Dr. Stephen Coker

Dr. Stephen Coker

Associate Professor, Director, Choral Activities
Choral Music
College of Performing Arts; Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music
Office Location: Bertea Hall 106
Phone: (714) 744-2106
Oklahoma City University, Bachelor of Music
Oklahoma City University, Master of Music
University of Southern California, Doctor of Music


Stephen Coker is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Chapman University.  Prior to this appointment, Dr. Coker served on the faculties of Portland State University (2006-2009), the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) from 2000-2006, and Oklahoma City University (OCU) from 1975-2000.

At both CCM and OCU, Coker was awarded the “Outstanding Teacher Award” (2002 and 1991, respectively), and he was given the "Director of Distinction Award" by the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association in 1995. In frequent demand as a clinician and guest conductor across the nation, Dr. Coker has worked in roughly half of the fifty states.  Internationally, he has conducted professional, collegiate, and youth choirs and orchestras in workshops and festivals in Portugal, South Korea, Israel, Sweden, and Taiwan.

Coker received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from OCU and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California, having studied with Rodney Eichenberger, James Vail, and David Wilson.  An avid enthusiast of choral-orchestral performance, Coker has conducted much of that major repertoire including works of Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, Duruflé, Poulenc, Orff, and Bernstein, and has prepared choruses for James Levine, James Conlon, and Erich Kunzel.  As a professional chorister, he has sung for conductors Helmuth Rilling, Krzysztof Penderecki, Dennis Russell Davies, and the late Robert Shaw.

