American mezzo-soprano Tracelyn GESTELAND is Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of South Dakota, where she holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair and instructs applied voice for graduates and undergraduates, vocal pedagogy, diction, and directs the multiple national award-winning USD Opera. At USD, Dr. Gesteland won both the prestigious Knutson Distinguished Professor Award (2020–2022) for her research and creative scholarship, and also the 2015 Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has performed in opera, concert, and recital across the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Australia, and has a CD of sacred classical works, Make a Joyful Noise, with Wyatt Smith, organ (Raven Recordings 2016). She has presented sessions and posters at conferences, including the International Congress of Voice Teachers, National Association of Teachers of Singing, College Music Society, and the National Opera Association, among others. She earned her DMA in Vocal Performance (with a Vocal Pedagogy and Voice Science cognate) from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.

Canadian collaborative pianist Amanda JOHNSTON is Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi where she acts as Music Director for the Opera Theatre; teaches courses in advanced diction; and coaches students at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is also on faculty at Musiktheater Bavaria and the Druid City Opera Workshop. She is author of English and German Diction for Singers: A Comparative Approach, 2nd edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), highly praised in the Journal of Singing for “enlivening the study of diction”. Recordings include Pleas to Famous Fairies with Linda Lister, soprano (Albany Records 2018); Métissage with Adam Estes, saxophone (MSR Classics 2017); and Mahler: Rückert-Lieder with Julia Morgan, mezzo-soprano (MSR Classics 2012). Her research on comparative diction and lesser-known composers of German lied has been presented at conferences across North America. Previous positions were held at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music, York University, Taos Opera Institute, and Lied Austria, and has performed in Hong Kong, Germany, France, Austria, Scotland, Canada, and the USA. 

Celebrating Women—Selected Songs by Jake Heggie

 American composer Jake Heggie (b. 1961) has written ca. 300 art songs and has contributed significantly to contemporary opera, e.g., Dead Man Walking, Moby Dick, Three Decembers. Born in Florida, Heggie studied composition with Ernst Bacon while in high school. At UCLA, he studied piano and composition, met his future wife Johana Harris, and toured with her professionally until a neurological disorder ended his playing career. A position at the San Francisco Opera refocused his attention on composition and facilitated the interaction with prominent singers, conductors, and administrators, who would eventually become key collaborators. 

Described as a neo-tonalist, Heggie classifies himself as “an American theatre composer… serving drama [and] exploring character, psychology, motivation, spiritual crisis and human interaction.” (1) A stylistic pluralism pervades his style, influenced by the music he grew up with—jazz, pop, rock, folk music, art song, and opera—and results in a truly “American sound,” accessible to all audiences and speaking to the heart. Heggie’s subjects range from the comic, witty, and whimsical to the tragic, dark, and heartbreaking. Notably, many works stem from the female perspective and truly celebrate women. In his art songs and operas, Heggie showcases striking female characters, frequently sets texts written by women, and composes for contemporary female interpreters.

Our lecture-recital features the song cycle Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian (2015). The narrative texts are from the perspectives of four former First Ladies of the United States. The emotional songs encompass an elegiac tribute by Eleanor Roosevelt to African-American opera singer Marian Anderson; the sorrow and grief experienced by Mary Todd Lincoln and Jackie Kennedy after the death of their loved ones (son and husband, respectively); and a quirky, comedic treatment of Barbara Bush’s appearance on Sesame Street to promote literacy. We will also include a survey of Heggie’s additional vocal works in celebration of women. This lecture-recital will be invaluable for voice teachers, singers, collaborative pianists, and those interested in exploring the vocal literature of an eminent living American composer.

