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Cory J Renbarger

Dr. Cory Renbarger


Baritone Cory J. Renbarger currently serves as Professor of Music and Director of Bemidji Opera Theater at Bemidji State University, where he joined the faculty in 2012. He holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, as well as the Cincinnati College-Conservatory and the University of Minnesota, where he completed his doctoral studies. Cory has performed in opera, oratorio, and recital across the United States and abroad with companies such as Florida Grand Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Theater Festival in Lucca-Italy, Minnesota Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Chicago Opera Theater, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Ashlawn Opera, Sorg Opera, The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Southern Tier Symphony, and others. Some of his notable opera roles have included Mozart’s Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Britten’s Tarquinius (The Rape of Lucretia), Verdi’s Marullo (Rigoletto), Mascagni’s Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana), and Puccini’s Sharpless (Madame Butterfly), Sciarrone (Tosca), and Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi). In oratorio, he has been heard in Mozart’s Requiem, on national broadcasts of Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Fauré’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and more.

In 2008, Cory was a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where he performed on stage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. During his time at the University of Minnesota, he also served as the official anthem singer for the Minnesota Wild hockey franchise. Dr. Renbarger continues to pursue an active operatic and recital career in addition to his studio, class, and stage work with his students at Bemidji State University. As director, Cory has staged opera and operetta productions from a wide range of the repertoire, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight!, Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and Amahl and the Night Visitors and many more.

Dr. Renbarger’s publications include collaboration on the book, Musical Performance: A Comprehensive Approach: Theory, Analytical Tools, and Case Studies with Dr. Guerino Mazzola, published in 2011. Dr. Renbarger also continues to perform actively in recital. Notable collaborations include the recital, Boundaries and Borders: The Search for Identity with Soprano Elizabeth McDonald and Pianist Deanna Oye, which has been on multiple tours and was selected for and featured at the 2016 MUSCAN conference in Toronto, ON. Another of Cory’s favorite collaborators is Pianist Sharon Johnson, with whom he has performed many times, including an entire Russian presentation of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death at BSU in 2013. In 2017, Dr. Renbarger premiered Nathan Jones’ Three Ojibwe Stories and will again perform it at the 2023 International Clarinet Association Conference in Denver, CO. Together with colleague Stephen Carlson, Cory performed Schubert’s Winterreise in Tucson, AZ on the True Concord Concert Series in 2019. The duo has since performed the work in numerous venues and released a studio recording of the cycle in July of 2022.

In 2017, Dr. Renbarger joined the vocal faculty for the Northern Lights Opera Festival in Hibbing, MN, where he also sang the role of Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Recently Cory was also seen in the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, as Marullo in Lyric Opera of the North’s Rigoletto, as Bass Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, and multiple seasons as Baritone Soloist with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, including Fauré’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and selections from Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs. Other recent engagements include Fauré’s Requiem and Vaughan William’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols with Magnum Chorum and Schubert’s Winterreise at Gustavus Adolphus College and the Kenai Performing Arts Society in Soldotna, AK.

Prior to joining the faculty at BSU, Dr. Renbarger taught voice at Houghton College, Luther College, and as a graduate instructor of record at The University of Minnesota. He resides in Bemidji, MN with his wife Amanda, and their daughter, Bella.


Concordia College, Moorhead MN, Bachelor of Arts, 2000
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Master of Music, Voice, 2002
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Artist Diploma, Opera, 2004
University of Minnesota, Doctor of Musical Arts, Voice, 2010