Conductor. Composer. Professor.
Bryon K. Black II (b. 1989) is an active choral conductor and composer. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at the University of South Carolina. Bryon conducts the Concert Choir at Benedict College, a Historically Black College in Columbia, SC. A native of Akron, OH, he received his B.M. in Music Education from Ashland University, and his M.M. in Choral Conducting from Kent State University. Bryon later served on the KSU School of Music faculty, conducting the KSU Coro Cantare (formerly Men’s Chorus) and KSU Gospel Choir, as well as teaching courses in choral conducting. He also has extensive work in church music, serving in Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and United Methodist churches. This includes six years as the Director of Music at Tallmadge Lutheran Church.
Bryon’s choral compositions have been performed by several ensembles, including choirs at Kent State University, Slippery Rock University and the University of Lincoln-Nebraska. Coro Cantare has premiered original compositions by Bryon written specifically for their ensemble. Under his direction, this ensemble has also performed the world premieres of compositions by area composers. In May 2022, he conducted the premiere of his choral/orchestral arrangement of Be the Change at Severance Hall. The Kent State University School of Music commissioned this arrangement as part of the University’s commemoration of the campus shootings on May 4, 1970. In November 2018, he and Durrell LeGrair premiered many of their arrangements of traditional African American concert spirituals for In the Spirit! as a part of the “Faith at Four” concert series at Faith Lutheran Church in Akron. Bryon started The Harvest Choir in 2017 to perform original, uplifting choral works for independent concerts, including premiere performances of his compositions. In December 2016, he premiered On Christmas Night, a cantata consisting of original arrangements for chorus and orchestra, for services at Tallmadge Lutheran Church. Some of Bryon’s ensembles have been featured during public programs at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, including the Deck the Hall, an annual holiday event. He has worked with the choirs in Akron’s Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW) Summer Intensive program and the 365 Leadership Academy for many years. He has also served as a guest conductor and clinician for various choral festivals and other events throughout Northeast Ohio.
Bryon has performed solos and sung in choruses professionally, including in concert series with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) performing at Carnegie Hall. This included preparing the Tallmadge Lutheran Church Chancel Choir to sing Mary Donald and Joel Raney’s original cantata Sing Christmas at Carnegie Hall in November 2019. He currently holds membership in the American Choral Directors Association, Ohio Choral Directors Association, and the College Music Society. Under his direction, performances by the KSU Gospel Choir and Coro Cantare were featured in the 2020 and 2021 OCDA Annual Summer Conferences. He also served on the OCDA Board as the Chair of the Standing Committee for Diversity. Bryon resides in Columbia, SC with his wife Briannah, performing locally and composing frequently.