Carrier Retires - A look back by Commonwealth Chorale


Carrier Conducting

Thank you for the memories

David Carrier has been Music Director of Commonwealth Chorale for 43 years. It has been a great run. His fine artistic direction took a local volunteer chorus, Newton Choral Society, and built it into Commonwealth Chorale, one of today’s leading groups in the Greater Boston area. 

Carrier’s presence has given so much to the music community and Commonwealth Chorale in particular. The Chorale has benefitted from his close relationship with his alma mater, New England Conservatory. When Carrier mentored their masters-level student conductors in rehearsals, the moments felt like a Master Class- a unique opportunity to watch and learn. His relationship with his own mentor, Lorna Cooke de Varon, was truly special and fully recognized after her death. NEC invited Maestro Carrier and Commonwealth Chorale, the only outside group, to perform in a brilliant Tribute to her at Jordan Hall.  

Over the years he has found many ways to make rehearsals valuable learning experiences.  A program of artists-in-residence helped with vocal production, and often those vocalists were the soloists in upcoming concerts. Composers attended rehearsals to fine tune and bring insight to their compositions. Carrier’s collaboration with rehearsal pianists underlined their importance to the success of every concert. In an interview for Newton Magazine, Carrier’s favorite concert mistress said that she never had a problem finding people to play for him because he always knew the music cold. That’s high praise from the professionals and speaks to the thoroughness of his concert preparation.

Chorale members consider performing with Carrier as inspirational. There is nothing finer than to follow his lead, blend as one, and see his reaction.  There must have been moments though, leading up to a concert, when he felt like he was “herding cats.” Who better to know what that means than the man who at one time had five Maine Coon Cats in his household? 

Commonwealth Chorale treasures many concert experiences. One stands out that captures how Carrier’s artistic ability with chorus, soloists, and orchestra touched an entire audience. It was a piece by Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, The Wound in the Water.  When the last notes of this stunning piece faded away, the great sanctuary of Holy Name Church fell into complete silence. Chorale members watched as Carrier slowly put down his baton, looked up at the singers with gratitude, and turned around to face the audience. Nobody moved. It was like they didn’t want to spoil the moment. Then David Carrier bowed, and they stood up as one body, and filled the place with thunderous applause. 

Commonwealth Chorale sends its heartfelt applause and best wishes to Maestro David Carrier upon his retirement.


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Newtonville, MA 02460

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