Annegret Huber - Aleksandra Bajde, Tanja Elisa Glinsner, Nava Hemyari;

Panel Discussion (What does it mean to compose for female voice in the 21st century? Perspectives from contemporary singer-composers)

Annegret HUBER is a musicologist, music theorist, pianist. As professor for musicology at the mdw_University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and Deputy Head of the Department of Composition, Electroacoustics, and Tonmeister Education she teaches music analysis for future composers, music theorists and sound engineers and supervises doctoral candidates with their scholarly as well as artistic research projects. Research interests: historical and systematic aspects of music theory, music analysis and their methodologies; analysis as action and practice of knowing; functions/modes of music-analytical argumentation in diverse contexts such as music historiography, gender/diversity/intersectionality studies, post-colonial studies, media studies, (social-)epistemology and cultures of music knowledge production.

Aleksandra BAJDE is a Slovenian composer-performer, project manager, and researcher living in Vienna. She studied jazz singing, musical composition, international relations, European studies and acquired professional experience across Europe. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in political science at the University of Vienna and working as a project manager at the Austrian Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. She has been a recipient of several scholarships from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Austria. In 2020, she was awarded the Theodor Körner Förderpreis for composition and was selected for the European Music Council Fellowship Programme 2020 – 2021. Her music has been performed in several European countries and in prominent venues and festivals, i.e. Alte Schmiede, Porgy & Bess, Brucknerhaus Linz, Leicht über Linz, Crossroads Festival, Wien Modern in Austria; November Music, Operadagen Rotterdam in the Netherlands; Cologne Opera in Germany; Slovenian Philharmonic, Cankarjev dom in Slovenia and many more. Her recent work can be characterized as a hybrid of composed and improvised music that includes elements of performance art. Her main interest lies in exploring and experimenting with the endless possibilities of sound and its expression, while also forging new links with other art forms and genres.

2013-2021 Tanja Elisa GLINSNER studied composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts (MDW), as well as at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz.Her composition teachers included Michael Jarrell, Wolfgang Suppan and Erland Freudenthaler. 

Since 2015 she has been studying „Voice“ (Bachelor) with Gabriele Lechner, Regine Köbler and Rannveig Braga Postl and she will complete her singing studies next year with a master’s degree in „Musikdramatische Darstellung“ with Christoph Meier and Michael Sturminger at MDW.

2013-15 she studied conducting with Ingo Ingensand in Linz and has continued her orchestral conducting studies with Mark Stringer at the MDW since October 2019. 

She was able to gain her first experience with a professional orchestra this year - as part of a masterclass under the direction of Maestro A. Orozco-Estrada - at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Wiener Symphoniker. 

Tanja Elisa Glinsner was awarded with the composition prize of the Ö1 Talentebörse 2020, the 2.Österreichsciehn Komponistinnenpreis and the Kompositionsstaatstipendium 2021 and is also a scholarship holder of the Czibulka and the Feiling foundations. 

Performers and clients of her works include Die Deutsche Radiophilharmonie (SR), ORF Musikprotokoll (Steirischer Herbst 2021) the ensemble xx.Jahrhundert, ensemble Reconsil, Ensemble Zeitfluss, Festival 4020, Company of Music, the Österreichische Nationalbank ... 

The world premieres of her latest works “Die Nacht bricht ein…”, which was premiered with Ensemble zeitfluss under the baton of Edo Micic and herself as „Medea“ (ORF Musikprotokoll / Steirischer Herbst 2021 - Graz), as well as as her newest work “Läuft mein Hirn so viele leere Kreise” (Ensemble xx. Jahrhundert/ Wiener Konzerthaus) were broadcasted on Ö1 this autumn (“Ö1 Talent vertont Racheakt "/" Neues bei Wien Modern für das Ensemble xxj.Jahrhundert").

Nava HEMYARI studied electroacoustic composition with Wolfgang Suppan, from 2012 to 2017, at University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW), practicing with him for the most part algorithmic composition, and, thereafter, composing in new arrangements under Karlheinz Essl's supervision. She attended masterclasses with Klaus Lang, Beat Furrer, and Georg Friedrich Haas and studied film editing at Filmakademie Vienna. Since 2015, with some early-age experience in singing, she started experimenting with her voice.

