Theodora Nestorova '18, a vocal performance major and musicology minor, has been awarded a Fulbright research award to study vocal pedagogy in Vienna, Austria.
Passionate about classical singing from an early age, Nestorova has always been curious about how the voice works. Once at Oberlin, she became involved with the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center, which allowed her to explore current vocal scientific research methods. She was encouraged by her advisor and voice teacher Professor of Singing Lorraine Manz to apply for the Fulbright. “[Professor Manz] has been very supportive of my thirst for knowledge during my four years at Oberlin,” says Nestorova.
During her fellowship, Nestorova will explore the vocal pedagogy of the Austrian school. She will also enroll in courses at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien and delve into the various student organizations at the university. “Vienna is the world’s most historic center of classical music where some of the titans of opera and operetta lived and worked,” says Nestorova. “So there is a lot to learn from the great classical singing tradition that the city represents.”
“I am looking forward to immersing myself in the rich Viennese musical history, culture, and language,” says Nestorova. “I love traveling and learning languages, so I cannot wait to practice all five of the languages I know—and add more to the list!”
At Oberlin, Nestorova created and served as president for the Oberlin Conservatory Student National Association of Teachers of Singing, a student organization that promotes voice teaching as a profession. She performed with Oberlin Opera Theater, Oberlin Sinfonietta, Oberlin College Choir, and Oberlin Baroque Ensemble. Nestorova held numerous jobs both on campus and off, including working as a student laboratory assistant in the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center, serving as a circulation desk student assistant in the Conservatory Library, teaching secondary voice lessons, and acting as the soprano section leader choral scholar at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Amherst, Ohio. A former competitive figure skater, she also served as an ice skating instructor at the North Olmsted Recreation Center.
Upon her return to the U.S., she plans to publish her research and pursue the graduate school opportunities she has been offered. Says Nestorova: “I am grateful to my family, teachers, and mentors for their years of life lessons, support, and encouragement to follow my own path."