Richard Giarusso is a versatile musician with practical and scholarly experience in a wide range of repertoire. After undergraduate study in music and English at Williams College, where he worked closely with Kenneth Roberts, he earned the PhD in historical musicology from Harvard University, completing his dissertation under the supervision of Reinhold Brinkmann. He joined the musicology faculty at Peabody in 2007. His research focuses on the music of Schubert, Bruckner, Mahler, and Vaughan Williams, and he offers courses at Peabody on late 19th– and early 20th-century topics. He has also taught interdisciplinary classes in music and literature at the Johns Hopkins University, where he received the 2012-13 Excellence in Teaching Award from the JHU Division of Advanced Academic Programs. A frequent lecturer for arts organizations in the mid-Atlantic, he has presented talks for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Baltimore Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the Shriver Hall Concerts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. He assumed directorship of the Spring Lecture Series at Shriver Hall in Baltimore in March 2014.
In addition to his academic work, Giarusso maintains an active career as a singer and conductor throughout the Northeast. He has studied voice with Keith Kibler, Pamela Dellal, and Elizabeth Daniels and conducting with E. Wayne Abercrombie and Bradley Wells. In addition, he has performed in master classes with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mitsuko Shirai, and Hartmut Höll and has coached German art song with Robert Levin, Malcolm Bilson, and John Shirley-Quirk. An experienced ensemble singer, he was a regular member and frequent soloist with the Choir of the Church of the Advent (Boston). Praised by the Washington Post for his “expressive and perfectly controlled voice,” he currently performs with many of the leading professional ensembles in the greater DC area. Recent and upcoming solo engagements include appearances with the Washington Bach Consort, the Choirs of Washington National Cathedral, and the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City, in addition to a number of solo recitals in Washington and beyond. He served for many years on the faculty of the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
As a conductor, he led the annual productions of The New Opera (Williamstown, MA) from 2004 through 2007 and directed the inaugural season of the Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre (Cambridge, NY) in 2008. He returned to the Berkshires in January 2013 to lead staged performances of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro at Williams College, and he has appeared as a guest conductor with the Washington Bach Consort and CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) in Hartford. He is music director of the Georgetown Chorale in Washington, DC and served previously as artistic director of the Voce Chamber Singers in northern Virginia and the Maryland Choral Society.