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Mary Jo Heath

My Journey with Music

Radio host, writer, producer and Emmy Award-winning Mary Jo Heath spent 15 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera sharing her enthusiasm for “all things opera.” For six seasons she hosted both the live Saturday matinee broadcasts heard by almost eight million people worldwide each week and those heard on the Met Opera Radio Channel on the SiriusXM Satellite network. She was only the fourth “Voice of the Met” in the history of the house since the broadcasts began in 1931. Prior to that Mary Jo spent nine seasons as the Met’s Senior Radio Producer, leading the broadcasts from behind the scenes. Her voice was heard on the broadcasts narrating features and interviewing artists, and she was seen on the Met’s “Live in HD” series of transmissions into movie theatres around the world interviewing artists.  During her time at The Met, she conducted hundreds of interviews with all the world’s leading opera singers, conductors and composers and was part of 1,400+ broadcasts, more than any broadcaster in Met history.

A 30+ year veteran of the classical music business, Heath spent a decade with the Philips Classics record label including stints both at their New York offices and at their headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where she lived for eight years.  While at Philips, she held positions as product manager, marketing manager and director of new business development.  

Mary Jo hosted programs on several radio stations including WQXR-FM in New York City, WSHU-FM in Fairfield, CT and WXXI-FM in Rochester, NY. She has also served as music critic for the Greenwich (Connecticut) Time newspaper and as music advisor to noted opera singers, sopranos Renée Fleming and Barbara Bonney.

Heath has appeared on countless radio shows and podcasts discussing opera and classical music including NPR’s “Here and Now.”  She has been a guest at Yale University and at the Society of Music Theory to share her ideas about careers beyond academia for students with advanced degrees in the humanities. Her chapter on “Broadcasting Opera” will be included in the forthcoming “Handbook of Public Music Theory” to be published by Oxford University Press (Summer 2022). 

A native of Norman, Oklahoma, Mary Jo graduated from the University of Oklahoma with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and while still a student was the first Music Director of Norman’s Cimarron Circuit Opera Company.  She left Oklahoma for Rochester, New York where she earned a Ph.D. in music theory from the Eastman School of Music. She has received Distinguished Alumni Awards from both schools and gave the Commencement Address at Eastman in May 2016.

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