Hailed as a “real virtuoso” by the late Ruth Laredo, conductor and pianist Michael Shane Wittenburg made his European debut with the Romanian National Theater of Opera and Ballet “Oleg Danovski” conducting Puccini’s Turandot. He is active with many companies in the greater NYC area, including Associate Conductor and Chorus Master of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera and Assistant Conductor for the Morris Choral Society. He is also on the faculty of the Precollege for Manhattan School of Music, 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, as well as the Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Chorale. He 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 solo 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 violinists Livia Sohn and Uli Speth, 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 and Performer’s Certificate 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. He also earned a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His teachers include Henry Charles Smith, David Effron, and 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 performances of the world premiere children’s opera, The Ugly Duckling.