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Voice Faculty

  • Voice Faculty

    • Southeastern Louisiana University
      BM Vocal Performance
      Arizona State University
      MM Opera Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Ms. Karanas
      Personal site:

      Greek-American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas has been hailed for her “capacious power” and “a voice lustrous and exciting.” (San Francisco Chronicle). During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Karanas made her house and role debut as The Mikado in The Montana Mikado with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, performed the Narrator in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, and debuted in a series of opera concerts with Festival de Musique de Saint-Barth conducted by Steven Mercurio. Future seasons will see Ms. Karanas at Teatro Real, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Inland Northwest Opera, and LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.

      Engagements postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic included her house debut as Liese in The Passenger with Teatro Real, her role and house debut as Herodias in Salome with Hawaii Opera Theatre, and performances as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with New Orleans Opera. During the pandemic, Ms. Karanas curated and presented recitals of unknown works, focusing on the preservation and dissemination of vocal music by Jewish composers, especially those affected by the Holocaust.

      Ms. Karanas made her Carnegie Hall debut in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Athens Philharmonic conducted by Yiannis Hadjiloizou and made her debut at The Israeli Opera singing Liese in The Passenger, a role she has performed at Florida Grand Opera and Michigan Opera Theater following her successful debut of the role at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other recent engagements include a major role debut as Kundry in Parsifal at the Lyric Opera of Chicago under Sir Andrew Davis, and debuts at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites and with the Auckland Philharmonia as Brangäne in concert performances of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.

      Ms. Karanas made her German debut at Oper Frankfurt as Marfa in Khovanshchina and debuted at the Canadian Opera Company as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde conducted by Johannes Debus and directed by Peter Sellars. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in their production of the Berlioz masterpiece Les Troyens covering the role of Cassandre and made an acclaimed European debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as Judit in Bluebeard’s Castle under Zsolt Hamar in the festival’s 75th Anniversary. Daveda debuted the role of Azucena in Il trovatore at Opera Grand Rapids and sang her first performances of Amneris in Aida at Arizona Opera, followed by Vancouver Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival in a new production by Francesca Zambello. She made her New Orleans Opera debut as Hasbeena in Burlesque Opera Tabasco and made her role debut as Ježibaba in Rusalka at Arizona Opera.

      Ms. Karanas completed her first complete Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera under Donald Runnicles. In Francesca Zambello’s staging, she sang both Waltraute and the 2nd Norn in the new production of Götterdämmerung and Waltraute in Die Walküre. Other San Francisco Opera credits include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Mamka in Boris Godunov, Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica, covering Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il Trovatore. She also covered Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde with Seattle Opera and covered Judit in Bluebeard’s Castle with Saito Kinen Festival conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

      Ms. Karanas is a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She also received an Encouragement Award from the George London Foundation, was an International Semi-Finalist in the Neue Stimmen Competition, an Encouragement Award recipient at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and Grand Prize Winner of the Arizona Opera League Competition.

      She is a graduate of the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera. Ms. Karanas further trained at esteemed institutions including Merola Opera Program, Music Academy of the West, Chicago Opera Theater, and Boston University Opera Institute. Ms. Karanas is a graduate of the Arizona State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.


    • Lawrence University
      BM Vocal Performance
      Rice University
      MM Vocal Performance
      DMA Vocal Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2022 
      Contact Dr. Besch 
      Personal Site:

      Bass-baritone Christopher Besch is proud to have performed in eight countries on three continents with such conductors as Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, and Jeffrey Thomas. His “commanding stage presence and rich resonance of deep bass sound” (DC Theatre Scene) has been heard in over 80 works running the gamut of musical styles such as early music, grand opera, and modern art song. Notable engagements have included Apollo in Anthony Brandt’s Kassandra (recently released on the Navona Records label,) Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, Frederik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Castleton Festival, Ashby in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, and many others. As a frequent performer of concert repertoire, his recent performances have included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Symphony of the Hills, Verdi’s Requiem with the Green Bay Civic Symphony, Haman in Handel's Esther with Ars Lyrica. Additionally, he is a frequent soloist with Bach Society Houston, appearing with them at the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival in Leipzig, Germany and will be again at the 2023 festival. Notable upcoming engagements include the debut concert of the early music group Harmonica Stellarum, an all-Purcell concert with Ars Lyrica Houston, Haydn’sCreation in Louisville, KY, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, and many others.

