Adjunct Faculty and Lesson Instructors

Students in the School of Music have access to a wide range of professional musicians who are currently working in Chicago. These individuals bring their expertise in academic, instrumental, and vocal disciplines to the School, as well as their knowledge and experience of working professionally. They serve as excellent teachers and valuable mentors to our undergraduate and graduate students.

Academic Faculty

Julia Bentley, School of Music professor

Julia Bentley

MMVP Performer's Survey Instructor

Since completing apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera, mezzo soprano Julia Bentley has appeared in leading roles with opera companies throughout the country, and has been featured as a soloist with orchestras led by George Manahan, Raymond Leppard, Oliver Knussen, Robert Shaw, and Pierre Boulez. She performs in wide range of  Chicago's opera and chamber music companies, including the Contemporary Chamber Players, the Orion Ensemble, Pinotage, Ensemble Noamnesia, Chicago Opera Theater, Concertante di Chicago, Music of the Baroque, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the MusicNOW series at Symphony Center. She has appeared to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall and has recorded on the Albany, Cedille, and Tintagel labels.

Picture of Tom Bracey, Arts Administration

Tom Bracy

Introduction to Arts Administration

Tom Bracy is currently the executive director of the Merit School of Music in Chicago and part of its esteemed faculty. Bracy started his career in music education in 1986 as a young band director for the Archdiocese of Chicago while attending Northeastern Illinois University. His primary instrument is percussion with additional studies in trombone.

Picture of Daivd Carter, Theory and Aural Skills Instructor

David Carter

Theory and Aural Skills Instructor

David S. Carter is a composer and teacher based in Chicago.  His works have been performed or recorded by the JACK Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Court-Circuit, Ensemble Signal, and the Callithumpian Consort, among others.  Composition prizes he has been awarded include  first place in the 2012 Iron Composer competition at Baldwin Wallace University, Northwestern University’s William T. Faricy Award, and second prize in the Rhenen (Netherlands) International Carillon Composition Competition.  At Northwestern University he has taught music theory, composition, orchestration, aural skills, and a class on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  He earned his doctorate in music composition at Northwestern, where his principal teacher was Lee Hyla, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Yale University.

Colin Holman, School of Music professor

Colin Holman

MMVP Performer's Survey Instructor

Colin Holman combines performance and academic interests to study, teach, and conduct a wide range of music, both American and English. He earned degrees from Trinity College of Music, London, and the University of Birmingham, England, before completing his master's and doctoral programs at the University of Kansas. He has taught and lectured at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at colleges and universities across the Midwest. His extensive conducting credits include work in opera and musical theater, with orchestras, concert and brass bands, and in early music. In 2001, Dr. Holman was honored by Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper as one of only two people in the arts, out of 100 total honorees, who have made significant contributions to cultural life in Chicago.

Stephen Kelly, School of Music professor

Stephen Kelly

Music Integration Instructor, Gospel Choir Director, Piano Instructor

Stephen Kelly started playing piano at age four and has been involved in music ministry for churches since the age of eight. After earning his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, he began directing music and leading worship in churches and conferences across the United States and Europe. He is currently the worship coordinator for North Park's University Ministries, gospel choir co-director, and also teaches music integration and piano. Mr. Kelly is on staff as a music director at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Ill.

Phil Kraus

Philip Kraus

MMVP Opera Survey Instructor

Baritone Philip Kraus has performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra; symphonies in Dallas, Milwaukee, Omaha, Colorado, Santa Barbara, Richmond, Roanoke, Grant Park, South Bend, Owensboro, Jacksonville, and Madison; and the Rochester and Fort Wayne philharmonics. He has also appeared with numerous opera theaters, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, Cleveland Opera, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera, and Hawaii Opera; Light Opera Works; and the Pamiro Opera. Mr. Kraus is frequently heard as a guest artist with choruses and festivals around the country and has taught opera at DePaul University and Roosevelt University. He is also a specialist in Gilbert and Sullivan. Mr. Kraus earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University.

Michael Lill

Michael Lill

Percussion Methods and Pedagogy Instructor

Michael Lill is a founding faculty member at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, where he is chair of the Music Department; director of jazz, concert, and beginning bands; moderator and technical director of theater productions and the student stage crew; and orchestra director for musicals and operettas. He is also a professional trumpeter and percussionist in the Queen of All Saints Basilica Ensemble, a member of "Six of One," and a private trumpet and percussion instructor. Lill earned his BA in secondary education/instrumental music from Northeastern Illinois University, studied trumpet with Joseph Summerhill and Harold Harmon, and studied drums with Leo Murphy. He is a member of the Chicago Grandstand Big Band, Chicago Federation of Musicians, Illinois Music Educators Association, Illinois Brass Band, and Chicago Teachers Union.

