Arian Khaefi, newly named artistic director of the Handel Choir

Arian Khaefi, newly named artistic director of the Handel Choir (Towson University / April 8, 2013)

Arian Khaefi, director of choral activities at Towson University since 2012, has been named artistic director and conductor of the Handel Choir of Baltimore. He will succeed Melinda O'Neal, who is retiring after leading the chorus for nine years.

The new artistic director was chosen from among a sizable number of what board president Leslie Greenwald described as "highly qualified candidates." Khaefi will begin his tenure on July 1. His first season will coincide with the Handel Choir's 79th.

In a statement released over the weekend, Khaefi said he was "not sure how the stars aligned to create this amazing opportunity, but I am absolutely humbled, honored and elated to be afforded the chance to work with an ensemble of this caliber."

Khaefi, who will continue as an assistant professor at Towson University, earned degrees in vocal performance and conducting at UCLA and a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Michigan.