Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jefferson Johnson


C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective and Triad: Boston’s Choral Collective are the first choirs to explore collectivity as a method of ensemble organization. While more traditional ensembles have a single artistic director, C4 and Triad share and rotate leadership responsibilities among the full membership. Artistic and logistical decisions develop through conversation, consensus, and/or voting.

This monograph draws primarily on interviews with thirteen current and former members of the two ensembles as well as the author’s personal experiences with Triad’s inaugural concert cycle to present a narrative description of member characteristics, governance, and operational processes. Interview responses are compared to relevant and recent findings in business, psychology, and choral music education research, establishing connections with larger social trends toward collectivity and away from hierarchical systems. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, a more established, collectively-governed ensemble, provides an additional comparison.

Respondents noted benefits including heightened passion, engagement, diversity, and individual growth among collective members, which they connect to a stronger reputation, more equally shared responsibilities, more consistent recruitment of new members, and ideas of better quality and greater quantity when compared to their experiences in more traditional ensembles. The additional time and effort involved in communicating and finding consensus were frequently cited as the most pressing challenges. Suggestions for founding new collective choirs or adapting existing ensembles to be more collective conclude the work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)