Exclusive: Music director of The Washington Chorus marries Emily Bloemker.
Julian Wachner, music director of The Washington Chorus, is known for keeping the District arts community on its toes and the exuberant conductor did not disappoint when he announced his recent marriage on Facebook last Sunday. Amidst the celebrated release of a new recording of Handel’s “Israel and Egypt” with the Trinity Choir, conducting The Washington Chorus and gearing up for his return to New York City Opera’s VOX Festival, the recent marriage announcement has piqued the curiosity of his loyal supporters.
Wachner spoke exclusively with WL Performing Arts about his recent nuptials to Emily Bloemker, a trendsetting Episcopal priest at Trinity Wall Street where Wachner serves as Director of Music and the Arts. Fans of reality TV may remember Bloemker’s appearance on the TLC show “What Not To Wear” debunking the stereotype of what a priest should dress like.
Washington Life: Congratulations on your recent marriage in Hawaii. What led to the destination wedding, as opposed to a ceremony in Washington or New York City?
Julian Wachner: Thank you. We purposely planned this in two parts. Emily is very much in support of the separation of church and state. We were always going to do a civil ceremony and religious ceremony. So we decided to go to Hawaii because of my connections there such as my dad and the opera. (Wachner recently conducted “The Pearl Fishers” with the Hawaii Opera Theatre.) There are so many good feelings in Hawaii. It was mainly to simplify things. We both have a lot of family and friends, so rather than offending half of them, we decided to do the legal part in Hawaii. On December 30, there will be a public ceremony during the 11:15 service at Trinity Wall Street. The ceremony at the church is an open invitation to all of our family and friends to join us. For those who are not able to come to New York City, the ceremony will be webcast.
WL: How long have you two been dating?
JW: We have been dating for seven months and have a lot of the same friends and colleagues. It was like an instant connection. Since we work together at Trinity we really took our time before moving forward.
WL: Relationships in the workplace are sometimes not well-received. What was the church’s initial reaction?
JW: Well, we followed all of the HR protocols, which included talking to the rector and the bishop. A couple months ago, my supervisor pulled me aside and complimented us on how well we handled our relationship.
WL: How did you propose?
JW: Together. It was obvious that this was the direction that it was going. Even though Emily is taking my name, which is old-fashioned in a way, she is an incredibly modern woman. The equality in our relationship is such that it made sense that we decided together.
WL: You keep pretty busy as a conductor and teacher. What’s next on your plate?
JW: Trinity Wall Street and The Washington Chorus are my full time posts. To keep me viable as a major performing artist, there are various other opportunities that come in. I am pretty selective about accepting other engagements. Both organizations understand how important it is for me to stay connected to the international performing world. I have not taken another university position, but at some point I would like some type of affiliation.
WL: Any truth to the rumor that a little one is on the way?
JW: Yeah…we are thinking about getting a dog!
Conductor Julian Wachner will lead The Washington Chorus in “The Essential Bernstein” Sunday, November 18 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Visit The Washington Chorus for ticket information.
Petersburg, Va. native Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and an M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Denyce Graves, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. McCoy may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.