In 1956, Bruce Montgomery was appointed Director of the Penn Glee Club and brought the Club to new heights of musicianship and international acclaim. "Monty" was an American composer, author, performer, painter, conductor, and director. He is recognized internationally as one of America's foremost authorities on the works of Gilbert & Sullivan, and directed and performed all fourteen of the operas, both in the United States and abroad. Directing the Club until his retirement in 2000, Monty was a mentor to thousands of students, and the Trustees of the University once described him as "irrepressible and delightful." One month before his passing in 2008, the University dedicated the third theatre in the Annenberg Center the "Bruce Montgomery Theatre." A beloved director, Bruce Montgomery reimagined the idea of what a "Glee Club" is while maintaining the musical excellence of the group. This energetic man took the Glee Club on far-flung adventures and created countless memories, music, and traditions vividly remembered to this day.
Bruce's beloved sister, Liz Thomas continues to carry on his mission to promote the performing arts in Philadelphia and around the world. Liz Thomas, has been the driving force in establishing the Bruce Montgomery Foundation for the Arts.
Dr. C. Erik Nordgren
Dr. C. Erik Nordgren directed the Penn Glee Club for fifteen years, maintaining the Club's tradition of musical excellence and theatrical showmanship.
A native of the Cleveland, Ohio area, Erik Nordgren has been an avid choral musician since grade school. He joined the Penn Glee Club in 1992 and served as its director from 2000-2015. During his student years at the University of Pennsylvania, Erik performed numerous leading roles in the annual productions of the Penn Glee Club and the Penn Singers, and served as musical director of the Penn Pipers - and, along the way, he obtained a master's degree in physics and a doctorate in computational physical chemistry! While director of the Club, he enjoyed the honor and privilege in leading the Club in over one hundred performances in places ranging from New England to Florida, from Chicago to New Orleans, and from Beijing to Singapore.
Dr. Nordgren remains an active professional singer. He has held paid positions with The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and with various churches and synagogues throughout the city. He has performed madrigals and other early genres of music with Penn's Ancient Voices and with The Bloom Consort. He was a member of the backup choir for performance tours by Michael Crawford (in 1998) and Barbra Streisand (in 2000). In 2000, 2005, 2007, and 2008, he performed at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England. In the summer of 2001, he spent five weeks in Italy with the Spoleto Festival opera chorus. In 2007, he sang in the choir for the Pennsylvania Ballet's acclaimed new staging of Carmina Burana.
In 2015, "Nord" stepped down from the podium to pursue his "real" career in chemistry and to spend more time with his growing family. The Penn Glee Club community is grateful for his devotion to the Club, and wishes him well in all future endeavors.