SDSU Vocal Arts will uphold a tradition of excellence on a daily basis, dedicating time, energy, and focus to the Art of being a vocalist allowing for growth as musicians and people. We will earn and maintain a reputation as a first-class vocal program with its three main pillars of study being Choral, Opera, and Studio. The program will provide meaningful opportunities for students of all voice types who will explore the many possible career paths for vocalists in the 21st century. The SDSU School of Music and Dance connects academia to the professional world at every stage of learning while exploring what it means to be a working musician at present and what it could mean in the future. Our students are given numerous opportunities to perform in weekly recitals, concerts, master classes taught by visiting artists and current faculty, large and small choral ensembles, off-campus tours, opera scenes programs, and full-scale opera productions. Students, faculty, and staff will maintain professionalism on a daily basis and dedicate time to understanding and participating actively in a rigorous and demanding curriculum. We will be ambassadors for all music making and promote quality in every aspect of what it means to be a working artist in the world today and in the future. Upon graduation, students of San Diego State University will have been empowered to achieve the highest levels of music making, music teaching, and music leadership in the field. Graduates will be self-sufficient contributors to the Arts. They will maintain an earned reputation for professionalism (punctuality, reliability, and ability to work well with others), superior musicianship, sight-reading, rhythmic tenacity, and refined sung-language (diction) skills. Most importantly, graduates will offer an informed interpretation of, and human connection to, all music.
- Dr. Patrick Walders, Director of Choral Studies
- Dr. Michelle Ayres, soprano, voice
- Dr. Bryan Bolzenthal, bass-baritone, voice
- Michael Gerdes, Director of Orchestras, Music Director - Opera Theater
- Dr. Matthew Nielsen, Interim Director of Choral Studies
- Laurinda Nikkel, soprano, Vocal Arts Coordinator
Collaborative Pianists - Vocal Arts Division
- Tina Chong
- Jennifer Hsu
- Yewon Lee
- Suzanne Shick
- Weiyi Xu
Degrees Offered in Voice
Learn more about the various degrees offered in Voice.
Information for Vocal Auditions
- An entrance audition is required for admittance to all vocal degree programs.
- All music must be memorized.
- All music must be performed with an accompanist.
- Learn more about repertoire requirements for freshmen, transfer and graduate students. The suggested repertoire lists are provided as guidelines only; you are not limited to the composers listed.
SDSU Opera Theater
SDSU Opera Theater offers training in acting, stage movement, repertoire and style culminating in fully-staged full-length productions, one-act operas and scene programs. Recent productions have included The Mikado, Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro, The Tender Land and Trouble in Tahiti. The 2010 productions featured Menotti’s The Telephone, Old Maid and the Thief and The Medium.
SDSU Choral Program
It is the mission of the SDSU Choral Ensemble program to present high quality vocal performances of the finest choral literature on campus and in the community of San Diego. If you love to sing, want to explore your vocal potential and want to work hard in a motivated and friendly environment, then we want you! Choral conducting and literature classes are also offered to all voice majors.
Recent Masterclasses and Workshops
- Lori Laitman, visiting art song and opera composer.
- Ann Baltz, Operaworks
- Robert White, Master Teacher, Juilliard
- Mary Saunders, Musical Theater, “Bel canto, can belto”
- Kelly Kaduce, operatic soprano, Metropolitan Opera
- Daniel Helfgot, Stage Director and author of “The Third Line”
- Barbara Honn, Master Teacher, classical voice
- Amy Likar, Alexander Technique and Body Mapping for the performer
- Barry Green, The Inner Game of Music
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