Dr. Robert Taylor
Founder and Director
Taylor Music Group, Taylor Festival Choir
Dr. Robert Taylor is the Director of Choral Activities at the College of Charleston, the Founding Artistic Director and President of the Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) and Taylor Music Group (TMG), and the Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Singers. Called a “rising star in the international choral scene” and a "true master of his craft" (Charleston City Paper), Taylor’s choirs have been described as sounding "more musical than would seem possible" (Charleston Post and Courier), and have received numerous plaudits from critics and choral specialists for their technical proficiency, musicality and beautiful sound production. Taylor's ensembles have performed throughout the United States and Europe. They have been featured in numerous festivals, conventions and special concerts, including the 2005 and 2009 American Choral Directors (ACDA) National Conventions, the 2008 and 2011 National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conventions, and multiple appearances in regional and state ACDA and AGO conventions. Taylor and his combined choirs performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in a feature concert in the 2013 National Collegiate Choral Organization National Convention. Taylor's groups also appear annually in the prestigious Spoleto Festival U.S.A. and Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
Dr. Taylor's professional ensemble, the Taylor Festival Choir (TFC), has been hailed by critics and choral specialists alike as being one of the nation’s finest. Performing a full season of concerts in the Charleston area, TFC also has toured throughout the USA and Ireland and has recorded with Delos Recordings, Centaur Records, and MSR Classics. TFC’s recent release was on the Grammy ballot, and featured the world premiere recording of Celtic Mass by Michael McGlynn, alongside Mass by James MacMillan, a performance described as “very impressive indeed….many will be drawn to this (recording) simply because of the intensity Taylor brings to his readings, and the way his choir responds with such potent empathy for the music.” (Musicweb International – London).
Taylor has conducted more than 30 major choral/orchestral works to critical acclaim, his interpretations of modern works and the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams being especially praised. His recording of Vaughan Williams' Epithalamion and An Oxford Elegy was hailed as "a highly accomplished performance," one in which "his forces capture [Vaughan Williams' score's] ebb and flow perfectly" (American Record Guide). With the CSO Chorus, he has prepared numerous choral/orchestral masterworks for performances with prestigious conductors such as the late David Stahl, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, Louis Solemno, Stuart Molina, Dr. Kenneth Fulton, Dr. Joe Miller, and JoAnn Faletta. As Director of Choral Activities at the College of Charleston, Dr. Taylor oversees all choral studies and endeavors, including leading the acclaimed Concert Choir, the Madrigal Singers, and directing the choral strand of the College of Charleston's Master of Arts in Teaching in the Performing Arts degree. He serves as editor of the Robert Taylor Choral Series with Colla Voce Publications. Along with his wife, violinist/Irish fiddler Mary Taylor, Taylor coordinates the Celtic Arts Series (formerly the Taylor Music Festival) in Piccolo Spoleto: a series of concerts and workshops emphasizing musical education and performance in both classical and Celtic/folk disciplines. Deeply involved in Piccolo Spoleto and with the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Taylor was recently awarded the Piccolo Spoleto Lifetime Achievement Award.
Founder, Artistic Director
Mary Scott Taylor is a professional violinist and Irish fiddler who is also a certified Suzuki violin instructor (Books I-8), with extensive teaching experience with string players young and old. She is a member of the String Faculty at Ashley Hall School, and teaches Irish Fiddle at the College of Charleston. String ensembles under her direction have performed throughout the country at Suzuki Institutes and Festivals in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Currently Ms. Taylor serves as the Founding Director of Na Fidléirí, a 20- to 25-member ensemble that includes predominantly fiddles, but also penny whistle, guitar and bodhran. With Na Fidléirí, Ms. Taylor has performed throughout the Southeast and Ireland, including performances at the prestigious Swannanoa Gathering, the Augusta Irish Festival, the Savannah Irish Festival, the South Carolina State Fair, and the International Festival at Francis Marion College. Na Fidléirí has been featured in South Carolina Magazine and well as The Charleston Magazine. Its CD releases From the New Country and Na Fidléirí Live have sold more than 1,000 copies each.
As a soloist, Ms. Taylor has performed with renowned Celtic artists such as Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Martin Hayes, Abby Newton, Kim Robertson, and David Greenberg. Ms. Taylor is a member of the Early Music ensemble Charleston Pro Musica (directed by Steve Rosenberg), and has appeared with this group throughout South Carolina. As an orchestral player, she is a part-time member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Mepkin Abbey-based chamber orchestra Ensemble of St. Clare. Ms. Taylor has also performed with orchestras in Austria, Italy, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia and South Carolina. She holds a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from Sam Houston State University where she studied with David Halen, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance and Music Education from Lamar University in Texas where she studied with the renowned Eduard Schmieder.