Music Performance: Voice

Conservatory of Music

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Develop your vocal performance skills and gain technical, artistic, analytical and entrepreneurial proficiencies that can prepare you for a rewarding career in music.

Baldwin Wallace's vocal performance major is a rigorous program that combines comprehensive coursework with private lessons and extensive performance experiences. It provides outstanding preparation for graduate studies and career opportunities.

Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are inherent to the program. BW's faculty-student ratio is 7:1 for the Conservatory of Music.

Baldwin Wallace faculty are established professionals with real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections. They're published composers, authors, musicians and researchers dedicated to your personal and professional success.

A key part of your studies is an eight-semester opera workshop series that focuses on acting and movement training, and the integration of those techniques with singing. These skills are put into practice in scene presentations and fully staged opera productions.

Also impressive to your studies is BW's 20-minute proximity to Cleveland – home of nationally ranked music, theatre and arts organizations and facilities.

  • Voice Performance showing an opera production

    BW’s undergraduate-only Conservatory provides voice majors with exceptional performance opportunities. From lead roles to the chorus, BW operas are cast entirely with undergraduate students.

  • photo of Steinway piano

    BW’s Conservatory of Music is honored to be designated as an All-Steinway School, an elite classification that speaks to the quality of the student experience.

  • Photo of Boesel Musical Arts Center

    Striking Boesel Musical Arts Center is a four-building complex that houses 50 soundproofed practice rooms, instructional space, practice studios and impressive rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.

  • Photo showing vocalist

    Small classes, personalized attention and faculty mentoring are a key part of the voice performance program. 

  • Photo of Daniel Lichti with student

    BW’s Conservatory of Music faculty are established professionals with real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections. BW's faculty-student ratio is 7:1 for the Conservatory of Music.


  • Operatic performer
  • Professional singer
  • Studio voice teacher
  • Church soloist/choir member
  • Music educator
  • Arts administrator


Baldwin Wallace has achieved the elite All-Steinway School designation for its Conservatory of Music. In 2015, BW joined a prestigious list of just 14 conservatories worldwide that boast this renowned classification. The addition of 88 Steinway pianos will further elevate your learning experience by having lessons and performance opportunities on the same quality instruments that are the standard in concert halls worldwide.


Striking Boesel Musical Arts Center is a picturesque four-building complex that houses BW's Conservatory of Music. It's a seamless blend of historic architecture and modern design. The facility houses 50 soundproofed practice rooms, instructional space, practice studios and impressive rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.


Innovation, excellence and outstanding hands-on learning and performance opportunities make Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music a proven choice for students nationwide. The undergraduate-only Conservatory provides an exceptional learning environment for students to take lead roles in performing, conducting, managing and teaching. Alumni can be found at top graduate schools and working with the best orchestras, opera companies and theatres. Other alumni are employed in rewarding positions in teaching, arts management and music therapy.


BW Conservatory of Music students are achievers. Over the past three years, the average ACT score for incoming students was 26. The average SAT score was 590 for verbal and 570 for mathematics.


At Baldwin Wallace, professionalism and respect toward the art of singing are the foundation of your studies.

The major includes rigorous coursework coupled with intensive and extensive practical experiences.

You'll study music theory, history and literature, form and analysis, tonal harmony, Solfège and more. You'll learn to apply critical thinking, creativity and technical skills to your work.

Outside the classroom, you'll take private lessons and perform in operas and ensembles, as well as other campus and off-campus events.

The culmination of your studies is a full-length recital program held during your senior year.

Vocal performance offers an outstanding foundation for graduate school.

Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Student success is a top priority. Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's Conservatory of Music programs.

Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. As a vocal performance major, you’ll have numerous opportunities to demonstrate your musicianship:

  • Regular studio classes
  • Departmental recitals
  • Conservatory convocations
  • Guest master classes
  • BW concerts
  • Semester juries
  • Required degree recitals
  • Annual concerto competition

With more than 325 events a year, Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music offers an impressive array of performance opportunities


Through coursework and experiential opportunities, you'll have frequent opportunities to be involved in vibrant and dynamic works of theater.

BW presents three weekends of opera every year. The Gilbert & Sullivan Series plays to capacity audiences. In the spring, a main stage opera production marries the talents of singers, the University orchestra, professional designers and resident conductor. The finale includes opera scenes and a cabaret featuring the freshman class.

Vocal performance majors receive instruction and experience twice a week for four years through opera workshop classes. The goal of this program is to train performers who are well prepared for graduate school, a young artist program, the stage and other opportunities.

Classes focus on acting and movement training and the integration of those techniques with singing. These skills are put directly into practice in scene presentations and full opera productions.

Off campus, you can get involved in opera, church music, early music and music theatre opportunities.


Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music has outstanding campus performance traditions and collaborations with regional and national organizations. A few examples include:

  • Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival
    The three-day campus event is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival in the country. It features lectures, BW performance groups, faculty members and renowned professional soloists and musicians. Baldwin Wallace students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience. The festival is evolving to include year-round events, such as Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.
  • FOCUS Festival of Contemporary Music
    The biennial festival features the music of a contemporary composer who visits Baldwin Wallace for a week-long residency. At the conclusion of the week's rehearsals and symposia, the composer's music is performed in a series of concerts, including large ensembles and chamber groups.
  • Art Song Festival
    BW Conservatory of Music is home to this week-long biennial event that brings international concert artists, singers and pianists to campus. The festival focuses on the unique relationship between singer and pianist in the performance of art song repertoire. Ten singer-pianist teams are chosen from national auditions to work with the international guest artists. It provides an opportunity to hear renowned artists and emerging professionals in both recitals and master classes.


Personally and professionally rewarding, student organizations and activities foster career skills, leadership and teamwork. Opportunities for vocal performance majors include:

  • American Choral Directors Association
    Open to members of the BW community, this nonprofit music education organization promotes excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research and teaching.
  • Bella Voce
    This organization enriches BW by fostering a well-rounded community of vocalists. It is devoted to the advancement of young classical singers through the implementation of professional development and workshops.


At Baldwin Wallace, student learning experiences are enhanced by exceptional resources that include:

  • Riemenschneider Bach Institute
    The institute houses rare items related to J.S. Bach and his circle, as well as historical reference materials, scores and a collection of classic recordings. It has one of the nation's most impressive holdings of Baroque manuscripts and first editions. It attracts scholars from around the world.
  • Ferne Patterson Jones Memorial Music Library
    A valuable campus resource, the library offers 18,000 scores, 7,000 books, and more than 10,000 sound and video recordings. Online resources to which the library subscribes include over one million tracks of streaming audio and video. Help with research is available by appointment, on a walk-in basis or through email.


At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed.

Students who graduate with a major in vocal performance have gone on to pursue graduate studies at top schools such as Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, Indiana University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Maryland Opera Studio. 

Alumni of the program also have performed on the stages of the best opera houses and have achieved success in other areas of the arts and education.

Sarah NadlerSarah Nadler '15 is pursuing a master's degree in vocal performance at Carnegie Mellon University. She recently appeared as Amarilli in Handel's "Il pastor fido" at the Amherst Early Music Festival in New London, Conn.

Desiree Nicole JohnsonDésirée Nicole Johnson '13 attended OperaWorks for its emerging artist program. She performed with the Toledo Opera for its 2014-15 season and appeared in its production of "Faust." Currently completing an M.M. degree at Bowling Green State University, she maintains an active performance and teaching schedule. 

Lindsay EspinosaLindsay Espinosa '12 is Master of Music candidate at Colorado State University. She recently performed Massenet's "La Fee in Cendrillon" and will be an apprentice artist with Opera Fort Collins this year.

Alice NelsonAlice Nelson '11 is private voice teacher and music director for Mayfield High School in Ohio. She has worked with the Austin Lyric Opera in Texas. She is pursuing a master's degree in the music education and licensure program at Case Western Reserve University under a full-tuition, paid graduate assistantship.

Lindsey Sandham LeonardLindsey Sandham Leonard '10 has performed as Clara in "The Light in the Piazza," Lakeland Civic Theatre; Street Singer in "La Rondine," Opera Per Tutti; and Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific," Rabbit Run Theater. She earned an M.M. in vocal performance from Kent State University, where she was the 2011 concerto competition winner.

Gene StengerGene Stenger '10, tenor, made his Lincoln Center debut as soloist in J.S. Bach's "St. John Passion" with the Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard 415 Baroque Ensemble under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki. He is completing an M.M. in early music, oratorio and chamber ensemble at Yale University.

Jennifer RowleyJennifer Rowley '02 made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Musetta in "La Boheme" in 2014. Jennifer has been recognized in several international competitions, and she is a Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. She holds a master's degree from the Indiana University School of Music. 


Full-Time Faculty

Marc Weagraff
Chair, Vocal Studies Department
Associate Professor
D.M.A., The University of Michigan

Nanette Canfield
Associate Director, The Conservatory of Music
Assistant Professor
M.M., Indiana University

JR Fralick
D.M.A., The Ohio State University

Dirk Garner
Chair, Conducting and Ensembles Department
Associate Professor
D.M.A., University of Iowa

Gregory Harrell
Associate Professor
M.M., University of Idaho Lionel Hampton School of Music

Nancy Maultsy
Associate Professor
B.M., Westminster Choir College

Scott Skiba
Director, Opera Studies
Associate Professor
M.M., Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Joanne Uniatowski
Associate Professor
D.M.A., The Cleveland Institute of Music

Adjunct Faculty

Jason Aquila
M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music

Benjamin Czarnota
M.M., Indiana University

Tracy Grady
M.M., Ohio University

Alexander Hurd
D.M.A., University of Cincinnati–College-Conservatory of Music

James Mismas
M.M., The University of Akron

Cynthia O'Connell
M.M., West Chester University of Pennsylvania