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African American Arts Institute

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Last modified: Tuesday, September 19, 2006

McCutchen chosen as IU African American Choral Ensemble director

September 19, 2006


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute today (Sept. 19) announced the addition of Keith D. McCutchen to its artistic faculty. McCutchen, an accomplished musical director, jazz musician, composer and pianist, will direct the institute's African American Choral Ensemble. He succeeds James Mumford, who retired this spring.

McCutchen has considerable experience in choral music and African American musical traditions, as a performer, director and teacher. Prior to coming to IU, McCutchen directed the Gospel Choir at St. Olaf College, where he also taught courses in music theory and jazz piano; the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at the University of Minnesota; and the Black Music Ensemble at Berea College in Kentucky.

He has served as minister of music for Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minn., music director for Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis and music director for East Second Street Christian Church and the Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. He has also directed public school choirs, including the Umoja Choir at South High School in Minneapolis, an ensemble that featured a multicultural repertoire including music of Latin America, South Africa, Europe and Asia.

McCutchen has broad experience as a composer, arranger and performer. His arrangements of "Amazing Grace" and "I Will Bless the Lord" have been performed by choral ensembles in the United States and abroad. He has written music for the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the University of St. Thomas Choir in St. Paul. He has performed with several prominent jazz musicians, including Eric Gravatt, a member of Weather Report; bassist Abraham Laboriel; Lenny Castro, percussionist for Tower of Power; Michael Paulo, saxophonist for Al Jarreau.

"The opportunity to be in such an esteemed academic setting and be a representative of this musical experience is an honor. It's a unique and amazing place, and I look forward to being a contributor to the artistic and academic excellence that exists here," McCutchen said.