Faculty

Dr. Robert Best

Associate Professor of Voice

ROBERT BEST, lyric baritone, has been a member of the Vocal Studies Division since 2001. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied with Barbara Doscher and Robert Harrison. Dr. Best also earned BM (Vocal Performance) and MM (Vocal Performance and Vocal Performance/Pedagogy) degrees from Arizona State University where he studied with Jerry Doan. ~ MORE...




Dr. Christian Bester

Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice

Dr. Christian Bester, a lyric-baritone, holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance with a related field in Opera, along with the Artist Certificate from the University of North Texas. At UNT he studied under Dr. Linda DiFiore. The Master of Music degree in Voice, he received from Southern Methodist University, and the Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Tshwane University of Technology. Dr. Bester made his professional debut as Schaunard in La Bohème for Pro Musica Theater in South Africa in 2005. Dr. Bester made his long awaited European professional debut in 2010 as Zaremba in the operetta Polin Blut for the Americke Jaro Festival in the Czech Republic. ~ MORE...




Prof. Kathy McNeil

Associate Professor of Voice

KATHY MCNEIL, coloratura soprano, joins the Baylor University voice faculty this year. A versatile performer, Professor McNeil has appeared as soloist in oratorio, recital and opera performances in Germany, Austria, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Honduras and throughout the United States. Her operatic credits include the roles of Marie in La Fille du R’giment, Violetta in La Traviata, the First Lady in Die Zauberfl’te, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. Ms. McNeil has twice been selected the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Texoma region Young Artist Competition, won first place in the Mobil-Austria Meistersinger competition in Graz, Austria, won third place in the San Antonio Opera Guild Competition, was a winner of the Aspen Summer Music Festival vocal competition, and was a finalist in the WGN vocal competition and the Merola Opera auditions. ~ MORE...




Dr. Jeffrey Peterson

Assistant Professor of Voice

Pianist and coach JEFFREY PETERSON has appeared in recitals and master classes on five continents, with such important operatic artists as Martina Arroyo, James King, and Teresa Kubiak, in venues as far-reaching as Hoam Hall in Seoul, the Marian Anderson Festival and Competition, and Manaus, Brazil. He has appeared at art song festivals in Cleveland and Delaware, and the Blossom Festival, and been part of cultural exchange cruises to Greece, Turkey, and South America. His performances have been broadcast on public radio stations in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and New Mexico, as well as on WFMT in Chicago. ~ MORE...




Mr. Curtis Streetman

Lecturer in Voice

American bass Curtis Streetman performs a rich and excitingly varied repertoire. Mr. Streetman’s artistry has been presented in some of world's major concert halls and opera houses. Mr. Streetman has sung the major bass roles in Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), Die Zauberflötte (Sarastro), La Bohème (Colline), Don Giovanni (Leporello), Rigoletto (Sparafucile) as well as leads in Verdi, Handel and Rossini operas. Operatic performances include appearances at The Salzburg Festival, as well as opera houses in Vienna, Bilbao, Dortmund, Halle, and Victoria. Recent debuts include performances in Geneva, Basel, and at The Theatre Champs-Élysées. ~ MORE...




Dr. Randall Umstead

Associate Professor of Voice

Chair, Division of Vocal Studies

RANDALL UMSTEAD, tenor, holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in voice, with a cognate field of Sacred Music, and the Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he was as a student of Barbara Honn. He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in voice from Oklahoma Baptist University. He began teaching at Baylor University as Assistant Professor of Voice in the fall of 2006. ~ MORE...




Dr. Jamie Van Eyck

Assistant Professor of Voice

With polished, elegant vocalism and committed dramatic portrayals on-stage, American mezzo-soprano JAMIE VAN EYCK appeals to audiences and critics alike as a compelling artist in opera and concert.

Recent opera credits include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Theater of St. Louis, the Bar Harbor Music Festival, and Arizona Opera, for which Opera Today declared that she portrayed the role ’perfectly, singing her arias with polished tones and bringing the audience thoughts of first love.’ With Madison Opera, she has performed Olga in Eugene Onegin and Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw. She made her Boston Lyric Opera debut as The Drummer in The Emperor of Atlantis... ~ MORE...




Dr. Deborah Williamson

Associate Professor of Voice

DEBORAH WILLIAMSON, soprano, holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice with a related field in Vocal Pedagogy from the University of North Texas, the Artist Diploma in Opera and the Master of Music degree in Voice from the University of Cincinnati, College/Conservatory of Music and the Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Baylor University. In addition to serving as Associate Professor of Voice at Baylor University, she also serves on the Voice faculty at The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria during the summer months and is frequently sought after as an adjudicator at the state and regional levels. ~ MORE...