When we sing together, we celebrate our sameness. We use different compositions and texts as our media to deliver to an audience a message characterized by directness and willingness. But for us inside the ranks, we get to stand together and announce our sameness. What better exercise, what better pursuit than to subjugate our individualites (or perhaps combine our individualities) to demonstrate our sameness?

We come into this world screaming, and sometimes leave it the same way. Making sound is our most primal instinct. But when we affirmatively seek opportunity to organize our moaning, we unkink the conduit of meaning. That’s why I love ensemble singing.
— J.D. Burnett

J.D. Burnett

Artistic Director


J.D. Burnett enjoys a varied career as a conductor, singer, and teacher. He is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music, where he conducts the University Chorus, the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, and the Collegium Musicum, teaches courses in conducting and graduate choral literature, and serves as chair of the conducting area.

Formerly, he served as Assistant Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, conducted New Jersey Youth Chorus Young Men’s Ensemble, was Associate Conductor of the Masterwork Chorus of New Jersey, and was Acting Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University. His earlier posts include Interim Director of Choral Activities at San Jose State University, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Chamber Singers, Music Director of the Houston Masterworks Chorus, Founder of Men’s Consort Houston, and member of the choral music faculty at Kingwood High School in suburban Houston. He also served as Choral Editor at McGraw-Hill, Inc. 

Burnett did undergraduate study at Stanford University and Oklahoma State University. He holds a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, where he sang in the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Westminster Kantorei, and served as Assistant Conductor of the renowned Westminster Choir. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, where he conducted the Concert Choir and taught undergraduate conducting.

As a professional choral singer, Burnett has performed seasons, concerts, and recordings with the Stillwater Chamber Singers, Cantare Houston, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Fuma Sacra, the Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, and Conspirare.