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    Louise Toppin

    Professor of Music and Chairlouise-toppin.jpg

    Louise Toppin, Professor and Chair of the Music Department, was a finalist in the Munich International Competition and winner of the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions.  She has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the United States, Czech Republic, Scotland, Japan, China, Uruguay, Sweden, the Caribbean, Bermuda, New Zealand, England, and Spain. She has appeared in recital on concert series including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Beijing Concert Hall, Shanghai Opera House, Licieu Theatre in Barcelona, Spain and the International Albeniz Festival in Camprodon, Spain.

    Orchestral appearances include: the Norrköping Symphony (Sweden), the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Czech National Symphony, Mälmo Symphony Orchestra, (Sweden), Tokyo City Orchestra (Japan), The Montevideo Philharmonic (Uruguay), the Scotland Festival Orchestra (Aberdeen, Scotland), the Honolulu, Bermuda, Petersburg, Fayetteville, Fairfield, Toledo, Canton, North Carolina, Charlotte, Lafayette, Erie Chamber and Raleigh Chamber Symphony Orchestras, The Bach Aria Group, Phoenix Bach Consort, and the Washington DC Bach Consort with conductors such as: Paul Freeman, Richard Aulden Clark, Justin Brown, James Meena, and Gearhart Zimmerman.

    Opera roles include: title role in the world premiere of the opera Luyala by composer William Banfield, Treemonisha in Scott Joplin's Treemonisha, Mary in William Grant Still’s Highway One, Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone, both Clara and Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Ms. Toppin performed Mozart's Impresario (Goldentrill) at The Kennedy Center, to rave reviews from The Washington Post. Most recently she was contracted to sing Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess for Opera Carolina, Baltimore Opera, and Piedmont Opera companies.

    She toured for seven seasons in "A Gershwin party" with pianist Leon Bates and tenor William Brown. The trio appeared on such series as the Minnesota Pops Cabaret Concert, Spivey Hall Concert Series in Atlanta and NPR's Performance Today. She is currently a member of “Gershwin on Broadway” with baritone Robert Sims and pianist Leon Bates for Joanne Rile Artist Management. She has created and tours in many other recitals such as: Music of African American composers; Music of Women composers; Pictures from an Exhibition (a visual show interacting art with music); and Music of Spanish composers on college campuses around the US such as Universities of Mississippi, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Miami, California, Oregon, North Carolina, Denver, New York University, Morehouse, Spelman, Duke, Michigan State, Tufts, Emory, etc.

    Her compact discs of American Music are: Songs of Illumination, (Centaur Records), Ah love, but a day (Albany Records), Extensions of the Tradition (Albany Records), More Still (Cambria Records), Sence you went away (Albany Records) and Paul Freeman Introduces... Vol. II and IV (Albany Records) with the Czech National Symphony, A Hall Johnson collection published by Carl Fisher (2003), Highway One (opera by William Grant Still) released on Albany Records, The Major’s Letter (Albany Records), Poetry Preludes (Albany Records), Good News (Visionary Records), He’ll Bring it to Pass (Albany Records), Somewhere Far Away with the Dvorak Symphony conducted by Julius Williams (Albany Records), and Heart on the Wall, art songs with symphony by African American composers with the Dvorak Symphony on Albany Records.  Two more CDs will be released in 2015, Frühlingsglaube (music for soprano and fortepiano) and George Shirley: A Spiritual Collection.

    In demand as a presenter and guest clinician for masterclasses, in the summer she teaches for programs in Bogota, Colombia (The National Conservatory of Music), Amalfi, Italy (The Amalfi Coast Music Festival) and Baltimore, Maryland, (The Baltimore Summer Opera Workshop).  She is the Director of the non-profit organization Videmus which promotes the music of African American concert composers through recordings, performances, and educational programming.  Through Videmus, she administers annually the George Shirley African American Art Song and Opera Aria Competition in Michigan.

    She is a graduate of The University of Michigan (DMA voice), Peabody Conservatory (MM voice, MM piano) and The University of North Carolina (BM piano). Her teachers and coaches include: George Shirley, Reri Grist, Charlotte Holloman, Sylvia Olden Lee, and Mattiwilda Dobbs. In the summers of 1995 & 1996 she worked with Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge and Elly Ameling respectively at the Britten Pears School in England. She was formerly on the faculties of East Carolina University, Bowling Green State University and Eastern Michigan University. Formerly she was the Area Head of Voice at UNC and the Associate Chair for Performance, Composition and Music Education.

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