The American choral conductor, organist, pianist, composer and vocal arranger, Penna Rose, graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education from Michigan State University, where she studied with Corliss Arnold. She holds a Master of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 2008, she received the Unitas Distinguished Alumni/ae Award from Union Theological Seminary.
Penna Rose served as Music Director for the Berkshire Bach Society in Massachusetts, conducting J.S. Bach's B minor Mass (BWV 232), St John Passion (BWV 245), and a series of cantatas at Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. She became the Artist-in-Residence and conductor of the Seminary Choir at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1982 and since then has conducted the premieres of a number of works commissioned for the Choir. From 1986 to 1992 she was Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and conductor of the Stockbridge Festival Chorus. From 1987 to 1992, she was the assistant conductor and pianist of the New York Choral Society. Her career has included a rich variety of experiences from musical theater (summer stock to Broadway) to classical choral and orchestral music. Repertoire included J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243), a special dance concert performance of the African mass, Missa Luba, and Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
In 1992, Penna Rose came to Princeton University, where she seves as Director of Chapel Music and directs the Chapel Choir, which numbers 75 singers who audition for membership. Recent performances with the Chapel Choir have included Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky. She has conducted at Seija Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and Carnegie Hall in New York, among other venues.
Penna Rose's career has included extensive work in the theater as musical director, conductor and pianist.Her work in this area includes the Circle in the Square NYC production of The Marriage of Figaro, The Fantasicks at the Sullivan Street Theatre, New York City, On the Twentieth Century at the St. James Theatre, NYC, plus productions at the Papermill Playhouse, New Jersey, Darien Dinner Theatre, Connecticut, and Tom Eyen's Theatre of the Eye, New York City.
Penna Rose currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.