Hailed as a “real virtuoso” by the late Ruth Laredo, conductor and pianist Michael Shane Wittenburg is active with many companies in the greater NYC area. He is Chorus Director of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera and Assistant Conductor for the Morris Choral Society. In addition, he serves as Director of Music at Christ Lutheran Church of Paramus, NJ, and has been an assistant conductor and vocal coach at opera companies in Nashville, Orlando, Sarasota, and New York, and has been the Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Chorale.
He made his professional opera conducting debut with Amore Opera, where he serves as Chorus Master and resident conductor, and is a performing member of Ensemble Tremblay at the Mozart at Monteux festival in Hancock, ME as both pianist and violinist in orchestral, chamber, duo, and soloist roles. While an Assistant Professor of Music at Lee University, where he was Music Director for both the Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre, he led performances ranging from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, to Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All. He has been on the conducting staff of the Chattanooga Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has guest conducted the Ocala (FL) Symphony and the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (NJ).
He has made solo appearances as pianist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Ocala Symphony. As an orchestral player, he has served in key roles as either Violinist or Keyboardist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as well as the Brevard (FL) Symphony Orchestra. He has been a faculty member of the Heifetz International Music Institute as a collaborative pianist and sonata coach, and has appeared in collaborative recital with such artists as Metropolitan Opera soprano Stella Zambalis, concert violinist Livia Sohn, and oboist Gerard Reuter, a founding member of the Orpheus Ensemble.
A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Wittenburg’s training includes Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied with Fernando Laires and Alan Feinberg, and held a Fellowship in opera coaching, as well as a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His teachers include Henry Charles Smith, David Effron, Dr. Steven Bird, and, most recently, Michael Jinbo at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians, where he was awarded the Osher Scholar prize. He was the Mary Ragland Young Artist Pianist at Nashville Opera, where he directed 66 performances of the world premiere children’s opera, The Ugly Duckling.