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Huff with the Atlanta Opera Chorus. (Photo by Jeff Roffman.)

News: The Atlanta Opera begins national search to replace long-time chorus master Walter Huff

Walter Huff, the long-time chorus master for the Atlanta Opera, has resigned in order to focus on his tenure process at his second job as associate professor of music at Indiana University.

Huff joined the Atlanta Opera in 1988. Highlights of his tenure include performances at the Cultural Olympiad concert series in 1996 for the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta and over 20 performances of Porgy and Bess in 2008 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and on tour in Spain, Normandy and Luxembourg.

Huff, who also worked as the opera’s rehearsal pianist before starting his tenure as chorus master, is certainly one of the city’s most stable behind-the-scenes creative forces. He has mentored and prepared Atlanta singers for over 110 main stage opera productions in his time. This was especially significant for the Atlanta Opera as it hopped around from venue to venue — from the Alliance Theatre to Symphony Hall, to the Fox Theatre, to the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center — through good times and bad, before settling into its current main-stage home at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

“My admiration of Walter cannot be quantified or expressed in words,” says Tomer Zvulun, the opera’s general director and artistic director. “We have worked together for the past 12 years, first as a stage director and chorus master, then as a general director and chorus master. I truly believe that his professionalism and brilliant leadership of our esteemed chorus are unparalleled.”

Huff says he is grateful for his long tenure at the opera. “I want to thank all of the chorus members who I had the honor to lead for the past 28 years,” he says. “I am confident that the Atlanta Opera will continue to build great programs and deliver world-class performances.”

Rolando Salazar — currently assistant conductor, assistant chorus master and music administrator for the opera — will serve as chorus master for the upcoming production of Don Pasquale. For the production of Turandot, Lisa Hasson will serve as chorus master. Hasson currently leads choruses at Kentucky Opera and The Des Moines Metro Opera Festival.

Officials said a national search will be conducted to fill the position, and that a new chorus master is expected to be announced in the summer.