Shawn Cullen, conductor, educator and artistic director, has earned a reputation for his dedication to musical excellence and collaborative artistry within the communities he belongs. Now nearing 50 successful concert and theatrical performances, Cullen’s boundary pushing programming has cemented his place as a dynamic artist in an ever changing performing arts landscape. Past creative leadership includes eight years as Artistic Director/Conductor for the Reveille Men’s Chorus, Desert Voices Mixed Chorus (Tucson, AZ) and Interim Artistic Director of the Heartland Men’s Chorus in 2019. Upon completion of a national search, Mr. Cullen was appointed permanent Artistic Director/Conductor of HMCKC in May 2020, two months into the COVID-19 global pandemic. He has lead organizations to three GALA Choruses quadrennial festivals and served as an artistic director of two collaborative festival blockbuster productions. Cullen continues to stay committed to facilitating spaces for others to self express authentically, to grow both musically and personally, to perform music that speaks to narratives not always heard, and to build productions to celebrate diversity while shaping hearts and minds.
Recognized as an award-winning music educator, Mr. Cullen has held positions in K-12 instrumental/vocal music, adjunct faculty at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and most recently as Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory while completing coursework earning a Ph.D. (ABD). Cullen’s research in music education, undergraduate academic achievement, and conducting pedagogy has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences and symposiums. Ensembles under Cullen’s leadership have achieved the highest ratings at contest and festival, traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad, and most recently performed on live, virtual platforms for thousands of global viewers. Cullen’s dynamic skill set has led to a multifaceted career in choral music, instrumental music, and regional musical theater serving as principal conductor for the Arizona Repertory Theater from 2011-2017. Favorite credits include “Into the Woods”, “The Secret Garden”, “Oklahoma!“, “EVITA”, “Avenue Q”, and “The Full Monty”.
Shawn holds a Bachelors of Music Education and Masters of Music in Conducting from the University of Arizona and is completing his Ph.D dissertation contrasting the best practices of choral and instrumental conducting pedagogies. He is a proud member of the national board of directors for GALA Choruses (2017- Present) and aims to someday embrace Midwest winters with his dog Cody.