Dr. Brian Burns
Conductor and Music Director
Dr. Burns has enjoyed a varied career in music, having taught at all levels from Pre-K through college, performed as a singer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist, and been published as a scholar and critic. He is currently teaching music and serving as a team leader for Democracy Prep charter schools, a network of schools headquartered in Harlem and dedicated to Civics education. He also serves as an arts advisor for that network, helping to make decisions regarding curricular design and implementation across the arts. In addition to teaching, Dr. Burns is Director of Music at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, NY, where he oversees an active music ministry and leads services as a conductor, singer, and guitarist.
Although he grew up in New York and New Jersey, Dr. Burns spent over a decade living and working in the midwest, where he served on the faculties of Clarke University (Iowa) and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He led choirs and orchestras, directed numerous musicals from the pit, and premiered over a dozen new works for choir (including a nine-movement setting of the Requiem Mass by English composer Tim Knight). He also taught music theory, music history, sacred music, conducting, music education coursework, and supervised student teachers.
His formal training in music includes the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma, the Master of Music in Conducting degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the University of Delaware. He has also participated in numerous additional master classes, trainings, and professional development course.
Since returning to the East Coast, Dr. Burns has become involved with local issues, including serving on the Orangetown Shade Tree Commission and on the Pearl River School Equity Task Force. He is an active member of the American Legion and serves as an adult leader for Boy Scout Troop 36. HE believes strongly that choral singing, and indeed singing of all kinds, is an important way to build and sustain community. Folks who create beauty together take that beauty into the world, and the world seems just a bit brighter for their song.
Dr. Burns lives in Pearl River with his wife, the extraordinary pianist and teacher Dr. Elaina Burns, and his son, the equally extraordinary teenager Danny Burns. Also a dog, Stripe, and a fancy leopard gecko, Zorro. He (Brian, not the gecko) is delighted and deeply honored to work with this wonderful group of singers!
YiKyung Diana Hughes
YiKyung Diana Hughes, a native of Seoul, South Korea, holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance from Rutgers University. She received both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Piano from the Mannes School of Music in New York City. As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral pianist, Diana has performed in South Korea, Spain, the USA, and Canada. In 1989 she was a finalist in the Young Artist International competition in New York City. In 1994 she performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.
Diana has served as an artist-in-residence at York College in Pennsylvania and the Evaristo Valle Museum in Gijon, Spain, and as a faculty member of Teajon College in Seoul, South Korea. Currently she is on the faculty at Montclair State University and Bergen Community College and serves as Choir Director/Organist of the New City United Methodist Church. In 2002 she was one of three organists to receive the George Bryant award for organ.
Diana freelances as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist in the greater New York area. She resides in Old Tappan, New Jersey, with her children, Christina and Andrew, and her husband, Bill.