The proud and important tradition of vocal pedagogy at the College of Music welcomes a new face this fall. John Seesholtz will join the Voice and Opera department as associate professor and director of vocal pedagogy.
Seesholtz comes to Boulder from the Colorado State University School of Music, Theatre and Dance and has long considered joining the ranks of vocal pedagogues Patti Peterson, Barbara Doscher and Berton Coffin to be a dream job.
“One of my long-term academic career aspirations has been to eventually teach at one of the top music schools in the country. Additionally, having the Colorado mountains at my doorstep has been a dream come true for the past six years. To be the director of vocal pedagogy at CU and to live in the beautiful city of Boulder is profoundly exciting for me,” he explains.
“Furthermore, my first voice teacher, Dr. Gary Mabry, received his doctorate at CU under the instruction of Barbara Doscher. He was a peer of Patti Peterson when she was a student here. I feel a sense of lineage and pride in knowing that the foundation of my vocal technique is rooted in CU’s pedagogical traditions.”
Seesholtz is well known the world over as a dramatic baritone; he’s performed countless times in classic and more modern works alike—everything from Verdi to the Great American Songbook. Some of his most recent turns include Iago in “Otello” with Opera Fort Collins, performances with the Colorado Symphony and time as a resident artist at the Denver Art Song Project.
As the current president of the Colorado and Wyoming chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, he brings that on-stage experience with him whenever he works with young singers. “As an established performer, when you have those high-stakes gigs, it brings you right back to where you were as a freshman singing in front of a classroom. Everything you learn on the stage and from the score you bring back to your students. It is part of what fosters a lifelong commitment to learning and growth.”
Seesholtz comes from a family of educators: Both his parents were teachers, and he says he’s always known that while he loves to perform, his calling is in teaching. He earned vocal pedagogy degrees from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Michigan.
It was during doctoral studies at the University of North Texas that Seesholtz developed an interest in the science of singing.
“My doctorate is a split emphasis between pedagogy and performance. I also took speech pathology classes, which inspired me to incorporate voice health and longevity practices from speech pathology into the classical voice lesson.”
Now he’ll bring that passion to the College of Music.
“I want to establish a voice lab as soon as I can. This is something that came up as I was meeting with graduate students and other voice faculty at my interview. I would also like to create a stronger relationship with the speech pathology program in the coming years and develop an interdisciplinary connection between pedagogy and pathology.”
Seesholtz says the first thing he’ll do when he gets to Boulder is go for a hike and take in the natural beauty. To learn more about Director of Vocal Pedagogy John Seesholtz, check out his bio.