A career in perfect harmony
Bob Dylan is regarded more for his song writing than his vocal ability, but local choral lovers owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
If not for his classic 1960s song Mr Tambourine Man, Adelaide may never have heard of Carl Crossin. It was this song - sung in perfect harmony by American folk-rock band The Byrds - which sealed the fate of the talented South Australian conductor at 12 years of age.
"That song threw the switch for me. I just loved the vocal harmony and decided on a career in music from the moment I heard it," he said.
More than three decades later, his passion has not subsided. Today Carl Crossin wears the conducting hats for three Adelaide choral groups, alongside his "day" job as Senior Lecturer, Head of Academic Studies and Deputy Director of the Elder Conservatorium of Music.
In a career spanning 30 years he has built an international reputation as a choral conductor, educator, clinician and composer. Adelaide can also thank him for creating the most diverse choral program in the country and helping to maintain the State's reputation as home to Australia's finest choral singers.
A self-confessed opportunist, Carl has either created choirs from scratch or reinvented them. He has founded no less than six Adelaide choirs since 1985, among them the Adelaide Chamber Singers, the Adelaide Symphony Chorus (in conjunction with the ASO), the Elder Conservatorium Chorale, Adelaide Voices and Bella Voce (the last three of which are University of Adelaide choirs).
The purity and power of the human voice is the motivation behind Carl's commitment to choirs.
"I very much enjoy ensemble activity and love doing things with a team. But I like being a prime mover in that team - taking the initiative, leading and guiding.
"The wonderful thing about working with voices is that every single person has one. Singing is as natural as breathing and you don't need to create instruments because it is all there in the human voice."
Carl is both a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Adelaide. He has also studied choral conducting in the United States and Britain as a recipient of international study grants.
Since joining the Conservatorium in 2002 he has developed a unique choral program that is the envy of other tertiary music schools in Australia.
"We are probably the only Conservatorium in the country which has a fully fledged range of choirs in addition to a symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra and wind symphony. Ensemble music making is very important to the University."
His work with singers has not been limited to the choral field either. He has conducted critically acclaimed performances of opera and recently returned to composition.
An ongoing collaboration as Chorus Director for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has produced some outstanding results for the talented conductor in recent years.
In 2004 his Adelaide Chamber Singers performed the world premiere of the Peter Sculthorpe Requiem in partnership with the ASO. Earlier this year their Requiem CD was released by ABC Classic FM, attracting glowing praise from the world's leading CD publication Gramophone.
In October, Carl will also prepare the Adelaide Symphony Chorus for a joint performance with the ASO of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, which has not been performed in Adelaide for 34 years.
Story by Candy Gibson