Her work includes vocal compositions, works for unusual instrumentations as well as for organ, short films and video art that have been performed at Wiener Hofburgkapelle, ORF Radiokulturhaus  Wien Modern#, VELAK gala, Wiener Konzerthaus, Echoraum, Salzburg Künstlerhaus, and Schönberg Center. She received commissions from Wien Modern 2022 and a working grant from the City of Vienna for her chamber opera ,,Taxidermic". She is also curator for the moquette concert series at the Konzilsgedächtniskirche Vienna.

PETERSEN Katherine

Hailed as a “winning combination in every way!” the Decho Ensemble was founded by Sarah Marchitelli and Jacob Swanson in 2011 with the intention of sharing the saxophone as concert instrument of wide ranging capability. In academic settings the Decho Ensemble has presented nationally and internationally including the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional and Biennial Conferences and the United States Navy International Saxophone Symposium. Since 2016 the Decho Ensemble has completed residencies at Mercyhurst University, Idaho University at Moscow, and with the Ny Musikks Komponistgruppe in Oslo, Norway as part of their inaugural PULS Festival. Collaborating with composers, presenting standard repertoire, and adapting early works for saxophones the Decho Ensemble continues to push borders and broaden the saxophone’s voice in concert music.

Katherine Petersen is a Chicago based soprano who performs regularly with Folks Operetta, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theater, and Transgressive Theatre-Opera. Her recent roles include Bessie Throckmorton (Merrie England), Brigitta (Iolanta), Contessa (Marriage of Figaro), Counsel to the Plaintiff (Trial by Jury), Lady of the Lake (Masque at Kenilworth), and Sylva Varescu (Csardas Princess). Other favorite roles include Musetta (La bohème), Valencienne (Merry Widow), Francesca (Francesca di Rimini-Rachmaninoff), and Micaëla (Carmen). Katherine is Assistant Professor and Head of the Voice Area at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago where she teaches Pedagogy, Song Literature, Studio Voice, and Diction for Singers. She holds a DMA in Voice Performance from Ohio State University where she studied under Scott McCoy.

Katherine and Jacob began collaborating on repertoire for Voice and Saxophone in 2007 and in 2019 Katherine began appearing with Decho Ensemble as well. As a quartet, Decho and Katherine have performed at the United States Navy Saxophone Symposium, the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, a residency at Idaho University at Moscow, and several appearances on concert series throughout the Midwest and East Coast United States. The ensemble continues to commission new works for three Saxophones and Voice as a part of their mission to grow the canon of repertoire for diverse ensembles and experiences.

Decho Ensemble: Women's Voices (Music for Soprano and Saxophone Duo)

Decho Ensemble ( is critically acclaimed for their blend and precision, performing throughout North America and Europe, presenting on concert series, television, and radio, as well as collaborating with chamber orchestras, poets, dance companies, and ensembles. This artistic presentation will showcase our recent collaborative projects with the Composition and Poetry departments at various universities where we have workshopped original compositions for Saxophone and Voice. It is our mission to cultivate programing that is vibrant and represents diverse and inclusive emotional landscapes, continuously evolving and allowing for exploration of aural colors and thriving collaborations. Our past residencies and presentation of the resulting compositions in conjunction with well renowned living composers further the arts in three innovative ways. First, local work between artist-peers created a dynamic environment in which both composers and poets had the chance to make changes to the text and the music, sending work back and forth in the creative process. Second, music for Soprano and Saxophones is not a common combination of instruments, but our efforts are building a variety of repertoire and giving voice to underrepresented composers. Third, this presentation emphasizes work created by women. The recital will feature female composers exclusively, including works originally written for Voice and Saxophone and works rearranged for the quartet of Voice and Saxophones.


