Katherine Jolly, soprano
  • Associate Professor of Voice


  • DMA in voice, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2015
  • MM in voice, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2001
  • BM in voice, Boston University College of Fine Arts, 1999


Soprano Katherine Jolly emphasizes physical and mental well-being in her teaching, principles instilled in her as a young dancer and through years of yoga and mindfulness studies—disciplines she explored early in her professional singing career to help cope with stress and stave off injury.

An avid performer in a wide range of settings, Jolly was a winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals. She has enjoyed leading coloratura and soubrette roles with companies including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and American Lyric Theater. She has appeared with the Phoenix Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Northwest Florida Symphony, Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra, and Chamber Project St. Louis, among other groups.

Prior to joining the Oberlin faculty in fall 2019, Jolly served on the faculty of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and she began her teaching career at Saint Louis University. She earned grants from both institutions and was named a finalist for Saint Louis’ Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

A native of California, Jolly began teaching private voice lessons after earning her master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2001. She returned to CCM for doctoral studies, earning a DMA in vocal pedagogy in 2015. Her principal teachers have included Barbara Honn and Thomas Baresel at CCM, and Phyllis Hoffman at Boston University College of Fine Arts, where Jolly earned a bachelor's degree in 1999.

Jolly has presented workshops on yoga, singing, and performance anxiety for the Voice Foundation, National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Percussion Pedagogy Conference, the College Music Society, and the Mindfulness Institute and Know Your Voice workshop at the Jacobs School of Music. She is a frequent guest clinician with organizations including the Schmidt Foundation, Opera Theatre Saint Louis’ Spring Training program, NATS, and ArtsBridge. She has earned awards from organizations including the George London Foundation, Opera Theatre Saint Louis, and the McAllister Foundation.

Jollly is represented by Berger Artists Management. Her recording of new works by Evan Williams and Evan Mack will be released in 2019 on the PARMA label.

  • “As the Fairy Godmother (in silver lamé [sic] housedress, apron and red Lucille Ball wig), coloratura soprano Katherine Jolly delights with her endlessly flowing trills, runs and roulades.” —Variety (review of Cendrillon)
  • “Katherine Jolly, also making her [Houston Grand Opera], employed tender and expressive soprano vocals to make her portrayal of Iris poignant and unforgettable.” —Operaworld.com
  • “Katherine Jolly used her agile, light, lyric soprano to superb effect in showpieces from Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail, and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.” —The New York Times (coverage of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals)
  • “Jolly’s voice enraptured the audience, as she sang the ethereal Domine Deus.” —Sacramento Press (review of Gloria)
  • “As young lovers, Nanki Poo and soprano Katherine Jolly were attractive and believable…hers was lighter, sweeter, gentler.” —Virginia Pilot (review of The Mikado)