folk music. Caleb contributed to Notre Dame’s new Musical Theatre minor as a staff music director for mainstage productions and as the piloting director the musical theatre vocal lab.
A passionate educator, Caleb currently serves as director of choirs at John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana, where he oversees the School Corporation's largest choral program in South Bend’s most diverse school. During his four-year tenure as Associate Conductor of Ensemble CONCEPT/21, he mentored young composers through EC/21’s New Voices of Michiana education initiative, often connecting student composers with some of the nation’s top professional composers and composition teachers.
As an accomplished pianist and composer, Caleb’s works have been performed throughout the USA, in Poland, England, and Japan at venues as varied as Saint Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis to Library of Congress in Washington DC. He regularly performs as a concerto soloist and as a recitalist of both solo repertoire and chamber music. He has recently resented programs in Dallas, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and New York City. He has twice performed as a guest recitalist for the Walden Chamber Music Society in Buena Vista, Colorado, where he will return in 2020 to inaugurate a two-year international recital tour performing the complete Well-tempered Clavier of Johann Sebastian Bach in celebration of the 300th anniversary of its composition.
As an ensemble musician, Caleb regularly appears as a continuo artist for Ritornello Orchestra, the professional historical instrumental ensemble of Sacred Music at Notre Dame, and as pops pianist with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. He appears as a keyboard artist on recordings with the National Catholic Youth Choir and the Saint John's Boys' Choir.
Caleb is a graduate of University of Notre Dame where he completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting under the mentorship of renowned Venezuelan-American conductor Carmen-Helena Téllez. He previously studied at The Catholic University of America, where he served as University Organist, and at Saint John’s University (Minnesota). His conducting teachers include John Farrer, Dirk Brossé, Howard Williams, Nancy Menk, Jan Harrington, and Leo Nestor.