The Artistic and Faculty Director of the program is dawn pierce, mezzo-soprano, a native of Olean, New York, and currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at Ithaca College.
Praised as both an exceptional performer and an empowering teacher, Ms. Pierce is devoted to promoting a deep understanding of artistry and self-expression. Reviewers laud her as “vocally impressive and dramatically convincing,” while students describe her teaching as “innovative,” “energetic,” and “inspiring.” Through her work in the US and Europe, she has quickly been gaining recognition as a visionary leader. She is the creator and director of the Opera Company of Middlebury Young Artist Program, an upcoming teacher for The Great Courses, and a former voice teacher and current board member for the International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany.
Ms. Pierce abounds with experience in a wide variety of styles and venues. On the operatic stage, she recently performed the title role in Carmen with Opera Ithaca, Charlotte in Werther with Mobile Opera, Beatrice in Beatrice et Benedict with Asheville Lyric Opera, Olga in Eugene Onegin with Opera Carolina and Opera Company of Middlebury, and Madelon and Bersi in Andrea Chenier with Nashville Opera. Ms. Pierce is equally comfortable in musical theatre, where she portrayed Franca (The Light in the Piazza), The Grand Duchess (The Student Prince), and Anita (West Side Story). On the concert stage, she has earned rave reviews for her interpretation of the alto solos in Verdi's Requiem and Handel's Messiah. Recently, she delivered a moving performance as Maria von Wedermeyer in McElyea's TENEBRAE: The Passion of Dietrich Bonnhoeffer. She has been a featured soloist with Asheville Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, York Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Charleston Symphony, and with the Binghamton Downtown Singers, Hamilton Masterworks Chorale and Ithaca College Orchestra.
Ms. Pierce has extensive experience as a private teacher, musical director, and master class presenter. At Ithaca College, her students describe her as an “extremely passionate, thorough, empathetic, and innovative professor, mentor, and technician.” Her teaching philosophy incorporates the prominent pillars of empowerment, individuality, community, and excellence as the foundation for inspired lifelong learning. In addition to teaching vocal technique, dramatic intention, musical interpretation, and body awareness to undergraduate level singers.
She earned a Performing Artist Certificate and a Master's in Opera Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and holds Bachelor's degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College.
Read more at dawnpierce.com.