Clara Longstreth, Music Director
Clara Longstreth is the founder and Music Director of New Amsterdam Singers and has led the group for its past 53 seasons. Under her direction, NAS has become known as one of the premier avocational choruses in New York City. Of Ms. Longstreth’s programs, Allan Kozinn wrote in The New York Times, “When a director takes up the challenge of building a cohesive program around a broad theme, we are reminded that programming can be an art.” And in June, 2018, Times critic Anthony Tommasini wrote, “You think von Karajan’s 35-year reign at the Berlin Philharmonic and Eugene Ormandy’s 44-year association with the Philadelphia Orchestra were impressive runs? Well, at a concert on Wednesday night [May 30, 2018], Clara Longstreth concluded her 50th season as music director of the 70-member New Amsterdam Singers….Ms. Longstreth conducted with undiminished energy and focus.”
Ms. Longstreth studied conducting with G. Wallace Woodworth at Harvard University and with Richard Westenburg at The Juilliard School, from which she received her Master’s Degree. She also studied with Amy Kaiser and Semyon Bychkov at the Mannes College of Music, and with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival. Ms. Longstreth has been a frequent adjudicator at choral conferences, and was selected to present a lecture-demonstration on “Adventures in Programming” at the Eastern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2009 she received an Alumnae Recognition Award from Radcliffe College for her founding and longtime direction of New Amsterdam Singers. Ms. Longstreth has also served on the faculty of Rutgers University, and as a guest conductor of the Limón Dance Company, the Mannes College Orchestra, and the popular Messiah Sing-In performances at Avery Fisher Hall. She has led the chorus on 17 international tours.
Jose Juan Marzal Fernandez, Assistant Conductor
Jose Juan Marzal Fernandez was born in Puebla, Mexico, where he began studying music at the age of five and performed in children’s choirs, including the Children’s Choir of BUAP. At the age of 10, he began his studies in violin in the studio of Julio Saldaña Torres in the Música Esperanza Young Academy. In 2013, at the age of 17, Mr. Marzal became the Artistic Conductor of the Saint Cecilia Chamber Choir in Puebla, becoming the youngest conductor in the ensemble’s 30-year history.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from the Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico, Mr. Marzal was accepted into the choral conducting program at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he graduated with honors in 2021 and studied with Kent Tritle. He is currently part of the artistic team at St. John the Divine in New York City.
Pen Ying Fang, Accompanist
Pen Ying Fang has performed widely in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, building an extensive repertoire of solo and chamber music. Currently, she serves as a coach and accompanist at Westminster Choir College, where she has worked with many prominent artists and renowned voice programs such as the CoOPERAtive summer program and the Florence Voice Seminar in Italy. As an accompanist she has also performed and toured with several choirs from the New York area, in which capacity The New York Times has praised her performances as “vivid” and “deft.” In 2018 Pen Ying was honored to be a featured performer in a Philip Glass opera workshop in North Adams, MA.
Pen Ying is a native of Taiwan, where she began studying piano at age 5. There she attended an experimental music-focused grade school until moving to the United States. Here she studied with Paul Hoffmann and Barbara Gonzalez-Palmer, earning a BM and MM in Piano at Rutgers University.
Patricia Ann Neely, Manager
Patricia Ann Neely is a professional musician, arts administrator, and educator. A graduate of LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts and Vassar College, she also holds an MFA in Historical Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. Ms. Neely has worked as Director of Events and Concert Management at Mannes College of Music, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Bard Graduate Center and Senior Director of Programs at Harlem School of the Arts.
An early music specialist, she has been a featured performer with many early music ensembles as a viola da gamba, violone, vielle, and baroque bass player. Those include Sequentia (Cologne, Germany), Rheinische Kantorei, Köln, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra and its Consort of Viols, Washington Bach Consort, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Cathedral Choir, and Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity. Ms. Neely is currently the managing director and member of Abendmusik, New York’s Period Instrument String Band.
Ms. Neely teaches at the Amherst Early Music Festival and Workshop and the Viola da Gamba Society of America Conclave. She has also taught at The Brearley School, Vassar College, Wagner College, and The Mannes College of Music. She is a member of the Board of Early Music America (EMA) and chaired the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Task Force from 2019-2021. She is also on the Board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America (VDGSA) where she currently chairs the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee.
The board of the New Amsterdam Singers is responsible for the overall operation and management of the chorus. Board members are elected by the membership of the chorus.
Donna W. Zalichin, President
Ellen G. Stark, Vice-President
Orren Alperstein, Treasurer
Robin Beckhard, Secretary
Robert H. Palmer
Susan H. Perkins
Gwendolyn D. Simmons
Paul Alan Levi
(as of November 2020)
Robin D. Beckhard
Jaime C. Leifer**
Timothy H. Sachs**
William A. Simpson
*Chamber Chorus Member
**Chamber Chorus only