Chris Maunu is a conductor, educator, composer, and professional singer based in the Denver-Metro area. A GRAMMY® nominated educator, he is the Director of Choral Activities at Arvada West High School. A passionate teacher, Mr. Maunu was named a top 10 Finalist for the 2018, 2020, and 2021 GRAMMY® Music Educator Award. He was also winner of the 2019 and 2020 CMA® National Music Teacher of Excellence Award. Since starting his career at Arvada West in 2006, the department has nearly tripled in size and has become one of the premiere high school choir programs in the United States. Choirs under Maunu’s direction have performed at 12 national, regional, and state ACDA and CMEA conferences. They were also winners of the prestigious American Prize in Choral Performance in 2018 and won the 2nd Place Prize in the Ernst Bacon Award for the performance of American Music in 2019 (the only choir to place in this competition of ensembles of all types). The choir also was invited by audition to perform in the Champions Competition of the 11th World Choir Games in Belgium and earned the Gold Diploma at the 2020 Rimini International Choral Competition in Italy.
Mr. Maunu was named the Colorado Community Media "2019 Best of the Best" Teacher. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern State University where he delivered the 2018 Commencement Address. Chris was a recipient of a Commendation from the 71st House of Representatives for his work as a music educator. He is also a proponent of sharing his students' work. Solo performance videos of Maunu's high school choirs have received significant attention in music circles, receiving well over a million hits on YouTube and other media and social media outlets.
Chris has enjoyed serving as a clinician for all state and honor choirs in numerous states, including a recent appointment to the faculty of Guest Artists at Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) in New York City. He is also an accomplished composer, and his vulnerable compositions have been performed by choirs all over the world. An active member of NAfME, CMEA, and ACDA, Chris served 6 years as the High School Chair for Colorado ACDA and is a past member of the CMEA Vocal Music Council. Maunu is a contributing author to "A Choral Conductor's Companion," published by Meredith Music and distributed by Hal Leonard. He has had numerous articles published by the Choral Journal and other publications. He is in demand as a lecturer, having delivered over a dozen presentations at MEA and ACDA conferences, and other platforms.
Mr. Maunu is the co-founder and artistic director of Colorado’s Anima Chamber Ensemble, an elite 16-voice professional ensemble. New to the Rocky Mountain choral scene, Anima has enjoyed plenty of time on the classical music airwaves and packs the halls with enthusiastic concert goers of all ages. In addition, Maunu has sung professionally with various ensembles. Such groups include St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, Evans Choir, and Colorado Bach Ensemble. He has also performed with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Central City Opera, and Opera Omaha.
Christopher holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern State University in South Dakota. When not on the podium or singing in an ensemble, Christopher enjoys sharing his life with his beautiful wife Aleisha, their beautiful son Bodhi, and their pets, Paavo and Ligeti.