Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, the former music director of the now defunct American Boychoir School, has been named the next artistic director of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. He will begin his new post in August of 2018.
Malvar-Ruiz served as the music director of the American Boychoir School from 2004 to 2017. The school was closed for good in August because of ongoing financial struggles.
Malvar-Ruiz will be the third person to lead Los Angeles Children’s Chorus since its founding in 1986. He succeeds Anne Tomlinson, who steps down at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season following a 22-year tenure with the organization. The choir currently serves more than 400 children ages 6 to 18 from 50 communities across Los Angeles in six choirs. The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the chorus is featured in the Academy Award-nominated “Sing!,” a film about a year in the life of the chorus. The chorus has performed with John Mayer on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and has also been featured on PBS’s “Great Performances,”BBC Radio, and Public Radio International’s nationally syndicated show “From the Top.”
“As the chorus moves into its next exciting chapter, we are extremely pleased to welcome Fernando Malvar-Ruiz,” said Los Angels Children’s Chorus Board Chair Cheryl Scheidemantle. “Throughout his distinguished career, he has demonstrated exceptional talent, skill and expertise working with young singers across a wide range of platforms, including live performance, recording, movies, TV shows and advertising, and collaborating with leading artists…His energy and vitality are valuable assets that will help further invigorate the organization and ensure its continued excellence and growth in the years to come.”
Malvar-Ruiz said he hopes to build on the foundation Tomlinson has built. “Choral music transcends borders and language, and I am passionate about being part of an organization that gives young people the tools to communicate on a global level through music,” he said.
At the American Boychoir School, Malvar-Ruiz oversaw all music training and artistic aspects of the organization from 2004 to 2017. He previously served as the choir’s associate music director from 2000-2004 under James Litton and then Vincent Metallo.
The American Boychoir School moved after selling the Princeton campus, Albermarle, on Lambert Drive in 2012. The school then filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Several former students who were sexually abused by a choirmaster at the school in the 1970s and 1980s sued the school and settled out of court. In court documents, the American Boychoir claimed that it had no duty to protect children in their care from sexual abuse and that children who were abused were themselves negligent for not bringing the abuse to light.