Gregory MacAyeal, School of Music professor

Gregory MacAyeal

Bibliography Instructor

Greg MacAyeal is currently the assistant head of the Northwestern University Music Library. Active in professional library organizations, he has made presentations at meetings of the Music Library Association, the Society of American Archivists, the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Illinois Library Association. As a composer, Greg's music has been performed throughout the region, with commissions from the Cassandra Manning Ballet Company, Music From Almost Yesterday, and the Augustana College Koto Ensemble. He earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his MM at DePaul University, and his MLIS at the University of Wisconscin, Milwaukee.

Michael McBride, School of Music professor

Michael McBride

Composition Instructor

Michael McBride is a composer, performer, conductor, songwriter, and educator. He has served as music director for various ensembles and churches such as the Chicago Cabaret Project, Dal Niente, Opera Cabal, Sonic Impact, Winnetka Bible Church, Edison Park Lutheran Church, and Achurch4me? MCC. Dr. McBride uniquely mixes influences of contemporary classical music with pop, gospel, inspirational, and dance music in his writing and performing career. His first EP, Almost There, and two other singles are currently available on iTunes. He is a regular performer throughout the Chicago cabaret and festival scene and has appeared in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Denver, and Phoenix. Dr. McBride earned his BM at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and master's and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University.

Michael O'Toole, World Music Instructor

Michael O'Toole

World Music Instructor

Michael O’Toole received his PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago in 2014. A specialist in the music of Turkey and the Mediterranean, Dr. O’Toole has studied the ‘oud at the Berlin Conservatory for Turkish Music and has performed for several years in the University of Chicago Middle East Music Ensemble. In his dissertation research, he studied the role of music in the ethnic, political, and religious identifications of Turkish immigrants in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. His research interests also include theories of improvisation, music and social movements, and sacred music. He has taught courses on Chicago’s music scenes, modal improvisation, and world music at both DePaul University and the University of Chicago.

Brian Penkrot, Theory and Aural Skills and History Instructor

Brian Penkrot

Theory and History Instructor

Brian Penkrot is a composer of contemporary concert music as well as a guitarist, conductor, and theorist. His music has been performed across the US, Europe, and Asia, and by prominent new music ensembles including the JACK Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, DaCapo Chamber Players, and the ECCE ensemble. Brian is also the business manager of the Melos Music composer's collective in New York, and helps facilitate their new music concert series. He is the recipient of a Paul Sacher Stiftung fellowship in Basel, Switzerland, where he researched Gérard Grisey's original sketches and manuscripts. Brian earned his BM from Columbia College, MM from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and PhD from the University of Iowa.

Picture of Aubree Weile, El Sistema Certificate Instructor

Aubree Weiley

Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies

Aubree Weiley has spent over a decade working as part of the global movement for youth empowerment and social development though music education. In her nine-year tenure at The People's Music School in Chicago, she created the school's first curriculum and corresponding evaluation and assessment infrastructure, and facilitated the delivery of free, quality music instruction to over 4,000 youth throughout the Chicago area. Combining her love of music with her service as a U.S Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Lesotho, Africa, Aubree worked with middle and high school choir students in composition, rehearsal, performance and country-wide competition. As a Sistema Fellow at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, Aubree studied the El Sistema movement in depth with residencies in Venezuela and Brazil, and she passionately believes that sharing and learning through music brings great pleasure, deepens societal and personal development and leads to stronger, healthier communities. Aubree holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Musical Theatre Certificate from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Instrumental Faculty

Collin Anderson

Collin Anderson

Bassoon Instructor

Bassoonist Collin Anderson performs regularly with both the Elgin and Lake Forest Symphonies. He has appeared with the Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Grant Park Orchestra. Collin can be heard on Equilibrium Records Chandos label recordings. Dr. Anderson is a founding member of Quintet Attacca, a Chicago-based wind quintet that was the 2002 Grand Prize Winner at the Fischoff National Chamber Music competition. He earned his BM at the Eastman School of Music, master's degrees from Kent State University and DePaul University, and a DMA from Northwestern University.

Elizabeth Anderson, School of Music professor

Elizabeth Anderson

Cello Instructor

Cellist Elizabeth Anderson performs frequently throughout the Chicago area with groups such as the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, City Lights Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. She has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and in the orchestra pit for many ballets and musicals in Chicago’s theater district. Ms. Anderson earned her BM at Drake University and her MM at Indiana University.