      As a pedagogue, his students have found success as performers and teachers on a national and international level. He currently serves as Lecturer in Voice at the Texas State University and is the Vocal Program Director for the Classical Music Institute, an education and performance organization serving the San Antonio area. Dr. Besch has previously held teaching appointments at Rice University, The University of Memphis, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Lone Star College – Kingwood. His research and expertise lie in science-informed pedagogy as it relates to the singing voice. He has presented on the subject at the Texoma NATS Conference, Lawrence University, the University of Kentucky, and is a frequent lecturer at the Donald Gray Miller Singing Voice Science Workshop in New York. His primary research interests include the acoustics and psychoacoustics of the voice with a particular bent towards how hearing influences the perception of the sung voice. Dr. Besch has also done extensive work with the implementation of the voice analysis software VoceVista as a teaching tool both in the studio and the pedagogy classroom.

      Dr. Besch has earned both his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Rice University and his Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from Lawrence University. He was a semi-finalist for the 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Regional Finalists for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award for his work with Opera Colorado.

    • Natalie Cummings, Lecturer of Voice

      Illinois Wesleyan University

      BM Vocal Performance

      University of Texas at Austin

      MM Opera Performance

      DMA Vocal Pedagogy


      Has been teaching at TXST since 2023

      Contact Dr. Cummings (email:

      Personal site:

      Natalie Cummings, Soprano, has been praised as having “(a) lush, full-bodied and beautiful tone” by the Austin-American Statesman and “a big voice that didn’t sacrifice purity of tone for volume” by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. A teacher and performer from the Austin, Texas area, Dr. Cummings holds a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Equally interested in solo and choral performance and pedagogy, she was recently awarded the Joan Frey Boytim Award for Independent Teachers from the National Association of Teachers of Singing  (NATS) and served as a section leader for the 2021 TMEA All State treble choir. She is the Independent Studio Teacher Liaison for the Texoma region of NATS as well as serving on their High School Vocal Fellowship committee. Her research interests include the alignment of solo and choral pedagogy, voice science, and issues of gender and race in vocal pedagogy and she has presented her research on these topics to the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA).

      A two-time Houston District winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards and National Semi-Finalist of that same competition, Dr. Cummings has also been awarded Second Place in the Texoma NATSAA Competition, was a finalist in the Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society Competition, Second Place winner in the Mid-Texas Symphony Vocal Competition, finalist in the Bel Canto Scholarship Foundation competition, Audience Choice in the Lois Alba Aria Competition and a semi-finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition. She has appeared on stage around her home state, performing with Austin Opera, Spotlight on Opera, and Alamo City Opera, Austin Baroque Orchestra, Texas Bach Festival, and as a soloist with the TMEA All State Choir and the UT Symphony Orchestra, as well as in recital. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and their children, and maintains a full studio of vibrant and brilliant voice students.

    • Conservatorio di Musica F. Cilea
      BM Vocal Performance
      Università di Messina
      BA Literature
      Accademia del teatro alla Scala
      MM Vocal Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2022 
      Contact Mr. Filianoti 
      Personal Site:

      Since his professional debut in 1998, Mr. Filianoti has emerged as a beacon of style and nuance in a wide-ranging repertoire. While the majority of his performances have centered on the bel canto and later 19th-century lyric Italian and French works, he has also successfully essayed roles by Cherubini and Mozart through those of such 20th century masters as Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky.

      Born in Reggio Calabria, the Italian tenor first obtained a degree in Literature, a background he considers to be essential to his operatic foundation and discipline. In 1997, he graduated from the “F. Cilea” Conservatory. Mr. Filianoti won a highly-coveted two-year scholarship to Milan’s Accademia del Teatro alla Scala. During this period of intensive fine-tuning of his voice, he met Alfred Kraus, who became his mentor and the decisive influence in helping the young singer develop his artistic style, technique and virtuosity.

