Interview with Choral Conductor and Lecturer, Mollie Stone

Mollie Stone headshot

Mollie Stone, Director of University Chorus and Women’s Ensemble


What do you love most about your job at UChicago? 

I love that the singers in my ensembles, who are a mix of students, faculty, staff, and community members, spend the majority of their lives focusing on a wide range of subjects in which they possess a great deal of expertise, but then choose to come together weekly to challenge themselves, be vulnerable, and make music together.  

What was a highlight of the past year for you? 

One of my favorite joys is giving singers the opportunity to learn music from other cultures and traditions by engaging directly with culture bearers from within those musical realms. This past year, we got the chance to learn from and jam with the South African band Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness during their residency with UChicago Presents; the incredible Swedish Ensemble Kongero, who toured to Chicago through Chicago World Music Chorus; and Oakland-based composer/singer Melanie DeMore, who was a 2024 Visiting Artist- in- Residence for the choirs and the community through funding provided by the Performance Program.  

What are you most looking forward to as we look toward summer? 

I will spend part of the summer in South Africa, where I often work in the summers. I will spend time connecting with my beloved South African colleagues, dreaming up future projects and potential collaborations. We are constantly working to find ways to promote the performance and preservation of traditional Black South African choral music both within South Africa and abroad, and I would so love to create a program that connects University of Chicago and Cape Town through choral music! 

What do you do to try and create a healthy work-life balance? 

I love to spend time with my children, and I try to involve them in my musical world as much as possible, rather than keeping them separate. When I'm not bringing my children with me to work with amazing musicians around the world in the summers, I will take them for a night out to hear other ensembles at the University of Chicago. They love attending concerts, and they wouldn't miss a performance by the University Symphony Orchestra or the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble for anything!  

Mollie Stone Curated YouTube Playlist:

If you'd like to listen to some of my favorite South African music, check out this YouTube playlist!