Associate Professor of Music, Voice; Director, Young Artists Vocal Program, BU Tanglewood Institute
Mezzo-soprano Penelope Bitzas is an Associate Professor of Music in Voice at Boston University and in 2007 she received the prestigious Metcalf Award, which is Boston University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. She received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College, magna cum laude and the Masters of Music in Voice Performance from The New England Conservatory of Music.
She has performed in a wide variety of musical genres, including opera, contemporary music, solo recital, orchestral performances and Greek music. She has appeared as a soloist under such notable conductors as Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Gustav Meier, Luciano Berio, Richard Westenberg and George Tsontakis. She has concertized in the United States, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey and Venezuela. As a frequent performer of new music and Greek music she has been heard at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Jordan Hall and other venues in concerts and world premiers of this repertoire.
Ms. Bitzas was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a member of the Minnesota Opera Studio and the New Music Ensemble at the Banff Centre and the Blossom Music festival. She was also a recipient of two fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center. Her students have been winners and finalists of numerous competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the George London Competition, the Jose Iturbi Competition, the Gerdna Lissner Foundation, Opera Index, the Reyfuss Competition, the Loren Zachary Competition, the Heida Hermanns Competition, the MacAllister Awards, NOA, Mario Lanza competition, Joy in Singing, the Montreal Competition and NATS. Many of her students have performed roles with the New York City Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Colorado, Santa Fe Opera, PortOpera, Des Moines Opera, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Orlando Opera, Sarasota Opera, Portland Opera, Nashville Opera, Lake George Opera and Opera Boston. Her students have also participated in opera apprenticeships including Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Merola, Ashlawn Opera, Des Moines, Chautauqua, Seattle Young Artist Program, Lake George, Seagle Colony, Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, PortOpera, Utah Opera, Wolf Trap, Opera Saratoga, Berkshire Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera North, Virginia Opera and Anchorage Opera, Opera Saratoga, Crested Butte and Berkshire Opera and have been resident artists with Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera (OR), Boston Lyric Opera and Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Virginia Opera.
Ms. Bitzas has presented master classes for the Master Teachers of Singing at Westminster Choir College, NATS, Boston Chamber Ensemble, Longy School of Music, Ithaca College, Opera Theater of St. Louis, the University of Las Vegas, the New England Conservatory Prep and the Walnut Hill School. She has been an adjudicator for the Classical Singer Convention, National NATS Convention, Metrowest Opera Competition, the Schmidt Vocal Competition and has served several times on the Fulbright Screening Committee in New York. She has been on the faculty of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy and the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy. In 2013 she took over the reigns as the director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Vocal Program. Ms. Bitzas has been on the faculty of Boston University since 1993 and has previously taught at Gustavus Adolphus College, Wagner College and Ithaca College.