      Mr. Filianoti made his debut in 1998 at Bergamo as Dom Sébastien. In 1999, after singing Argirio in Tancredi at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, he was engaged by Riccardo Muti to sing in Paisiello’s Nina, o sia pazza per amore. In 2003, again under Mo. Muti, he opened the season of La Scala with Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon. He made his Covent Garden debut in 2000 as Alfredo in La traviata, returning there in the title role of Donizetti’s Dom Sébastien in 2005 and more recently as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. He is a frequent guest at La Scala, where he has performed in Falstaff, Rigoletto, Lucrezia Borgia, Gianni Schicchi, Un giorno di regno, and Lucia di Lammermoor. At Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera he has sung Faust, Gianni Schicchi, Die Zauberflöte and Werther, and made his debut with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in a concert version of Idomeneo.

      In 2005 he made his widely celebrated American debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. In subsequent seasons he returned to the Company as Edgardo, as well as in many of his other signature roles, including Nemorino, Il duca di Mantova, Ruggero (La rondine) and Hoffmann. In addition to the Met, in the U.S. he has also appeared to great acclaim at the San Francisco Opera as Edgardo and at New York’s Carnegie Hall as Federico in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana. Nemorino was the role of his debut at the Los Angeles Opera in 2009, as well as at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2010, where he returned in 2011 for Edgardo. The vehicle for Mr. Filianoti’s debut with Washington Concert Opera was the title role in Werther, one of his favorite operas. His US recital debut took place on the Harriman Jewell Series in April 2012.

      Additionally, Mr. Filianoti has performed in the major European opera houses: with both companies in Berlin (Faust / Deutsche Oper); the Verdi Requiem (at the Philharmonie) and Don Giovanni, for the Staatsoper, both under Daniel Barenboim; Vienna (Traviata, Elisir and Lucia); Barcelona (Traviata, Rigoletto, Elisir and Lucia); Florence (Traviata, Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni); Hamburg (Idomeneo, Hoffmann La bohème and Faust); Madrid (Traviata, Werther and Celos aun del aire matan); Paris (Rondine, Elisir, Hoffmann and Manon).

      In 2004, Giuseppe Filianoti was awarded the Franco Abbiati Italian Critics´ Prize as Best Singer of the Year.

      The tenor regularly expands his diverse discography and videography. A champion of the work of his countryman Francesco Cilea, he recorded L'Arlesiana in an edition featuring some unpublished pieces. Inn 2016, Ricordi published his critical edition of the Chamber compositions for voice and piano and in the 2021, the critical edition of the Complete Works for Piano. He has also taught at the Music Conservatory 'F. Torrefranca” in Vibo Valentia, and History of Music at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo.

    • Gustavus Adolphus College
      BA Music and English
      University of Minnesota
      MA Musicology
      University of Texas
      DMA Vocal Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2021 
      Contact Dr. O’Brien

      Dr. Tim O'Brien has sung with Austin Opera, Austin Symphony, Austin Shakespeare, the Minnesota Opera, LOLA, Conspirare, Texas Early Music Project, Ensemble VIII, the Dale Warland Singers, and toured nationally and internationally with the Rose Ensemble. Past performances include Le nozze di Figaro, Into the Woods, Ariadne auf Naxos and Sweeney Todd with the Butler Opera Center, as well as Verdi's Don Carlo and The Elixir

      Project with Austin Opera. Dr. O’Brien’s "vibrant and subtle" singing was praised by Oregon Artswatch, Willamette Week noted his "rich, dark palette," and the St. Paul Pioneer Press praised his "strong, yet vulnerable" portrayal of Purcell's Aeneas. A two-time Grammy nominee, Tim’s performances can be heard on more than a dozen commercial recordings, and recently on the HBO show White Lotus. Tim is artistic director of Living Paper Song Project and Director of Music at St. Martin's Lutheran Church.

