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Herbert Witherspoon

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Preceded by  Giulio Gatti-Casazza
Succeeded by  Edward Johnson
Education  Yale University

Role  Singer
Name  Herbert Witherspoon
Books  Singing
Herbert Witherspoon wwwlocgovjukeboxmediatalentimagesherbertwi
Born  July 21, 1873 Buffalo, New York (1873-07-21)
Died  May 10, 1935, New York City, New York, United States

Herbert witherspoon the messiah the trumpet shall sound handel

Herbert Witherspoon (July 21, 1873 – May 10, 1935) was an American bass singer and opera manager.


Herbert Witherspoon Buy Photo Herbert Witherspoon18731935playing pianoAmerican bass


He was born on July 21, 1873 in Buffalo, New York.

He graduated from Yale University in 1895 where he had performed as a member of the Yale Glee Club. After leaving school he studied music with Horatio Parker, Edward MacDowell, and Gustav Stoeckel. Witherspoon also studied singing with Walter Henry Hall and Max Treumann in New York City. For further study he traveled to Europe. He worked in Paris with Jean-Baptiste Faure and Jacques Bouhy and in Milan with Francesco Lamperti and also studied in London and Berlin.

Witherspoon made his singing debut in 1898 with a small company in New York, and soon was making many appearances in concert and in oratorios. On November 26, 1908, he made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Titurel in Richard Wagner's Parsifal. He remained with the company until his retirement from singing in 1914, at which point he chose to concentrate on teaching. Witherspoon made many recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1907 and 1917.

On June 20, 1916 in Manhattan he married Florence Hinkle as his second wife.

In 1925 Witherspoon became president of the Chicago Musical College. In 1930 he became artistic director of the Chicago Civic Opera, and in 1931 took over as president of the Cincinnati Conservatory. On the strength of his work in these positions, Witherspoon was named to succeed Giulio Gatti-Casazza when the latter retired as General Manager of the Metropolitan.

After the death of Florence Hinkle in 1933, he married Blanche Sternberg Skeath.

He died on May 10, 1935 in Manhattan, New York City. He was barely six weeks into his term when he died at his desk from a heart attack while meeting with his assistant, Edward Ziegler. His last words, regarding the news that subscriptions for the 1935-1936 season were exceeding expectations, were, "That's grand." In 1944 his widow became the managing director of the new Ballet International. His will set aside money for the Library of Congress to buy music scripts to be donated in the name of Florence Hinkle, his second wife. The remainder of his estate went to his third wife, Blanche Sternberg Skeath.


Witherspoon was succeeded as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera by tenor Edward Johnson. During his career he also taught singing privately. One of his students was Mabel Garrison.

Works or publications

  • 36 lessons in singing for teacher and student. OCLC 023968287
  • Singing; a treatise for teachers and students. OCLC 000911719
  • References

    Herbert Witherspoon Wikipedia

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