Published: Feb. 22, 2024 By

Nicholas PernaThe University of Colorado Boulder College of Music is thrilled to announce that Associate Professor + Director of Vocal Pedagogy Nicholas Perna will join the College of Music this fall.

“Humbled. Overwhelmed. Inspired. These are the three words that keep running through my mind as I contemplate this opportunity,” says Perna whose tenor voice has been described by the Houston Chronicle as “an impressive sound.” 

“To inherit the chair of Berton Coffin, Barbara Doscher and Patti Peterson is not something I take lightly,” he continues. “Coffin’s writings were an inspiration while I dissertated and his willingness to publish his curious observations took renegade courage that I hope to bring to my position at the CU Boulder College of Music. 

“Additionally, it was my lack of understanding of Doscher’s chapter on formants that originally stirred my curiosity as a 20-year-old undergraduate pedagogy student. So from a career perspective, this position is a singular honor—and an opportunity that I knew would not come around again.”

Perna is an associate professor of voice at Mississippi College and has been a voice research associate at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He’s been published in the Journal of Singing, Journal of Voice and VOICEPrint, and—as a Presser Music Foundation awardee—he has presented research on four continents at events such as the Voice Foundation’s Symposium, the International Congress of Voice Teachers and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) national conference, as well as the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing conference. 

Perna is currently NATS’ vice president for outreach, and creator and co-host of the VocalFri podcast. This year, he also started his tenure as executive director of Opera Mississippi, thereby expanding his artistic administrator expertise—which also includes the role of producer for the Mississippi College Department of Music’s Lyric Stage.

Adds Perna, a recent finalist for the American Prize for men in opera: “Coffin created a world and a program where students could be curious and where the status quo of information around singing was questioned. I hope to offer students at the CU Boulder College of Music that same space where innovation is applauded, evidence-based models are generated and discovery propels us forward to the next question.”

Perna has frequently appeared with Opera Mississippi and was twice selected as a Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist singer. Additional stage credits include “Don José” in “Carmen,” “Rodolfo” in “La Bohème,” “The Duke” in “Rigoletto,” “Nemorino” in “L’elisir d’amore,” “Alfred” in “Die Fledermaus,” “Tamino” in “Die Zauberflöte,” “Ravenal” in “Show Boat” and “Archie” in “The Secret Garden.” Symphonic soloist appearances include Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde,” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Handel’s “Messiah” and Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” The South Florida Sun Sentinel has praised Perna for “emotionally driven” performance.