It is the primary objective of the Vocal Performance program to seek committed and promising young singers and to develop in them a firm foundation in the vocal arts of performance and pedagogy. Our program utilizes training in art song and opera to foster the development of a lifetime commitment to creativity and communication, nurturing the responsibility in our students of contributing to the society in which they live. Our faculty work cooperatively to develop our young artists into working professionals. Through performances of operas and opera-scenes programs, song festivals, public recitals, master classes, and community-outreach programs, students acquire the needed experience and growth necessary for attaining a career in the arts.
Our working relationships with opera companies, interdisciplinary performance symposiums, and international collaborations with conservatories abroad augment the educational experience of our students and assist them in building a network of professional contacts before embarking on their future careers. Artists and professionals with whom students have had the opportunity to observe, meet, and even work with include: sopranos Renee Fleming and Leontyne Price; mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato and Denyce Graves; tenors Jerry Hadley and Anthony Laciura; conductors Willie Anthony Waters and Doris Kosloff; stage director Gina Lapinski; repetiteur Dennis Giauque; composer Jake Heggie; Joseph McClain, founder and former director of the Austin Lyric Opera; Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic of the New York Times; and Marc A. Sorca, president and CEO of OPERA America.
Productions on campus, as well as televised performances, and other forms of outreach support our related goal of bringing the arts to the greater public by making them accessible to the community. These events provide valuable performing experience to our students while also teaching them the joy of enriching others’ lives through creative expression.
Applied Music, listed in the university catalog as MUSI 1222 and MUSI 3222, consists of private study of an instrument or voice with a member of the Department of Music faculty. The student’s major determines the number of credits of Applied Music taken each semester. Some undergraduate degrees require the student to progress to upper division performance status. Admission to upper division performance status is achieved by passing a promotional jury, typically taken at the end of the sophomore year.
As with all lessons, the main emphasis is on performing. Lessons will address technical and musical skills in order to improve the student’s performance ability and understanding. Musical analysis, history, and other musical skills learned in the course of the student’s academic career may be applied during Applied Music, thereby elevating the student’s musical awareness.
Students pursuing the BM in Vocal Performance are required to take eight semesters of Applied Music for 3 credits each. Four of those eight semesters must be in MUSI 3222.