Lecturer (Voice)

Pierson WebJay A. Pierson (Lecturer), bass-baritone, has had a successful and fulfilling career as an educator, singer, conductor, pianist, harpist, and composer, spanning almost three decades. He made his New York debut singing the role of Argenio in the premiere of Handel’s Imeneo at Merkin Hall with a  subsequent solo recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall with pianist Robert Spillman. Jay has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Prince William Symphony, Washington DC Bach Consort, Buffalo Philharmonic, and the North Carolina Symphony. He has also sung lead and comprimario roles with Austin Lyric Opera,  Rochester Opera Theatre, Opera Under the Stars, Coastal Carolina Opera, Brighton Light Opera, Art Park Opera, White Iris Light Opera, and Meredith Opera, and was on the faculty of the Bach Aria Group at SUNY-Stonybrook.  In 1992 he toured Greece with soprano Terry Rhodes and tenor Stafford Wing, singing concerts of American Music and teaching at the State Music Conservatory of Thessoloniki, sponsored by the US Information Services and Fulbright Scholar Program.

Jay’s musical theater credits include Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Padre in Man of LaMancha,Gangster in Kiss me Kate, Frank Butler in Annie Get your Gun, Matt in The Fantasticks, and Paul in the world premiere of the new musical Stay With Me. He has presented master classes in vocal technique at many colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Former Head of the Voice Department and Opera Workshop at Bucknell University, (where he was awarded the Harold and Gladys Cook Award for Excellence in Teaching), former Associate Professor of Music at the School of Music at East Carolina University, and former Adjunct Voice Faculty at Santa Clara University, Pierson has taught studio voice, diction, song literature, opera history, voice pedagogy, and conducting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His students have been accepted into the Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, Cincinnati Conservatory, and the NC School of the Arts. Some of his students are now teaching at the university level and performing with regional, national, and international opera/theatre companies.

An active and published composer, Pierson has enjoyed performances of his choral works, solo songs, and a concertino for harp and orchestra throughout the United States and Canada. Jay’s art song entitledMusic is published by GIA in the recently released vocal anthology, Finding Middle Ground for Young Male Voices. His CD Ah Love, But a Day with soprano Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim from the NATS Journal and the American Record Guide and has been adopted as required listening for university courses dealing with women composers. He has been past President and Vice President for NATS in North Carolina. He also served as Director of Music for 13 years at Old Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, CA.

Jay holds a B.M.E degree from Olivet College, and the M.M. and D.M.A. in Voice Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. In addition to his teaching at UNC, Jay is Assistant Director of Music at Chapel in the Pines (PCUSA) in Chapel Hill.  His teachers have included Thomas Paul, Jan DeGaetani, Carmen Tellier Bourret, and Emily Byrens.

  • “As Jesus, bass-baritone Jay Pierson sang the impassioned music with dramatic insight.” — Raleigh News and Observer, St. John Passion, North Carolina Symphony
  • Office: 3115 Kenan Music Building
  • Email: drjaymark@aol.com
  • Phone: 919-866-8029