TTU Home School of Music Faculty Richard Bjella

Richard Bjella

Richard Bjella is the Director of Choral Studies at Texas Tech University. The highly acclaimed University Choir made its Carnegie performance debut on May 2, 2010 to rave reviews.   They performed as the only college choir to sing at the 2012 TMEA Convention in San Antonio to two standing ovations and also appeared at the National ACDA Convention in Dallas in 2013 as well.  In May of 2014 they made their debut performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.  Recent doctoral students are now teaching at The Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Wayne State University, and Texas A & M. Bjella was also appointed the Artistic Director of the nationally recognized professional choir, the San Antonio Chamber Choir for 2014-2017. 

Previous to the fall of 2009, Bjella was the Director of Choral Studies at Lawrence University, Conservatory of Music.  The Concert Choir performed for the 2009 National American Choral Directors Association Convention in Oklahoma City.  Bjella has conducted outside the United States in Prague, Paris, Lucerne, Vilnius, Seoul, and London and has guest conducted over 400 festivals and workshops in 32 states.  Most recently he was honored to conduct the Tennessee Men’s All-State, Alaska All-State, Arizona All-State, the All Northwest 6 state MENC All-State (Seattle), the Connecticut All-State, the Collegiate All-State Choir in Wisconsin, the National OAKE HS Choir, Mozart Requiem in Lincoln Center, Ralph Vaughan Williams’  Dona nobis pacemin Orchestra Hall, and presented sessions in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Cobb County School District – Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington for music educators.  

During the 2013 – 2014 calendar year, Bjella was honored to present workshops or have had guest conducting opportunities at Westminster Choir College (Artist in Residence), Iowa State University, Michigan MSVMA Summer Workshop, UW Wisconsin- Oshkosh, Summer All-State Camp (Bass Hall) -Dallas, Wisconsin Middle level All-State, Minnesota Church Choir Festival, and countless Region Festival in Texas, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and at the National ACDA Convention.  

Bjella is an active choral arranger as well and his settings have been performed in over 25 states, and in several countries around the world.  He is also active in the promotion of creative choral programming and is a contributing writer for the upcoming book, The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy with his chapter, The Art of Successful Programming: Study, Selection, and Synthesis.

Bjella served as President of the Wisconsin Choral Directors’ Association, has been a part of the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance leadership team for Wisconsin Music Educators Association, and various state and regional leadership positions with ACDA and WMEA as well.  He was been inducted into the Washington High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame, listed in the World Concert Artist Directory of Conductor, and Biltmore’s “Who’s, Who in America”. He was recently awarded the Hanns Kretzchmar Award for Excellence in the Arts (2006), received the prestigious ‘Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award’ (2007) and, The Morris Hayes, ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (2013) from the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association.  

To contact Richard Bjella, you may e-mail him at


University Choir "Mirrored Messages" concert performance at the TMEA Convention


Podcast featuring Richard Bjella and University Choir