Kara Bershad, School of Music professor

Kara Bershad

Harp Instructor

Kara Bershad is the founder of Tick Tock Publications, which publishes chamber music arrangements for harp. She is principal harp of the Northwest Indiana Symphony and also performs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, and the Grant Park Symphony. Her performances on harp can be heard in the Hollywood film scores from My Best Friend's Wedding, Home Alone II, and the Kodak Film documentary Symphony. Ms. Bershad earned her bachelor's of music degree at the Eastman School of Music.

Bobby Broom, School of Music professor

Bobby Broom

Guitar Instructor

Throughout his career, Bobby Broom has been an active jazz educator. He conducts clinics, master classes, and lectures nationwide and abroad, and is also an instructor with the Thelonious Monk Institute, Ravinia Festival Organization, and Music Institute of Chicago. Broom has recorded several albums with his Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. His most recent recording was Upper West Side Story in May of 2012.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Bass Instructor

James L. Carter is a bassist with extensive performance and teaching experience. He is the co-founder of Future, a performance band, and an active gospel and church musician who has played all across Chicago. Currently, Carter is a musician at Bright Star Church and Willow Creek Community Church. He earned his bachelor of arts with a concentration in instrumental performance from Columbia College Chicago.

Janet Eckhardt, School of Music professor

Janet Eckhardt

Piano Instructor

Janet Eckhardt is a graduate of North Park University and the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. Along with teaching piano at North Park, she is a staff accompanist at Moody Bible Institute. Ms. Eckhardt also serves as rehearsal accompanist for the Bach Week Festival Chorus and for the Chicago Bar Association Chorus.

Gregory Fishman

Greg Fishman

Saxophone Instructor

Saxophonist and flutist Greg Fishman is an accomplished performer, recording artist, author, teacher, and clinician. HIs self-published books—Jazz Saxophone Etudes, Volumes 1–3; Jazz Saxophone Duets, Volumes 1–3; Jazz Phrasing for Saxophone, Volumes 1–3; Hip Licks for Saxophone; Jazz Guitar Etudes; Jazz Trumpet Duets and Tasting Harmony™—are in circulation worldwide and have been endorsed by top educators and jazz performers. Mr. Fishman has toured and performed worldwide with his own group, and with such artists as the Woody Herman Band, Louis Bellson, Slide Hampton, Conte Candoli, and others. He is the co-founder of the award-winning duo Two for Brazil. Mr. Fishman earned his bachelor of music in performance degree from DePaul University and a master's of music degree from Northwestern University.

Naomi Frisch, School of Music professor

Naomi Bensdorf Frisch

Oboe Instructor

Oboist Naomi Bensdorf Frisch holds principal oboe positions in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Bensdorf Frisch performs regularly with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the Kallima Woodwind Quintet. She can be heard on recordings with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony and in a collection of the chamber music of renowned Chicago composer M. William Karlins. She earned her BM from Northwestern University and MM from DePaul University.


Renée-Paule Gauthier

Violin Instructor

An accomplished and sought after chamber musician, solo artist, teacher, and orchestra leader, Canadian violinist Renée-Paule Gauthier was mentioned as one of the "best upcoming violinist of the new generation" in the book Violin Virtuosos, from Paganini to the 21st Century. A graduate of the University of Montreal and the Eastman School of Music, Gauthier was concertmaster of the New World Symphony, part of the first violin section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and assistant concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic. She is the artistic director of the Rendez-vous musical de Laterrière, a chamber music festival in the province of Québec, and is principal second violin with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Northwest Indiana Symphony. Gauthier is currently finishing her doctorate at Northwestern University and on the faculty of the CYSO chamber program.

Julie Goldberg, School of Music professor

Julie Goldberg

Guitar Instructor

Julie Goldberg, named 2002 Classical Guitarist of the Year by Guitar Alive! radio magazine, is "a superb performer who frees the mind from the technical demands of the guitar. A pleasure to hear!" (Columbus Guitar Society). "Her music is invigorating and calming all at once!" (WLUW Radio, Chicago). Dr. Goldberg is on the faculty of North Park University and VanderCook College of Music, and frequently performs in the Healing Arts Program at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. Dr. Goldberg earned her BM from Roosevelt University, MM from the University of Cincinnati, and DM from Northwestern University.

