Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery today announced that W. Stephen Smith has been appointed to the voice faculty of the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, at the rank of full professor.  He will begin his duties in fall 2011.  

W. Stephen Smith comes to Bienen from the Juilliard School where he was a faculty member for thirteen years.  Prior to that appointment he taught at the University of Houston and was Chair of the Voice Department at the Saint Louis Conservatory of Music.  Smith also served as a vocal instructor for the Houston Grand Opera Studio from 1990 to 2003 and has held a position on the voice faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 1996.  His book, The Naked Voice: A Wholistic Approach to Singing, was published by Oxford University Press in 2007.

Smith’s students include some of the most noted artists of our time, such as Christine Brewer, Joyce DiDonato, Eric Owens, and Marietta Simpson.  His students have performed leading roles in major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and La Scala, and have won numerous prestigious competitions.  Many have placed in the District and Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and have been national finalists.  Among the apprentice programs where his students have studied and performed are those at the Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Chautauqua Operas, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and Wolf Trap.

Smith has performed over forty roles in opera and musical theater and has been a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony and the Oklahoma Symphony.   He has also stage-directed 22 different productions and served as music director and conductor for several shows.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in voice from Harding University, a Master of Music degree in voice from the University of Arkansas, and a Master of Performing Arts degree in opera from Oklahoma City University.


  • Toni-Marie Montgomery
  • W. Stephen Smith