CCM alumnus recognized by GRAMMY Museum and Chorus America Awards

Brandon Elliot was recognized as a top-notch music educator and innovator

CCM alumnus Brandon Elliot (MM Choral Conducting, ‘14) was recently awarded the Chorus America Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal. Elliot is a tenure-track professor and the director of choral and vocal activities at southern California’s Moorpark College and was also a semifinalist for the the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum's 2022 Music Educator Award.

Brandon Elliot. Photo/Provided.

Brandon Elliot. Photo/Provided.

Out of over 1,100 applicants, 25 semifinalists were chosen for recognition by the GRAMMY Museum. One unique aspect of the nomination process was that Elliot was able to see the comments from those who supported his application.

“What was most striking is that, even though this is an award for music educators, I was nominated for several non-musical attributes, including advocating for the relevancy and necessity for arts education, or for a single student who is clearly not getting the support they need, or helping a student navigate the leave of absence procedures after suffering the loss of a parent,” Elliot says.

He hopes that these comments will serve to advise CCM’s current music education students; as teachers, their impact will stretch well beyond their students’ musical performances.

“Speaking as a conductor and teacher, I can say that the main reason I do what I do is because I had transformative experiences through music as a child and young adult, and I wanted to provide similar experiences for the next generations,” Elliot says.

While he was a graduate student at CCM, Elliot founded the Choral Arts Initiative, which seeks to support choral conductors, administrators, and singers with a variety of resources. It is work like this that led to Elliot’s recognition by Chorus America, especially his leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic. He credits his time at CCM with preparing him to have a career that incorporates musical performance, education, and administration.

“There are so many standout experiences at CCM that collectively paved an entire career path for me.  From the numerous choral-orchestral productions we performed, I learned how to create detailed production schedules that accounted for everything from riser setup to concert programs to rehearsal schedules to stage plots,” Elliot says.

“Now, when I work with professional singers in a recording studio environment where every minute has a significant cost, I directly attribute my down-to-the-second planning and efficiency to CCM. This versatility has opened many doors that I never imagined before I started at CCM.”

Elliot and his Choral Arts Initiative recently recorded the premiere of Jeffrey Derus’ From Wilderness, a work for chorus, cello and crystal singing bowls. The recording is available on the Choral Arts Initiative website

Headshot of Alexandra Doyle

Alexandra Doyle

CCM Graduate Assistant , Marketing + Communications

Alexandra Doyle is a doctoral candidate studying clarinet performance at CCM. Alexandra’s master’s degree is also from CCM, and she holds bachelor’s degrees in clarinet performance and journalism from the University of Houston.

Featured image at the top: Brandon Elliot conducting. Photo/Provided.