Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities
Katherine FitzGibbon is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Lewis & Clark College, where she conducts two of the three choirs, teaches courses in conducting and music history, and oversees the vibrant voice and choral areas. Her work blends a focus on challenging repertoire performed in historically, politically, and culturally informed ways with a deep sense of connection with performers and audience.
At Lewis & Clark, she has conducted music ranging from medieval chant to the American premiere of a work for symphonic chorus and Javanese gamelan. In 2014, she was an inaugural winner of the Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Award, honoring “inspired teaching, rigorous scholarship, demonstrated leadership, and creative accomplishments.” In December of 2019, she won the David Savage Award, given to a faculty member whose “vision and sustained service to the College have advanced the general academic and intellectual welfare of our community of teacher-scholars.” Currently, Dr. FitzGibbon serves as Co-Chair of the Arts@LC Initiative, amplifying the extraordinary arts programming, innovative spaces, and creative collaborations happening at Lewis & Clark.
Dr. FitzGibbon founded Resonance Ensemble in 2009, a professional choral ensemble presenting powerful programs that promote meaningful social change. Resonance amplifies voices that have long been silenced, and they do so through moving, thematic concerts that highlight solo and choral voices, new and underrepresented composers, visual and other performing artists, and community partners. With Resonance, she has collaborated with the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Symphony, Kingdom Sound Gospel Ensemble, Third Angle New Music, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Lauderdale and Hunter Noack, poet/performer Renee Mitchell, the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, and local actors, composers, visual artists, and dancers. Resonance has been described as “one of Oregon’s most valuable musical resources” (Oregon Arts Watch) and “one of the Northwest’s finest choirs” (Willamette Week). In June of 2019, Chorus America honored Dr. FitzGibbon with the prestigious Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal in recognition of her work with Resonance Ensemble. Chorus America’s press release noted, “As founder and artistic director of Resonance Ensemble, FitzGibbon has captained a bold organizational shift—from its original mission exploring links between music, art, poetry, and theatre, to a new focus exclusively on presenting concerts that promote meaningful social change.” With Resonance, she has commissioned significant new works by composers Renee Favand-See, Melissa Dunphy, Joe Kye, and Damien Geter. She will conduct the choir for the world premiere of Resonance’s commission, An African American Requiem, Damien Geter’s bold musical vision remembering racial violence in the United States and envisioning a more just and hopeful future. Following the world premiere with Resonance and the Oregon Symphony at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, FitzGibbon and members of the choir will travel to Washington D.C. to be part of the East Coast premiere at the Kennedy Center and the world premiere recording.
Dr. FitzGibbon has also served on the faculty of the summertime Berkshire Choral International festival and conducted choirs at Harvard, Boston, Cornell, and Clark Universities, and at the University of Michigan. She has directed secondary school choral programs, guest conducted honor choirs, and adjudicated solo and choral competitions, and she serves on the board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, to which she has been elected President-Elect with a four-year term to begin February 1, 2022.
A lyric soprano, Dr. FitzGibbon is a frequent recitalist and performer of early through new music, having performed with Friends of Rain, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Cappella Romana, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Clark University’s Faculty Recital Series, the Boston Secession Artist Series, Cornell University Mid-Day Music, and recitals at the Berkshire Choral Festival. On the concert stage, she has sung solos with ensembles including the Windsor Symphony, Berkshire Choral Festival, Boston Secession, Kings Chapel Concert Series, Ocean City Pops Orchestra, Boston University Chamber Chorus, and University of Michigan Early Music Ensemble, in works from Schütz to world premieres.
D.MA 2008 Boston University, MA 2002 University of Michigan, BA 1998 Princeton University
Dr. FitzGibbon’s historical research discusses the use of historicism and German nationalism in the German Requiems of Brahms, Reger, and Distler, considering links between monumental choral music and political nationalism in the Bismarck era through the Third Reich. She also frequently writes and presents on questions related to contemporary music performance and social issues. She has presented her research at conferences for the Institute of Advanced Study of the Social Sciences in Paris, France; the National Collegiate Choral Organization; and the American Choral Directors Association. In 2012, she received a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst fellowship (DAAD, the German equivalent of a Fulbright) to travel to Berlin to conduct further research on Brahms reception, German Requiems, and the Third Reich.