Kristi Whitten

Kristi Whitten

Professor of Voice, Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies

College of Music & Performing Arts

Master of Music and Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature with minors in Musicology and Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University


Dr. Kristi Whitten, Professor of Music, joined the Belmont University School of Music Classical Voice Faculty in the fall of 2001.  She earned her Master of Music and her Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature with minors in Musicology and Speech and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University where she studied under the direction of the renowned Romanian soprano, Virginia Zeani, and with Kammersängerin, Patricia Wise.  She holds a Bachelor of Music from Belmont University. Prior to joining the Belmont faculty, she served as Assistant Professor of Voice and Assistant to the Vocal Department Coordinator at Brevard College where she taught applied classical voice, vocal diction, and opera.  At Belmont Dr. Whitten previously served as Coordinator of the Graduate Vocal Pedagogy area, Vocal Arts Laboratory, and the Summer Vocal Pedagogy and Performance Workshop 2001-2004.  She teaches Graduate Song Literature courses and applied Classical Voice to a full studio of undergraduate and graduate students.  She also served as the Stage, Music, and Artistic director of the Belmont Opera Theatre 2004 - 2020 and currently serves as the Artistic Advisory Director for the 2022-2023 academic year.  Under her direction, the Belmont Opera Theatre has presented such works as Le nozze di Figaro, The Merry Widow, The Magic Flute, Dido and Aeneas, Little Women, Suor Angelica, Ballad of Baby Doe, Ruddigore, The Bartered Bride, The Tender Land, Così fan tutte, Massenet’s Cendrillon, The Medium, Help! Help! The Globolinks!, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Fledermaus, L'enfant et les sortilèges, and Amahl and the Night Visitors.  The opera workshop also received the privilege of working on the critical edition score of Gioachino Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro under the guidance of late musicologist and bel canto opera historian, Dr. Philipp Gossett. 

Dr. Whitten’s guest clinician work includes masterclasses, choral retreats, and workshops.  She has enjoyed adjudicating for music and vocal competitions such as The Blair School of Music MTNA Voice competition and Concerto Competition, Trevecca Nazarene Aria Competition, and the Schmidt competition.  In 2008 she had the honor of serving on the 50th National NATS Conference Committee in Nashville.   During her recent Fall 2021 faculty sabbatical she visited various collegiate voice and opera departments and enjoyed exploring methodologies and research related to learning styles and Whole Musician Wellness concepts.

As a performer her past repertoire included various roles from the Baroque, Classical, and Bel Canto operas such as Pamina in The Magic Flute, Silvia in Haydn’s L’isola disabitata, Isifile in Cavalli’s Il Giasone, Venus in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. Her choral and concert soprano solo appearances regionally and in Nashville have included the Mozart Requiem; Mass for the Children by John Rutter; Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten; Elijah, Felix Mendelsohnn: Passio Secundum Joannem and Magnificat, J.S. Bach; Gloria, Antonio Vivaldi; Haydn’s Missa Brevis No. 7 in B-flat: and the Rutter Requiem.  When still performing, Dr. Whitten enjoyed contributing with performances on the Faculty Concert Series, as well as appearances with the Belmont Camerata.  These appearances were representative of her immense love of thematic material and programming.  She also appeared with regional opera groups such as the Asheville Lyric Opera, Nashville Opera, and the ARDO opera of Bloomington, Indiana.  

Dr. Whitten is highly committed to her students’ preparation, development, and success as young performers, musicians, and educators.  They have excelled as finalists and winners in the NATS Mid-South Regionals, finalists in NATSAA National Finals, and finalists in the Orpheus Vocal Competition and the Metropolitan Opera Competition.  Many of her students are consistently selected for summer music programs and festivals both nationally and internationally and have gone on to prestigious graduate programs at New England Conservatory, Indiana University, Northwestern Beinen School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, NYU Steinhardt School of Music, and others.  She has also had the privilege of teaching many of Belmont’s Nashville Opera Association Graduate Fellows and preparing them for young artist development since 2006.