Faculty - Hero - Kromm

"...Kromm sang with a beautiful burnished quality." —San Jose Mercury News


  • Vocal Performance Lab
  • Oratorio Workshop


  • MM, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign
  • BM, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign
  • BS, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign


  • Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
  • Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra
  • Anchorage Music Festival Orchestra
  • San Jose Symphony
  • Carmel Bach Festival
  • Monterey Symphony
  • Boston Symphony
  • Sacramento Symphony
  • Reno Philharmonic
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • Livermore Symphony


  • Guest Artist, Aspen Music Festival
  • Arts Leadership Award, Arts Council Silicon Valley

What is your hometown?

Forreston, IL

What is your favorite recording?

Bach B Minor Mass with John Eliot Gardiner.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Social justice.

Who were your major teachers?

William H. Miller (voice), John Wustman (coach), and Bernard Goodman (conducting).

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Never get caught by the world."
—William Miller

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"What are the things I need to do or change to have a singing career?"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

There were two: organizing my own choir and performing in high school, and singing the title role of The Marriage of Figaro in college (graduate school).

What was a turning point in your career?

Working with James Schwabacher in San Francisco and being offered a scholarship with the Merola Opera Program.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Real estate.

What is your daily practice routine?

It varies considerably day to day, depending on what I am scheduled to do. Usually morning practice.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Bach, Handel, and Beethoven.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

1800, Vienna.

What are your most important collaborations?

Singing Don Giovanni with soprano Carol Vaness, Carmel Bach Festival; Conducting Belshazzar's Feast (William Walton) with Nathan Gunn, baritone; Singing War Scenes with the composer, Ned Rorem; Singing David Sheinfeld’s Dear Theo with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (one of his last compositions)

Who have you had the privilege of teaching?

There have been many… Jennifer Seaman, soprano; Joshua Brown, baritone; Woojeong Lee, tenor; Paul Murray, bass.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Handel: Judas Maccabeus, Harmonia Mundi
Dancing with Henry, Mode Records
New Discoveries in the Music of Henry Cowell, Mode Records
Heinrich Schutz: A Musical Portrait, Helicon Records
Lou Harrison: In Retrospect, New World Records

What is your unrealized project?

Composing a major work for chorus and instrumental ensemble.


Leroy Kromm has enjoyed a long and versatile career as a professional singer, conductor, pianist and pedagogue.  He has taught private voice for over forty years, serving on the faculties of Sangamon State University (now Illinois State University, Springfield); Cal State University, Fresno; San Jose State University, and Santa Clara University.  He joined the voice faculty at SFCM in 2001, and was co-chair of the voice department for four years, during the transition of the Conservatory’s move to its new facilities at the Civic Center.  Kromm’s students have also enjoyed successful careers in music, many singing on the opera, oratorio, and musical theater stages around the world.  As music director of the San Jose Symphonic Choir since 1985, he has toured Australia, New Zealand, Greece, England, Wales and Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany and Austria, France, and Italy. His (singing) recording labels include Harmonia Mundi, Helicon, Mode, Musical Heritage Society, and New World Records.  He has also served as a consultant in the motion picture industry, coaching actors in both singing and conducting. Kromm’s teaching is framed in “Following  Nature’s Way,” an approach that promotes vocal health, vocal longevity, and vocal honesty, three hallmarks of singing necessary to succeed in an ever-changing Industry.  His advice to all of his students begins with the following admonition:  “Adopt the pace of Nature; Her secret is Patience.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)