Michael Lancaster

School of Music
Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities

Phone: 828-227-3259
Email: malancaster@email.wcu.edu
Office Address: Coulter 466


  • D.M.A. University of Southern California, Choral Music, 1988 
  • M.M. California State University, Fullerton, Music Performance, 1984 
  • B.M. Chapman College, Orange CA, Music Education, 1977



Michael Lancaster is the Director of Choral Activities in the School of Music at Western Carolina University, where he conducts the Concert Choir, University Chorus and Early Music Ensemble and teaches conducting and voice.  He has also been appointed Director of the Asheville Symphony Chorus.  In this capacity he prepares the ASC for performances with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra as well as independent concerts. 

He has also served on the music faculties of the School of Church Music and Worship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, where his choirs sang at Southern Division Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association as well as the Annual Conference of the Kentucky Music Educators Association; Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, MO, where his choirs sang on several concert tours including trips to England, New York City with two performances in Carnegie Hall, and Italy which featured performances in Venice, Florence and Rome, including a performance in the Sistine Chapel; and Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, MO, where he conducted two choirs and taught choral techniques and voice. He also taught high school choral music for six years in Southern California.  

Dr. Lancaster studied conducting for two summers at the Oregon Bach Festival under renowned conductor and Bach scholar Helmuth Rilling.  Since then, he has sung in the Festival Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival many times, singing incidental solos on a few occasions.

In the summer of 1988 he was selected from applicants across the country as one of sixty singers to sing under the direction of Robert Shaw in Souillac, France in the “Robert Shaw Festival Singers.”  He was asked to return in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1996 as well.  He also participated as a member of the paid professional core in the “Robert Shaw Choral Workshop” in November 1990, which culminated in a performance of Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms conducted by Mr. Shaw in Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and soloists Sylvia McNair and Samuel Ramey.  He was invited to participate in the same capacity in the “Robert Shaw Choral Workshop” and the “Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop” many times in subsequent years.  As a professional soloist or chorister, Dr. Lancaster has sung with many organizations, including the Carmel (CA) Bach Festival, the Los Angeles Master Chorale (under the direction of Roger Wagner), the Hollywood Bowl Festival Chorus (under the direction of Christopher Hogwood), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (under the direction of Gerard Schwartz), the William Hall Chorale, the Long Beach Bach Festival (under the direction of Sir David Willcocks) and the Disneyland Dickens Carolers.

As a baritone soloist he has sung in vocal masterclasses taught by Elly Ameling, Gerard Souzay, Dalton Baldwin and Martial Singher.  He also studied Art Song with Gwendolyn Koldofsky as a doctoral student.

He holds the BME from Chapman College (Orange, CA), the MM from California State University Fullerton and the DMA from the University of Southern California.  His primary musical influences have been Robert Shaw (Robert Shaw Festival Singers), Helmuth Rilling (Oregon Bach Festival), Rodney Eichenberger (University of Southern California) and William Hall (Chapman College and William Hall Chorale).

Dr. Lancaster and his wife, Dr. Linda Lancaster, have two children, Kevin and Katherine.


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