Louis Menendez

Collaborative Pianist; UCA Opera

lmenendez@uca.edu

SFA 138C

(501) 450-3163

Louis Menendez has earned a reputation for extraordinarily sensitive and powerfully dramatic musicianship whether it is at the podium as an opera conductor, on stage collaborating in recital, at the piano as vocal coach, or at the desk composing.

Immediately following his graduate studies in Piano with a concentration in chamber music and accompanying from Temple University, Mr. Menendez was invited to join the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music and subsequently, Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, holding both positions for a number of years.

He has a very solid background in the Operatic repertoire, having assisted such major conductors as Max Rudolf, Placido Domingo, Anton Coppola, Julius Rudel, John DeMain, John Mauceri, William Anthony Waters, Steven Mercurio, Marco Armiliato, Yuri Temirkanov, Bruno Rigacci, William Barkheimer, John Adams, James Caraher, Victor DeRenzi, and Ted Taylor in over 140 productions in the U.S. and Europe.

As a conductor, Mr. Menenedez  recently toured with a production of Porgy and Bess in Italy, Spain, and Germany, where he made his European debut at the Staatsoper in Hannover. He has conducted Pucinni’s Madama Butterfly with the Shreveport Symphony, Cenerentola with Jacksonville Lyric Opera, Rigoletto at Queens College and Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Brooklyn Opera. Past productions conducted include: Idomeneo and Die Zauberflöte for the California Music Festival in San Francisco; La Clemenza di Tito, Cosi fan Tutte, and La Traviata at the New York Opera Studio; Rigoletto and Die Entführung with the Philadelphia Concert Opera; and Suor Angelica and Falstaff at the Academy of Vocal Arts

As one of New York’s busiest and most respected operatic coaches, Mr. Menendez has assisted such artists as Sherrill Milnes, Birgit Nilsson, Renata Scotto, Regina Resnick, Régine Crespin, Alfredo Kraus, Mignon Dunn, Luciano Pavarotti, Evelyn Lear, Jennifer Larmore, Carol Vaness, Fabrizio Melano, Martina Arroyo, Joan Dorneman, Tito Capobianco, Nico Castel, and Bruno Rigacci, in master classes and private sessions.

Mr. Menendez counts among his most memorable experiences recitals with singers Louis Quilico, Jerome Hines, Stephanie Blythe, Nico Castel, Elizabeth Futral, Suzanne Mentzer and Allan Glassman. Many of these performances have taken him around the globe to places such as Japan, Korea, Italy, Israel, Germany, Spain, Austria and England to name a few.

 

Mr. Menendez’s passion and love for chamber music began early in his career – he has since had the distinct pleasure of working with such artists as Yo Yo Ma, Raphael Druian, Jaime Laredo, Aaron Rosand, Felix Galimir, Orlando Cole, Jasha Brodsky, and renowned flutists Julius Baker and James Galway. For ten years, he toured extensively with his piano trio Orpheus III, which included members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In its tenure, the Trio commissioned and premiered original works and performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with many regional orchestras. Trio Arkansas with violinist Geoffrey Robson and cellist David Gerstein this fall will premiers the opera by Bonnie Montgomery Billy Blythe in a production by Opera in the Rock September 2016.

 

In recent recitals with violinist Julia Saharova at Julliard and Steinway Hall, Mr. Menendez worked with the award-winning composer Sean Hickey in the premiere of Ampersand. He has also had the honors of working with John Adams and Audra McDonald in excerpts from Dr. Atomic, premiered by the New York Philharmonic , Giancarlo Menotti on his Amahl production in Spoleto, Italy, and Carlisle Floyd on a production of his Susannah with National Opera in DC.

His own compositions include a recently premiered Christmas Oratorio for soloists, chamber ensemble and choir, commissioned by the United Methodist Church of Danbury, Connecticut, and his one-man show Dragonfly which enjoyed much success at the Dorothy Jones Theatre in New York City. The song Laughing at the Sun,  was just featured on the  2016 Cala Records album Destination Peace where it was recorded with The English Chamber Orchestra and Manny Perlmann.

 

A dedicated educator and administrator, Mr. Menenedez has served as Artistic Director of the Anchorage Opera Studio Theatre; Music Director for Sarasota Opera’s Studio Artists; Founder and Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Concert Opera; Founder and Director of the Apprentice Coach Program at Sherrill Milnes’s “Voice Experience”; and has been on the coaching staffs for the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy (7 summers), the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, the California Music Festival in San Francisco,  Martina Arroyo’s “Prelude to Performance”  and Music Director for the New York Opera Studio, headed by Nico and Carol Castel from 2003-7. As Artistic director and Founder of the Bechstein Vocal Series at The Players in Gramercy Park NY, he has presented and produced over 40 events and concerts  between 2007 and 2009. Last summer (2015) he was vocal coach in Italy for Lingua e Canto, a training program for gifted young opera singers in Sant’Angelo in Vado near Pesaro. He is proud of the musical preparation he’s given his many clients and former students who have sung and/or are singing in just about every major opera house around the world.

 

Classical Singer Magazine interviewed him and published the article “Time Stands Still, a Formula for Developing Artistry” in the October 2005 issue. In an interview for the Live Sound Studios Singers Newsletter (Nov. 2005), he discusses “Your Demo from a Conductor’s Point of View.”

He has recorded for Centaur Records with soprano Raya Gonen in Vocal Jewels from Israel (#2324), for which he received superlative reviews from George Jellinek when it aired on WQXR.

2016-17  highlights will include conducting a production of Il Barbiere di Seviglia for Opera in the Rock, playing the Metropolitan Regional Auditions in Little Rock and recording a solo piano album of original arrangements of holiday music.