James Madison University School of Music

Voice Faculty

BRYCE HAYES, Assistant Professor

W. BRYCE HAYES maintains an active career as a conductor, teacher, church musician, pianist, accompanist and singer. He has recently been appointed assistant professor at in choral activities and choral music education at James Madison University where he conducts the Treble Chamber Choir, University Men's Chorus and the combined University Choruses. Dr. Hayes recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from The University of Minnesota where he studied Choral Conducting with Kathy Romey and Matthew Mehaffey and Instrumental Conducting with Craig Kirchhoff. During his time at the University of Minnesota he was founding director of the ensemble, Campus Singers. He received a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Temple University and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education summa cum laude from Westminster Choir College. Dr. Hayes recently led the acclaimed ensemble One Voice Mixed Chorus as a Guest Conductor for the fall 2010 season. Formerly, Dr. Hayes served as a Director with the The Princeton Girlchoir and the Director of Upper School Choral Music at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey.

Office: 540.568.5052
Email: hayeswb@jmu.edu

JOHN LITTLE, Professor; Tenor

JOHN LITTLE - B.S., State University of New York at Fredonia; M.M., Southern Illinois University; D.M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Former student of Richard Sheil, Burt Kageff, Marjorie Lawrence, Mary Elaine Wallace, Ronald Hedlund, David Lloyd, John Wustman and Todd Duncan. Numerous appearances as a solo tenor in both concert and opera.

Email: littleja@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.6970

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DOROTHY MADDISON, AssociateProfessor; Soprano

Soprano DOROTHY MADDISON received a BM degree at St. Olaf College and her MM and DMA in vocal performance at Arizona State University.  She is professor of voice and opera at JMU where she teaches studio voice, solo vocal literature.

She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and during her professional career in Europe as a lyric-coloratura soprano, she was a full-time soloist with the Stadttheater of Döbeln, Germany, where she performed the roles of Olympia, Antonia, Guilietta and Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Euridice in Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She toured Germany singing Christine in the Yeston-Kopit version of Phantom of the Opera. 

Dr. Maddison is co-author of Kein’ Angst Baby!, a book to help singers audition in Germany.  She directs a summer abroad program for singers in Freiberg, Germany through the JMU Office of International Programs, the Middle-Saxony Theater and the Freiberg Technical University.

Her discography includes the CD Christmas Art Songs and Songs for Brenda and Bertha featuring the song cycles ME(Brenda Ueland) by Libby Larsen and Brautlieder by Peter Cornelius., She has performed as a soloist at JMU in oratorio and contemporary music concerts, as well as with the symphony orchestra and band.  Off campus, she has performed in concert, chamber music and oratorio in the USA, England, Germany and for the Vice President of Brazil through the Musica Nos Museo program. Recently she has performed in the Stuanton Festival, as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors in Harrisonburg, and with the JMU symphony band at the Kennedy Center. In 2009 she premiered a staged song cycle based on the life of Marie Curie by Larry Taylor. In 2009-2010 she will be performing the soprano solos Vivaldi’s Gloria in Virginia and in Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Germany with the Zwichau-Plauen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Sandmann.  She lives in Harrisonburg with her husband Ian Maddison, a retired radiologist, and their two cats, named Sweet and Sour.

Email: maddisdx@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.8042

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KEVIN MCMILLAN, Associate Professor; Baritone

KEVIN MCMILLAN is a renowned performer and vocal pedagogue. His performing career has spanned over 25 years with more than 750 concerts, 15 professional recordings, a Grammy award, a Gramophone award and numerous Juno award nominations. A number of his students have proceeded to establish performing careers, both in North America and Europe, and those who have chosen to follow other paths, have done so possessing scientifically-sound and historically-informed perspectives on singing.

Critics have praised his "elegant lyric baritone voice" and "singularly remarkable interpretive skills" in appearances with virtually every major North American orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.

He has also established a presence in Europe, with appearances in centers such as London, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, and Prague. He has worked with such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Jarvi, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Hellmuth Rilling and the late Robert Shaw and Sergiu Commissiona.

After preliminary schooling at the Universities of Guelph and Western Ontario in Canada, Mr. McMillan studied at the Britten-Pears School in England, and attained a Master's Degree at the Juilliard School in New York. His primary focus has always been the oratorio and orchestral repertoire, and his vocal flexibility and scholarly musicianship have afforded him a broad range of styles and periods - from Monteverdi and Bach to Britten and Penderecki.