      Before joining the faculty at Texas State, Dr. O’Brien served on the faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College, Concordia University, and St. Edward’s University. He holds a Master's degree in Musicology from the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Texas.

    • Whitworth College 
      BA Vocal Performance 
      University of Texas at Austin 
      MM Vocal Performance 
      DMA Voice 

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018 
      Contact Dr. Ramo 
      Personal site:

      A member of the School of Music faculty since 2018, Suzanne Ramo is lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle for an ease with coloratura that one hears “blazing forth brightly” as well as her “lyrical phrasing sweetly rendered”. Recent performances include Brahms’ Requiem with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, recitals in Italy and Uruguay, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay. A frequent performer in the state of Texas, she has twice brought her crystalline soprano to Orff’s Carmina Burana with Ballet Austin, and returned to the Laredo Phil for the title role of Donizetti’s Rita and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. As Constance in Les dialogues des Carmélites with Austin Opera, she earned a nomination for an Austin Critics’ Table Award as best singer of the 2008-09 season. Declared “always a highlight of any Austin Opera production she joins” by the Austin American-Statesman, she has previously joined the company as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She received a second nomination from the Austin Critics’ Table Awards for her performance in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Texas Choral Consort in the 2013-14 season. She reprised the role of Violetta in La traviata with Amarillo Opera, a performance which was broadcast on PBS. Other Panhandle performances include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Amarillo Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Chamber Music Amarillo.

      Operatic roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata, Micaela in Carmen, Madame Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China; and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. With the San Francisco Opera, she sang the title role of The Ballad of Baby Doe, Der Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, Woglinde in both Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, and Der Waldvogel in Siegfried in addition to joining the company for its productions of Rigoletto, Falstaff, Der Rosenkavalier, and Semele. Also under the auspices of San Francisco Opera, she sang title role of La Calisto, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri in California as well as Violetta in La traviata on national tour with the Western Opera Theater.

      A prolific interpreter of oratorio repertoire, she has joined the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Nicholas McGegan for Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Modesto Symphony for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Stanford University as guest soloist for Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Carmina Burana with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Panamá at the Alfredo Saint-Malo Music Festival, as well as the Strata Trio for Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen at Concerts at the Point in Massachusetts. Especially sought after for concert performances in Texas, she has sung acclaimed performances of Strauss’ Vier letzte Liederand Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ with the Laredo Phil, Handel’s Messiah and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Victoria Symphony, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Brazos Valley Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with Musica Ecclesiae in Austin, and University of Texas Wind Ensemble, in addition to concerts of Broadway favorites with the San Antonio Symphony and Victoria Symphony.

      In addition to performing, Dr. Ramo has been an Attaway Scholar at the Centenary College of Lousiana, where she presented her research on the Father-Daughter Relationship in Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Rigoletto and La traviata.

      Dr. Ramo earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Whitworth University, and her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a two-time participant with the Merola Opera Program and held a prestigious Adler Fellowship with the San Francisco Opera. Always seeking to enhance her performance and teaching skills, she completed Teacher Certification with OperaWorks in 2018. International teaching residencies include La Escuela Nacional de Arte Lírico in Uruguay, the Sol Mayor Festival Internacional de Música in Paraguay, and the Music Fest Perugia in Italy. Before joining Texas State, she was Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at West Texas A&M University.

    • Ron Ulen headshot

      Minnesota State University
      BM Music Education
      Florida State University
      MM Voice Performance
      MM Opera Production

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2010
      Contact Mr. Ulen
      Personal site:

      The American baritone, Ron Ulen, made his professional debut as Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with the National Opera Company. This led to appearances throughout United States, for example as Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Eberbach in Der Wildschütz, Mr. Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Marcello in La bohème.

      Mr. Ulen made his European debut in Il Trovatore at the renowned Opera House in Zürich, Switzerland. As a resident leading artist in Coburg, Germany, he sang the title roles in Verdi´s Falstaff, Tschaikowky´s Eugen Onegin, Bartok´s Bluebeards Castle, Zar Peter I. in Lortzing´s Zar und Zimmermann as well as Sharpless in Puccini´s Madame Butterfly and Tarquinius in Britten´s The Rape of Lucretia.

