William Cotten joined the Conservatory in 1994 and is an associate professor of voice. He teaches applied voice lessons as well as A History of Great Singers, a class which explores various aspects which affected the careers and lives of legendary singers.
He is currently a member of the music faculty of the College of the Holy Cross and has taught at New England Conservatory and UMass Boston. His students have performed with the Boston Pops, on Broadway, and in numerous national tours, regional theaters, and summer stock productions, as well as throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in operas and concerts.
Cotten performed in the PepsiCo Summerfare production of The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Peter Sellars, which was also seen in Boston, Paris, and Barcelona at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and filmed in Vienna and later aired on PBS's Great Performances. He sang in the American Repertory Theater's world premiere of Robert Moran and Philip Glass's The Juniper Tree, directed by Andrei Serban. Cotten's opera credits include work with Wolf Trap Opera, June Opera Festival of New Jersey, Augusta Opera (Georgia), Boston Opera Theater, the Friends of Dr. Burney, and the Boston Music Theatre Project. He received third place in the Metropolitan Opera New England Regional Auditions and was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. Reviewers have described his singing as "sweet-voiced" and "honey-toned" and his performances as "bursting full of life," a "natural scene-stealer," making his part "as lyrically enticing as a whole string of Schubertian Lieder."
Cotten earned a Master of Music from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music Education from Mississippi State University, where he was named Alumnus of the Year 2014–2015 for the music department. He was also a member of the Opera Theater of the Boston and New England conservatories from 1985-1987.
Cotten currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.