Undergraduate and graduate performance opportunities include recitals, choral ensembles,
chamber groups, opera scene programs and fully staged productions.
The choral department at USC, dedicated to the art of choral singing, provides participants
with ample opportunity to perform both on- and off-campus in beautiful and inspiring
settings. Students perform year-round in musical styles ranging from Renaissance to
pop to gospel in a wide variety of choral ensembles.
Not only do ensemble members experience the thrill and joy of performing for audiences,
they also meet others with similar interests and goals. The Concert Choir travels
the world and has performed in regions of Tuscany and Umbria, including Montecatini,
Florence, Pisa, Lucca, the Cinque Terre, Orvieto, Perugia and the Vatican in Rome.
Opera at USC gives singers and pianists at the undergraduate and graduate level excellent
training opportunities. The opera workshop courses (MUSC 130K Stage Movement and Technique
and MUSC 780 Opera Theater) help students develop and learn characterization, stage
presence, diction, movement and other necessary theatrical skills through intensive
coaching and group discussion. These courses may be repeated for additional credit.
Undergraduate students gain practical stage experience by performing in programs of
opera scenes and participating in opera choruses in full-length productions. In addition,
Opera at USC features one production a year with undergraduates cast in principal roles (MUSC
Opera at USC offers additional performing opportunities through the annual In Schools
Opera Educational Outreach program. This outreach serves as a vital link with the
communities of the Midlands of South Carolina.
Our voice faculty bring a wide range of experience to the teaching studio, and quite
a few degree options to choose from as well.
Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Designed for qualified undergraduate students preparing for careers as music teachers
in public schools, the Bachelor of Music Education degree offered by the School of
Music offers concentrations in either Instrumental Music Education or Choral-General
Music Education. Students successfully completing the music education curriculum will
be certified to teach grades K-12 in South Carolina public schools.
Bachelor of Music in Performance
The performance curriculum is especially designed for students who wish to pursue
a career as performers or as teachers of voice. Graduates of the Bachelor of Music
program frequently elect to enroll in an Master of Music or Doctor of Musical Arts
program in graduate school. The increased interest of society in the arts is creating
many new opportunities for the professional musician.
Bachelor of Arts in Voice
The Bachelor of Arts degree in voice allows students to gain broad experience in the
liberal arts and sciences while maintaining music as the major area of interest. Music
courses include applied voice, history, theory, and ensemble. Opportunities pursued
by recent graduates include employment in arts organizations and education as well
as careers as performers.
An optional performance certificate can be arranged for outstanding students in the
Music Education or Bachelor of Arts program who desire to meet the requirements of
both performance and their respective degree. Admission to the performance certificate
is by written consent of the coordinator of the voice area.
Master of Music in Opera Theater
The Master of Music in Opera Theater Performance is designed to prepare singers with
the musical, theatrical and diction skills needed to begin a career in opera. Opera
at USC offers a truly comprehensive program for graduate students combining outstanding
vocal instruction and musical coaching with intensive dramatic training. The Master
of Music in Opera Theater Direction covers every facet of opera production, both on
stage and behind the scenes. The program also regularly hosts professional conductors,
singers and directors in master classes and informational sessions.
Master of Music in Voice and Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice
The Master of Music and DMA in Vocal Performance focus on developing excellent vocal
technique, skill in interpreting repertoire, refined diction in English and foreign
languages, and solo artistry. In addition, opportunities are offered to participate
in opera productions, weekly studio classes and workshops with visiting artist-teachers.
Among recent graduates are faculty members of leading universities as well as professional
singers working internationally.
Graduate Performance Certificate
The Certificate of Graduate Study in Music Performance requires the successful completion
of an approved program of study that provides a minimum of eighteen (18) semester
hours of graduate study.
Rachel Calloway (mezzo-soprano) has been praised by the New York Times for “penetrating
clarity” and “considerable depth of expression” and by Opera News for her “adept musicianship
and dramatic flair.” She has performed with the Amernet Quartet at the Kennedy Center,
the Oratorio Society of New York, the Omaha Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's
New Music Series.
Laury Christie is a member of the voice faculty (soprano) and is certified in the
Alexander technique. She has performed with orchestras the U.S. and at Spoleto Festival
USA, Alice Tully Hall in New York City and on Public Radio.
Daniel Cole is an adjunct member of the voice faculty (basso cantante) and has performed
extensively around the United States. He is a Metropolitan Opera National Council
auditions state and regional winner and his international opera credits include roles
in Lisbon, Cologne, Taiwan and Amsterdam.
Walter Cuttino is an associate professor (tenor). He has more than 1,500 operatic
and concert performances to his credit, including a tour with the late Leonard Bernstein.
He is artistic director of the Palmetto Opera.
Donald Gray has been a voice faculty member since 1972 and has performed all around
the world. He has been a Metropolitan Opera audition winner and won the second annual
Mario Lanza Competition.
Mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins is associate professor of voice at USC. She has toured
extensively with The Metropolitan Opera and has performed in Japan and throughout
Europe, as well as all over the U.S. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall and at the
opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
Lynn Kompass is vocal coach and associate professor. She provides musical preparation
for all productions performed by Opera at USC and teaches courses in song literature
and advanced diction for singers.
Ellen Douglas Schlaefer
Ellen Douglas Schlaefer is director of Opera Studies. She has worked with some of
the world’s top opera companies and directors, including the Washington Opera and
Francesca Zambello. She has staged productions across the U.S. and throughout South
Tina Milhorn Stallard
Tina Milhorn Stallard is associate professor of voice (soprano) and teaches vocal
pedagogy. She performed Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with the Shanghai Philharmonic as part
of the cultural prelude to the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Alicia W. Walker
Alicia Walker is associate director of choral studies and directs the University Chorus
and the USC Men’s and Women's Choruses. She teaches conducting and choral methods
and courses in sacred music and music education. She is a frequent guest conductor,
writer and lecturer.
Carl Wells is a voice instructor as well as serving as an assistant director of the
university’s Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and a faculty member in the African-American
Studies Program. He founded and directs the Gospel Choir Ensemble course.
Associate professor Jacob Will (bass-baritone), chairs the voice faculty. He made
his New York Philharmonic debut as soloist in the American premiere of the “Messa
per Rossini,” in a performance televised live nationwide.
Larry Wyatt directs the Concert Choir and supervises the master's and doctoral programs
in choral conducting and the Graduate Vocal Ensemble. He founded the New Orleans Symphony
Chorus and has conducted in some of the world’s best known venues, including Carnegie