Cathedral Music Personnel
Dr. Brian F. Gurley
Choirmaster and Director of Music
M.M., D.M.A., University of Wisconsin–Madison
M.S.M., University of Notre Dame
B.M., Grove City College
Brian Gurley is Choirmaster and Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a position he has held since 2013. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he earned his undergraduate degree in organ performance from Grove City College, where he studied with Dr. Richard Konzen. Dr. Gurley pursued graduate studies in organ performance and liturgical theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he studied with Dr. Craig Cramer. At Notre Dame, he was a graduate assistant for the University of Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, under the direction of the late Dr. Gail Walton.
Dr. Gurley pursued further studies in choral conducting and organ performance at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he studied with Prof. Beverly Taylor (conducting) and Dr. John Chappell Stowe (organ). At Wisconsin, he was a Teaching Assistant in the School of Music from 2009–2011. From 2011–2013, Dr. Gurley was the recipient of the Lorna Jorgensen Wendt Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, an award given to outstanding doctoral students in choral conducting. His doctoral research project focused on performance practice options for the polychoral works of Tomás Luis de Victoria. From 2008–2013, Dr. Gurley served as Director of Music and Liturgy at Saint Christopher Parish in the Diocese of Madison, WI.
Dr. Gurley performs organ recitals on occasion, is an active member of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians, and participates in summer training courses of the Royal School of Church Music in America.
Ms. Anna Benninger
Anna Benninger is Co-Director of the “Troubadours” Training Choir and Rehearsal Assistant for the Treble Choir at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Additionally, she is a soprano in the Cathedral’s Adult Choir. In 2014, Ms. Benninger graduated from Schenectady County Community College with her associate’s degree in performing arts with a concentration in violin. She continued her studies at Siena College, where she graduated (Summa Cum Laude) with her bachelor’s degree in creative arts and minor in English in 2017. At Siena College, Ms. Benninger studied as a student conductor for the Siena College Chorus and Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Timothy Reno and was awarded the Siena College Senior Award in Creative Arts. Anna has studied violin with Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, Artistic Director of the Musicians of Ma’alwyck, for six years and organized a full-length violin recital, featuring both standard repertoire and pieces that are not often heard in concert, as her senior capstone project at Siena College. Currently, Ms. Benninger teaches private violin and viola lessons and is a member the Schenectady Étude Club and the first violin section of Burnt Hills’ Music Company Orchestra.
Ms. Joan Meyer
Joan Meyer is the Program Assistant for Music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a position she has held since 2011. A longtime Cathedral parishioner, Joan also serves as a cantor, reader, and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Joan is a Capital Region native and earned her BFA in Theatre from West Virginia University. She is active in local community theatre, does freelance voiceover work, and periodically sings the U.S. and Canadian national anthems and “God Bless America” at various area venues, including the Albany Times Union Center and Saratoga Race Track.