Vocal Academy Faculty
Faculty for the Vocal Academy for High School Students includes conservatory voice and opera faculty and those from other distinguished music schools. Academy faculty provide a wealth of pedagogy and performance experience, which includes study and training in renowned conservatories, and performances and recordings with highly regarded orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies.
Thomas Bandy teaches collaborative piano, English, Italian, and German lyric diction for voice majors, and seminars at the Conservatory in Czech and Russian lyric diction and vocal repertoire. He also teaches classes in Lieder and Mélodie. Bandy has also overseen the musical preparation of Oberlin’s mainstage opera productions. Bandy has also been on the faculty of the summer Taos Opera Institute in New Mexico as Czech, Russian, and Italian coach, and regularly gives master classes for singers and pianists at Notre Dame. Bandy studied with the renowned Martin Katz at the University of Michigan.
Salvatore Champagne ’85 is conservatory associate professor of singing. He began his singing career in 1988, when he was chosen to be the tenor soloist in a European tour of Leonard Bernstein's Songfest conducted by the composer. Immediately thereafter, he joined the ensemble of the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany, appearing in a wide range of leading tenor roles. For the next 10 years, he was engaged as a guest artist in many of Europe’s finest opera houses and concert halls.
Kendra Colton '83 is conservatory assistant professor of singing. She has performed with the Boston, Indianapolis, Houston, National, Pittsburgh and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras; The Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Adept at a wide range of repertoire, Colton has developed a niche in oratorio and sacred works from Bach to Brahms, and is recognized for her interpretation of contemporary chamber music and championing of little-known works written in the last century.
For more than 20 years, Jonathon Field has directed groundbreaking productions at Oberlin Conservatory, keeping the school in the forefront of contemporary opera. His 2004 exchange with Teatro Colon brought Oberlin singers to Buenos Aires for a multimedia production of Dido and Aeneas to a sold-out auditorium. In 2009 he directed the world premiere of Harvey Pekar’s jazz opera Leave Me Alone, which was one of the first operas to broadcast live on the internet. He directed the American premiere of Lost Highway, an opera based on the David Lynch film that played to sold-out performances at the Miller Theatre in New York. In January 2016, he took Oberlin alum Nkeiru Okoye’s opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom to Black churches throughout Northeast Ohio as well as a performance in a packed Finney Chapel.
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. 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.
Timothy LeFebvre is associate professor of singing at the conservatory and teaches private voice and oratorio repertoire for singers. A nationally acclaimed baritone, his musical experiences range from the operatic stage to the concert hall. He has performed extensively as a soloist, and in concerts with such groups as the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Vermont Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, and others.
Lorraine Manz a mezzo-soprano, is conservatory professor of singing, with a special interest in voice pedagogy. She has been featured as soloist in orchestral, oratorio, recital, and chamber music settings. She has performed as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Blossom Music Festival (Cleveland), New Hampshire Music Festival, and many others. In 2014, she was elected to the American Academy of Teachers of Singing.
Christopher Mirto is assistant professor of Opera Theater at the conservatory, has worked as a freelance actor, director, and producer. His career highlights include performing in two of Richard Foreman's plays at the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre in New York City and directing a revival of Dionysus in 69 at the Performing Garage. Mirto has directed operas at Manhattan School of Music, Curtis Institute, and with the Longfellow Chorus in Portland, Maine.
Gregory Ristow directs the Oberlin College Choir and Musical Union and teaches courses in vocal chamber music and conducting. He has conducted with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Houston's Foundation for Modern Music, the Voices chamber choir in Rochester, N.Y., as artistic director of Encore Vocal Arts in Indianapolis, and as assistant conductor of the Gregory Kunde Chorale in Rochester. In addition to his work as a choral conductor, Ristow is in demand as a teacher of Dalcroze eurhythmics, a method of teaching music through movement. He earned a DMA in conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he taught undergraduate and graduate conducting and was assistant conductor of the Eastman Chorale and the Eastman-Rochester Chorus.