Dr. William Belan

Director, Chamber Choir


Dr. William Belan

Professor of Choral Studies, emeritus

California State University, Los Angeles


Dr. Belan has served on the music faculties of Cal State LA since 1980, as well as the University of South Dakota, Long Beach State University, the National University of Costa Rica and the University of Costa Rica. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses across the music curriculum. He is now Emeritus Professor of Music at Cal State LA, where he continues to teach in the department.

The joy of choral performance is demonstrated in Dr. Belan’s regular concert schedule that includes university presentations, community concerts at Los Angeles Unitarian Church, honor choirs and special invitations.

Dr. Belan recently completed a Fulbright Scholar Award, to teach in Costa Rica for six months (January-June, 2013).  He taught choral conducting and presented concerts throughout the country for the purpose of enhancing their level of choral pedagogy and assisting in building their choral community.

At Cal State L.A. Dr. Belan has served as professor of choral studies, director of the Roger Wagner Center for Choral Studies, a chartered center of the university, which provides materials and workshops for choral professionals. He also co-founded one of largest graduate degree programs in the United States for choral conducting, the “Three Summer MM in Choral Conducting.”  In his tenure at Cal State LA Dr. Belan has taught more than 130 graduate students, guiding their academic performances and research.

Dr. Belan is active in research and publication having more than 150 publications on the subjects of the English Madrigal, Latin American choral music, and historical performance practice. He is the author of three books: Choral Essays: A Tribute to Roger Wagner (1993); A Conductor’s Handbook for the Performance of English Madrigals (2007); and A Choral Conductor’s Guide for the Performance of Latin American Rhythms (2012). He is the editor of Proceedings of ACDA’s National Symposium On American Choral Music: In Search For An American Style (2013). He is general editor for the William Belan Latin American Series (Gentry Publications), the William Belan English Madrigal Series (Gentry Publications), the William Bela Latin-American Choral Series (Twin Elm Publications) and the Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Series (Gentry Publications).


Degrees and awards:

Dr. Belan holds a DMA in choral conducting from the University of Oklahoma, an M.M. in conducting from the University of Tulsa, and a B.A. in music education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Belan also holds a post-doctoral certificate of executive management from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Belan has been a frequent invited guest, since 1986, of various choral directors associations in Costa Rica, Panama and Chile, where is has performed as a consultant, conductor and lecturer. In the United States he keeps an active schedule as conductor,  guest lecturer, adjudicator, and consultant to not-for-profit organizations.

Dr. Belan is currently the national chair for the Research and Publications Committee of the American Choral Directors Association. He is the innovator of a collaborative project between ACDA and the United States’ Library of Congress: American Choral Music: 1870-1923. This website at the LOC presents choral music from the Library’s vast collection and makes it available for download and public performance.