The American lyric baritone, John Burt Polhamus, trained in the studio of Robert H. Farris, and has performed internationally in opera, musical theater and recital, spending ten years living in London, England, ranging as far afield as Tokoyo, Japan. After a lengthy professional career, in 2009 he completed his Bachellor of Music degree at San Diego State University, where he also studied with Jane Westbrook and Pauline Tweed.
John Polhamus has had a wide ranging repertoire, encompassing operatic roles such as "Marcello" in La Boheme, "Silvio" in Pagliacci, and "Guglielmo" in Cosi fan tutti; roles in Gilbert and Sullivan, including work with the D'oyly Carte opera company in London; and soloist work in Oratorio including both bass roles in J. Haydn's Creation, George Frideric Handel's Messiah, J,S, Bachís B minor Mass (BWV 232), G.F. Handel's Theodora, and the J.S. Bach St. John Passion (BWV 245). He has specialized for some time in early music, especially Gregorian Chant, and he continues to direct the Chorus Breviaii San Diego chant schola. He is also in his first season as the conductor of the La Jolla Renaissance Singers.
John Polhamus is a passionate San Diegan, and has been part of the early music community in San Diego at several points in his varied career. He has performed with most of the major arts institutions in San Diego during the past thirty years, including the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Orchestra Nova, San Diego Gilbert and Sullivan Repertory Company, Pro Musica San Diego, Bach Collegium San Diego, San Diego Civic Light Opera Association, and for many of the fine church choirs in San Diego.
In 1990, John Polhamus founded and led the Tomás Luis de Victoria Choir, the first professional polyphonic vocal ensemble to hail from the city. He sang Aeneas with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra in a production of Purcellís Dido and Aeneas conducted by David Bates in La Jolla. In 2001, he founded the Chorus Breviarii, a Gregorian Chant Study and Liturgical Group, with whom he still works. He has collaborated, and has been bass soloist with the Bach Collegium San Diego since 2003 when he sang the role of Pilatus in the J.S. Bachís Johannes-Passion (BWV 245). Most recently, he was the bass soloist in the Bach Collegium San Diegoís Messiah performance in 2007, in addition to a program of Bach Cantatas earlier 2007-2008 season.