Faculty & Guest Presenters
Through the extensive connections of a world-class opera company and a top university, Opera Institute at American University has an impressive team of faculty members and guest presenters. These hand-picked professionals are among the talented and accomplished in their fields, and are dedicated to working with young musicians.
Because classes are kept deliberately small, students get a maximum of individual attention and have the opportunity to study with multiple coaches.
"I learned so much, and it was wonderful to interact with such a professional group of instructors and musicians! My musical ability has improved tremendously!" - A former Opera Institute student
Cindy Oxberry serves as Opera Institute's director and senior faculty member; she has been working with the program for fifteen years. Ms. Oxberry is an opera director who earned her bachelor's degree in opera theatre at The Hartt School and her master's degree in voice from Manhattan School of Music. She pursued a career as a professional singer, singing a diversity of roles with companies such as New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and the Connecticut Opera Association. Now a full-time director, Ms. Oxberry works around the country with numerous opera companies, festivals, and universities and colleges directing, judging competitions, teaching master classes, and training the next generation of young singers.
Patrick O'Donnell, D.M.A., serves as the program's head vocal coach and opera history instructor. Dr. O'Donnell is on the faculty of the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC. He has accompanied master classes featuring visiting artists such as Paul Sperry, Michael Cordovana, and others. Dr. O'Donnell also has been one of the master coaches and a featured guest artist at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he collaborated with mezzo-soprano Louise Urban and baritone Dominic Cossa. He earned his BA from Yale University, his MM in piano performance from the University of Maryland, and his DMA in chamber music and vocal accompaniment with Martin Katz at the University of Michigan.
Under the leadership of Ms. Oxberry and Dr. O'Donnell, Opera Institute faculty and students create together an encouraging and professional environment that has been inspiring young musicians for more than a decade.
Opera Institute students with renowned baritone and master class presenter Richard Stillwell