Music Department
Faculty & Staff
Judith Willoughby
Professor of Conducting and Choral Music Education

Email: jwilloughby@okcu.edu
Office: BC B207
Phone: (405) 208-5514
Judith Willoughby is the Wanda L. Bass School of Music professor of Conducting and Choral Music Education and the artistic director of the Canterbury Youth Choruses (CYC). As a guest conductor, conference headliner and clinician, Willoughby has lead choruses and orchestras in the world’s major concert halls in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, Russia, China and Hong Kong. She has been an active honor choir conductor for the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), conducting honor choruses for one national, five divisional and numerous state conventions, conducted numerous all state choruses throughout the USA, choral festivals in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, and has presented concerts and taught at leading universities and conservatories in the United States including Yale University and Westminster Choir College.

As a choral music educator, Willoughby’s career began in the Philadelphia, Pa., public schools. Her concert work with children and youth commenced when she founded the Temple University Children’s Choir in Temple University’s Center for Gifted Young Musicians, leading the chorus to international prominence. Highlights of her work with that ensemble included numerous performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, concert performances with Helmut Rilling and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus, many recordings for the 2000 music classroom series by Silver Burdett Ginn, national and regional performances for ACDA and MENC as well as extensive national and international touring.

Prior to her appointments in Oklahoma City, Professor Willoughby taught at Northwestern University (Ill.), Temple University (Pa.) and the Summer Institute Program at the Eastman School of Music (N.Y.). Her interest in public policy’s intersection with arts education and performance has resulted in her continuing service on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and its partner agencies as well as national foundations in the private sector, regional and state arts agencies. Willoughby served on the board of Chorus America for nine years, including two terms as secretary and was active on that organization’s conducting taskforce. She is a National Arts Associate of the Alpha Zeta chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota at OCU and serves on the Music Advisory Board for the Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. Last summer, Judith Willoughby was honored by Pennsylvania’s ACDA chapter for her service as president of Pennsylvania ACDA, during that state’s 50th anniversary celebration. Choral music education students trained by Professor Willoughby are currently teaching in Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Australia.

Judith Willoughby edits a choral series published by Alliance Music, has contributed to articles published in ACDA’s Choral Journal, wrote a chapter for the Choral Director’s Cookbook published by Meredith Music, and was on the editorial board for two Chorus America publications: Leading the Successful Chorus and Conductors Count: What Chorus Boards, Music Directors and Administrators Need to Know. She authored a chapter in Way Over in Beulah Lan’: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual by Dr. Andre Thomas, published by Heritage Music Press. The June/July 2009 issue of The Chorister (the journal of the Choristers Guild) includes an article by Professor Willoughby about training children to sing in faith communities, entitled: Planting Choral Seeds: Begin With the End in Mind. Professor Judith Willoughby, along with Dr. Andre Thomas, is the subject of a recently published book, written by Gerald Knight, Two African-American Choral Conductors: Eroding Misconceptions Through Excellence. She earned degrees from Northwestern (BM) and Temple Universities (MM in piano and conducting), studying piano with Gui Mombaerts and Natalie Hinderas, choral conducting with Elaine Brown and instrumental conducting with Max Rudolph.