Benjamin DeShazo-Couchot
Lyric Baritone

"Benjamin is an intensely creative and introspective young artist."

Benjamin, described as one
"who has a knack for blending creativity, excellence, skill, determination and humor to whatever he touches" and as having "what every gifted performer must have: Passion and Dedication," is an Bay Area native Lyric Baritone who grew up in the North Bay city of Santa Rosa, California. "He is at home in many genres of the vocal repertory, from choral masterworks in various languages, to art song, and solo or ensemble jazz." Over the years he has performed with a number of ensembles, spanning the genres, including Opera, Oratorio, Choral, Chamber/Madrigal, Jazz, Nu-Jazz, and Barbershop. He has a particular passion for the Art Song and Operatic genres. A scholarship award-winning vocalist, having received the Evert B. Person Scholarship (SSU - 2011/2012), the Channing - Kullijian Scholarship (SSU - 2011/2012), the Evert B. Person Scholarship (SSU - 2010/2011), the Demetrio and Theresa Jeffry Scholarship (SSU - 2010/2011) and the Mead Clark and Senator Herbert Slater Singer Scholarship (Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation - 2010), Benjamin received his B.A. in Music (Liberal Arts Music) at Sonoma State University, home of the world-class acoustic facility, Weill Hall. As described by a former college instructor: "He learned music very quickly and accurately, always produced a beautiful vocal tone, showed great skill and leadership in the ensemble, and was a consistently energetic and charismatic performer...Ben's energy and passion for the art of music will inspire and uplift his fellow students and instructors."

He made his professional opera debut performance with the Sacramento Opera Theatre Company as an ensemble member in Donizetti's "L'Elisir D'Amor" in 2009. Since then he has also performed as an ensemble member in Tobias Picker's contemporary opera, "Emmeline" (Spring 2010) at Cinnabar Theatre in Petaluma, California, with Sonoma State University's Opera Theatre Company in the roles of Dr. Blind and an ensemble member in Johann Strauss' operetta, "Die Fledermaus" (February 2011). In his most recent operatic production, he appeared in the role of Sergeant of Police in "Pirates of Penzance" with the Raven Players at Spreckles (Fall 2011). For a detailed list of the numerous ensembles, directors, and roles/shows he has been involved with, you may visit the "Musical Background" section of this site.

"He is largely self-directed and motivated, and avails himself of various sources of inspiration on his own."

In addition to performing in secondary school, collegiate, and professional vocal ensembles and shows, Benjamin has sung with a number of collaboratively directed ensembles that he has founded with his peers. Aside from rehearsing and performing music, Benjamin also has a passion for arranging music and composing original pieces, playing the piano, directing choral ensembles, and teaching privately. Benjamin served as Music Director at Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park, CA between 2010 and 2012, where he directed a Royal School of Church Music children's choir and music education program, and where he founded the Holistic Arts and Learning Organization (HALO), which delivered quality art, performances, lectures, and educational events to the local community until Holy Family's last day. Benjamin also proudly served on the board of directors for Numina: Center for Spirituality and the Arts (, one of Sonoma County's thriving arts organizations, during 2011/2012.

Benjamin now resides in the East Bay and teaches Music at St. Edward School, Newark. He serves as Principal Baritone at St. Edward parish, teaches privately from his studio at Music Works in El Cerrito, and sings with the Berkeley-based and Grammy-nominated Pacific Mozart Ensemble, under the direction of former professor Dr. Lynne Morrow. During the summer, Benjamin studies at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana where he is working on his Master of Arts in Music, with a concentration in Church Music and Liturgy, and an emphasis in Conducting. You can visit the "Events" page in order to learn when he will be performing next.

The various quotes are taken from scholarship recommendation letters written by Susanne Byrne (January 28th, 2010) and Dr. Leslie Dukes (October 15th, 2009).