From the Program Chairs

Vocal Performance

NEC's vocal performance major aims to prepare 21st-century artists for the rigorous demands of a professional career in music. You will receive thorough technical training in studio lessons with our renowned voice faculty. You will acquire detailed knowledge of the repertoire and styles from the early Baroque to the present and attain mastery of singing languages and diction.

You will perform frequently in Opera Studies, Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, Liederabend, new music, chamber music, recitals, and masterclasses. Recent visiting artists have included Thomas Hampson, Denyce Graves (an NEC alumna!), Diana Soviero, Barbara Bonney, José van Dam, Renee Fleming, Craig Rutenberg, Hakan Hagegard, Ben Heppner, Warren Jones, and Matthew Polenzani. NEC voice students are also encouraged to take advantage of the numerous performance opportunities available throughout the Boston area.

The combination of mentoring from wonderful teachers, rigorous coursework, and frequent performance across a variety of styles makes NEC an outstanding place for young singers to prepare for the professional world.

Art Song

Art Song thrives at NEC, where students in all degree programs have access to unique opportunities to study and perform this rich repertoire, learning its rich histories and exploring exciting new paths for recital performance. 

NEC’s faculty has a particular strength in its team of art song specialists and a rotating roster of guest artists who nurture the next generation of song recitalists.

Regardless of a student’s degree level or professional goals, the study of art song provides performers with endless challenges and opportunities to develops their relationship with texts in multiple languages, to adapt to a wide variety of musical styles, to refine their skills in collaboration, to fine tune musicianship, to discover and explore their artistry and individuality, and to communicate directly and intimately with their audiences.   

Some of our yearly song-related offerings include: 

  • Numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in language, diction, and song performance practice (Ex. Song Studies for Singers and Pianists, Italian and Spanish Song, Late Romantic Lieder, English and American Art Song, French Mélodies) 
  • Two public recital series dedicated to art song performance: NEC Liederabend and Song and Verse
  • The new Song Lab at NEC, a one-of-a-kind graduate course that integrates numerous strands of learning and experience centered around art song performance 

See more about song opportunities for singers and pianists

Vocal Pedagogy

NEC’s Vocal Pedagogy program, led by Ian Howell, allows students to study the history of their art form, consider the wisdom that comes down to us from the past, and think about the way in which they carry on the practice of classical and contemporary singing in the present.

Vocal Pedagogy students at NEC may choose from three possible courses of study:

  • Master of Music in Vocal Performance with vocal pedagogy concentration
  • Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy

Additionally, students who study contemporary and jazz styles of voice through our Contemporary Improvisation and Jazz degree programs, and those enrolled in our Choral Conducting program are welcome in the vocal pedagogy courses. 

Our approach to the study of vocal pedagogy begins with the idea that great teaching comes from both knowing and doing. Our teachers include those who have sung on the world's stages, those pursuing active research, and those who work to rehabilitate injured singers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center.

Students involved in the vocal pedagogy department have access to the Voice Pedagogy Studio housed in the historic Samuel Carr Memorial Room in Jordan Hall. Our resources include a full classroom appropriate for lectures, workshops, and seminars, and the NEC Voice and Sound Analysis Laboratory & Center. This lab, the first of its kind in Boston, offers NEC students the tools needed to explore and study the voice in house.

Opera Studies

NEC's Opera Studies faculty offer a comprehensive program for the aspiring singer-actor, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. The two-year graduate course of study includes regularly scheduled classes in stage movement, diction, stage techniques, and Alexander technique as well as coaching in arias, scenes, and roles.

A training-oriented program, its goals are long-term. Work in the program is intended to provide you with the tools necessary for development that will continue beyond the prescribed course of study. Besides work in the classes, you are encouraged to develop self-reliance in your work, a code of professional behavior, and a sense of professional ethics.

Undergraduate Opera Studies

Graduate Opera Studies

Some Graduates of the Program

Dean Anthony, Jennifer Ayres, Suzanne Balaes, Benjamin Brecher, Janice Creswell, John Fanning, Andrew Funk, Denyce Graves, Theodore Green, Jill Grove, Kathryn Honan-Carter, Claudia Huckle, Michelle Johnson, Julia Kierstine, Andrew Krikawa, Marquita Lister, Lester Lynch, James Maddalena, Wright Moore, Samuel Mungo, Paula Murrihy, Rod Nelman, Christopheren Nomura, Ann Panagulias, Keith Phares, Jessie Raven, Lisa Saffer, Linda Watson, Ji-Young Yang

In photo: James Maddalena '76 creates the title role in Todd Machover's high-tech opera Death and the Powers, at Boston's Cutler Majestic Theatre, March 18–25, 2011, and at Chicago Opera Theater, April 2–10, 2011. More on this.

Interested in applying? Click here for information about our application process.