      He was also engaged as the resident leading baritone at the Staatstheater in Schwerin, the Staatstheater in Mainz and the Opera House of Augsburg. His roles included Germont in Verdi´s La Traviata, Belcore in L´Elisir d´Amore, Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Valentin in Faust, Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Miller in Luisa Miller.

      An active and versatile performer who feels equally at home on the opera, concert, or recital stage, Mr. Ulen has performed over 90 roles in nearly 2000 performances. His career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world including those of Vienna, Rome, London, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, New York, Munich, Paris, Chicago, and Berlin.

      He has enjoyed great success as Nabucco in Verdi’s opera of the same name in numerous venues. Additional productions have included Ariadne auf Naxos, La Finta Giardinieri, Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tannhäuser, Der Fliegende Holländer, and La Forza del Destino.

      In addition to his teaching, Mr. Ulen continues to maintain an active performing schedule. He has conducted master classes at various universities and conservatories in Europe and the United States as well as being in demand as an adjudicator and jury member of various voice competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

      He earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Minnesota State University Mankato followed by Masters Degrees from Florida State University, in Vocal Performance and Opera Production. Further studies led him to Vienna, Austria and the Metropolitan Opera.

      Mr. Ulen's current and former students are represented on the rosters of numerous European and American opera houses.

    • Vassian

      Baylor University
      BM Voice Performance
      Western Carolina University
      MA Voice
      Biel Opera Studio
      Artist Diploma - Opera

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2017
      Contact Ms. Vassian
      Personal site:

      Lecturer Myra Vassian grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, where some of her earliest musical influences were Appalachian folk music, jazz standards and opera. After receiving degrees in vocal performance from Baylor University and Western Carolina University, she was awarded an International Rotary Scholarship to attend the Conservatory of Music in Zürich, Switzerland. She remained in Switzerland for five years, earning a Performing Artist Diploma from the Biel Opera Studio. She made her European debut in the role of “Lauretta” from Gianni Schicchi and continued to sing the roles of “Norina” from Don Pasquale, “Zerlina” from Don Giovanni and “Madeleine” from Le postillon du Lonjeumeau in opera theaters throughout Switzerland. Upon returning to the United States, she performed the role of “Susanna” in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Carolina and taught voice at Davidson College. From 1997 to 2007 she was Director of Music at The City Church, New York, and most recently served on the voice faculty of the Evening Division of the Juilliard School of Music for 10 years. Ms. Vassian has maintained a studio of private voice students in Manhattan since 1996 and in recent years enjoyed performing cabaret shows at the Metropolitan Room and the Duplex and Laurie Beechman theaters.

  • Opera Faculty

    • Brigham Young University 
      BM Media Music/Commercial Music 
      University of Utah 
      MM Collaborative Piano
      DMA Collaborative Piano/Conducting 

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2022 
      Contact Dr. Leavitt

      Pianist and composer Michael Leavitt embarked on his musical journey at the age of eight under the guidance of Barbara Lee, quickly surpassing expectations and demonstrating exceptional talent. Accompanying choirs at school and church became second nature to him, and at the age of twelve, he continued his studies under the esteemed Roger Bushell, culminating in his first piano competition victory just a year later. Throughout his high school years, Michael's musical prowess shone brightly as he emerged triumphant in numerous local, state, and regional competitions.

      Michael's passion for music led him to pursue a major in choral performance at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual, and Performing Arts (LVA). During his time with the LVA Chamber Choir, he had the incredible honor of performing at the White House Christmas Opening, captivating the audience alongside First Lady Hillary Clinton. Following his graduation from LVA, Michael's career flourished as he worked as a pianist for various musical theater productions and honed his skills as an audio engineer at Impulse Studios and the Huntridge Theater. Collaborating with acclaimed bands like Collective Soul, Green Day, and 3 Doors Down further enriched his musical experiences.

