By Ross Amico
U.S. 1 Newspaper
Raised in Conway Springs, Kansas – 30 miles south of Wichita – Alicia N. Brozovich demonstrates that there is still plenty of heart in the Heartland.
Her passion for music brought her to Westminster Choir College to pursue a master’s degree in choral conducting in 2013. Following her graduation, she joined the faculty of Westminster Conservatory.
On Nov. 22, she led her first public concert as conductor of the conservatory’s Westminster Community Chorus at Westminster Choir College’s Bristol Chapel.
The program, “Vespers by the Sea,” was designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
“This past summer NASA launched its 50th anniversary campaign for the moon landing, which is something I was always really fascinated with,” Brozovich says. “And when I started my tenure at Westminster I found out that it’s also the 50th anniversary of the Conservatory. I wanted to bring in some media from NASA and use some of their transmissions from the moon landing and incorporate it into the concert. So I looked for some high-quality repertoire that would still be singable by the group within a matter of months, but also challenge them and be something that the audience could really connect with.”
Also in the spring, she will take her choir to Carnegie Hall, where they will participate in a concert led by choral music luminary John Rutter. Open to amateur singers from beginning to advanced, the Westminster Community Chorus provides an opportunity for community members of all ages to share the pleasure of choral singing.
Brozovich herself has sung at Carnegie Hall in the Westminster Symphonic Choir, in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. As a conducting fellow, she has been involved in the preparation of ensembles from Westminster and the Continuo Arts Foundation, prior to their Carnegie Hall appearances.
In addition she serves as assistant conductor for New York’s Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, whose artistic director is fellow Westminster alumnus Thomas Cunningham.
She has led choirs from the Midwest to Florence, Italy, and Oxford, UK. She has also assisted in collaborations with the Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard415, and members of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
In Pennington she directs the adult choir at St. James Roman Catholic Church. She is also a member of the Theoria Chamber Choir, an ensemble that specializes in performing Slavic choral music. The choir serves as the primary liturgical choir at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in Trenton. The group was founded by Andrew Skitko, another Westminster graduate.
As a soprano, Brozovich performs regularly with the Philadelphia Symphony Chorus. She has also appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Spain.
As a student she sang with Westminster Choir, Westminster Symphonic Choir, and Westminster Kantorei. She received her master’s degree in choral conducting in 2017. She then served as assistant conductor for the Westminster Community Chorus before taking over as principal conductor from Sinhaeng Lee.
It was during her undergraduate work at Benedictine College that a chance pairing with a certain counselor changed her life.
“I actually originally intended to major in criminology,” she says, “but there were no criminology classes available my first semester. I happened to have a music teacher who was helping me get into my classes, and she asked, what else do you like? And I said, well, I like music. She put me in all these music classes. I was kind of annoyed. But then, after my first theory course, I was completely hooked, and I completely forgot about criminology. My fate was determined.”
In the spring semester of her senior year she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. It was there that her classmates encouraged her to lead a choir. This was the first time she had done so.
“Seeing the difference it made for people’s experience was a treasure and a joy for me,” she says. “I wanted to continue bringing that to people. …Through Westminster I myself have had the privilege and opportunity of performing there, and now I get to share that experience with the people I am serving.”
After Benedictine College, further studies at Westminster seemed an inevitability.
“As I was pursuing graduate programs, all along the way I was meeting alumni from Westminster,” she says. “The programs I was interested in, the people I was studying with, all had some connection to Westminster Choir College.” These included teachers and directors of some of the nation’s top choral music programs.
Brozovich learned that many of them had actually studied with James Jordan.
“Then I came and visited the school and just saw the caliber of musicianship. I had grown up believing that there was a divide – orchestras were musical and choirs just sing – and that was completely blown apart when I came to Westminster. When I realized how musical the human voice can be, and how raw and vulnerable and artistic it can be, it seemed like a great fit.”
Brozovich, on top of everything else, gives voice lessons and teaches beginning and intermediate piano at Cornerstone Music Studios in Millstone. She says her husband, Colton Martin, is the advanced pianist. He is also the organist and full-time director of sacred music at the Roman Catholic parish of St. Dominic in Brick. The couple married after they completed the graduate program together at Westminster. (Martin sang in James Jordan’s Williamson Voices.) They now make their home in Morrisville with their 15-month-old son.
When asked about her dream repertoire, Brozovich singles out Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem.” She says she feels a particular affinity with music of the 20th and 21st centuries.
“There’s something really meaningful about being a part of an ensemble or a group that’s taking what’s going on now and making it happen and making it real,” she says. “This concert that we’re doing now is largely music from a living composer. In an ideal world we’d be singing it in a planetarium. Bringing new music to audiences in new ways, that’s my dream ensemble.”
Prior to being bitten by the music bug in college, she sang as a child in the local Catholic church and participated in the high school choir. Her contractor father and brother play the guitar. Her sister also sings, but Brozovich says she is the only one in the family who has pursued music professionally. Even so, one of her sister’s focuses when she attended Kansas State University was on music education. But that interest has since been superseded by other obligations. Brozovich’s sister, Jessica Gerlach, is now mayor of Conway Springs.
“I am proud of where I came from,” Brozovich says. “I remember being a young child and learning about our state and being really inspired by the motto of ‘to the stars through difficulties.’ The fact that it is something I can incorporate into this concert is meaningful to me personally. It’s a great little nod to my heritage.”
Editor’s note: U.S. 1 Newspaper and www.princetoninfo.com provide event, business and entertainment news in and around Princeton, Pa. This story was edited for length. To see the original story, visit https://princetoninfo.com and search “Alicia Brozovich”.Alicia Brozovich leads the Westminster Community Chorus.