Distinguished composer, conductor, educator, and pianist, Roland Carter is the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music in the Department of Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). His accomplishments as a leading figure in the choral arts include concerts with major choruses and orchestras in prestigious venues nationwide; as well as lectures, workshops, and master classes. From presidential inaugurations to the smallest church, from scholarly presentations for national gatherings of musicians, educators, and preservationists to private coachings with individual singers, Mr. Carter lends his keen ear, bright mind, and talented hands to projects of every sort.
Dr. Carter has served on National Endowments for the Arts Heritage Access and Choral Panels and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Shaw University. He was one of the 2003 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Awards in the Distinguished Artist category. In 2004, he was elected to honorary membership of the internationally acclaimed Morehouse Glee Club, joining the ranks of only two other musicians so honored– Robert Shaw and Leonard DePaur. Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church (NY) honored Carter with a program of his arrangements and composition in July 2005. For his outstanding contributions to American Music, he was given honorary membership in the nation’s largest music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and elected to the charter class of Signature Sinfonians. Most recently, he served as guest conductor of the 2008 Yale University High School Festival, and his arrangements were featured in a special recognition program by the 175th Anniversary committee of the Metropolitan AME Zion Church of Hartford, CT. In summer of 2009, The Chamber Choir of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Ford, released the Volume I of The Choral Music of Roland Carter.
Carter, having produced and appeared on programs for national and international radio and television networks, is noted, especially, as an authority on the performance and preservation of African American music. He is founder and CEO of Mar-Vel, a music publisher specializing in the music of African American Composers and traditions. Carter has directed the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song for 19 years, and served music advisor and principle guest conductor of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Houston, TX for twelve years. Unquestionably gifted composer-arranger, it is Carter’s arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” that is most often used to present the anthem in formal settings. His arrangements and settings have and continue to be performed by orchestras and choirs throughout the world. A colleague of his once shared her belief that the angels sat upon his shoulders and whispered the score for his arrangement of the spiritual, In Bright Mansions Above.
In addition to performance and academic pursuits, Carter has served on several boards including the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Southern Arts Foundation, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. Chattanooga African American Museum/Bessie Smith Hall, and the National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music. Presently he sits on the boards of the League of American Orchestras, the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association, and is an honorary member of the board of directors of the Negro Spiritual Foundation, Orlando, FL, and the African American Music Foundation, San Diego, CA. Carter recently completed his sixth and final year as president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., the nation’s oldest organization committed to the performance and preservation of African American music. He serves the music ministries of the Cascade United Methodist Church (Atlanta, GA) and the Christian Faith Baptist Church (Raleigh, NC).