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Lori HicksUNC Opera Director

Dr. Lori Celeste Hicks (Lecturer) has built a multi-faceted career as a classical singer, composer and arranger, vocal coach, professor, clinician, lecturer, director, arts administrator, and entrepreneur.  A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Hicks holds a BME from Kentucky State University, a MM from Bowling Green State University, and a DMA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  As the owner of LCH Studios and creator of the “5S Voice Method”, Dr. Hicks is dedicated to the education, performance, and production of the voice, and establishing a pedagogical system of healthy singing for ALL vocal styles. Currently the Director of Opera at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Hicks has taught at the University of Dayton, Central State University, Claflin University, and Kentucky State University (her Alma Mater), where she also served as Chair of Performing Arts.     Her training, research, and passion for Black Arts and the Voice have spawned numerous innovative projects such as “From The Black Church To The Opera Stage” an interactive lecture, Music of My Voice” – a recital series portraying the Black Experience through Classical Song: “#Warmuppraise” – Gospel Vocal Warmups and Exercises; “Highest Praise Voice Care” a 3-day Bootcamp for Gospel Singers; and the 2021 “The Black Women Composers Summit” a Virtual Conference celebrating the works of Black Women Composers.

A passionate performer, Dr. Hicks has performed both nationally and internationally in title roles such as Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Mimi (La Boheme), Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Alice Ford (Falstaff ), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), and the world premiere of James P. Johnson’s Jazz Opera Dreamy Kid.  2011 marked a pivotal year for Dr. Hicks, becoming the youngest composer commissioned by the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation (NSSF), and making her much-anticipated Carnegie Hall debut as the featured soprano in Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass.   Since, she has returned to the Carnegie Hall stage with the professional voices of the EXIGENCE ensemble, the first Black and Latinx professional choir, and the SPHINX organization.   Other concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem, Saint-Saens’ Oratorio de Noel, Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, “A tribute to Black Pioneers in Music” alongside tenor George Shirley, Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s “Gospel Christmas”, the “Emanuel 9” Memorial Concert with the CSO, and the inaugural “Colour of Music Festival” in 2013.

Dr. Hicks has directed Opera and Musical Theater productions such as Porgy and Bess, Gianni Schicchi, The Magic Flute, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the Old Maid and the Thief.  She has also served as vocal coach and Musical Director for several musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors, Dreamgirls, The Color Purple.  And an all-virtual “Clubhouse” app production of The Wiz and “The Princess and the Frog” in the networking app to an audience of over 5000 listeners.

Dr. Hicks’ arrangements and compositions have been featured in concert halls, recitals stages, churches, movies, recordings, and universities and performed by choirs and vocalists both novice and professional.  has written and arranged several solo voice, choral, small ensemble, and operatic works that have been performed across the country by various groups and soloists.  In 2000, she made her recording debut with the gospel composition “Submitted” recorded with “God’s Chosen Vessels” live in Detroit.  In 2001, her choral arrangement entitled “Ride On” awarded her first place and first female recipient in the National Association of Negro Musicians Young Composer Competition.  Later, Dr. Hicks became the youngest composer to receive a commission from the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation (NSSF) for the solo voice arrangement of “I wanna die easy” in 2011.  Since then Dr. Hicks has been commissioned by professional choirs such as the Cincinnati Women’s Chorus, the Charleston Spiritual Ensemble, and EXIGENCE.

For more information on Dr. Lori Celeste Hicks, Compositions, Programs, Performances and Lessons, visit, follow her on Youtube page LCH Studios,  or Instagram and Facebook @dr.lorihicks