Dr. Thomas Witakowski
Principal Conductor and Music Director
A Buffalo native, Dr. Thomas Witakowski earned his B.F.A. in Music Education at SUNY Buffalo, and his M.M. and D.M.A. at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
While at Indiana University, he studied conducting with Robert Porco and Jan Harrington, early music performance practice with Thomas Binkley and Stanley Ritchie, and voice with Nicolo Rossi-Lemeni. He served as opera chorusmaster, undergraduate conducting instructor, and assistant to the Pro Arte Early Music Ensemble. His leading roles with the Indiana Opera Theatre included Alberich in Wagner's "Das Rheingold," Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress," and Bottom in Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Eve." As a graduate student he was awarded an Exchange Fellowship to study at Warsaw University for a full year in order to complete research on his dissertation, "The Choral Music of Karol Szymanowski."
After teaching in Ohio, Dr. Witakowski returned to Western New York to join the music faculty at Buffalo State College where he is currently Associate Professor and teaches conducting. He presents recitals both at the college and in the Western NY community, and has appeared with the Greater Buffalo Opera Company, Opera Sacra, the Buffalo Opera Unlimited, and the Nickel City Opera.
In 2004, Dr. Witakowski was elected the National Director of the Polish Singers Alliance of America, a union of the leading Polish ethnic choirs of the United States and Canada. He has directed the Chopin Singing Society of Buffalo since 1991, and has taken them on concert tours to Palm Beach and Boston, as well as presenting numerous local concerts. His beautiful conception of the "Jaselka" tradition has earned him great acclaim and made it a staple of the Chopin repertoire.
He has guest lectured at the Center for American Studies, Warsaw University in Warsaw, Poland, where he’s continued his research and study of Polish music, and has been honored by the Polish American Congress for his contributions to Polish cultural life in Western New York.
In the spring of 2011, Dr. Witakowski was inducted to the John F. Kennedy Alumni Hall of Fame. In May of 2011, he was presented with an award for his work in the Polish American community by the SPK Polish Veterans Post #33. He also serves as the organist and choir director of Assumption Parish Church in Buffalo.
ACE is thrilled to have had the previlege of working with Dr. Witakowski as Principal Conductor and Music Director since the fall of 2011.
Our ACE conductors:
Jon Noworyta: 1994-1999
Dr. Thomas Witakowski: 2011-present
Dennis Lell: 1999-2010