Other special interests of Dr. Coker include orchestral conducting, world music, opera and musical theater, and church music.  Throughout most of his academic career, he has held choir director positions at Presbyterian, United Methodist, and Episcopal parishes. Currently, he serves as Director of the Sanctuary Choir at Claremont United Methodist Church.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Designed and executed a concert performance entitled "A Concert for Peace" with the CU student Temianka String Quartet, the University Choir, and the University Singers. Consisting of choral works of Black composers, the featured work of the evening was Joel Thompson's "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed." For the work's moving texts, the composer chose the last utterance's of seven Black men before dying at the hands of authority figures. The evening also featured video projections, children, and movement.
Arranged spiritual "Everywhere I Go (Somebody Talkin' 'bout Jesus)" for performance by the University Singers for Wassail performances, fall concert, and sping Choir Festivals
In cooperation with the professional Pan-Latin ensemble "Sol y canto" comprised of the Amador family (Brian, Rosi, and Alisa), I adapted their 3-part arrangement of the popular Cuban song "Ayúdame a mirar" for 4-part choir, incorporating that group's accompanying body percussion. My arrangement was performed on the University Singers' fall choral concert and will be repeated multiple times in the spring of 2023.
For the University Choir's fall concert, I arranged two anthems (Fauré's "Ecce fidelis" and Pelz's "Stay with Us," both originally for organ and choir) for choir, piano, and string quartet.
In collaboration with CU's Department of Dance, the First Presbyterian Church of Orange, and organist David York, the University Singers presented a performance of Britten's cantata "Rejoice in the Lamb," choreographed by internationally renowned dance artists and Chapman Presidential Fellow Ido Tadmor assisted by Jhonathan Soutchy.
In collaboration with CoM Percussion Department (Dr. Nick Terry, director, presented three works for choir and percussion: the University Choir performed "Turlutte acadienne montréalaise" and "Water Fountain," and the University Singers performed "Selene's Boat" by Don Macdonald.
2020 Orchestrated choral work (Lee Hoiby’s "Last Letter Home") for chamber orchestra and choir for performance by the Orange County High School of the Arts.
2020 Conducted opera (Lee Hoiby’s "This Is the Rill Speaking") for Orange County High School of the Arts.
My arrangement of "Yodel Carol" is published by Pavane Publishing (Los Angeles) in February.
Participated in CU's Summer Choir Camp, June, conducting two mixed ensembles.
"The Stephen Coker Choral Series" is launched with Coker's "Ani ma'amin" appearing as its first published work with Pavane Publishing of Los Angeles.
Served as Clinician for three high schools including Carlmont HS and La Cañada HS.
Served as clinican and conductor for the Orange County High School for the Arts' Inaugural Choral Festival, conducting Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Serenade to Music" with OCSA choir and alums.
2019 "Yodel Carol" (arr. Stephen Coker) selected for entry into Pavane Publishing’s “The Stephen Coker Choral Series.”
2019 Arranged "America, the Beautiful" for the occasion of the on-campus appearance by George W. Bush, submitted for publication to Pavane Publishing of Los Angeles, October.
2019 Conducted Chapman University Singers in a performance honoring former President George W. Bush and adapted and re-orchestrated Peter Wilhousky’s "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for chamber ensemble, October.
2019 Arranged organ solo "S’vivon" that was premiered on the televised Annual Holiday Wassail Concert, December.
2019 Arranged the duet “Evening Prayer” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera "Hansel and Gretel" for four-part mixed chorus that was premiered on the televised Annual Holiday Wassail Concert.
Conductor/Faculty, Chapman University Choral Music Camp.
Orchestrated Dan Forrest's "He Is Born" for Wassail 2018, premier perf, nationally televised.
Orchestrated Paul Carey's "El Noi de la Mare" for Wassail Women's Choir, premier performance, nationally televised.
Arranged organ solo "Reflections on The First Noel" for Wassail 2018, premier performance.
Conductor for the Hong Kong arts organization “SingFest” (Helmuth Rilling Artistic Director). Co-programmed and conducted “Mostly Monteverdi” concert, a staged presentation of choral works. Hong Kong (SAR-China).
Served as Faculty and Conductor of the Mixed Choir, Women's Choir, Men's Choir, and a small madrigal ensemble for CU's Summer Choral Music Camp (also, summers 2013-2016).
Guest conductor of Irvine (CA) Unified School District's High School Honor Choir performance, Segerstrom Center.
Conducted Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love" with Opera Chapman and The Chapman Orchestra.
For Hong Kong arts organization “SingFest” (Helmuth Rilling, Artistic Director), conducted Handel’s "Messiah" with professional orchestra/chorus at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Held master classes in choral-orchestral conducting for graduate students (using Part One of "Messiah," with professional orchestra/choir in residence), and conducted workshops for youth and children’s choir conductors.
Headlining Clinician,Guest Conductor/Faculty of VOCALIZZE, a week-long youth choral festival in Lisbon, Portugal (also, summers of 2008-2014).
Served as Faculty Conductor for the Chapman University Summer Choral Camp (also, 2014 and 2013)
Prepared University Singers for a collaborative performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, performed at Segerstrom Concert Hall, conducted by Prof. Daniel Wachs involving choirs and instrumentalists from UC-Irvine, OCYSO, and The Chapman Orchestra; under the auspices of the Orange County Philharmonic Society.
Conducted Mixed Choir and small ensemble at Chapman Summer Choral camp, editing various compositions for final performance
Headlining Clinician,Guest Conductor/Faculty of VOCALIZZE, a week-long youth choral festival in Lisbon, Portugal (also, summers of 2008-2012).
Guest conductor, "Foundation Concert," Brigham City, Utah, Box Elder HS District
Collaborated with Chapman University Department of Dance to present a choreographed version of Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb."
Prepared University Singers for a collaborative performance of Benjamin Britten's WAR REQUIEM, performed at Disney Concert Hall (LA) and Segerstrom Concert Hall, conducted by James Conlon and involving choirs and instrumentalists from USC, the Colburn School, Cal. State-Fullerton, Cal. State, Long Beach, the National Youth Choir of New Zealand. Project as part of the international observance, Britten 100.
Attended the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association, Chicago, attending numerous workshops, lectures, and performances
Held a 4-day guest artist/faculty residency at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, GA, teaching conducting and conducting two university choirs in performance with orchestra
1--Arranged choral setting of "There Is a Balm in Gilead," rehearsed and performed many times with the University Choir. 2--Arranged choral setting of Scottish folk song, "Lassie, Would Ye Love Me, rehearsed by the University Choir.
Arranged 3-Part setting of Mendelssohn's "Die Nachtigall" (from the original 4-part setting) for performance by the high school age choir of VOCALIZZE, a youth choir Festival in Portugal
Guest Conductor/Faculty of VOCALIZZE, a week-long youth choral festival in Lisbon, Portugal (also, summers of 2010, 2009 and 2008). In 2010, two Chapman students accompanied me to Portugal, serving as my assistants, both of whom conducted a work on the final festival concert.
Guest professor at Instituto Piaget (Portuguese private university in Lisbon), teaching conducting, choral literature, and choral techniques
Guest Conductor in two performances of the Orquestra Filharmonia das Beiras (professional orchestra located in Aveiro, Portugal, performing orchestral works of Mahler, Puccini, Copland, Barber, Gershwin, and Braga-Santos
Conducted the 2010 California Coastal Region Honor Choir, consisting of the top talent from over 40 high schools from the Bay Area and Central Coastal Region
Adjudicated 3 high school choral festivals, giving written comments (and some personal clinics)
Arranged and conducted a choral setting of the Maori folk song "Pokarekare ana" and the Kenyan folk song "Jambo" for the high school age choir of VOCALIZZE, a youth choral festival in Portugal
Volunteered as co-chorus master for Opera Chapman's production of Mozart's COSI FAN TUTTE, playing and conducting chorus rehearsals and mentoring a student assistant conductor
Delivered a presentation before the 2009 Northwest Music Educators National Conference in Spokane, WA ("Aspects of Performance Practice and Related Rehearsal and Editing Techniques"). This presentation came as a result of being given special recognition (President's "Blue Ribbon" Designation) at the 2008 Oregon Music Educators Convention for delivering a similar presentation.
Served as a judge for the Classical Singer Festival, Portland, OR.
Attended the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association, Oklahoma City, OK, attending numerous workshops, lectures, and performances.
2009-Served as adjudicator at 6 choral festivals, giving written comments (and some personal clinics)
Clinician and Adjudicator for Salem, OR District 5 Choral festival.
Arranged choral Setting of "Shall We Gather at the River," performed by the University Choir numerous times on tour and on campus
Guest Conductor and Faculty Member for a 9-day residency at Intituto Piaget (a private university in Lisbon, Portugal), teaching Choral Literature Seminar, Conducting Seminar, and Conducting the University Graduate Chamber Choir in a program of 19th-Century German repertoire (Bruckner, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Rheinberger).
Guest Conductor/Clinician for the West Linn High School District Choral Festival, West Linn, OR
I arranged a choral setting of the spiritual "Steal Away" which was published/released in 2009 by Oregon Catholic Press. The University Singers performed this numerous times on tour and on campus.
Attended the World Symposium of the International Federation of Choral Musicians in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Host/Clinic 4 high school choirs from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
Served as faculty member and conductor for the choral portion of the summer program, Young Singers Workshop, at Portland State University, June 2008.
Performed the Pacific Northwest premier of Carol Barnett's "The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass," June 2008, First Unitarian Church, Portland Oregon.