Boston-based conductor Holly Druckman is in demand as a smart, sensitive performer of early and contemporary music. Ms. Druckman is a music director and conductor with a passion for curation and dramaturgy. She sees her mission as creating and performing programs that function as large-scale compositions. Her thoughtful approach to programming brings her audience and musical collaborators alike on a journey, in which the emotional whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Ms. Druckman is the founder and artistic director of Carduus, a chamber choir dedicated to exploring the early and modern choral repertoire. Since Carduus’ beginnings in 2016, Ms. Druckman has grown this choir into a formidable player in the Boston music scene. With Carduus, Ms. Druckman has appeared on such concert series as First Mondays in Jordan Hall, Tuesday Night New Music, the Composer Celebration Series of NEC’s Preparatory Division, and NEC Opens its Doors. In her capacity as Carduus’ Director, Ms. Druckman has had several new pieces written for her, such as Canto XIII by Tyler Bouque, The Scattered Congregation by Jacob Hiser, and escuchando by Stratis Minakakis. In addition to these, Carduus has worked closely with such composers as Bernie Zelitch, Isaac Roth Blumfield, and Mehmet Ali Sanlikol. Under Ms. Druckman’s leadership, Carduus has been the recipient of grants from the Boston Cultural Council and Choral Arts New England. In July of 2020, Ms. Druckman oversaw Carduus’ release of the electronic version of Bernie Zelitch’s Come Up for Air, a collaboration with the composer which raised money for the Boston Children’s Chorus. Carduus is currently writing a piece as an ensemble, which will be released online in the Spring of 2021, and will feature a video component from visual artists James Rouvelle and Lili Maya.
In 2018, Ms. Druckman was named Music Director of Vox Lucens, a Boston-based Renaissance Choir. Under her direction, Vox Lucens has performed several times in the greater Boston area, including appearances at the Boston Early Music Festival Masterclass Series, and guest services at Grace Church Newton. Vox Lucens is the resident ensemble at Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington, where they regularly perform. In 2020, Vox Lucens released their first album with Ms. Druckman directing.
Ms. Druckman is highly sought after as a guest conductor and artistic collaborator. In early 2020, Ms. Druckman was invited to work with the New England Conservatory’s Concert Choir in preparation for a performance of Haydn’s Creation. Additionally, Ms. Druckman has been featured as a guest conductor with Beneficia Lucis and the choir at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Providence, and has held short-term appointments with the Commonwealth Chorale and Cappella Clausura. Upcoming engagements include a concert cycle with the Seraphim Singers (originally planned for Spring 2020 and postponed because of COVID). Her passion for programming and collaboration led her to create “Aspects of Orpheus”: a concert-lecture series about the myth of Orpheus in music history as the capstone project of her undergraduate degree. In addition to these, Ms. Druckman is a board member of Choral Arts New England, an organization which encourages the pursuit of choral excellence through its grant program, online workshops, and other various resources.
Ms. Druckman is equally at home in the world of instrumental conducting. Since 2018, she has been the music director of the Grace Church Orchestra as part of the annual 9/11 Concert for Remembrance in memory of Welles Remy Crowther. With the Grace Church Orchestra, Ms. Druckman has performed music by Barber, Debussy, Vaughan Williams, and others, and collaborated with such soloists as Korliss Uecker, Barbara Allen, Avi Nagin, and Marti Sweet. As with choral music, Ms. Druckman is passionate about collaborating with living composers for instrumental ensembles. She has conducted premiere performances and/or readings of music by Max Grafe, Sayo Kosugi, Frank Brickle, Dominika Hwang, and Jeremy Wall, and undertaken further collaborations with composers Gregor Hübner and Ron Wasserman. Most recently, she was featured as a guest conductor with New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Ensemble, where she performed Dark Upon the Harp by Jacob Druckman (her grandfather), for voice, brass quintet, and percussion. In 2010, she founded the Columbia New Music Ensemble, which read and premiered several pieces by Columbia undergraduate composers. Other guest conducting appearances include performances and rehearsals with the ensembles Cygnus, counter)induction, Face the Music, the Centre Symphony Orchestra, and at the CBGB Festival accompanying Glint in instrumental arrangements of his music.
As a pedagogue, Ms. Druckman takes the same thoughtful approach to teaching that she does to curating. Since 2019, she has maintained a studio of conducting students of varied ages and levels. She enjoys the process of building a personal relationship with each student, to understand how they learn and what their needs are. She is committed to working with each student to help them attain their musical goals, whatever they may be. Ms. Druckman also offers lessons in a variety of musical fields apart from conducting, such as theory and ear training.
Ms. Druckman maintains a parallel career as a music engraver and editor. She honed her skills working for the editors of the music publishing company Boosey & Hawkes, where she contributed to editions of music by Osvaldo Golijov, David del Tredici, Michael Daugherty, and Sebastian Currier. Since leaving Boosey, she has worked with such composers as Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Adrian Montufar Herrera, and Bernie Zelitch on creating engraved scores and performance materials. Additionally, Ms. Druckman is an expert transcriber of music from mensural (Renaissance) notation, and has created several performance editions of music for Boston’s Blue Heron. She is fluent in the music notation softwares Finale and Sibelius.
Ms. Druckman holds two masters’ degrees with academic honors from the New England Conservatory, in Choral Conducting and Historical Musicology. She was the recipient of NEC’s 2018 Gunther Schuller award. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, with departmental honors from the Music Department. Further studies were undertaken at Westminster Choir College, the European-American Musical Alliance, the International Institute for Conductors, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and the Mannes College of Music.
In her free time, Ms. Druckman is an avid reader, swimmer, and coffee enthusiast. She lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts with a grumpy cat named Garnet.