Phil Gratteau

Phillip Gratteau

Jazz/Set Percussion Instructor

Phil Gratteau has been playing drums professionally in Chicago since 1972. He has performed with virtually all of Chicago's jazz royalty, including Judy Roberts, Von Freeman, the late Johnny Frigo, Eddie Johnson, and many more. He has also accompanied or recorded with jazz artists Marian McPartland, Herb Ellis, Richie Cole, Cab Calloway, Joe Henderson, Jimmy Heath, Joey DeFrancesco, Randy Brecker, and Dorothy Donegan. He has been a guest clinician/adjudicator at numerous high school and college jazz festivals. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MM at Northwestern University.

Ellen Huntington, School of Music professor

Ellen Huntington

Flute Instructor

Ellen Huntington is second flute with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She also performs frequently as a founding member of the Lyrebird Ensemble, a flute and harp duo devoted to performing works composed exclusively for that instrumentation. As a Fulbright scholar, Ms. Huntington studied with Jean-Claude Gérard at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, Germany. She earned her BM from Northwestern University, MM at Ohio State University, and DM at Northwestern University.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Piano and Keyboard Instructor

Thomas Jefferson has collaborated with numerous vocal artists, including the late world-renowned bass-baritone William Warfield. He was a participant in the 11th International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, and has performed as a recitalist across the country and within the Chicago area. As a skilled music transcriber, he has transcribed the music of gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, Walter Hawkins, and Byron Cage, among others. Dr. Jefferson’s hymn arrangements are published by Augsburg Press. He earned his bachelor's of music degree at Texas A&I University, his master's degree at Roosevelt University, and DMA at Northwestern University.

Paula Kosower, School of Music professor

Paula Kosower

Cello Instructor

Paula Kosower is an active performer and teacher in the Chicago area. She has performed with the Sheridan Chamber Players at the Chicago Cultural Center, Fulcrum Point at the Harris Theater, and MusicNOW from Symphony Center. During the summer season she frequently performs at the Ravinia Festival. Dr. Kosower teaches a course in cello pedagogy at Northwestern University, private lessons at the Northwestern University String Academy, and chamber music at the Merit School of Music where she is also a member of the faculty piano trio. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Indiana University and her DMA at Northwestern University.

Carol Lahti, School of Music professor

Carol Lahti

Violin Instructor

Carol Lahti is the assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta and has participated in its numerous European and American tours, as well as recordings. She is a member of the first violin section of the Elgin Symphony and performs frequently as part of that orchestra’s educational chamber concert series, serving as the first violinist of the orchestra’s string quartet, ESQ. Ms. Lahti also performs frequently with jazz and society bands in Chicago and enjoys playing in theater orchestras, appearing with ballet companies, and in many Broadway musicals and shows. As a freelancer, she has played in ensembles accompanying such stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Il Divo, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, and Clay Aiken. She earned her BM at North Park and MM from the Eastman School of Music.

Kelly Langenberg, School of Music professor

Kelly Langenberg

Horn Instructor

Kelly Langenberg currently performs with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, the Kenosha Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchsestra. She is horn instructor at the DePaul University Community Music Division, as well as at North Park. She earned her bachelor's degrees at Baldwin-Wallace College and a master of music degree at DePaul University.

Claudia Lasareff, School of Music professor

Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff

Director of Chamber Music and Viola Instructor

Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Grant Park Symphony, and Music of the Baroque. She has also been the principal violist of the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Colorado Music Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Joffrey Ballet. From 1998 to 2011 she was on the faculty at Wheaton College Conservatory where she taught viola and was the coordinator of chamber music. Ms. Lasareff-Mironoff was the guest artist for the viola master class at the 2011 Stulberg International String Competition. Since 2002, she has been the principal violist of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. She earned a BM at the University of Denver and a master of music degree and performer's certificate at Northwestern University.

Audrey Morrison, School of Music professor

Audrey Morrison

Trombone, Tuba, and Euphonium Instructor

Audrey Morrison is the director of jazz studies and jazz trombone faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. As lead trombonist with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble for over 15 years, she performed with jazz greats Jon Faddis, Bill Russo, Curtis Fuller, Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Paquito D'Rivera, Buddy DeFranco, and many others. She has also been a member of the big bands of Clark Terry, Barrett Deems, and the DIVA band in New York City. A performer and educator in both classical and jazz styles, she is a member of the jazz sextet SHE, the Lake Forest Symphony, and teaches classical music at Columbia College, Chicago. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music.

