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 points to an impressive operatic and concert stage career. Department chair Jeffrey Carter also teaches applied voice for musical theatre. Emerita professor Carole Gaspar is the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Vocal Studies in Paris. Between these artist-teachers, students benefit from more than 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. In fact, Webster is one of a handful of school nationally who offer weekly coachings and a regular collaborative pianist in lessons for the entire time a music major is at the university!
Choral ensembles are led by Trent Patterson and Stuart Chapman Hill; Jazz Singers by Debby Lennon; and Opera Studio by Jacob Lassetter.
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 an internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano; Samantha Schmid won the American Prize for Women in Art Song.
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 (legacy site)
- Email Prof. Martha J. Hart
- Email Dr. Jacob Lassetter
- Email Dr. Jeffrey Carter
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