Vocal Coaching and Accompanying

The Vocal Coaching and Accompanying program is for strong pianists who want to explore the worlds of song and sung theatre.  Our program develops excellent musical and linguistic skills, along with technical fluency. Students learn in class and studio lessons, and also through practical experience.

Instruction in collaborative piano is in a range of repertoire: operatic and musical theatre works, recital, cabaret and chamber music performance. We place strong emphasis on the acquisition of collaborative skills and on language comprehension and diction.  Students study harmonization, transposition, and improvisation.

The Master of Music and the Doctor of Music Arts in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying were created by the legendary accompanist John Wustman.  The program has a long list of distinguished alumni, including: Susan Ash-Baker, Franklin Brasz, Brian Garman, Ward Holmquist, Luke Housner, David Moody, Mary Pinto, Craig Rutenberg, Kevin Stites, Valerie Trujillo, and Julie Gunn.

Candidates are fully funded with a tuition and fee waiver and an assistantship appointment in Lyric Theatre, which provides experience in opera and musical theatre, or in Studio Accompanying, which focuses on art song and choral music.

Lyric Theatre @ Illinois embraces a broad continuum of opera and musical theatre. It mounts three fully staged productions of musical theatre and opera each year, performed in our outstanding opera house at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and several studio, scenes, and workshop programs.  Members of the LTI music staff develop skills as vocal coaches, rehearsal pianists, music directors, prompters, supertitle operators, language coaches, translators, arrangers, chorus masters, conductors, and composers, as their interests and abilities dictate.

A very important part of student experience is the large number of workshops mounted each year.  The School of Music has brought a wide range of influential creative teams to campus to work and teach at Lyric Theatre, including:  Richard Maltby, David Shire and John Weidman; Ellen Reid, Roxie Perkins, and James Darrah; Mohammed Fairouz and Mohammed Hanif; Cori Ellison, Beth Morrison; Gene Scheer and Bill van Horn; Jeremy Gill and Sky Macklay; Ilya Demutsky and Igor Kolnyukhov.

Students are mentored by the excellent voice and accompanying faculties in art song repertoire. They give several degree recitals, focusing on the art song repertoire which has been the hallmark of an Illinois vocal education for generations.  Illinois boasts one of the best performing arts libraries in the world, superb academic resources, and the world-class Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.