Quitman native William J. “Billy” Cotten has been honored as the Mississippi State University music department’s 2014 alumnus of the year. Cotten now is in his 15th year on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Also a faculty member at the Boston Conservatory, the Brookline resident previously directed the voice division at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
In addition to the Boston Opera and American Repertory theaters in Massachusetts, Cotten has performed with the Wolf Trap Opera Co., June Opera Festival of New Jersey, Augusta Opera, PepsiCo Summerfare and Boston Music Theatre Project. Additionally, he has been a soloist with Chorus Pro Musica, Banchetto Musicale, Emmanuel Music, Indian Hill Orchestra, Monadnock Music, New Hampshire Symphony, Nashua Symphony Choral, Dartmouth Handel and Hampshire Choral societies along with the Greater Merrimack Valley and Swanhurst chorales. Cotten, a tenor, took third-place honors in the Metropolitan Opera New England Regional Auditions and has served as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow.
One of four generations in his family to have graduated from MSU, Cotten is an instrumental and vocal music education graduate who went on to complete a master’s in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory.
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