Webster's Vocal Performance major aims to develop students for successful careers as performers in a variety of genres.
The curriculum includes applied lessons, ensemble performance and a weekly master class in which vocal technique, repertoire in various languages, and performance style are taught. Vocal diction practicums and class instruction in musicianship, music theory and history are augmented by course work in vocal pedagogy, art song literature, and opera literature. Repertoire from art songs, chamber music, opera and oratorio is emphasized. Voice students are instructed in lyric diction in Italian, French, German and English.
Voice majors and choral music education majors gain real-world experience in Saint Louis performance ensembles. Students are currently singing with Bach Society of Saint Louis, several of the top church choirs in the region, Union Avenue Opera, Winter Opera of Saint Louis, and the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus. One professional conductor lauds our students: "… wonderful singers who… certainly contribute significantly" to the chorus. Our students regularly appear as soloists in various gigs, too.
Program director Martha J. Hart boasts an international performance career. Voice professor Jacob Lassetter joins the faculty with an impressive operatic and concert stage career. Department chair Jeffrey Carter also teaches applied voice. Emerita professor Carole Gaspar is the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Vocal Studies in Paris. Between these three artist-teachers, students benefit from nearly 100 years of collected wisdom, guidance, and experience.
Webster boasts an extensive adjunct faculty of professional teachers, pianists and vocal coaches who work closely together to ensure the students' personal focus on the art of music.
Recent graduates of the vocal performance program have gone on to further study at prestigious graduate programs such as Boston University, Northwestern, Rice, New England Conservatory, Indiana, and North Texas. Jennifer Johnson Cano, a Webster alumna, is now on the artist roster at the Metropolitan Opera.
Special Study Opportunities
World-renowned soprano Christine Brewer, an international performing artist, is Visiting Professor of Voice at Webster University. She conducts an annual series of lectures and master classes at the Webster Groves campus.
Voice students benefit from the presence on campus of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and from Webster's strong relationships with local arts organizations including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Union Avenue Opera.
A huge, often ignored element of voice study at Webster: Staff accompanists provide weekly support at lessons and master classes, and weekly coaching sessions. Webster is among a handful of schools that offers this extra support and instruction as part of your tuition.
Student musicians get to hone their skills in Vienna, home to legendary composers Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss where Webster has had a campus since 1981. Students usually attend the Vienna campus in the junior year spring semester, where they study voice with a Viennese artist, take courses in music history - especially relating to Vienna's traditions, do special projects on opera or art song, and experience the vibrancy of Europe's musical capital.
Connect with Webster
- View the full faculty roster
- Email Prof. Martha J. Hart
- Email Dr. Jacob Lassetter
- Email Dr. Jeffrey Carter
"My experience at Webster was one I can truly say shaped the person I have become. The Department of Music, with the rest of the school, is overflowing with a talent pool of staff and students that constantly kept me pushing and challenging myself. Webster's diverse environment forced me to become a more open-minded, well-rounded individual."
- Krystal Schieffer, BME '11
"From the second I stepped onto Webster's campus, I have felt at home, like part of a family. The Department of Music shares a solid bond because of its size and the cozy feel of Thompson House; but even as the Department expands, there is still the fundamental sincerity of people who care about each other. Creative people could not be more different, and my time at Webster has showed me that these differences are sometimes what unites us the most. Across the spectrum of disciplines, whether you're a composer, jazz pianist, vocalist, violinist, teacher, ad infinitum, Webster provides a support system that you don't find at other schools. There is no cut-throat environment here; everyone is encouraged to grow as an artist and musician in a manner that promotes confidence, inspiration, and success."
- Samantha Schmid, BA '11
"Webster University made me excited to go back to school for my master's degree. The professors, my advisor, and the staff were very helpful and flexible; they worked with my schedule as a working graduate student. They allowed me to basically get a "Beth degree," within my requirements. This knowledge was immediately applicable to my current job. When I look back now I am so pleased that I got to study with professors that are such talented, intelligent, professional and accomplished musicians. Webster was exactly what I needed and wanted."
- Beth Enloe Fritz, MA '05
"I thought Webster was perfect for my undergrad as it gave me the attention I needed. I never worried about getting lost in a sea of faces, and I wound up with excellent tools for graduate school. The low-stress environment also made it easier for me to learn my way around the stage as I was able to openly experiment with new ideas. Furthermore, Webster, unlike other smaller universities, gave me the opportunity to work with some important figures in opera, like Christine Brewer. Webster is definitely the way to go."
- Maddy Pessin, BM '11
"The staff, students, ensembles, and facilities are all dedicated to making music better and understanding it more fully. I appreciate knowing every time I walk into a classroom in Thompson Music Building this is the goal. Webster was a wonderful fit for me."
- Gabriel Maichel, BME '13
"Webster was truly an amazing experience. I loved every bit of it."
- Kayla Wong, BA '13
"So many faculty members are personable, kind and warm. And that's awesome!"
- Caroline Camp Corrales, BM '14
"I came to Webster because I wanted to be a better songwriter, and I've accomplished that."
- Tim Walther, BM '14
Department of Music News
Seniors 2015May 2015
The Department of Music captured a few moments with our 2015 graduating seniors to find out what they will miss, what they will share, and what makes Webster their home.
Connor ScottMarch 2016
Music education major Connor Scott wins a conducting competition, and talks about his time at Webster University.
Ready for successSpring 2016
Chris Poetz (BM '16) talks about how the faculty have helped him be ready for film school.
Chamber SingersMarch 2014
Chamber Singers perform at the 2014 divisional convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Music EducationSpring 2015
Christy Timberlake is featured in an introduction to Music Education at Webster University.
Bob ChamberlinMay 2015
Bob Chamberlin sat down with the department of music to give us a glimpse inside his 42 year history with the university and share some memories and advice with students and his colleagues as he moves into the next phase of his life.
Webster University OrchestraFall 2016
Dr. Paul Davis leads the Webster Symphony Orchestra in the year-opening concert, September 2016.
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