Melinda O'Neal

  • Professor of Music, Emerita

  • Former Conductor, Handel Society and Chamber Singers

Conductor Melinda O'Neal has been praised for her "lucid and musical understanding of the score," "moving and satisfying interpretations," and her "stylish and clear manner on the podium" by Hugh Macdonald, Berlioz scholar and music critic. She is professor emerita of music at Dartmouth College (1979-2018), where she taught courses and conducted choral ensembles, and artistic director & conductor emerita of Handel Choir of Baltimore (2004-2013).

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HB 6187


  • B.M.E. Florida State University
  • M.M. Indiana University
  • D.M. Indiana University

Selected Publications

  • Experiencing Berlioz: A Listener's Companion (Rowman & LIttlefield, 2018).

    Conductor Highlights: Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem (Handel Choir and UMBC Chorale, 2013); Handel's Semele (HC, 2012), British/American Connection (HC, 2010); Handel's Jephtha (staged, HC Chandos Singers, 2010) in collaboration with American Opera Theatre; Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette (Handel Society of Dartmouth College, 2003); Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem (HSDC, 2003); Bach's St. Matthew Passion (HSDC, 1998).

    Artistic Director and Conductor 2012-13: Handel's Messiah with Handel Choir & Handel Period Instrument Orchestra, guest soloists; Transcendence & Transformation with Diba Alvi, soprano, Marian Rian Hayes, harp, John Kilkenny, percussion, commission and première of Song of the Shulamite by Donald McCullough; folk song arrangements of the British Isles; music by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener; Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) with guest soloists Laura Choi Stuart and Steven Combs, a collaboration with Camerata of University of Maryland Baltimore County and Orchestra of St. John's.

    Artistic Director and Conductor 2011-12: Handel's Messiah with Handel Choir and Handel Period Instrument Orchestra, guest soloists; Anglo Meets Saxon—Music of Britten, Walton, Rheinberger and Brahms; Handel's oratorio Semele with Handel Period Instrument Orchestra and guest soloists; Final Fantasy with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; benefit concerts for First Unitarian Organ Fund; Murphy Initiative for Peace and Justice, Collington Square Education Program.

    Artistic Director and Conductor 2010-11: Handel's Messiah with Handel Choir and Handel Period Instrument Orchestra, guest soloists; Dunphy's Gonzales Cantata and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (staged production); Mozart's Requiem and Bach Cantata 106 in collaboration with Harmonious Blacksmith; Benefit Concert for Methodist Board of Child Care.

    Forward for A History of the Handel Choir of Baltimore by Carl B. Schmidt. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (2015).

    Essay in Hand-Print Folio: "Handel's Compassion and Messiah: An Oratorio." Baltimore: Hill Press (2012).

    Lecture and Reading Session: Library of Congress–American Music 1870-1923 (2010).

    Conference Presentation: "Preparing and Performing Berlioz's Choral Music," Berlioz Society, London, UK (2009).

    Chapter: "Passion and Authenticity: A Conversation with Marin Alsop" in Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors On Their Art, ed. Joan Catoni Conlon. Chicago: GIA Publications (2009).

    Article: "Orchestral Songs and Choruses by Hector Berlioz," Conductors Journal Podium Notes (2005).

    Chapter: "Coming to Terms with Historical Performance Practices," in Up Front!: Becoming the Complete Choral Conductor, ed. Guy Webb. Boston: ECS Publications (1994).

Selected Works & Activities

Course Design: Brahms, Berlioz and the Romantic Imagination (Fall 2013).

Lecture: "Mélodies Fantastiques! — Mystique and Narrative in Berlioz's Vocal Music" presented for Opera Prelude, Cadogan Hall, London, United Kingdom. November 26, 2019.