ROLAND MARVIN CARTER is The Ruth S. Holmberg Professor Emeritus of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC); he served UTC for twenty-four years and was Director of Choirs and Department Head at his undergraduate, alma mater, Hampton University for twenty-five years. Both appointments included stints as head and chair of the departments respectively.
Carter’s accomplishments as a leading figure in the choral arts include lectures, workshops, master classes, and concerts with major choruses and orchestras in prestigious venues nationwide. He is especially noted as an authority on the performance and preservation of music of African American traditions and composers. As a composer/arranger, he is, perhaps, best known for his festival setting of LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING and his spiritual settings YOU MUST HAVE THAT TRUE RELIGION and IN BRIGHT MANSIONS ABOVE. He has received numerous commissions from churches, choruses, and individuals including most recently Len Hale, the Chattanooga Symphony, Duke University, the BESA SAKA FESTIVAL, Chorus America, and internationally acclaimed sopranos, Marquita Lister and Louise Toppin.
Carter was music director of the acclaimed Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song and served twenty seasons as music advisor and principal guest conductor for the Houston Ebony Opera (TX) Gala Concerts. He was active with the Choir Directors and Organists Guild of the Hampton University Ministers Conference for over five (5) decades, having moved through the ranks of student accompanist to assistant director to Director of Music. Since 2011, the Conference has honored him with the presentation, annually, of The Roland M. Carter Living Legends Award to distinguished church musicians throughout the country. He was among three composers/arrangers named MASTERS OF THE SPIRITUAL in 2020 by Conti Classics for a Lincoln Center Concert. He is an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity and an inaugural Signature Sinfonian, ALPHA ALPHA Chapter (2006), of Phi Mu Alpha. Most recently received the 2022 ACDA Southeast Region Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence.
A past president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Carter has a distinguished record of commitment and service having held seats on the on the boards of directors of the League of American Orchestras, SPHINX, TN ARTS COMMISSION, National Association of State Arts Agencies, National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association, ArtsBuild (Allied Arts) of Chattanooga, and CHORUS AMERICA. He is founder and CEO of Mar-Vel, Inc., a music publisher specializing in the music of African American composers and traditions, now published by WALTON MUSIC; and is Founder and Executive Director of The Roland Carter Institute for Studies in American Music (RCISAM). He has been conductor of the Chancel Choir at the Cascade United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA, for nearly two decades.