Faculty Bel Canto 2013

Bel Canto Italian Art Song

The Guest Faculty for 2013

Conductor Robert Tweten has been described as leading with “verve and precision,” as well as having “flawless” pacing, and having “musicality and near-symbiotic accord with singers which always impresses.” The 2012-2013 finds Mo. Tweten conducting Trovatore at Utah Opera, Otello with Calgary Opera, and Pearl Fishers at Sarasota Opera. After conducting the New Mexico Philharmonic’s season opening concert in 2011, Mr. Tweten returns to conduct two programs in 2013, including playing and conducting Mozart’s  K488 piano concerto.

Robert Tweten began his career as a piano soloist after receiving his Associate of Arts Degree from the Victoria Conservatory of Music and winning such competitions as the Du Maurier Search for Stars and the Canadian National Piano Competition.  Now equally at home as a recitalist as a conductor, Robert has performed with many of today’s most prominent singers including Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Elizabeth Futral, Catherine Malfitano, Samuel Ramey, Gregory Turay, and Suzanne Mentzer in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Toronto’s Ford Center, Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Zurich Opera House, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Salzburg Festival.  http://ada-artists.com/artist-roster/robert-tweten/

Mezzo-soprano Penelope Bitzas has received the prestigious Metcalf Award, which is Boston University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. She has also served as afaculty member at the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Ms. Bitzas has performed in a wide variety of musical genres, including opera, contemporary music, solo recital, orchestral performances, and Greek music.  Having  concertized in the United States, Germany, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, and Venezuela, she has appeared as a soloist under such notable conductors as Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Gustav Meier, Luciano Berio, and Richard Westenburg. Ms. Bitzas was National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a member of the Minnesota Opera Studio, the New Music Ensemble at the Banff Centre, and the Blossom Music Festival.

Sara Thomas has been Editor in Chief of Classical Singer magazine since 2005. She co-authored the book, Singing with Mind, Body, and Soul, published in 2007. As a teacher, she has operated her own private studio for over 15 years, taught group voice lessons and sight singing courses at Brigham Young University, and worked as assistant vocal coach to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. An accomplished singer, Thomas has appeared in concert in Italy, Austria, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Thomas holds BM and MM degrees in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University and speaks fluent Italian. Her master’s thesis was a critical analysis of the place of Italian Art Song in the 18th and 19th centuries.

New UNM Faculty member Baritone, Michael Hix has been praised by critics for his “expressive voice” and “commanding stage presence.” Originally from Ozark, Alabama, Hix holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music theory from Furman University, dual masters degrees in voice and historical musicology from Florida State University and Doctorate of Music in Voice Performance from Florida State University.As a musicologist, Hix is the winner the Simonton Literary Prize and a student presentation award from the American Musicological Society. His research has been published in The Journal of Singing, The CHoral Journal, and The American Theater Organ Society Journal.


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