A Bit About Me
Ali Sandweiss Hodges is a conductor, music educator, and mezzo-soprano currently living in Los Angeles where she is pursuing her DMA in Choral Music at the University of Southern California. She previously earned her bachelor's in music education from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and her master's in choral conducting at Temple University, at which she was awarded the Elaine Brown Tribute Award and served as Assistant Conductor for the Nashirah Jewish Chorale. At Temple, Ali also won the prestigious Presser Graduate Music Award, which earned her $10,000 to devote to building her foundational knowledge in Yiddish - the language, music, and culture. Devoted to preserving and promoting Yiddish in the choral world, Ali has also studied under the master teachers at Yiddish New York, Yiddish Summer Weimar, and the YIVO Institute.
Prior to her graduate work, Ali spent eight years teaching K-12 music in Metro Detroit at Eton Academy (Birmingham) and in Berkley Public Schools (Berkley) and worked for the National Children's Chorus as an Associate Conductor. Ali is an advocate for practical pedagogy in the collegiate choral classroom and has dedicated her coursework at USC to studying the ways choral directors can best serve the varied populations found within a non-auditioned collegiate choral ensemble. She worked at several summer camps throughout her teens and twenties and credits these hard-working experiences with her ability to value creativity, exuberance, team building, and play in an adult educational setting. Ali's choirs regularly received "1" ratings at choral festivals and show choir festivals, but she is proudest of her work at Eton Academy where she grew a part-time position into the first full-time music teacher the school (which exists to serve the K-12 needs of students experiencing learning difficulties) had employed in its 25 years.
An active mezzo-soprano, Ali currently sings with the USC Chamber Singers (Tram Sparks, conductor) as well as the Golden Bridge Choir (Suzi Digby, OBE, conductor). Past notable performances have also included residences in Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, and Durham Cathedral with Christ Church Grosse Pointe (Scott Hanoian, director of music); soloist in the Great Lakes Chamber Festival with CCGP; Rose Maybud in the University of Michigan's Gilbert & Sullivan Society production of Ruddigore; singer and soloist in the Temple University Concert Choir (Paul Rardin, conductor); singer and soloist in the University of Michigan Chamber Singers (Jerry Blackstone, conductor); soloist for the premier of two song cycles by composer Tucker Fuller in Ann Arbor, MI (Murder, 2010; Love, 2011).
Ali also enjoys working as an arranger of choral music, largely for treble ensembles under her own baton. Three of Ali's works have been premiered by the USC Oriana Choir, including an adaptation of Lili'uokalani's "Ahe Lau Makani,” Flory Jagoda's "Ocho Kandelikas,” and The Roches' "Hammond Song."