was born February 3, 1955 in Philadelphia. He attended Radnor High School, where he participated in every facet of the music programs, singing bass-baritone and playing, at various times, French horn, valve trombone, tuba, guitar, electric bass, piano, and organ. He received his Bachelor’s degree in music education from Temple University, where he studied voice with Phillip Cho and George McKinley, organ with Earl Ness, and conducting with Gail Poch. After a year of public school teaching and three years in the graphic arts industry, Mr. Ross returned to Temple to pursue Master’s degrees in choral conducting under Alan Harler and composition under Maurice Wright; he completed both degrees in 1983.
He has been a professional chorister, choirmaster, and assistant to the cantor at Congregation Adath Jeshurun
in Elkins Park since 1985, and for ten years served as Music Director of the Mak'helat Beth Sholom (Singers of Beth Sholom) at Temple Beth Sholom
in Cherry Hill, NJ. He served as Artistic and Music Director of Voces Novae et Antiquae
until 2008, and Co-Artistic Director and Conductor of the Yavneh Ensemble
(a Philadelphia Jewish chorus). He also served as Associate Conductor of the Lady Chapel Singers of the Women's Sacred Music Project
in Philadelphia. In 2008 Mr. Ross was named chair of the music department of Community College of Philadelphia
, where he teaches courses in theory and music history, as well as directing the CCP Vocal Ensemble.
Mr. Ross is extremely active in the Philadelphia area music scene. As a conductor, soloist, and chorister, he has appeared over the years with Pennsylvania Pro Musica, Philadelphia Chamber Chorus, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Rosemont College, Temple University Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, Symphony Club Orchestra of Philadelphia, and at numerous area churches and synagogues as both chorister and soloist.
His composition and arranging catalog numbers well over three hundred works, including many choral works, three cantatas, two symphonies, several instrumental chamber works, and experimental pieces. He has a growing number of works in print from Coronet Press, Theodore Presser Company,
Thomas House and Psalm 150 Publications (both now represented by Hal Leonard), Oxford University Press, and Laurendale Associates.
His works have been recorded on the Premier label by the Gregg Smith Singers and the Arkay label by Voces Novae et Antiquae.
Mr. Ross’ honors include composition prizes from the Stowe Institute (Stowe, VT), the Musical Fund Society
of Philadelphia, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia/James Madison University,
and the Pro-Arte Chorale of Wayne, PA. Mr. Ross was awarded a fellowship to study choral conducting at the 1984 Aspen Music Festival and Choral Institute,
and was named Composer of the Year in the same year by the Norristown Octave Club. Mr. Ross has been a recipient of Meet the Composer grants between 1993 and 1997 at the Adirondack Festival of American Music, where he also served as General Manager of the Festival and performed with and conducted the Gregg Smith Singers.
He also served as Production Editor and engraver for the Centennial Songbook of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity
, which includes three of Mr. Ross’ original part-songs and eight arrangements for mens' voices, and as Production Editor and engraver for the Complete Works edition of the music of G.B. Pergolesi at City University of New York.
In the summer of 1998, he was awarded a commission by the Radnor Township Educational Association
for a new work for chorus and orchestra for the dedication of their new theater and performing arts complex. The work, Of Arts and Elements,
received its world premiere June 3, 1999 in performance by the Meistersingers and Orchestra of Radnor High School
under Mr. Ross' direction.
In 1999, Mr. Ross was awarded a commission from Gloria Dei/Old Swede's Episcopal Church
in Philadelphia for a suite of four anthems on original texts by Gene Sweeney in commemoration of the church’s 300th Anniversary on May 21, 2000.
That same year he was also named one of two national grand prize winners in the VocalEssence
(formerly the Plymouth Music Series) 1999 Welcome Christmas! Carol Competition
sponsored by VocalEssence and the American Composers' Forum in Minneapolis. The winning piece, What Child is This?
received its world premiere on December 5, 11, and 12, 1999 in Minneapolis, and was subsequently broadcast nationwide over public radio.
In 2000 he had a piece recorded in Europe for the first time: his early madrigal My Mistress' Eyes
(on the famous sonnet of Shakespeare) was recorded by the Chamber Choir Cantinovum
of the Jyvaskyla Polytechnic Institute of Jyvaskyla, Finland on a CD of new music by otherwise Finnish composers. Chamber Choir Cantinovum commissioned a setting of in Hebrew for chorus and string orchestra, which was premiered March 29 (Good Friday), 2002. He was also awarded a commission from the Adath Jeshurun Choral Society
(Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park, PA) for Hear, O Heavens,
a cantata on texts from Isaiah which was premiered by Voces Novae et Antiquae in June 19, 2002.
In 2003, a total of fifteen original hymns, arrangements and editions by Mr. Ross were included in Voices Found, a new Episcopal Hymnal Supplement by Church Publishing Incorporated.
In 2005, Oxford University Press published three choral arrangements originally commissioned and performed by the Lady Chapel Singers.
In 2010, Mr. Ross received his first recognition in the field of new Jewish choral music through the Shalshelet Foundation, which featured his L'chu n'ran'nah (2005) in festival concerts in New York in 2010 and in Washington, DC in 2011. His Psalm 51 went on in 2012 to be named (along with his Of Nature and Humility ) a Finalist in the 2012 American Prize competition for Choral Music Composition.
Mr. Ross continues to be in constant demand as a composer and arranger in the Philadelphia area and beyond, and is available for both new commissioned music and custom arranging.