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Brady Allred, director of choral studies at the University of Utah's school of music, resigned from his position over the weekend, leaving behind an endowed chair and scores of music students enamored by his skills as a teacher.

"While I will greatly miss working day to day as a member of the music faculty, unexpected personal and family circumstances have necessitated this change," said Allred, who is married and the father of four daughters, in a statement issued over the weekend. "My family and I feel that it is the best decision for us. I have every confidence that my colleagues and the students in the school of music will continue to thrive."

Robert Baldwin, interim director of the U.'s music school, informed students of Allred's decision during Monday classes. In late September, Allred had applied for four weeks of personal leave, and graduate students had temporarily taken over his teaching and directing responsibilities, Baldwin said.

Monday's announcement still came as a shock to most students. "We've been worried about him, but we have to respect his privacy," said Paul May, 21, a music major who has studied for two years under Allred.

On Monday, students inside and outside the U.'s Gardner Hall said Allred will be remembered for a seven-year tenure in which he built an established choral program into one of international stature.

Allred directed the school's A Cappella Choir, with 90 voices, and the elite auditioned choir of University Singers, with 45 junior and senior students. He led the University Singers on tours to Israel, Spain, Germany and France, where the group won top international prizes.

"I don't understand his reasons for resigning, but I respect and remember him as a fine man and a great musician," said Christopher Johnson, 25, who sang with the University Singers under Allred.

Before his arrival at the University of Utah, Allred spent more than 10 years conducting the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and teaching at Duquesne University. A Tennessee native, Allred first came to Utah to attend Brigham Young University, graduating in 1985 with a music degree before earning a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

His conducting, teaching and performing schedule extended far beyond the U. campus. In 2004, he reorganized the Jay Welch Chorale to form the Salt Lake Choral Artists (SLCA), which he led to international attention. Allred also formed additional groups under the SLCA umbrella: the 40-voice Salt Lake Vocal Artists, a concert choir, chamber choir, children's choir and women's choir.

On Monday, Allred said he plans to continue as artistic director of the Salt Lake Choral Artists. He is looking forward to leading a choral tour of Spain next week, and future conducting invitations in Indonesia and Luxembourg. "The community can rest assured that my duties in the choral world will continue," he said.

In 2007, he established the Salt Lake Choral Artists Summer Choral Institute as a retreat for teenage singers of special promise. "My ultimate goal is to have a place to sing for anyone who wants to sing," Allred told The Tribune earlier this year.

Allred was the first recipient of the Ellen Nelson Barnes Presidential Endowed Chair in Choral Studies, a five-year appointment he finished before his resignation. With concerts of contemporary, traditional and Utah premieres — including Estonian composer Arvo Part and a Navajo oratorio — Allred's programming choices kept audiences guessing, even as his selections helped build broad community support.

Baldwin said he would meet with the Dean of the U.'s College of Fine Arts to discuss both an immediate replacement for Allred's position for the remainder of the year, followed by a national search.

Bon Voyage concert lineup changed

The Salt Lake Vocal Artists will give the previously scheduled bon voyage concert before leaving for their tour to Spain. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22 at Libby Gardner Hall, but the University of Utah Singers and A Cappella choir will no longer participate. For questions, call the Salt Lake Choral Artists at 801-953-1793.

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