Director of Choirs
Dr. Erin Colwitz has been Director of Choral Activities at Northern Michigan University since August 2015, where she conducts the Arts Chorale and the University Choir. Under her leadership, NMU choirs have toured Finland, Austria, and Poland, as well as various venues in the United States. She is also Music Director of the Marquette Choral Society.
Dr. Colwitz is a frequent guest conductor, lecturer, contest adjudicator and choral clinician throughout the United States. As a clinician and lecturer, Dr. Colwitz presents at conferences at the state, regional, national, and international levels, including at the Athens Institute of Research. In 2014, Dr. Colwitz served as guest conductor and clinician at a collegiate choral festival in Bangkok and Chiangmai, Thailand, with conductor William Dehning under the auspices of the US Embassy.
She is currently President-Elect of the Michigan state chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and she has served ACDA as the AL-ACDA Repertoire & Standards Chair for Community Choirs and Youth and Student Activities. Dr. Colwitz is also a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), the College Music Society (CMS), Delta Kappa Gamma and the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society.
Before coming to Michigan, Dr. Colwitz served as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. While there, her choirs toured domestically and twice internationally and were selected to sing at the Alabama state music education conference. She received numerous grants to fund research in choral music, including from the UAH Humanities Center to fund British composer Tarik O'Regan’s residency. As a result, Dr. Colwitz’s choirs performed the U.S. premiere of O’Regan’s Martyr and the world premiere of his new arrangement of Triptych. Another grant brought Dr. Colwitz to South Africa for research on the African church music tradition in rural areas.
Dr. Colwitz earned her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Southern California in choral music, studying conducting with William Dehning, David Wilson, Magen Solomon, and Claire McCoy. 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 for three years. She also sang with the award-winning Thornton Chamber Choir, including tours in France, Belgium, and East Asia.
Dr. Colwitz’s doctoral treatise was a critical analysis of Dominick Argento’s A Toccata of Galuppi’s. This twelve-tone work was part of the 2003 Grammy-nominated recording of Argento’s music, Walden Pond, by the Dale Warland Singers, for which Dr. Colwitz herself sang as a member. While with that ensemble, she performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw, Edo de Waart, and Hugh Wolff.
Dr. Colwitz served as 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 was also Director of Music at St. Victor Catholic Church in West Hollywood; sang regularly with John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale in Santa Ana; and sang with the Pacific Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Carl St. Clair, Giancarlo Guerrero, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Gustavo Dudamel.