Visiting Assistant Professor of Opera and Conducting Dror Baitel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a collaborative artist to his new position with The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music.
“I’m thrilled to have the chance to collaborate with Dror,” said Benjamin Smith, Opera Stage Director and Associate Professor of Music with the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. “He brings a wealth of high-level professional experience in opera and musical theater that will be invaluable to our students. We very much look forward to welcoming him into the University of Memphis musical family.”
Baitel was born in Israel and comes to The University of Memphis by way of New York City, where he spent years honing his craft working with various Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater productions.
“Dror Baitel is a brilliant musician, an outstanding educator, and his depth of experience on Broadway, in opera, and as a coach and conductor is impressive,” said Dr. Kevin Sanders, Director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. “I very much look forward to all that Dror will bring to the School of Music as a teacher, performer, and colleague.”
Baitel’s work weaves together theater and musicianship in large-scale performances. This includes time spent as an opera coach for Atlantic Opera’s rendition of Carmen, as well as a rehearsal pianist for Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I. For this new School of Music hire, versatility is a crucial ingredient to success.
“A lot of what I do is based around conducting and collaborative piano, but I have also worked with many singers to prepare for productions,” he said. “For me, conducting is all about being able to literally stretch out my arms and welcome more people into the process of making music. I teach the score, coach the score, but also try to help make sense of what it is all reduced for on the orchestral side. There’s also a big focus on learning what the composer intended when he wrote the music in the first place. I am excited to share this process with students and instrumentalists.”
Baitel was on the original music team of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Hamilton, as well as music director for the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen. Baitel’s list of honors as a musician includes a 2011 first prize in American Protege at Carnegie Hall and a recent C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship. He earned his Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Piano Performance from Mannes College of Music. He earned his Master of Music with a concentration in Collaborative Piano from The Juilliard School in 2017.