News Releases

Ithaca College School of Music and Syracuse Opera Create Conductors' Training Program

ITHACA, NY — The Ithaca College School of Music and the Syracuse Opera have announced a cutting-edge conductors’ training program for the study and performance of opera. Beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year, three graduate-level students from the School of Music will be selected annually as Syracuse Opera conducting fellows to study the operatic repertoire, languages and the human singing voice as well as to learn about the responsibilities associated with leading an orchestra in opera performance.

Established by School of Music faculty Brian DeMaris and Jeffery Meyer and Syracuse Opera’s Director of Music Douglas Kinney Frost, the program spans the Syracuse Opera season. This will allow the three conducting fellows to observe the orchestra, chorus and staging rehearsals from several productions as well as work with Syracuse Opera staff, performing artists and conductors. This initiative exemplifies the School of Music’s ongoing quest to provide its students with real-life, hands-on experiences and Syracuse Opera’s commitment to professional opportunities for emerging artists.

In addition, the School of Music and the Syracuse Opera will host a conductors’ training master class focusing on the standard opera repertoire. Participants are anticipated from throughout the United States. These individuals will have the opportunity to work with Syracuse Opera’s resident artists and the School of Music graduate voice students performing with the Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra. For the inaugural session, master conducting teacher Kenneth Kiesler will lead the class set for March 24-27, 2011, in Ithaca that will focus on Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “Le Nozze di Figaro.” More information regarding the application process will become available in December.

“This collaboration provides Ithaca College graduate conducting students with an invaluable experience under the tutelage of the expert artistic staff and performers of Syracuse Opera,” said DeMaris. “Being a part of this partnership between two nationally recognized institutions is an honor for me, as I’m sure it will be for our graduate students.”

“Learning how to conduct opera is an often-overlooked element in the professional training of conductors in the United States and we are proud to be launching what we believe is the first such program specifically targeted at conductor training for opera in the country,” said Frost. “There are many young artist programs for singers and pianists in the opera world, and, in turn, opportunities for young conductors in the purely orchestral world. Those of us who create opera understand that a division between the two areas of training is senseless; we see this as a definitive step toward bridging the gap.”

About the Ithaca College School of Music
Since its founding in 1892 as a conservatory, the Ithaca College School of Music has earned a reputation as one of the best in the nation, offering a superb blend of full-time resident faculty, performance opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities, access to liberal arts courses and success in career placement. It’s a place where students work with world-class professionals every day to become world-class professionals themselves. For more information, go to /music or call (607) 274-3171.

About Syracuse Opera
Now in its 36th year, Syracuse Opera enriches the lives of the people of upstate New York through locally produced opera, an all-inclusive art form which features the beauty of the human singing voice energized by the spectacle of live theater. Offering three mainstage productions each season, year-round community performances and education programs, Syracuse Opera is a professional company reaching over 60,000 people each year. For more information, visit or call (315) 475-5915.