People

Dr. Steven Coburn, Co-Artistic Director

Steve has been part of the Brooklyn Community Chorus as accompanist, arranger, composer, assistant director, and co-artistic director since its beginning. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from New York University. Steve has taught at New York University, New School University, Pace University, and currently teaches music history and world music at St. Francis College. He is also the assistant director and accompanist for the Brooklyn Philharmonia Chorus and teaches piano at BrooklynPianoLessons.com. As a musicologist, Steve has been a regular contributor to AllMusic.com and Naturlaut, and has written on musical subjects ranging from the Renaissance through progressive rock. He has been listed in Who’s Who in America since 2004.

Jim DiBenedetto, Co-Artistic Director

Heading the Brooklyn Technical High School choral program since 1985, Jim “Dibo” DiBenedetto works with 250 choral students daily.  Dibo has led Tech’s choruses performing Mozart’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Mass in D, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Brahm’s Liebeslieder Waltzes, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and presently, Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana, which will be performed on February 5, 2012 at Carnegie Hall.

In 2003, Dibo was awarded the National Choral Council’s Career Award for his distinguished work in choral music and music education at Brooklyn Technical High School.  Mr. DiBenedetto has guest conducted at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, at St. Charles Borromeo, and at the National Choral’s annual Messiah Sing-in at Avery Fischer Hall.

Catherine Aks, Co-Artistic Director

Catherine Aks is delighted to join once again with colleagues Jim DiBenedetto and Steve Coburn as Co-Artistic Director for the 2016-2017 season. A professional singer for over 40 years, Cathy has toured the country with several organizations, including the Paul Hill Chorale and the Gregg Smith Singers. As soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company at Lincoln Center, she sang George Crumb’s Lux Aeterna and Edgar Varese’s Offrandes, which she also recorded with the Danish Radio Orchestra. She has been soloist with many area choral organizations, as well as performing in such professional choruses as Musica Sacra, New York Choral Artists, and The New York Virtuoso Singers.

Cathy has taught voice in New York City for over 30 years: at the Lucy Moses School at the Kaufman Center from 1981-2007, and on the faculty of the Berkshire Choral Festival from 1994-2002. She currently maintains private voice studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has been Artist-in-Residence at several NYC High Schools, including working with Jim DiBenedetto for over 15 years at Brooklyn Technical High School.

In 1993 she received the Queens College Choral Society Distinguished Alumni Award. She completed the Professional Development Program with the New York Singing Teachers’ Association, and was named Distinguished Voice Professional in 2002.