Gregory Tufts is a versatile conductor and tenor in the greater Chicago area. An advocate of non-traditional performances, he conducted Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with /kor/ productions, staged in the Berger Park Historical Mansion and the Growling Rabbit Café, both in Rogers Park. Also with /kor/ produtions, he conducted Verdi's Falstaff, staged in the Act One Pub in Rogers Park. In the past he has worked with Lingerie Lyrique, an opera company that combines traditional opera with elements of burlesque and Vaudeville. As part of their collaboration, he musically prepared and conducted Forest Fantasies, a collection of opera scenes in French, Italian, Russian, and English from operas by Massenet, Rossini, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Janacek. He also assisted with musical preparation for Stranger Here Myself, a staged revue of Kurt Weill songs. Other more traditional conducting engagements include Thompson Street Opera (Johanny Navarro's Redención, Pedro Finisterra's The Boy Who Wanted to be a Robot, Tony Manfredonia's Ghost Variations, and John Young's Death of Ivan Ilych), Third Eye Theatre Ensemble (Stefan Weisman's Darkling), No Little Plans Opera (Die Walküre), Main Street Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Lucia di Lammermoor, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Falstaff), American Chamber Opera (Die Fledermaus, for which he was also the stage director), Northwestern University (Die Fledermaus, Gianni Schicchi), and Roosevelt University (Candide). Internationally, he has conducted the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini as part of the Musica e Musica concert series in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa in Xalapa, Mexico, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
As a vocalist, Mr. Tufts returned to the stage as Goro in Main Street Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly and he sang in Chicago Opera Initiative's sold-out performances of American opera scenes, where he charmed audiences with his comical yet sinister portrayal of Dr. Gregg (aptly named!) in Douglas Moore's Gallantry. He has sung with the Grant Park Chorus as part of their 50th Anniversary season, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Summer Programs, the Commonwealth Opera of Western Massachusetts, and the Colorado College Vocal Arts Symposium, performing in a variety of venues in Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, and Italy (Florence and Mercatello sul Metauro).
A multi-talented performing artist, in the past Mr. Tufts has sung musical theatre, played several flavors of clarinets and saxophones in wind ensembles, mellophone in the UMass Minuteman Marching Band, and in one concert he alternated between playing clarinet, celesta, and performing as the featured vocal soloist with the UMass Symphonic Band on Bernard Rogers's Three Japanese Dances. He also performed for several summers as part of the Rebel Shakespeare Company, dedicated to staging Shakespeare's plays in the parks of Boston's North Shore.
Pursuing an interest in chamber music, Mr. Tufts founded the Nuvole Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber group dedicated to bringing the intimacy of chamber music to the greater Chicago area while collaborating with arts institutions throughout Chicagoland. The ensemble has collaborated with Main Street Opera for productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, and Falstaff. As a collaborative pianist he has performed 4-handed piano versions of selected Brahms Hungarian Dances, and J. Strauss's polka, Unter Donner und Blitz as part of American Chamber Opera's production of Die Fledermaus. During his time at UMass he sang with the Percussion Ensemble, performing contemporary American composer Mark Danciger's The King of Snow for voice, marimba, and flute, and he conducted several premiers of student compositions written for chamber orchestra. In an effort to reach a wider audience, he has performed in numerous non-traditional venues such as pubs, senior living facilities, libraries, art galleries, schools, cultural centers, and public parks.
Mr. Tufts graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. While at CCPA, he conducted two full-length programs of opera scenes as well as the undergraduate opera, Candide, arranged for two pianos. He earned a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was named a Theodore Presser Scholar, received the Dorothy Ornest Voice Scholarship, and the Frank Prentice Rand Scholarship.
Mr. Tufts can be heard on the CD “Amy Johnson: Red, White and Blue, Arias of the Passionate, Pure and Perverse” conducted by Steven Mercurio and released on the Hungaroton label. In his free time, he offers his freelance music transposition and transcription services to local musicians. Most recently he transcribed Alessandro Scarlatti's Il trionfo dell'onore in collaboration with CCPA to produce an English translation of the composer's only known comic opera. Outside of balancing a day job in market research with a multifaceted music career, he enjoys reading, watching movies, and attempting the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.