Greg Sarchet, School of Music professor

Gregory Sarchet

String Bass Instructor

Gregory Sarchet has had an array of musical experiences and training, from studying with his first teacher, jazz luminary Rufus Reid, to receiving his degrees from the Juilliard School, to playing as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His ongoing international exchange efforts were recognized by a 1996 Chicago Artists International Program award (CAIP), which sent him to the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria for performances, masterclasses, and archival research. These exchange activities have allowed him to build an extensive library of unpublished, out-of-print, and contemporary double bass works. He plays principal bass with Chicago Opera Theater and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestra since 1986.

Paul Vanderwerf

Paul Vanderwerf

Viola and Violin Instructor

Paul Vanderwerf performs extensively as both a chamber and orchestral violinist and violist. He is a member of the Ars Viva Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Lake Forest Symphony, Music of the Baroque, and the Chicago Ensemble, and was a founding member of the Ad Hoc and Ars Viva String Quartets. He has performed with Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Bach Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Elgin Symphony, Chicago Opera Theater, Broadway in Chicago, and toured throughout Germany, Switzerland, and the Canary Islands as a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta. Dr. Vanderwerf holds music degrees from Northwestern University, Occidental College, and Interlochen Arts Academy.

Chris White, School of Music professor

Christopher White

Jazz Piano Instructor

After obtaining a BA in English from the University of Toronto, Christopher White decided to focus his studies entirely on music. In 1997 he attended Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music and pursued his master’s degree in jazz studies, graduating in 2000. Gaining valuable experience in Indianapolis, he performed with David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Oliver Nelson Jr., and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. In August 2000 Chris was invited to perform in the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia hosted by James Moody, Rufus Reid, and David Baker. Dr. White earned his DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ralph Wilder, School of Music professor

Ralph Wilder

Clarinet and Saxophone Instructor

Throughout Ralph Wilder’s career he has been a full-time educator, teaching band and orchestra at the high school and college levels, and continues today as a well-known educator, conductor, arranger, and performer on clarinet, saxophone, and flute. As a clarinetist, Mr. Wilder has performed worldwide and has been a member of numerous ballet, opera, and symphony orchestras. As the founder and leader of the Ralph Wilder Orchestra, he performs on flute and saxophone, as well as clarinet. He is also the founder and director of the Mount Prospect Community Band. Mr. Wilder earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Northwestern University.

Voice and Opera Faculty

Nyela Basney, School of Music professor

Nyela Basney

Artistic Director of the Opera

Nyela Basney has significant experience in the field of opera. For three years, she was staff pianist at the Juilliard School where she studied conducting with Vincent La Selva, "the best Verdi and Puccini conductor living today" (Opera Magazine). Since 1982, she has provided professional role preparation and musicianship training for singers, in more than 55 roles from 25 operas. She is the founder and current director of Orvieto Musica, Inc., an annual international chamber music festival in Italy, and is artistic director and conductor of the Allegro Chorale and Orchestra in Texas. Ms Basney earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Eastman School of Music.

Felicia Coleman-Evans, School of Music professor

Felicia Coleman-Evans

Voice Instructor

Felicia Coleman-Evans made her Carnegie Hall debut as featured soloist in the tribute to the great Leontyne Price. She performs throughout the United States and Europe, combining classical technique with spirit-filled soulfulness. Her vocal music has been shared with the highest elected officials and dignitaries, most notably at President Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the U.S. Senate Legislative Staff. She earned her BM and MM degrees at  Howard University.

Photo of Erik Friedman, Opera Stage Director

Erik Friedman

Opera Stage Director

A Chicago-based director, Erik has been working with Lyric Opera of Chicago as a member of the directing staff and an instructor with Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center Young Artist program. Erik has worked previously with Wolf Trap Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Central City Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Spoleto Festival USA among others. He has also worked with theatre companies including Steppenwolf Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Indiana, DePaul, and Butler Universities.

Michael LaTour, Opera Stage Director

Michael LaTour

Opera Stage Director

An MFA Directing graduate from the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Michael La Tour has worked professionally as an actor, singer, dancer, mime, clown, designer, choreographer, director, and producer. He is on staff at Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Center as a master teacher and stage director (The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, Romeo et Juliette), as well as being on staff for The Music Institute of Chicago for their opera workshop program.

