JRC bio

Jeffrey Richard Carter is Professor & Chair of the Department of Musicat Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Carter is a native Missourian, with family ties to the Kansas City area and a long history of being a student, teacher, and conductor in that area.

Carter has gained success with university ensembles, amateur choral groups, show choirs, volunteer church choirs, and festival choruses alike. His performance experience and training ranges through nearly 1000 years of the Western musical tradition, with performing and educational endeavors taking him to the continents of Asia, South America, and Europe, in addition to the continental United States.

As a choral conductor, Carter was Artistic Director of the Gateway Men’s Chorus of Saint Louis for three seasons through 2011. He led the chorus in artistic renewal, audience and budget growth, and a stronger place in the community. Two CD recordings from Dr. Carter’s tenure – I want to fly and Love Changes Everything – are available in iTunes.


Carter was Resident Music Director for New Line Theatre in Saint Louis (2014-2017). He won the Saint Louis Theatre Critics Circle 2015 award as Best Musical Director for his New Line work on Bonnie & Clyde. The Riverfront Times named Carter as Best Musical Director for his recent theatrical endeavors in their “Best of” Awards 2015. He was nominated by the Theatre Critics Circle again in 2016, and again in 2018, as Best Musical Director. Recent shows include The Sweet Smell of Success and The Threepenny Opera. Carter led musical preparation for 2016 shows at The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, and at New Jewish Theatre.

Carter led Ball State University Singers from 2000 until 2008, during which time the group performed on both US coasts and released a new CD recording. Ball State University Singers toured throughout the People’s Republic of China in May 2005, garnering rave reviews and standing-room-only audiences at several venues in Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Deyang, and Shanghai. He led the Missouri All-State Show Choir in July 2006, the Alabama All-State Show Choir in January 2007, and the Alabama All-State Men’s Choir in March 2008.

Carter’s previous choral directorships include the Jacomo Chorale, a community chorus based in Blue Springs, Missouri.  During his decade as Musical Director and Conductor, he led that group to unprecedented successes in audience growth and annual fund contributions. Carter rejuvenated the University of Kansas Men’s Glee Club, and brought renewed vigor to the flagship Chamber Choir at Ball State University.  Carter has served as choirmaster and organist for several Episcopal churches as well, including parishes in Muncie, Indiana; Anderson, Indiana; and Blue Springs, Missouri, among other professional church appointments.  He has led all-district festival choirs in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and Alaska.  Choirs under his direction have appeared in performance in California, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Washington, D.C.  His choirs have appeared on three different state and divisional choral conventions.  He most recently sang as section leader in the choir of The Church of Saint Michael and Saint George (Episcopal) in Clayton, Missouri.  In Fall 2013, he sang with the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus (including a performance at Carnegie Hall) and with the Bach Society of Saint Louis.

From 2005–2010, Dr. Carter was the national chairman of the Youth and Student Activities Repertoire and Standards Committee for the American Choral Directors Association. He also served until 2012 on the board of the Conductors Guild, Inc. Carter was Artistic Director for the 2010 Saint Louis International Choral Festival. Carter is the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus for the University of Central Missouri Department of Music, and a 2014 inductee into the Lee’s Summit High School Hall of Fame. He is President of the Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music. 

In May 2006 he led sixteen Ball State students on a three-week East Asia Studies Program immersion experience to China, having previously served at Shanghai Normal University in November 2005 as visiting professor. Dr. Carter was a founding board member of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, Inc. He was a recipient of a Webster University research grant for 2012-13, with a focus on creating a performing edition of excerpts from American operetta of 1910s and 1920s; and a 2016-17 research grant to create and record settings of Brian Andreas’ poetry. Further research projects include an oral history of Herbert Howells, discussions with musical theatre artists on singing for the stage, and a brief book on vocal exercises and etudes.

Under Dr. Carter’s guidance, the Ball State University ACDA chapter was named the 2005 Collegiate Chapter of the Year by the national ACDA organization. Previous activities while at Ball State include adjudication and master class teaching at the 21 Century International Choral Festival in Malaysia (2003), service as overall program chair of the Central Division ACDA convention (2004), leadership of a week-long composer residency program at Ball State University featuring American composer Gwyneth Walker (2003), and leadership of a conductor residency featuring Simon Carrington at Ball State (2004). In April 2005, Dr. Carter was named Ball State University’s Outstanding Organization Advisor for the academic year, in recognition of his work with the student ACDA Chapter.

Prior to the year 2000, Carter’s previous academic engagements include Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of Kansas, Graceland University in Iowa, the University of Central Missouri, the Metropolitan Community Colleges in Kansas City, and Music/Arts Institute, a community school for the arts in Independence, Missouri. In addition to university teaching duties, Dr. Carter maintains an active schedule of clinics, adjudications, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches private voice lessons through his own studio. He regularly leads students in field-study experiences, most recently to Italy, Germany, France, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

A recipient of the inaugural Opus Award from the Missouri Choral Directors Association for his composition “Phos Hilaron,” Dr. Carter remains an active composer, with recent commissions from choirs from Kansas City to New York City. His “Storypeople Songs” for voice and piano premiered in 2015. In addition to many other organizations, he is a member of the Vaughan Williams Society, the Herbert Howells Society, and the Edward Elgar Society — all reminders of Dr. Carter’s interest in British choral music.

He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Kansas, and the Master of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Central Missouri. His professional debut in 1989 was as a singer with the Kansas City Lyric Opera; as a conductor; in 1990 with the Jacomo Chorale. Dr. Carter participated in a month-long exchange program to Brazil in 2001. He is listed in the 2005 edition of Who’s Who in Education, the 2006 Who’s Who in America, the 2007 Who’s Who in the World, and the 2009 and 2015 editions of Who’s Who in America. Dr. Carter is especially proud that his students have held and continue to hold in prominent positions in such various places as the male ensemble Chanticleer, on Broadway and in national tours, and on various college and university faculties.

He lives in Saint Louis near Forest Park, with faithful companion Auggie, a miniature Schnauzer.

2 thoughts on “JRC bio

  1. Hey Jeff, I noticed your name as one of the Executive Producers of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers and that your group will be performing in Lawrence over Memorial Day weekend. I will do my best to come see you guys. World class vocals are always a good thing to check out. Congrats to you in your music/academic career; it is no surprise you have met with success. I know I was in choir in college for as long as I was for one reason: Jeff Carter.

    I practice law in Lawrence as a solo practitioner doing some criminal defense and other general stuff to pay the bills, but I’m still making music. I used Ableton Live these last few months to make some tunes without having to work with anyone else; control is awesome! If you get a chance, see what you think at http://www.myspace.com/untappedband

    I still talk to Scott Goodman pretty regularly and have interacted with Chip Knighton since college for sure. The three of us always talk about how much fun we had in choir and how much we learned. With my band, I often give them the “if the music isn’t going somewhere dynamically, what’s the point of performing it?” speech. And I can still pick out chordal intervals, although my skills in that area have decreased as I no longer have you challenging me on a weekly basis. 🙂

    Glad to see you’re in St. Louis and making music with Simon. Must be great. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see you at St. John’s.

    Max Kautsch

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