Raising the Curtain
“… a breathtaking communicator of spoken nuance …”
~ Anthony Tommasini | Boston Globe
“… nothing comes between his heart and his words …”
~ Lloyd Schwartz | Boston Phoenix
“He didn’t perform the music so much as share the profound experience he was having with it.”
~ David Patrick Stearns | Philadelphia Inquirer
It is his ability to reveal the meaning and emotion embodied in the text and the music that has solidified William Hite’s reputation as an engaging and expressive artist. He has performed orchestral engagements, recitals and operas throughout North America and in Europe in some of the world’s most prestigious and interesting venues including Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Boston, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Kennedy Center, Theatre an der Wien in Vienna, Versailles, the Herodion at the foot of the Acropolis and Theatre de la Ville in Paris.
Mr. Hite was raised in western Pennsylvania. His musical education includes a summer at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, a Bachelor of Music/Voice Performance from the University of Kansas, a Masters in Music/Opera Performance from the Boston Conservatory and two Tanglewood fellowships. His primary teachers were Phyllis Curtin, Sharon Daniels, Grace Hunter, John Moriarty and Kenneth Smith. Soon after completing his Masters he was introduced to Craig Smith of Emmanuel Music, thus beginning a rich and fruitful apprenticeship to Smith, Bach, Schubert and Schumann. Launching his career in the classical music world of Boston in the ’90s led to long-term collaborations with the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Camerata, Boston Baroque, the Cecilia Society, the Cantata Singers and Orchestra and the Boston Early Music Festival.
Mr. Hite has performed all of Bach’s major sacred works and dozens of his sacred cantatas. For sixteen years he was a regular member of Emmanuel Music in Boston, the church music program renowned for weekly performances integrating the sacred cantatas of Bach into the church service in their correct liturgical order. He is known for his commanding performances of the evangelist in Bach’s Passions.
““Mr. Hite delivered his texts [in the evangelist role] with an appealing voice and clear tone.” ~ New York Times
He has a great affinity for the music of Handel, having performed in a dozen of his dramatic oratorios, including the title roles in Belshazzar, Jephtha and Judas Maccabaeus. He is especially in demand for Handel’s Messiah, which he has performed over 150 times to critical acclaim.
“Tenor William Hite delivered a lesson in how much can be made of what Handel wrote, when one sings his phrases with individual colors and dynamic modulations.” ~ Seattle Post Intelligencer
Lieder and art song have always been an integral component of his career, and his performances have been universally praised. He has extensive experience in performing the songs of Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven. His performances of Winterreise have been singled out for their vocal beauty and dramatic impact. He is very happy to be a regular collaborator with pianist Gilles Vonsattel.
“Your reviewer has heard some choice performances of Winterreise – Hotter, Huesch, Anders, Fassbender and Shirai – but none more beautiful, or, to be frank, so painful.” ~ Boston Globe
Mr. Hite has performed in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, American Symphony Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, New York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, New York Collegium, Music of the Baroque, Charlotte Symphony, Boston Baroque, Toronto Consort, Emmanuel Music, Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque under the direction of Bernard Haitink, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Nicholas McGegan, Christopher Hogwood, Jane Glover, Robert Spano, Grant Llewellyn, Leon Botstein, Donald Teeters, John Harbison, Julian Wachner and Peter Schreier.
The tenor’s operatic credits include the title roles in The Rake’s Progress, Acis and Galatea, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, as well the role of Roderick Usher in the world premiere of the Philip Glass opera The Fall of the House of Usher at the American Repertory Theater and the Kentucky Opera. He performed the role of Orfeo in Peri’s Euridice with the Long Beach Opera and has been a regular at the Boston Early Music Festival in period stagings of Matthison’s Boris Goudenow, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and King Arthur. Mr. Hite has sung in world premieres of operas by Theodore Antoniou, Ellen Ruehr, Lew Spratlan, Scott Wheeler and Eric Sawyer.
“As for William Hite’s turn as the buffoon Bogda [in Matthison’s Boris Goudenow], let’s just say that comic relief never felt so good. Harkening back to the slapstick genius of Ed Wynn, Milton Berle and Red Skelton, Hite simply stole the show.” ~ Opera News
Mr. Hite’s extensive discography now contains over 45 recordings spanning a wide spectrum of musical idioms. He may be heard in Messiah with Chicago’s Apollo Chorus on the Clarion label, Acis and Galatea on NCA with the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Martin Hasselbock conducting, L’Orfeo on Centaur, The Construction of Boston by Scott Wheeler on Naxos and The Company of Heaven by Britten conducted by Julian Wachner on Arsis. On the Koch label he may be heard in the St. John Passion with Emmanuel Music. He has also recorded the Mozart Requiem with Andrew Parrott for Denon and Handel’s The Triumph of Time and Truth on the Centaur label. His many recordings and performances with Ensemble Sequentia and the Boston Camerata evidence his experience in medieval and Renaissance music.
William Hite has sung in music festivals at Tanglewood, Santa Fe, Monadnock, Banff and Vancouver as well as the Vermont Mozart Festival. In Europe he has performed at the Athens Festival, Festival Mitte Europa, Academie Musicale in Sainte, the Holland Early Music Festival and the festival at Aix-en-Provence.
Since 2002 Mr. Hite has been a full-time member of the voice faculty at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. He is currently the coordinator of the voice area and a Senior Lecturer in Voice as well as the chair of the Five College Opera Committee. His students have gone on to receive advanced degrees from Indiana University, Boston University, University of North Texas and Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA.