Dr. Robert Best
Associate Professor of Voice
Recruiting Coordinator for the Vocal Division
School of Music
One Bear Place #97408
Waco TX 76798-7408
Phone: (254) 710-4602
Fax: (254) 710-1191
ROBERT BEST, lyric baritone, has been a member of the Vocal Studies Division since 2001. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied with Barbara Doscher and Robert Harrison. Dr. Best also earned BM (Vocal Performance) and MM (Vocal Performance and Vocal Performance/Pedagogy) degrees from Arizona State University where he studied with Jerry Doan.
Dr. Best was an apprentice artist with the Opera Colorado Artist Center, and has been a featured soloist with many symphony orchestras, including the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the National Repertory Orchestra. Other honors include participating in the International Festival of the Art Song, the Banff Centre of the Arts Academy of Singing in Canada, and the NATS Young Intern Program where he worked with Shirlee Emmons. Dr. Best has performed in such diverse concert venues as: the College Band Directors National Conference, the Texoma NATS Region Fall Conference, the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Texas Music Educators Association State Convention, and Society of Composers, Inc. regional conferences. He has also appeared as a clinician and/or performer at the Rio Grande and East Texas NATS Chapter Conventions, the College Music Society's South Central Regional Conference, the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference, and the National NATS Convention.
Dr. Best is featured on three CDs devoted to vocal chamber music and voice with piano accompaniment on Capstone Records. The first two discs feature compositions by Phillip Schroeder, who also served as producer, music composed specifically for Dr. Best’s voice; Turning to the Center (2002), music for baritone/percussion, clarinets, and keyboards and Songs of My Affinities (2003), which includes a variety of instrumentation (cello, clarinet, piano, synthesizer, and percussion). The third project, entitled Portraits: Songs for Soprano, Baritone, and Piano(2007), was recorded as part of the Society of Composers, Inc. Performers' CD Series with Lynn Eustis, soprano and Elvia Puccinelli, piano.
Reviewers of these recording projects described Best's voice as:
"...superb..." - New Classics;
"The performance by Robert Best is magnificent" – New Music Connoisseur;
"…a rich and attractive voice as well as an astute musicality…" "warm baritone voice... superb singing." “…exceptionally lush and beautiful…” “…admirable clarity and flawless intonation…” - The Journal of Singing;
"…sensitive and intelligent interpreter…crystal clear diction." - CMS South Central News Bulletin.
Over the past several years, Dr. Best's students have been named as a National Semi-Finalist (2008), Third Place and Encouragement Award Winner – Southwest Division (2009), First Place Winner – Houston District (2013), and Fourth Place – Gulf Coast Region Finals (2014) for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, First Place (2008), Third Place (2010), and Honorable Mention (2014) in the Crescendo Music Awards (Vocal Division). His students have also been accepted into summer programs such as the San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Chautauqua Opera Festival, Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera North, Opera in the Ozarks, CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster Choir College, Seagle Music Colony, Opera NEO, and OperaWorks. Additional student awards include prize winners in the 1997, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010-2013 MTNA National Collegiate Voice Competitions, the 2002, 2003, 2005-2013 Texoma NATS Region Student Auditions, the Texoma NATS Region “Grady Harlan Award Winner” (2013), and the Third Place (2004) and First Place (2007) Winners in Texoma NATS Region "Singer of the Year" Competitions. In addition to these awards, his students have been accepted into graduate and post-graduate programs at such institutions as Indiana University, Rice University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, University of Michigan, Boston University, the Boston University Opera Institute, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Florida State University, The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, Arizona State University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Dr. Best's former students have also performed in such venues and festivals as the Santa Fe Opera, the finals of the Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers – Houston Grand Opera, Aspen Music Festival Opera Theater Center, Chautauqua Opera Festival, Nashville Opera, Central City Opera, Minnesota Opera Artist Center, Utah Opera, Opera Festival di Roma, Berkshire Opera Company, College Light Opera, and national and regional musical theatre venues including the Broadway productions of Hairspray! and Legally Blonde, national tours of West Side Story, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Fosse!, Texas Theatre under the Stars, and the Broadway Theatre Project.
Dr. Best has served as the Vice-President, President, and Past-President of the Dallas/Fort Worth NATS Chapter, as well as the Vice-President of the Greater Houston Chapter of NATS. He most recently served as the Texoma NATS Region North Texas District Governor for the 2006-2010 term.