The American tenor, pianist and conductor, Robert Frankenberry, was born and raised in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where both his parents made music. His father played by ear and made sure his son could read music. Robert holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano performance from Mercyhurst College and a Master’s Degree in Voice performance from Carnegie Mellon University. His vocal instructors have included Louisa Jonason, John Shirley-Quirk, Judith Natalucci and Diana Walters.
Robert Frankenberry performs regularly as a tenor and pianist, and sometimes as a conductor. He previously played bassoon, saxophone, marimba and vibraphone. Although he began his vocal career as an actor singing comic roles, he has more recently performed such roles as Don Jose in Carmen, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and the title roles in The Tales of Hoffmann and Don Carlo. His stage roles have ranged from Mozart in Amadeus to John Adams in 1776 to Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and from Sweeney Todd to La Clemenza di Tito. His credits in music direction include productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Madrigals of Love and War, La Serva Padrona, The Old Maid and the Thief and La Clemenza di Tito for the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, the staged premiere of Daron Hagen’s Vera of Las Vegas for the Center for Contemporary Opera, and The Tales of Hoffmann for Mercyhurst College and the After Dinner Opera Company. Recent vocal appearances include the role of Spirit Master in Roger Zahab’s Uncovered by Night for Prism Projects, Tenor Soloist in L.v. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Akron Symphony, Cavaradossi in Tosca and Don Jose in Carmen for the Erie Opera Theater and Pollione in Norma for Random Repertoire. Also active as a vocal recitalist, he performs regularly in New York for the Phoenix Concerts and PRISM Projects.
At the piano, Robert Frankenberry is a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Music on the Edge Ensemble, the new Pittsburgh-based IonSound Project, and New York’s Phoenix Players. He has worked in various pianistic capacities for Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College, the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. As a pianist, he performs both standard and contemporary chamber music. He has premiered more than 150 works by living composers.
Robert Frankenberry has been assistant conductor for productions of Don Carlo, Poliuto, La Forza del Destino and Aida for Chicago’s DaCorneto Opera, and assisted Julius Rudel on Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s 2008 production of Lost in the Stars.
Robert Frankenberry has filled faculty positions at several colleges and universities, most recently as instructor of voice and bassoon and director of orchestral studies at Mercyhurst College. He lives in Lawrenceville, has worked for most of the major music organizations in Pittsburgh and frequently travels for rehearsals and performances across the USA.