He has also taken an active role in the creative process, having had several contemporary works written expressly for him, such as the title role in Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' oratorio, Job, which he premiered in Canada, Britain and Israel. He also sang the Canadian premiere of Songs of Milarepa by Philip Glass.

Despite an unfortunate farming accident 30 years ago that left him a partial paraplegic, he has had the opportunity to perform a number of operatic roles in concert/semi-staged performances. Mr. McMillan is a pre-eminent recitalist. He has been described as an "outstanding Schubertian" whose "voice of glowing freshness and beauty is at the service of an intelligent, lively and distinctive personality."

Professor McMillan is excited to join the faculty of the James Madison University School of Music for 2009 - 2010.

Email: mcmillkj@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.6583
Website: http://www.kevinmcmillan.ca/

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DAVID NEWMAN, Part Time Instructor; Baritone

American baritone DAVID ALLEN NEWMAN enjoys an active and varied concert career throughout North America. Hailed as "electrifying" by the Washington Post and noted by the Sacramento Bee for his "rather perfect oratorio voice," he is in particular demand as a Bach specialist. He has performed Messiah with Tafelmusik, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and with Masterwork Chorus in Carnegie Hall; St. John Passion with the American Bach Soloists, Carmel Bach Festival, Chorale Delaware, and the Bach Chamber Orchestra of Honolulu; and St. Matthew Passion with the Bach Society of St. Louis, Baroque Choral Guild, San Francisco Bach Choir, and a national tour with the combined forces of Santa Fe Pro Musica and the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

In his debut with the Washington Bach Consort, Mr. Newman was noted by the Baltimore Sun for his "exquisitely phrased, velvet-toned Mache dich, mein Herz." Other notable appearances include Bach's B Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio with The Bethlehem Bach Choir, Coffee Cantata, Easter Oratorio, and Christmas Oratorio with the Santa Fe Bach Festival, and Haydn's Creation with The Honolulu Symphony. He was also a featured soloist in the Sorbonne's 2003 Festival Berlioz in Paris with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

He appears regularly as a guest artist with the Four Nations Ensemble, including performances in Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall, and has also performed with the Spoleto Festival, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Opera Birmingham, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Russian National Orchestra. Mr. Newman has taught voice at the University of California, Davis and San Jose State University.

Email: newmanda@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.6044
Website: http://davidnewman.info

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DON RIERSON, Associate Professor; Director of Opera and Music Theatre

A native of North Carolina, DR. DON RIERSON received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and an MM in Opera Production and Ph.D. from the Florida State University. He has directed and served on professional production teams at The Florida State Opera, The Spoleto Festival, The Ash Lawn Summer Festival, Central City Opera and Indianapolis Opera. As Director of Opera and Music Theater at The University of Northern Iowa, he received state recognition for his 1997 production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro as well as acclaim for the 2001 production of The Magic Flute, the inaugural main stage production for the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. The same year, he received the Jean S. Schwartz Memorial Endowment to begin a Music Theater training program for the Gallagher Center and establish a regional company to serve the University and the Cedar Valley.

As Head of International Studies at the American College of Switzerland, he directed Greek Theater and operettas in the Romand region while coordinating study abroad programs for student artists from American Universities. He also lectured on site on topics related to Opera and Art History in Florence, Rome, Venice, Paris and London.

Email: riersodg@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.4164
Visit the JMU Opera Web Site >>


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CARRIE STEVENS, Professor; Mezzo-Soprano

CARRIE STEVENS is highly regarded for her versatility in concert, chamber and operatic venues, spanning styles from Baroque to contemporary music. She has appeared as Mezzo-soprano soloist in performances of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion at the National Cathedral in Washington; has performed with conductors Jeffrey Kahane, Ivan Fischer, Helmuth Riling, Roger Norrington, Robert Shaw, Dale Warland, Joel Revzen, Michael Morgan and Carl St. Clair, among others. Her concert experience includes performances with the Oakland Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and many others. She has enjoyed appearances with the Richmond Chamber Music, Staunton Music Festival, Crested Butte, Kalamazoo Bach, Austin Bach Society, and Oregon Bach Festivals and has been a Fellowship recepient at the Stonybrook Bach Aria Festival. A 1992 winner of the Upper Midwest District Metropolitan Opera Auditions, her operatic experience includes the title roles of Purcell’s Dido and Handel’s Xerxes, as well as Inamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, the Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ma Moss in Copland’s The Tender Land, Elmire in the East Coast premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe.

