Erin Colwitz received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota in 1998. She later completed the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral music from the University of Southern California, where she studied with William Dehning, David Wilson, and Magen Solomon. At USC, she was awarded a full teaching assistantship as conductor of the Thornton Oriana Choir, the University’s only women’s chorus, a post she held from 2003-2006. At USC, she also sang with William Dehning and the award-winning Thornton Chamber Choir, touring France and Belgium in 2003 and East Asia in 2006.
In Minnesota, Dr. Colwitz was a full-time vocal and general music teacher at Centennial Middle School. There she conducted four choirs, the school’s honor choir and swing choir, in addition to teaching classroom music. As a professional singer, Dr. Colwitz was contracted to sing with the Dale Warland Singers in 1999. As part of this extraordinary ensemble, she performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw, Edo de Waart, and Hugh Wolff. The DWS received a Grammy nomination for their recording of Dominick Argento pieces; Dr. Colwitz’s doctoral treatise is a critical analysis of Argento’s, A Toccata of Galuppi’s, a twelve-tone work found on that recording.
In Los Angeles, Dr. Colwitz was a member of the choral music faculty at California State University, Fullerton, where she conducted the women’s choir and taught music education courses. She served as the Director of Music at St. Victor Catholic Church in West Hollywood from 2003-2008 where she conducted the church choir and guest orchestra in weekly services, feast day services, and concerts such as the Duruflé Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. Additionally, she was privileged to sing with the Pacific Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Carl St. Clair, Giancarlo Guerrero, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Gustavo Dudamel.
Dr. Colwitz is currently the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She conducts the UAHuntsville Chamber Choir and UAHuntsville Concert Choir, teaches conducting, advanced conducting, music history, diction, and choral education methods classes. Dr. Colwitz serves frequently as contest adjudicator and choral clinician throughout Alabama. Under her leadership, the UAHuntsville Chamber Choir qualified to sing at the state Music Educators Convention in January, 2012. She presented sessions this year at both AMEA and at regional ACDA in Winston-Salem. Recently, Dr. Colwitz was awarded a faculty research grant to visit South Africa and research Protestant Church Music in the Post-Apartheid Era in April of 2012. The Department of Humanities at UAHuntsville recently aided Dr. Colwitz and the music department in bringing in accomplished British composer, Tarik O’Regan for a week-long residency in February of 2012. Dr. Colwitz conducted the U.S. premiere of O’Regan’s Martyr in Huntsville with O’Regan in attendance.
Dr. Colwitz is a member of MENC, the Alabama Vocal Association (AVA), the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), the College Music Society (CMS), and the music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda.
Dr. Colwitz lives in Jones Valley with her husband, William Dehning, who is an accomplished conductor, Emeritus Professor (USC), and published author. They also share their home with a very active 75-pound golden retriever named Sam.