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William Ferris

The American composer and conductor William Ferris was born in Chicago on 26 February 1937 to Irish-American Catholic parents. He studied composition with Alexander Tcherepnin at the DePaul University School of Music, and privately with Leo Sowerby.

With tenor John Vorrasi, he founded the William Ferris Chorale in 1971, and the group has received acclaim for its performances of contemporary music.

Ferris' strong Catholic faith led him to be the first American composer to teach at the Vatican, and in 1989 he received a knighthood from Pope John Paul II for this work.

Ferris died suddenly in Chicago on 16 May 2000, aged 63, whilst conducting his Chorale in a rehearsal for Verdi's Requiem.

A selection of M&V articles about William Ferris

CD Spotlight. A Hint of Bitters - Music by William Ferris, heard by Howard Smith. 'Well worth investigating.'

Record Box. Distinctive and Attractive - 'Snowcarols' and other Christmas music by William Ferris, admired by Patric Standford

Record Box. Vibrant Presentation - A worthy memorial to William Ferris, reviewed by Patric Standford

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