      Continuing his educational journey, Michael pursued his undergraduate degree in Music Media from Brigham Young University (BYU). During his time at BYU, he served as both pianist and conductor for the renowned Young Ambassadors, embarking on extensive tours across the United States, China, Korea, Brazil, and Argentina from 2003 to 2005. Additionally, Michael's talent and dedication led him to assume pivotal roles as a pianist and conductor in numerous BYU musical theater productions, including Smokey Joe's Cafe, Oklahoma, and Aida. In 2008, he collaborated with Erik Orton to direct and produce the music for the BYU filming of Berlin, an original musical. Michael's compositional prowess shone in 2009 when he composed and produced the music for the BYU film Onward Alone. Moreover, he served as the co-producer and conductor for the LDS production A Brand New Year, a live broadcast that captivated an audience of over 20,000 individuals.

      A career highlight for Michael was his collaboration with Tony Award winner Audra McDonald in Hale Center Theater Orem's production of 110 In the Shade. Alongside Dave Zabriskie, he developed the innovative virtual orchestral system known as ROCS, which enabled him to conduct a computerized orchestra during live performances with Audra. The success of ROCS led to its further development and promotion, now known as the aTempo System, as Michael and Dave continued to push the boundaries of musical technology. Notably, in April 2012, Michael had the privilege of closely collaborating with internationally acclaimed conductor Don Chan to create virtual orchestral demo recordings of West Side Story for the Leonard Bernstein Foundation.

      To further expand his musical knowledge and expertise, Michael pursued advanced studies at the University of Utah, where he obtained a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano. Undeterred by his accomplishments, he continued his educational journey at the University of Utah, earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Since 2022, Michael has shared his wealth of musical knowledge and passion as a dedicated educator, serving as a faculty member at Texas State University.

      With a remarkable career encompassing performance, composition, technological innovation, and education, Michael Leavitt continues to make an indelible impact on the world of music. His unwavering dedication to excellence and his profound artistry inspire aspiring musicians and shape the future of music.

    • Miller

      Brigham Young University
      BM Vocal Performance
      University of Texas at Austin
      MM and DMA Opera Directing

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Dr. Reynolds

      Marc Reynolds, Director of Texas State Opera Theater, received his undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University, Master of Music degree with an emphasis in Opera Directing from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in Opera Directing at The University of Texas at Austin. He has held administrative positions including Associate Administrative Director and Resident Stage Director for Utah Lyric Opera, and founding associate director for The University of Texas at Austin’s Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program.

      Dr. Reynolds has taught for Westminster College, Utah Valley University, The University of Texas at Austin, The Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Sparkling City Light Opera’s Vocal Arts workshop, Utah Vocal Arts Academy Workshop, and the Cornish-American Song Institute. He has also given master classes and workshops across the United States and abroad.

      As a stage director Marc Reynolds has enjoyed success in directing including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat for Austin Lyric Opera, Carmen, Falstaff, Die Fledermaus, and The Merry Widow for Utah Lyric Opera, The Mikado, The Old Maid and the Thief, La Cenerentola, The Magic Flute, and Amahl And The Night Visitors for Sparkling City Light Opera, La Serva Padrona for La Follia Austin Baroque, as well as La Curandera, Albert Herring, and Cosi Fan Tutte for the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler Opera Center. His work has received awards, nominations, and acclaim from the press and critics.

  • Graduate Assistantships

    • This assistantship is responsible for working closely with the opera program.  It offers a 25% FTE load, while is an average of 10 hours a week of instructional program support work.

    • This GIA position works with both the Voice Area as a whole and the Opera Program in a support position. 

    • This GTA position is a teaching position where the Graduate Student is the Teacher of Record for the Voice Class course and Applied Voice for non-majors.  It is roughly 37% FTE, or 13 hours a week of work depending on the semester.

      Only graduate students with 18 credit hours are eligible to apply.


Curricula Vitae and Course Evaluations

To see certain music department faculty CV's, what they teach, and their course reviews/syllabi, click here for the Texas State HB2504 Web Site,  Note: not all courses or faculty are listed, only those necessitated to be compliant with HB2504.