Kurt Link, School of Music professor

Kurt Link

Voice Instructor

A winner of the Metropolitan Opera, Liederkranz, Opera Index, and Sullivan competitions, and featured by Opera News as a singer to “keep your eye on,” Kurt Link has earned a reputation as one of America’s finest basses, both in opera and oratorio. Mr. Link has won critical acclaim for a repertoire that has embraced major operatic roles from Monteverdi to Henze, and from Mozart to Wagner. He has sung Baron Ochs, Daland, Figaro, Leporello, Osmin, Sarastro, Ramfis, Colline, Mephistopheles, and other major bass roles with many different companies in the United States and around the world.

Annie Picard, School of Music professor

Annie Picard

Classical Voice and Vocal Literature Instructor

Annie Picard is a soloist, chamber musician, and voice teacher whose musical achievements have been widely recognized and rewarded. Dr. Picard’s great passion is performing art song and chamber music, and she enjoys being musically adventuresome, dedicating herself to creating recitals that explore widely varying themes and genres. Her repertoire ranges from lute songs by John Dowland to Dominick Argento’s Letters from Composers. She earned her bachelor of music degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia, master of music and artist diploma at the New England Conservatory, and her DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Alexis Randolph

Alexis Randolph

Assistant Director of the Opera

Alexis Randolph, actor and director, graduated from Ithaca College with a bachelor of arts in drama in 2007. During this program, she studied for a year in London, and has since expanded her training to include studies at the Eugene O'Neill National Theatre Institute, Moscow Arts Theatre in Russia, Act One Studios, and the Actor's Gymnasium. Acting and directing credits include work with Redmoon, Appetite Theatre Company, Point of Contention, The State, New Leaf, Chicago Fringe Festival, and Element. She is also the drama teacher at St. Clement School.

Jeffrey Ray, School of Music professor

Jeffrey Ray

Voice Instructor and MMVP Career Seminar Instructor

Jeffrey Ray has sung in operas around the world, beginning with his European debut at Deutsche Opera, Berlin, in 1997. His roles include Marcello, Sharpless, Seville's Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, Belcore, and Don Giovanni. Mr. Ray's orchestral collaborations include two appearances at Carnegie Hall, Handel's Messiah and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. He has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Bruno Bartoletti, and John Nelson, among many others.


Lorain Stein-Schwaber

Voice Instructor

Lorain Stein-Schwaber has more than 20 years' experience as a performer in shows that include Phantom of the Opera, Sweeny Todd, West Side Story, and Annie, in venues that include on Broadway, national tours, and the Chicago Theater. She has performed with Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Cologne, and Light Opera Works, and has taught at Roosevelt University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Music Institute of Chicago, and Carthage College. She is the artistic director of Voices of the Future/Center for American Musical Theater. Stein-Schwaber earned her BFA in vocal performance/musical theatre from Carnegie-Mellon University, completed a graduate certificate program in drama/musical theater at the Banff Center for the Arts, earned a master's in vocal performance at Roosevelt University, and is a certified master teacher through Estill International.

George Tenegal, School of Music professor

George Tenegal

Vocal Coach and Diction Instructor

George Tenegal was on the faculty at DePaul University for many years, where he taught piano, coached singers, and gave classes in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English diction, and French vocal literature. He has coached and accompanied in many of the most prestigious vocal studios in Chicago and Italy. Mr. Tenegal has also been the recipient of many awards and scholarships and was a prizewinner in the IBLA International Piano Competition in Ragusa, Italy, in both the soloist and accompanist categories. His education includes a BM from DePaul University, MM from Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy, and graduate studies at Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria.

Thomas Tropp, School of Music professor

Thomas Tropp

Women's Chorale Director

Tom Tropp is a music educator and recording technician, and owner of SoundByte Studios, a music services firm specializing in CD production for choral ensembles. He earned his bachelor of music education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, during which time he worked as the sound technician for the School of Music and completed an independent study project in choral conducting. Tom spent the next three years as a graduate teaching assistant in the choral department at the University of Arizona, where he completed a master of music degree in choral. During this time, he also taught in the Tucson Unified School District, and worked as the sound, recording, and lighting technician for a popular professional vocal jazz group in Tucson, a job that included two national tours. Tom is currently a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant at Northwestern University and the Chancel Choir director at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.

Ronald Watkins, School of Music professor

Ronald Watkins

Voice Instructor

Baritone Ronald Watkins has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus since 1992. His featured appearances on the Lyric stage include roles in Peter Grimes, Boris Godunov, Madama Butterfly, and Sweeney Todd. A frequent concert artist and recitalist, Watkins has appeared with the South West Symphony, Corning Symphony, Colgate Symphony, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Finger Lakes Symphony, Rochester Bach Festival, and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. He can be heard on composer John Giles's recording A Song for All Seasons.