After a four-year tenure marked by honing the Handel Choir of Baltimore’s technical skills and expanding its repertoire in remarkable new directions, Arian Khaefi will step down Aug. 1 as artistic director and conductor.
Khaefi has accepted a position at Fullerton College in Southern California.
In a statement released by the choir, Khaefi said: “It will be hard, one of the hardest days of my life, to have to leave this city, but I do so knowing that I will have made the right choice for myself and my family.”
Posting on Facebook post, Khaefi wrote that Fullerton, where he will be Instructor of Choral Studies, “has a storied history of choral music under tremendous leadership.”
He described his “profound sorrow” at departing from the Handel Choir, and Towson University, where he has been on the faculty. He wrote that he “cannot adequately express” his gratitude for “the friends and family I have made, the incredible kindness of those who made me feel welcomed in Baltimore, the depth of support from brilliant educators across the state.”
Khaefi will be back in December to lead the Handel Choir’s annual presentation of its namesake’s most famous work, “Messiah,” in what is being billed as Khaefi’s “farewell performances.”
Brian Bartoldus will take the helm as interim artistic director and conductor of the Handel Choir. He is artistic director of the the vocal group Third Practice, director of music ministry at Mount St. Mary’s University, and music director and organist at Frederick Presbyterian Church.