Stephen Eros, Assistant Conductor
Stephen Eros graduated from Webster University with the degrees Master of Arts in Choral Conducting and Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, and faculty bestowed honors in music. He studied conducting and choral music with Trent Patterson, organ with William Partridge, and voice with Robert Ayllón. As Assistant Conductor of the Webster University Choirs, he assisted in preparing works such as Britten’s Cantata Misericordium and Rejoice in the Lamb, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Schubert’s Magnificat (D 486), Bach’s Cantata No. 131, Duruflé’s Requiem, Mozart’s Regina Coeli (KV 276), and Copland’s In the Beginning.
This year marks his third season as Assistant Conductor of the Bach Society of St. Louis under his long-time musical role model, Dr. A. Dennis Sparger. This past summer was Stephen’s first season as a rehearsal and performance pianist at the Muny, St. Louis (Hairspray; Beauty and the Beast). An active church musician since 2008, Stephen has worked for parishes in the Diocese of Belleville, Springfield (IL), and Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Currently he serves as Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in O’Fallon, IL. He has been a member of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists since 2009 and has served as Sub Dean, Program Committee Chair, and a member of the Executive Committee. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 2-197, National Association of Pastoral Musicians, American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the American Guild of Organists.
Stephen Mager, Composer in Residence
Stephen Mager was appointed composer-in-residence for the Bach Society of Saint Louis in 2004. He has written extensively for chorus and orchestra, and his works have been performed by such distinguished ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus; VocalEssence, Minneapolis; and the Dallas Symphony Chorus.
His choral symphony, Sinfonia Pastorale, received its Saint Louis premiere in 1997 with the Bach Society, to critical praise. The Bach Society has commissioned several of his major choral works: an Easter choral cycle, The Lamb’s High Feast (2005); I saw eternity (2006); in 2008, Missa lucis (“Mass of Light”), aptly described as “lushly lyrical” (Saint Louis Post-Dispatch); and in 2012, an extended, dynamic setting of the Te Deum. In May 2014, the Bach Society premiered his Hommage à Saint-Michel, lauded by the Post Dispatch as “a highlight of the program…filled with lovely melodies and interesting effects.”
His opera, Dream of the Pacific, was commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition (2004), and subsequently produced by Opera Omaha (2005), Kansas City Lyric Opera (2005), and Washington National Opera (2006), the latter by the young artists program sponsored by Plácido Domingo. “Mager excels at conveying a wide variety of feelings…all in a musical language that is both lyrical and comprehensible” (Washington Post).
His carol settings have also received critical attention and are featured on the compact disc, Joy for Every Age (1998). “These excellent carol settings . . . exhibit a slightly different kind of charm and sophistication that owes much to their more expansive . . . fully integrated orchestrations” (David Vernier, Classicstoday.com). His carols are featured on a dozen or more commercial recordings by choral ensembles in the United States. A new CD recording of his music is in progress, to be released in 2016. His music is published by Oxford University Press and MorningStar Music.
An active choral and opera conductor, he holds a Doctor of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, where he also completed his master’s studies. His teachers have included Jan Harrington, Julius Herford, Thomas Binkley, Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Robert Porco, Dale Warland, John Poole, and Carmen-Helena Tellèz. Dr. Mager has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Masterworks Chorale, Belleville, Illinois, since 2009. The ensemble performs in an annual subscription concert series, serving the southwest Illinois region.
Sandra Geary, Accompanist
Sandra Geary is a member of the piano faculty of the Community Music School of Webster University. A native of Ireland, Ms. Geary received piano performance diplomas from the Royal School of Music, Trinity College, London, England; the Cork School of Music, Ireland; and a bachelor’s degree in music from The Saint Louis Conservatory of Music. While a student at the conservatory, Ms. Geary studied with Joseph Kalichstein and Carole Tafoya. In June 2006, Ms. Geary served as Vocal Coach/Accompanist for the Black Hills Summer Arts Institute in South Dakota. Currently, she is the accompanist for the Bach Society of Saint Louis and the Washington University Opera Department and Concert Choir. She accompanies many students in recitals and competitions, and serves as accompanist for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on many occasions.
Cynthia Johnson, Assistant Accompanist
Cynthia Johnson has worked extensively as a collaborative pianist and coach in the St. Louis metropolitan area for nearly 35 years, performing with student, church and professional singers, instrumentalists and choirs alike, while continuing to remain quite active as a choral singer herself. She is also an experienced church organist and through her listing on the website of the American Guild of Organists is called upon nearly every Sunday to serve as a substitute organist or pianist for one of the many regional churches whose musical traditions range from Gregorian Chant to Gospel. Cindy earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where her main focus was chamber music. Before joining the Bach Society of Saint Louis, she served for 17 years as the accompanist for the Masterworks Chorale of Belleville. Her tenure working with Dr. Sparger spans decades. In addition to her role as assistant accompanist of the Bach Society, she performs regularly with the chorus as a principal soprano.