Kim Pensinger Witman to Retire After 22 Years of Leading Wolf Trap Opera


Lee Anne Myslewski, with Wolf Trap since 2006, 
identified to fill the key leadership position


Vienna, Virginia (October 16, 2018)
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced today that Kim Pensinger Witman, Vice President of Opera and Classical Programming, has announced her intention to retire in February 2019  after 22 years of leading Wolf Trap’s nationally renowned opera and classical music programs. Witman will be succeeded in the role by Lee Anne Myslewski, who has served Wolf Trap since 2006 as Director, Artistic Administration.

“It was my great privilege to participate in the careers of multiple generations of emerging artists, and it was the singular joy of my professional life to support them as they embarked on their careers and found their artistic voices,” said Witman. “This is an ideal time for Wolf Trap Opera’s transition in leadership, as it is enjoying an unprecedented level of support and is doing its best work ever in artist training and innovative programming. I look forward to embarking on this new chapter of my life, and I eagerly anticipate following the organization’s exciting trajectory.”

During her 22-year tenure as head of Wolf Trap Opera (WTO), Witman has cast and produced over 70 productions of 57 different operas ranging from undiscovered Baroque gems to world premieres. Under her direction, WTO earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Opera Recording in 2009. During her career, Witman, first associate with WTO 33 years ago, has traveled the country, identifying the brightest classical vocal talent and hearing over 15,000 auditions in the process.

Sought after for her expertise by many organizations across the country, she has been an adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, and has served as a panelist with OPERA America, the National Opera Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. An accomplished pianist, Witman collaborated with many WTO alumni in recital, including Jamie Barton, Alan Held, Lawrence Brownlee, Kate Lindsey, and Nathan Gunn. Throughout the years, she has mentored hundreds of emerging artists and seen the unique and indelible impact they have had on the opera industry in the U.S. and around the world.

WTO’s recent 2018 season exemplified the robust state of the company, encompassing five operas in four venues. The 2019 audition tour concluded last week, and the elite group of Filene Artists soon to be chosen for next summer’s roster will inform the choice of repertoire. The upcoming season will feature new partnerships, a continuation of WTO’s work in training the best emerging singers in the U.S., and a wide range of repertoire in multiple venues.

“I am thrilled to be able to leave this thriving organization in such good hands,” said Witman. “Lee Anne and I have worked together for over a decade, bringing Wolf Trap Opera to its current level of vitality and excellence. She has spearheaded many groundbreaking initiatives, including our UNTRAPPED series, the direction of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio, and the creation of the Artistic Advisor position for Chamber Music at The Barns. She is undeniably the best person to take on this role and lead Wolf Trap Opera through its next exciting chapter.”

An integral member of Wolf Trap’s opera and classical programming team since 2006, Myslewski has worked with Witman to program and cast the last 12 seasons of Wolf Trap Opera. Myslewski conceived of the UNTRAPPED series of programming in 2016, which has featured artistic partnerships with the Shakespeare Theatre, Taffety Punk, Halcyon, AMP at Strathmore, Children’s National Medical Center as well as ongoing partnerships with The Phillips Collection, the Library of Congress and National Orchestral Institute.

Commissioning new work is a large part of Myslewski’s portfolio; she facilitated commissions for several chamber music works, including Shroud by Mark-Anthony Turnage for the Emerson String Quartet, Derek Bermel’s A Short History of the Universe for the Jack Quartet, and Pulitzer-prize winning Caroline Shaw’s Blueprint for the Aizuri Quartet. She also was involved with both of the John Musto/Mark Campbell opera commissions developed and produced by the Wolf Trap Foundation, Volpone (2004, 2007) and The Inspector (2011).

In 2013, Myslewski created the Artistic Advisor position for Chamber Music at The Barns, and collaborates with an artist or ensemble of significant influence in the field to help identify performers and repertoire for the acoustically superb Barns at Wolf Trap. In addition to her work programming Chamber Music at The Barns season, she also serves as the executive producer and co-host of Center Stage from Wolf Trap, a nationally-syndicated radio program aired on public radio stations across the country.

“It has been a distinct privilege to work alongside Kim for the past six years,” said Arvind Manocha, President and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation. “Very few have Kim’s combination of artistic and strategic prowess. Her mark on Wolf Trap is indelible, and the impact she has had on the opera world is undeniable. Looking to the future, I know that Lee Anne will leverage her long partnership with Kim to not only maintain the incredible momentum of the Company but also bring her astute artistic vision and creativity. I look forward to working closely with Lee Anne on the next chapter of Wolf Trap Opera.”

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Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.

Media Information
Please do not publish this contact information.

Emily Stout, Manager, Media Relations
703.255.4096 or emilys@wolftrap.org

Erick Hoffman, Director, Communications
703.255.1917 or erickh@wolftrap.org