Conductor and pianist, John Spencer IV, made his conducting debut in 2013 at the age of 23, leading a performance of La clemenza di Tito with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. As a pianist, Spencer made his Lincoln Center debut in 2011, playing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the New York Choral Society at Alice Tully Hall.
Since 2018, Spencer has been on staff at Theater Kiel as Solorepetitor mit Dirigierverpflichtung. This season, Spencer returns to Sarasota Opera as conductor for L'elisir d'amore, after garnering attention for his "brilliant" and "dynamite" performances of Carmen. In the 2019-2020 season, Spencer also sees a number of concerts and recitals including such works as Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion and Poulenc's Sextet for Piano & Wind Quintet.
Spencer was a member of the music staff at Sarasota Opera between 2012 and 2017, where he served as both cover and assistant conductor to Victor DeRenzi, and principal pianist and coach on nearly twenty productions. Until 2016, Sarasota Opera was completing its Verdi Cycle, performing every available note that Verdi wrote. As a result, Spencer assisted on several Verdi productions, prepared and performed numerous Verdi works, and conducted extensive research at the American Institute of Verdi Studies in New York, becoming well acquainted with Verdi’s life, style, and canon.
In 2017, Spencer joined Des Moines Metro Opera as the associate conductor to David Neely for Billy Budd, conducting excerpts from Carmen and Die Meistersinger with orchestra. He subsequently returned in 2018 as the associate conductor for Jonathan Dove’s Flight, conducting excerpts from Die Walküre and La bohème with orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Spencer has conducted Carmen with Sarasota Opera, the 4-act version of Verdi’s Don Carlo with Vocal Productions NYC, Le nozze di Figaro , La clemenza di Tito, Salieri's Falstaff, and La traviata with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, and the NY premiere of a new opera titled From My Mother’s Mother by Jeeyoung Kim.
As a vocal coach, Spencer has served on staff for New York University’s Summer Classical Voice Intensive since 2012. In 2018, Spencer guested as Principal Coach for North Carolina Opera's production of Samson et Dalila. From 2010 to 2016, Spencer served as vocal coach and accompanist for Westminster Choir College’s Florence Voice Program.
Spencer graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Studies from New York University where he studied with Artist Faculty member Anthony de Mare. Since his true passion is for vocal music, Spencer also studied collaborative piano under the direction of Dr. Grant Wenaus. While At NYU, Spencer served as the assistant musical director for two productions, accompanied numerous university choirs, performed extensively both in solo and chamber repertoire, and was a recital accompanist for vocal performance programs.