Former Vice-President at Columbia Artists Opens Minerva Artists

By Chris Ruel

Former vice-president at Columbia Artists, Michael Benchetrit, has struck out on his own, founding Minerva Artists with 15 high-profile artists entrusting their careers to the seasoned agent. Benchetrit was at Columbia for 25 years before the agency shuttered in August.

Minerva’s current roster includes sopranos Michelle Bradley, Nicole Cabell, Anna-Sophie Neher, Marjorie Owens, Brenda Rae, and in memoriam, Erin Wall; mezzo-sopranos Jamie Barton and Emily Fons; tenors Jack Swanson and Russell Thomas; baritones Quinn Kelsey and Reginald Smith, Jr.; bass-baritones Gordon Bintner, Evan Hughes, and Ryan McKinny; and bass Önay Köse.

On the agency’s website, Benchetrit states that he represents a limited number of artists, believing that by keeping his client list small, he can provide them with a more personalized approach to career decision making.

Prior to his career in artist management, Benchetrit worked in the film and video industry as a screenwriter, assistant editor, and assistant director. It was his idol, and later his friend and mentor, Marilyn Horne, who encouraged him to enter the field.

Benchetrit was born in France into a family of trained opera singers. During his time at Columbia Artists, he worked with Ronald Wilford, Andrea Anson, Ken Benson, and Karen Ashley, before starting his own roster. Benchetrit is a frequent judge at vocal competitions and has worked with students at Juilliard, Yale, Music Academy of the West, and Mannes.