Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of St. Mary’s Chapel
DMA in Choral Music, University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana.
MM in Choral Conducting, University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana
BA, Westminster Choir College
Acclaimed for his “deeply hued countertenor” (The New York Times), Dr. Williams is in demand as a singer, conductor, teacher, and early music specialist throughout the United States and abroad.
Dr. Williams hails from the Midwest and began his musical life as a treble in the American Boychoir. A devoted church musician, he has served the parishes of Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church in Champaign, Illinois; St. Mary the Virgin, Times Square; Trinity Church in Princeton; Washington National Cathedral; and was for a decade a Gentleman of the Choir of Men and Boys at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, in New York City.
He is founder and artistic director of the GRAMMY-nominated male classical vocal quartet New York Polyphony. Praised for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts,” (National Public Radio) New York Polyphony is one of the foremost vocal chamber ensembles active today. The four men, “singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure,” (The New Yorker) give vibrant, modern voice to repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to cutting-edge compositions. Their dedication to innovative programming, as well as a focus on rare and rediscovered Renaissance and medieval works, has not only earned New York Polyphony two GRAMMY nominations and wide acclaim, but also helped to move early music into the classical mainstream.
The ensemble’s growing discography includes two GRAMMY-nominated releases and albums that have topped the “best of” lists of The New Yorker, Gramophone, and BBC Music Magazine. In August 2016, New York Polyphony released Roma Æterna, a program highlighted by two masses of the High Renaissance by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Tomás Luis de Victoria. The album, their seventh overall and fourth on BIS Records, debuted at #4 on Billboard magazine’s Traditional Classical Album chart. It has been hailed as “blissfully confident and beautiful” (BBC Radio 3 – Record Review), “resplendent and elegant” (San Francisco Chronicle), and “nothing short of revelatory” (AllMusic).
New York Polyphony tours extensively, participating in major concert series and festivals around the world. Noteworthy engagements include debut performances at London’s Wigmore Hall and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, residencies at Dartmouth College and Stanford University, concerts under the aegis of the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht (Netherlands), and the European premiere of the Missa Charles Darwin—a newly commissioned secular Mass setting based on texts of Charles Darwin by composer Gregory Brown—at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Elsewhere New York Polyphony has performed as part of the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg; Rheingau Musik Festival, Thüringer Bachwochen (Germany); Abvlensis International Music Festival (Spain); Stiftskonzerte Oberösterreich (Austria); Festival de Música de Morelia (Mexico); and the Elora Festival (Canada), among others. They have been featured on Performance Today for American Public Media, Footprints to Paradise: A Medieval Christmas for Public Radio International, and BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. In December 2011, New York Polyphony made its national television debut on The Martha Stewart Show.
Dr. Williams is married to Emilie, who serves on the admissions team at Nashotah House, and they have two sons, Ellis Michael and Peter Grafton.