Carrie has a particular interest in contemporary music and has been involved in many premieres and performances of new works by Kirke Mechem, Ofer Ben-Amots, David Conte, Jason Haney, John Baboukis, and Russell Burnham. She holds a Doctorate of Music from the University of Minnesota and is currently Professor of Voice at James Madison University.

Email: stevencl@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.6393

Assistant Professor, Director of Choral Activities

James Madison University Director of Choral Activitie
DR. JO-ANNE VAN DER VAT-CHROMY is a former Maryland native who hails most recently from Tallahassee, Florida. While in Tallahassee, she completed her doctoral studies in choral music education/choral conducting at Florida State University, with Drs. Andrˇ Thomas, Kevin Fenton, Judy Bowers and Clifford K. Madsen. Dr. van der Vat-Chromy also served as vocal music director at Tallahassee Community College, conducting the seventy-voice Tallahassee Civic Chorale and the TCC Select Ensemble Illuminare.

Formerly on the music staff of The International School of Brussels, Belgium, Jo-Anne most recently served as the Vocal Music Director at the American School of The Hague, in The Netherlands. Her work at ASH included directing six choirs and co-directing two concert bands, as well as teaching Rock Music History, Musical Theatre and directing the fifty-five-voice ASH Community Choir. Jo-Anne was also the founder/music director of Het Davidkoor, a subsidized thirty voice Dutch women's choir who, for over eighteen years, has focused on the integration of choral music and holistic music making.

In addition to her doctoral degree in Music Education/Choral Conducting from Florida State, Dr. van der Vat-Chromy holds Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan, a MM in Horn Performance from Bowling Green State University, and BA in Music from St. Mary's College of Maryland. Her research interests include the kinesthetic connections in conducting pedagogy, choral acoustic music measurement, curriculum/assessment strategies for middle and high school choirs, and the sociological impact of choral cultures on student learning.

As Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University, Dr. van der Vat-Chromy directs the Madison Singers, the JMU Chorale and the University Women's Chorus. Her academic responsibilities include graduate thesis supervision, undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, high school choral methods, graduate choral literature and student teacher supervision. ŅDr. V.Ó is also a delighted member of the Board of Directors of the JMU Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, where her work is coordinating musical activities and embedded choral teaching opportunities into the Gandhi Center programs for global non-violence, peace and consciousness.

Office: 540.568.5803
Email: vanderjx@jmu.edu

Click here to visit the Choirs Web Site.
Click here to purchase a JMU Choral CD!

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BRENDA K. WITMER, Part Time Instructor; Soprano

B.A., Goshen College, Indiana; M.M., James Madison University. BRENDA WITMER taught and performed for two years in Paris, France, before joining the faculty of JMU’s School of Music and, more recently, that of Opera-Festival di Roma (Italy). She is an active member of NATS, and a recipient of the 1993 NATS Internship Award. A member of the College Music Society, she was invited to present lecture-recitals for CMS National Conventions in Puerto Rico and San Francisco.

Ms. Witmer performs regularly at International Music Festivals, including the International Roussel Festival in France and Belgium, the Music Festival of eský Krumlov (Czech Republic), the Savannah International Arts Festival, and the National Opera Institute of St.Charles’ Art and Music Festival (IL). USA premiers include Vranický's Mass in Eb, as well as Ruzicka's Jazz Mass, presented at the Washington National Cathedral. Other performance credits include Mozart's Cosi fan tutte; Léhar's The Merry Widow; Donizetti's Rita; Stephen Paulus' Village Singer; Beethoven's Symphony No.9, Dvorák's Te Deum; Haydn’s Creation; Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem; Fauré’s Requiem; Händel’s Messiah; Mozart’s Requiem; Bach’s Magificat in D and MacMillan’s Búsqueda.

Ms. Witmer has studied privately with Elly Ameling, Linda Mabbs and Marianna Busching. Coaches have included Kenneth Smith and Stephen Crout.

Email: witmerbk@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.3686