Will Crutchfield

Will Crutchfield

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Music Research

Competition: US & Canada

Will Crutchfield has been involved for many years in the study and performance of Italian opera, first as a coach and accompanist, later as a writer of scholarly and journalistic articles, and since 1995 as the conductor of a repertory embracing nearly seventy operas by Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi.  The line of tradition represented by those composers is the subject of his Guggenheim Fellowship project, which is to collect the fruits of his and other researchers’  discoveries into a comprehensive volume documenting Italian performance practice in the 18th and 19th centuries—especially the aspects of that practice that involved improvisation and other procedures that cannot be deduced from a simple reading of the composers’ scores.


At the center of Mr. Crutchfield’s conducting activities has been the series devoted to Bel Canto opera at the Caramoor International Music Festival, where he has led the Orchestra of St. Luke’s every summer since 1997 and where he also directs an intensive seven-week training program for young singers.   He also works with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, where he conducted the festival premiere of Ciro in Babilonia with contralto Ewa Podles in 2012, and where he will lead Aureliano in Palmira in 2014—this time also serving as the editor of that opera for the complete edition of Rossini’s works published by Ricordi and the Fondazione Rossini.  He has held posts as Music Director of the Opera de Colombia (Bogotà) and as Principal Guest Conductor of the Polish National Opera (Warsaw), and has appeared as a guest conductor with numerous other theaters in the United States and abroad.


His earliest scholarly work included the first extended treatment of early twentieth-century sound recordings as a potential source of evidence for nineteenth-century performing style, a field that has since blossomed to attract dozens of scholars and to produce many important publications.  He has also written for the New Grove Dictionaries of Music, the Cambridge History of Musical Performance, the Grove-Norton Handbooks of Performance Practice, and various scholarly journals, and has addressed scholarly issues for the general public and performing community through articles in the New York Times, New Yorker, and Opera News, among others.


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