Bass-baritone Christopher Besch is proud to have performed in eight countries on three continents with such conductors as Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, and Jeffrey Thomas. His “commanding stage presence and rich resonance of deep bass sound” (DC Theatre Scene) has been heard in over 80 works running the gamut of musical styles such as early music, grand opera, and modern art song. Notable engagements have included Apollo in Anthony Brandt’s Kassandra (recently released on the Navona Records label,) Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, Frederik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Castleton Festival, Ashby in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, and many others. As a frequent performer of concert repertoire, his recent performances have included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Symphony of the Hills, Verdi’s Requiem with the Green Bay Civic Symphony, Haman in Handel’s Esther with Ars Lyrica. Additionally, he is a frequent soloist with Bach Society Houston, appearing with them at the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival in Leipzig, Germany and will be again at the 2023 festival. Notable upcoming engagements include the debut concert of the early music group Harmonica Stellarum, an all-Purcell concert with Ars Lyrica Houston, Haydn’s Creation in Louisville, KY, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, and many others.
As a pedagogue, his students have found success as performers and teachers on a national and international level. He currently serves as Lecturer in Voice at the Texas State University and is the Vocal Fellowship Coordinator for the Classical Music Institute, an education and performance organization serving the San Antonio area. Dr. Besch has previously held teaching appointments at Rice University, The University of Memphis, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Lone Star College – Kingwood. His research and expertise lie in science-informed pedagogy as it relates to the singing voice. He has presented on the subject at the Texoma NATS Conference, Lawrence University, the University of Kentucky, and is a frequent lecturer at the Donald Gray Miller Singing Voice Science Workshop in New York. His primary research interests include the acoustics and psychoacoustics of the voice with a particular bent towards how hearing influences the perception of the sung voice. Dr. Besch has also done extensive work with the implementation of the voice analysis software VoceVista as a teaching tool both in the studio and the pedagogy classroom.
Dr. Besch has earned both his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Rice University and his Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from Lawrence University. He was a semi-finalist for the 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Regional Finalists for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award for his work with Opera Colorado.