Kirk Severtson is a conductor and vocal coach and serves as the music director of the Crane Opera Ensemble at The Crane School of Music, in Potsdam, NY. He has been a member of the music staff of The Dallas Opera for six seasons, including for three notable world premières, and of Opera Saratoga for eleven seasons.
Kirk has coached at the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, Opera North (NH), the Opera Theater of Lucca (Italy), the Cincinnati Opera outreach program, the Rising Star Singers festival, and Dorian Opera Theater.
At The Crane School of Music, he conducts the Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra and teaches classes in art song repertoire and accompanying. Recent performances of the opera ensemble under his musical direction have garnered several first-place awards from the National Opera Association and The American Prize, as well as honors from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of both the SUNY President’s and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors. He also serves as music director for the recently inaugurated Dominic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize, which received its first production in November 2014 and which recently awarded a full commission and production to Tom Cipullo for his upcoming work Mayo, to be premiered in November 2018.
A versatile collaborative artist, he appears frequently as pianist and harpsichordist in song and chamber music recitals, with a particular interest in contemporary works of living composers. He is involved extensively with the National Opera Association, formerly as a board member, and now serving as Associate Executive Director. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati (D.M.A. and M.M., both in piano performance) and Luther College (B.A. with majors in music, math, and computer science).