  • Epilogue by Jessica Rudman (b. 1982)

  • Vanishing Act by Jamie Leigh Sampson (b. 1984)

  • Salt Deposits by Emily Allis (b. 1998)

  • Living in the Body by Lori Laitman (b. 1955)

  • The Meteorologist Receives More Letters Asking by Ruby Fulton (b. 1981)

PORTER Marcia (Co: DANIEL-COX Minnita, DAVIS-HAZELL Alexis, W.FLOYD Rosalyn)

Soprano Marcía PORTER has sung in venues throughout the United States and internationally. She has sung with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, the Beijing International Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Chautauqua Opera and others. Porter is a professor of voice at Florida State University College of Music. A Fulbright Scholar, Porter was visiting professor of voice at the Universidade de São Paulo. Her research focuses on the music of Black women composers and Brazilian art songs and lyric diction.

Minnita DANIEL-COX received a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Bowling Green State University and Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Michigan. A performing scholar, Daniel-Cox has appeared with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Society of Dayton, and the Dayton Opera. She established the Dunbar Music Archive, a repository of musical settings of works by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Daniel-Cox is Associate Professor of Voice and Coordinator of the Voice Area at the University of Dayton.

Mezzo-soprano Alexis DAVIS-HAZELL has sung in over 130 performances of Porgy and Bess throughout North America and internationally. She is Creative Director of the production company Jazzoperetry, Inc., co-founded with her husband, Earl Hazell. Davis-Hazell holds degrees in vocal performance from Temple University and Arizona State University. Her research centers on lyric diction pedagogy and Russian art song literature based on innovative applications of clinical phonetics and second language learning theory. She is assistant Professor of Voice and Lyric Diction at the University of Alabama School of Music.

Rosalyn W. FLOYD, Professor of Music at Augusta University, attended Talladega College in Alabama and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina. She has collaborated with world-renowned performers such as Martina Arroyo, Cynthia Lawrence, Laquita Mitchell, Jessye Norman, and Nicholas Phan. She has performed throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Floyd can be heard on the recordings Oral Moses Sings Songs of America (2008), Come Down Angels (2014) and Steal Away (2016).

My Sister’s Keeper: The Dunbar Edition A performance panel highlighting art songs by African American women composers with texts by Paul Laurence Dunbar in honor of the sesquicentennial celebration of Dunbar’s birth

Since its establishment in 2018, the My Sister’s Keeper team of performing scholars has continued the exploration of  the music of African American women composers presented through the unique lens of African American women.  My Sister’s Keeper: The Dunbar Edition, celebrates the 150th birthday of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American poet to make his living by his pen.

Lauded by Mary Church Terrell as “poet laureate of the Negro race”,  Paul Laurence Dunbar was seminal in establishing the African American literary voice that would blossom into the Harlem Renaissance. His legacy is evident in the works of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Maya Angelou.  Best known for his poetry, his oeuvre also includes short stories, plays, operetta libretti, song lyrics, and essays. The transcendence of Dunbar’s poetry is evident in the diverse array of composers inspired by his texts from his lifetime to the present day. This presentation, however, will focus on some of the African American women composers who chose his words to create their music.

While we cannot talk about the music of African Americans without mentioning spirituals, the thrust of this presentation will be the art songs. One of the most important themes of the session is that this repertoire is music that should be part of the “mainstream” canon. Using the repertoire, we will present select composers, briefly explaining her role in the development of the African American art song and her importance in music history. The presentation will include a biographical sketch of each composer covered, performances of representative songs, and resources to locate their music.

Composers to be discussed as a part of My Sister’s Keeper: The Dunbar Edition include composer and educator, Zenobia Powell Perry (1908-2004), Florence Beatrice Price (1888-1953), one of the first African American women composers to have her music performed by a major orchestra, Irene Britton Smith (1907-1999), who was a student of Nadia Boulanger and Vittorio Giannini, Betty Jackson King (1928-1994) who served as president of the National Association of Negro Musicins, and living composer, Lena McLin (b. 1928). 

Unlisted link of demo