Betsy Burleigh, Music Director Emerita
Betsy Burleigh has been Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh for the last eight seasons, which includes principal responsibility for leading the Mendelssohn in their own concert productions as well as preparing the choir to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Burleigh has led the Mendelssohn Choir in their own concert productions, including Mozart’s Great Mass, Copland’s In the Beginning, Brahms’ Requiem, Bach’s B Minor Mass, and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, in addition to preparing the choir to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, she took the Mendelssohn Chamber Singers, a select sub-chorus of 32, to sing an invited performance at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Burleigh is currently Associate Professor of Music and the Chair of the Department of Choral Conducting at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
As guest conductor, Ms. Burleigh has led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Symphony, the Canton Symphony, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Theater engagements have included music direction at Opera Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Theater. Also active as a clinician and festival conductor, she most recently led Cincinnati’s October Festival Choir in Haydn’s Theresienmesse. Ms. Burleigh’s conducting has been critically acclaimed; her 2012 Chorus pro Musica performance of Haydn’s Creation was praised in the Boston Globe as an “expansive, poetic reading”, and in the Boston Phoenix as “a stirring and elegant, lilting and expansive performance.” Her 2010 Chorus pro Musica rendition of Orff’s Carmina Burana was praised as being both “nuanced” and “hair-raising.” She won the 2000 Northern Ohio Live Achievement Award for best classical/opera performance and conducted the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus on an Emmy award-winning concert for the 9/11 Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
She has prepared choruses for Manfred Honeck, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Jan Pascal Tortelier, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Anton Coppola, Jane Glover, Jahja Ling, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Yuri Temirkanov and Franz Welser-Möst, among others.
Ms. Burleigh served as assistant director of choruses for The Cleveland Orchestra from 1998 until 2009, and as chorus master for the Cleveland Opera from 2002-2006. From 1994-2010 she was Coordinator of Choral and Vocal Music at Cleveland State University, where she achieved the rank of full professor. Her career began in Boston, where she was music director of The Master Singers, the Longy Chamber Singers, the Cambridge Madrigal Singers, and held teaching positions at Tufts University, Clark University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a past Musical Director of Boston’s Chorus pro Musica and the Providence Singers. Ms. Burleigh earned a doctor of music degree at Indiana University, a master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor of music education degree from Indiana University. She is an enthusiastic grower (and consumer) of heirloom tomatoes.