Born in Los Angeles, Wyant Morton is Music Director and Conductor of Areté Vocal Ensemble, a professional chamber choir he founded. Areté presented its inaugural concert season in 2009-2010.
Among many highlights in Morton’s conducting career has been conducting annual New Music Concerts which he helped start in 2003 at CLU. A recent concert brought composer and then Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen to Thousand Oaks. The concert culminated with Morton conducting Salonen’s Five Images After Sappho, a performance the Los Angeles Times called “persuasive”. Morton has conducted similar concerts with Pulitzer Prize winning composers Henry Brant, Steven Stucky and (in 2012) David Lang. Morton has also collaborated with composers Eric Whitacre, Libby Larsen and Grammy Award winning soprano Hila Plitmann.
Morton is Professor of Music, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities, and Chairman of the Music Department at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks where he joined the faculty in 1992. In addition to his primary responsibility of overseeing the work of the CLU Choir, Morton conducts all of the choral ensembles in the Music Department, teaches conducting and supervises the voice faculty. He also maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator appearing throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2008, as part of an East Coast Tour with the CLU Choir, Morton was honored to conduct in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. On a similar tour in 2011, he made his debut in Carnegie Hall. Other significant venues in which Morton has conducted include Coventry and York Minster Cathedrals (England), Bergen Cathedral (Norway), St. Jakob’s Church (Stockholm, Sweden), St. Marks Basilica (Venice, Italy) and the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (Rome). Morton has also conducted performances for the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Convention.
In 2009, Morton received CLU’s President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was also voted Professor of the Year by his students in 2001. He has also received Positive Impact Recognition and Masters of Mentoring awards at CLU. In 1995, the University of Arizona School of Music presented him with an Alumni Award for Excellence in Performing and Teaching.
A native Californian, Morton completed his undergraduate degrees at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and earned his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he studied with Maurice Skones. Additionally, Morton has studied in workshops with and performed under several other eminent conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson and the late Robert Shaw.
Morton holds memberships in several professional organizations including the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM), Chorus Amnerica, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA), the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) for whom he served as President of the Western Region overseeing the work of the association in 13 states and 5 Canadian provinces.