Summer Voice Institute

“The Naked Voice for Singers and Teachers”

W. Stephen Smith, Institute Director and Professor of Voice

  • MUS_WKSP 310 Performance Workshop, One-Week 0 credit
  • MUS_WKSP 315 Performance Workshop, One-Week 0.5 credit (additional charge to register for credit)
  • One week, Evanston campus, June 24-30, 2018
  • SuMTWThFSa, 10:00 am-7:00 pm, with a final performance June 30 at 7:30pm
  • Location: Ryan Center for the Musical Arts
  • Participant Tuition: $650, Full Program Auditor: $400 (non-credit)

The Institute will be an exposé and application of the principles discussed in "The Naked Voice: A Wholistic Approach to Singing" by W. Stephen Smith (Oxford University Press, 2007) for singers and voice teachers.  For the singers it will include private lessons, master classes, acting classes, dramatic coachings, and a performance of opera scenes.  For the teachers it will include five two-hour seminars on voice technique and pedagogy in a lecture/master class format along with the opportunity to participate in the acting classes and to observe the singers' private lessons and master classes.  Lessons, master classes, and seminars will be taught by W. Stephen Smith.  Acting classes, dramatic coachings, and scene staging will be by Gene Roberts.  Singers should have completed at least three years of collegiate level training.  Teachers should have collegiate level voice teaching experience. Space is limited to 10 singers and 10 teachers. Visit The Naked Voice Facebook Page.


W. Stephen SmithW. Stephen Smith joined the voice faculty at Northwestern University in 2011 after 13 years at The Juilliard School. He has been in the voice faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 1996.  He has taught at Santa Fe Opera and Opera on the Avalon, Curtis Institute of Music, Teachers College of Columbia University, University of Southern California, Los Angeles Young Artist Program, and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Program.  Mr. Smith was on the staff of Houston Grand Opera as Voice Instructor for the Houston Opera Studio from 1990 to 2003.  He has given master classes and clinics throughout the United States and has been a guest lecturer at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil and at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Gene Roberts, Director of Opera Theater at Metropolitan State University of Denver, counts opera director Sally Stunkel and Britten specialist Colin Graham among his mentors. His students have appeared on London’s West End, in Germany, and on US National tours. As a performer he was part of the Swiss premier cast of Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in Basel. In Stuttgart he played the role of The Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the German production. He played Mr. Eager in the workshop of the Des Moines Metro Opera production of A Room with a View and the Town Crier in the Houston Miller Theater revised premier of Bilby’s Doll with Carlisle Floyd as director. Other roles include Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Don Basilio and Antonio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Bardolfo (Falstaff), Normano (Lucia di Lammermoor), and Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi).

Audition Requirements

Singers - a digital video of two opera arias in different languages and one other selection of your choice (art song or music theatre piece). Teachers - a digital audio recording of three selections of your choice.

Expectations of Participants

See the full schedule and expectations

All participants are expected to purchase and read "The Naked Voice: A Wholistic Approach to Singing" before the Institute begins.

SINGERS will be expected to have assigned music learned and completely memorized prior to arriving. They will also be expected to attend the orientation, the first technique/pedagogy session, all four master classes, all three acting classes, their two private lessons, dramatic coachings as scheduled, and the scenes gala and dress rehearsal. They will also have the option of auditing the rest of the technique/pedagogy seminars.

TEACHERS will be expected to attend the orientation, the 5 technique/pedagogy seminars, the singers' four master classes, the gala dress rehearsal, and the gala. They also will have the option of observing any of the singers' private lessons, the dramatic coachings, and be participants in the acting classes.

How to Apply

All materials are to be submitted via the Summer Application. Upon creating a file in the Application, applicants should select "Summer Session" as their application type, and then select the workshop to which you are applying. This will ensure that your file is distributed to the correct reviewers. No separate application form is necessary--DO NOT submit an application to Northwestern University via the Common Application or Graduate Music Online Application. Applicants will be asked to upload a detailed résumés as well as all audition requirements. NOTE: No paper application will be accepted. Do not mail recordings as these will not be reviewed or returned. Do not mail recordings to the Bienen School of Music or to faculty, as these will not be reviewed or returned.

The deadline for participant application is April 16, 2018. Those accepted for participation will be notified by May 1, 2018. The deadline for accepted participant registration with full tuition due is June 1, 2018.

For more information contact the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music Office of Admission and Financial Aid at 847-491-3141 or