Witherspoon, Herbert wĭᵺ´ərspo͞on [key], 1873–1935, American basso, b. Buffalo, N.Y.; grad. Yale, 1895, studied music with Edward MacDowell. He studied both painting and singing in New York City, London, Paris, and Berlin. In 1898 he made his operatic debut, and from 1908 to 1916 he was leading basso of the Metropolitan Opera Company, afterward devoting his time to concerts and to teaching. He was president (1925–29) of the Chicago Musical College, director for a brief time of the Chicago Civic Opera Company, and director (1932–33) of the Cincinnati Conservatory. In 1935 he succeeded Giulio Gatti-Casazza as director of the Metropolitan Opera Company, but he died shortly thereafter.
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