Artistic Director

Dr. Joseph Holt

Dr. Joseph Holt enjoys a wide-ranging musical career as conductor, pianist, chamber music performer, arts administrator, educator and arranger. In 2023/24 he celebrates his 15th anniversary as Artistic Director for the Choral Artists of Sarasota. Under his leadership, the ensemble has garnered numerous accolades for its innovative programming and superior vocal quality.

With Choral Artists, he has brought to Sarasota Too Hot to Handel, the Jazz and Gospel version of Handel’s Messiah and a stunning presentation of Carmina Burana in collaboration with Leymis Bolaños Wilmott and Sarasota Contemporary Dance. He is also Director of Artist Programs for the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Music Director at Faith Lutheran Church and co-host for Music Mondays with Ed Alley and Bob Sherman.  For the Artist Series, Holt has designed innovative programs including performances at the Sarasota Opera House for five pianists performing on five concert grand pianos. In October, 2017, Dr. Holt was recognized by the Arts Alliance of Sarasota for Artistic Achievement.  Anu Tali, former music director of the Sarasota Orchestra, invited Dr. Holt to be the chorus master for several performances during her tenure with the ensemble, notably her final performances of the Beethoven 9th Symphony in April, 2019.

During the summer of 2011, he recruited and rehearsed a chorus comprised of singers from southwest Florida for a program commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He made his conducting debut with the Sarasota Orchestra during these concerts at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. With Gloria Musicae (now Choral Artists of Sarasota), he premiered the newly revised critical edition of Petite Messe Solennelle by Gioachino Rossini at the Sarasota Opera House in April, 2010; the Florida premieres of Such Was the War by James Grant in 2012; Gettysburg Address by Alan Gershwin in 2013; and Voices of the Holocaust by Sheridan Seyfried in 2014 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Dr. Joseph Holt on piano at “Rejoice” concert

Under the direction of Dr. Holt, Gloria Musicae was invited to perform at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival in the summer of 2012 where the ensemble presented an all-American program featuring the European premiere of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by René Clausen. He also served as Interim Artistic Director for the acclaimed Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in the spring of 2010, preparing Elijah for performances with The Florida Orchestra and presenting an all-Broadway concert in Tampa and St. Petersburg. He also presented performances with the Master Chorale in the Fall of 2016.  The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay joined Choral Artists of Sarasota for a performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Sarasota Orchestra at the Sarasota Opera House in April, 2017.

Dr. Holt served more than twenty years as principal pianist with The United States Army Chorus in Washington, DC, performing for US Presidents, dignitaries from around the world and military officials. He also held the position of Associate Music Director for The Choral Arts Society of Washington for fifteen years.  Unusual highlights of his musical career include coordinating and conducting the Filene Center Orchestra for a gala performance featuring premier comedian Victor Borge at Wolf Trap, compiling and directing the music for Prodigy, a children’s play about Mozart at the Kennedy Center, performing with soprano Jessye Norman at the base of the Hoover Dam, and assisting in the development of the National Music Conservatory in Amman, Jordan. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Shenandoah Conservatory and the Catholic University of America.