Philip Brunelle is an American conductor and organist. He was born in Faribault, Minnesota on July 1, 1943. He founded VocalEssence (previously known as the Plymouth Music Series) in 1969 and remains the artistic director today. Brunelle has conducted such noted groups as the BBC Singers, the Houston Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra among others. He has also been a guest conductor at several notable music festivals including the Berkshire Choral Festival and the Oregon Bach Festival. His engagements have taken him across the United States, South America and Europe. Brunelle served for many years on the board of directors of Chorus America and the National Council on the Arts and he currently serves on the Board of Regents at St. Olaf College and the Board of Directors of the Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association. In 2001, he was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and he has won a myriad of awards including the Kodaly Medal from the government of Hungary, the Stig Andersson Award for contributions to Swedish music and the Minneapolis Award presented to him by Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton. He has served as choirmaster and organist of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis for over 40 years.
In 2002, he was honored with the U.S. Bank Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Commitment, recognizing lifetime achievement, contribution and leadership in culture and the arts. Also that year, Brunelle served as president of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, which took place in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He served on the Artistic Advisory Committee for the Eighth World Choral Symposium, which took place in Denmark in 2008. In 2005, British Ambassador Sir David Manning invested Brunelle as an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for "his record of musical achievement; his promotion of musical links between Britain and the U.S.; and his introduction to the U.S. of some exceptional British music."In 2006, he served as artistic director and conductor of America Sings!, a concert held in Washington, DC to launch the National Endowment for the Arts initiative, American Masterpieces: Choral Music. He also helped organize the 2008 American Guild of Organists national convention held in the Twin Cities.