UNVI Faculty 2017
Tenor Matthew Chellis has a distinguished international career in opera, oratorio and musical theatre. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to joining the CU faculty, he was a Adjunct Professor of Voice at Roosevelt University and New York University. Matthew has performed over 40 major operatic roles with major companies such as New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Opera de Bogotà, and Calgary Opera. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BMA), Manhattan School of Music (MM), and attended the Juilliard Opera Center 1993-1995. He also taught at NYU and the Taos Opera Institute.
Dana Brown is the Associate Professor of Opera and Vocal Coaching at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Chicago. As a pianist, he has been heard at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals, as well as many performances on WFMT Radio, Chicago. He has coached for Chicago Opera Theatre, Light Opera Works, the Opera and Music Theatre Festival of Lucca, Italy, Northwestern University and the Taos Opera Institute.
Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Cowdrick is a native of Allen Town, Pennsylvania. She graduated cum laude from Penn State and Columbia University with a Masters degree in Speech and Voice Pathology. She was a member of the Opera Center at the Juilliard School. She teaches voice and vocal pedagogy at the Eastman School of Music. Since joining the Eastman faculty in 2002 she has appeared in over 40 additional regional opera productions including this past season’s Marcellina in Ft. Worth Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro, Madame Halitiere for Kentucky Opera’s Cendrillon and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly for Opera Southwest, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance forChautauqua Opera and as Marcellinain Le nozze di Figaro for Arizona Opera.
Soprano Lynn Eustis is currently Associate Professor of Voice at Boston University. From 1999 to 2012, she was Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Graduate Studies in Music at the University of North Texas. She holds degrees from Florida State University (DM), the Curtis Institute of Music (MM) and Bucknell University (BM). She has sung over thirty operatic roles and appears regularly as a concert soloist with numerous professional organizations. Dr. Eustis has published several books with GIA Publications, including The Singer's Ego: Finding Balance Between Music and Life and The Teacher’s Ego: When Singers become Voice Teachers. She is a native of Long Island, New York.
MaryJean Allen, soprano, is a licensed Body Mapping teacher and certified Alexander Technique teacher. She is co-author of What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body (Plural Publishing, 3rd edition, 2016). MaryJean regularly presents her unique Body Mapping and Alexander Technique workshops throughout the USA. Many of her voice students sing professionally either in classical, music theatre, or commercial music venues, while others teach voice or choral music. MaryJean holds a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma in vocal performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance and minor in piano performance from Oklahoma City University.
Pianist Matthew Gemmill holds degrees in piano performance from Wheaton College and collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz. Other principal teachers include Daniel Paul Horn, Chiu-Ling Lin, and Katherine Collier. Mr. Gemmill currently works as a vocal coach, accompanist, and music teacher in the Chicago area, and also serves a guest faculty at Wheaton College, where he teaches accompanying and vocal coaching. Recent engagements include song recitals at the Chicago Cultural Center and Fourth Presbyterian of Chicago. Mr. Gemmill also attended the 2011 and 2012 seasons of the Tanglewood Music Center as a piano fellow, performing chamber music, art song, and assisting in opera productions. He resides in Wheaton, Illinois.
Shannon McGinnis serves as Executive Director of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, a not-for-profit institution dedicated to providing educational and performance opportunities to classical singers in the Chicago area. Since 2006 she has served as vocal coach and adjunct faculty member at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she has taught English, Italian, and French diction, as well as a graduate seminar on American Art Song since 1950. McGinnis also works frequently as vocal coach and rehearsal pianist for DePaul University Opera Theatre and DuPage Opera Theatre. Other recent engagements include Sugar Creek Opera and Kentucky Opera.
Elizabeth Avery is Assistant Professor of Vocal Coaching at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where she teaches diction classes and coaches opera productions. International engagements have included vocal and chamber music collaborations in the Czech republic as well as coaching and performing world premiere operas with International Opera Theater in the Umbria and Piemonte regions of Italy. Specialties include Czech diction and the history and techniques of orchestral reduction. Avery received her Masters degree from the University of Michigan and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music.
Thomas Ballew graduated cum laude from Samford University and received a B.M. in Piano Performance in 2014. He and his wife Laura recently moved from Birmingham, AL to Chicago, where he accompanies vocalists at Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago. In addition to being a pianist, Thomas is also a filmmaker, employing experimental techniques to tell narrative stories. His cinematic influences range from Jean Vigo and Carl Theodor Dreyer to Arnaud Desplechin and Lars von Trier. He is currently writing, directing, acting in and composing the score for a trilogy of short films to be released in December 2017.
Recognized for her teaching in the field of musical theater and popular music for the voice, Rebecca Simone Schorsch was named one of the “Best of Chicago” (Chicago Magazine 2008). A highly sought-after teacher in musical theater voice, her students sing on Broadway, Chicago and regional stages, in opera houses, national tours, film, and the recording industry. Rebecca teaches on The Theatre Conservatory Voice Faculty at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She is a frequent master class teacher and has guest taught at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Wheaton College, Loyola University, Southern Methodist University, University of Chicago, Source Song Festival, the Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales, U.K. and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, U.K. She is a coach on stagelighter.com, a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Voice Foundation, and Musical Theater Educators Alliance International.
Soprano Julia Faulkner has had a distinguished International career with performances on many of the world’s great opera and concert stages. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of Strauss’ Arabella in 1994 and sang major roles for many years at the Bavarian and Vienna State Operas. Since the fall of 2003 Julia Faulkner has been a Professor of Voice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she has established a international reputation as a voice teacher.
Connie Haas holds a Doctorate of Music Degree from the University of Washington and taught from 2003-2008 at the Eastman School of Music. Her own performing career began with Seattle Opera’s Cecelia Schultz Apprentice Program and the Merola Program of San Francisco and includes roles with Seattle, Portland and Vancouver Opera companies. Her students have participated in apprentice programs at Santa Fe, Chicago Lyric, Merola, Paris, Chautaugua and Seattle, and have appeared in leading roles with opera companies that include Seattle, Atlanta, Arizona and Detroit and Chicago Lyric, as well as numerous European houses. Her teaching approach reflects her longstanding interest in the Alexander Technique and the application of whole body and holistic approaches to the teaching of singing. Currently Dr. Haas is serving as Vocal Consultant to the Florentine Opera’s Studio Artist Program and maintaining a private studio in Milwaukee.