Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies

Helen McMaster

Helen and the late Harold McMaster established this endowed professorship in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a long-time Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at BGSU for many years. In 1992 she served as honorary chair of Bowling Green’s Campaign of the Arts, to which the McMasters donated $150,000.
Generous friends of BGSU, she and her husband previously donated to programs in music, business, science and the Center for Photochemical Sciences. They established the Harold and Helen McMaster Professor of Photochemical Sciences position in 1993, helped to purchase a photoelectron microscope for the center in 1992 and gave the University a $1 million gift for the McMaster Endowment Fund, which supports the chemical sciences, in 1985.

College professors in vocal, choral or opera may nominate endowed professors (follow the link for more details).

Dawn Upshaw, photo by Brooke Irish

2017-2018 Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies

Dawn Upshaw, soprano

with pianist Gilbert Kalish

Recital, Sunday, March 18, 2018

8 PM, Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center


Tickets available here

Residency Schedule (all events except Sunday performance are free)

Sunday, March 18
8 PM: Recital, Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center
Purchase tickets here.

Monday, March 19
2:30-4:30 PM: Piano master class with Gilbert Kalish, Bryan Recital Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center
4:30-6 PM: Voice master class with Dawn Upshaw, Marjorie Conrad, M.D. Choral Room, The Wolfe Center for the Arts

Tuesday, March 20
1-2 PM: Q&A Sesison with Dawn Upshaw, Marjorie Conrad, M.D. Choral Room, The Wolfe Center for the Arts
2:15-4 PM: Voice master class with Dawn Upshaw, Marjorie Conrad, M.D. Choral Room, The Wolfe Center for the Arts

Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Susanna, Ilia, Pamina, Despina, and Zerlina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award-winning opera, L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s Nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.

It says much about Dawn Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Gilbert Kalish, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade.   From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the Head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center.

A five-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki for Nonesuch Records. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne,” a dozen recital recordings, and an acclaimed three-disc series of Osvaldo Golijov’s music for Deutsche Grammophon.  Her most recent Grammy was the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy for Maria Schneider's Winter Morning Walks on the ArtistShare Label.  

Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. 

Ms. Upshaw has recorded extensively for the Nonesuch label. She may also be heard on Angel/EMI, BMG, Deutsche Grammophon, London, Sony Classical, Telarc, and on Erato and Teldec in the Warner Classics Family of labels.

Past McMaster Endowed Professors


Christopher M. Cock holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music and is director of the Bach Institute.

Through his activities as a choral music educator and distinguished solo artist, Professor Cock has forged a unique career path combining the roles of conductor and performer. He frequently brings his focus on outstanding repertoire, vocal technique, and polished musicality to high school ensembles throughout the country. For six years, he served as director of choirs for Lutheran Summer Music, the national Lutheran high school music camp. In 2006 he led the International Choral Invitational in Hong Kong and was conductor of the Spivey Hall High School Honor Choir, a festival begun by Robert Shaw. He has also conducted All-State Choirs in Minnesota, Georgia, and Ohio and the Collegiate Honor Choir in Pennsylvania. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall as guest conductor of the New England Symphonic Ensemble.


With a career spanning more than 25 years and 200 productions, Jay Lesenger’s stagings have been seen on stages across the country and recently Europe as well. Jay’s directing skills are reflected in a wide repertory of operas, operettas and musicals that includes WERTHER, MACBETH, LOHENGRIN, IL TRITTICO, THE BARTERED BRIDE, THE TURN OF THE SCREW, DIE FLEDERMAUS, THE CORONATION OF POPPEA and the five Mozart comedies.  He made his New York City Opera debut with a new staging of ANNA BOLENA followed by THE  MAGIC FLUTE and STREET SCENE. Debuts quickly ensued in San Diego, Pittsburgh and Hawaii. Jay is the Artistic/General Director of the Chautauqua Opera and in 2008 became the Director of the Opera Department at Northwestern University.

A dedicated Manhattanite, Jay was graduated from Hofstra University and continued his education in stage direction in the Master's program at Indiana University.  He is a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers and for five years was an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor, where he directed the School of Music Opera Theatre.  He is a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.


Described as having “a tight and attractive vocal blend and excellent choral discipline” (American Record Guide), The Thirteen is an all-star professional choir known for inspired and powerful live performance. Since its founding in 2012, the choir has been at the forefront of bringing invigorating performances to the American choral community in repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the Romantic, from Bach to Bruckner; and from Gregorian chant to the world premieres of new American composers. In past seasons, The Thirteen has performed and been in residency at Yale University, Bowling Green State University, Eastern Illinois University, the University of Central Oklahoma, York College, The University of Tampa, Virginia Wesleyan University, St. Ambrose University, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Guilford College, as well as concerts throughout the United States. The Thirteen is committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of musicians, and frequently coaches students at the high school and collegiate levels in masterclass, workshop and collaborative performance sessions.



For over three decades, Samuel Ramey has reigned as one of the music world’s foremost interpreters of bass and bass-baritone operatic and concert repertoire. With astounding versatility he commands an impressive breadth of repertoire encompassing virtually every musical style from the fioratura of Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo, which was the vehicle of his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 1984, to the dramatic proclamations of the title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, which he sang in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera televised by PBS. Mr. Ramey’s interpretations embrace the bel canto of Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti; the lyric and dramatic roles of Mozart and Verdi; and the heroic roles of the Russian and French repertoire.


Ann Baltz is founder and artistic director of the nationally acclaimed performance training program, OperaWorks. A master teacher of performance skills and operatic improvisation for opera companies, conservatories and universities, Baltz has been heralded as one of the leading opera educators in America today. She is a frequent presenter at the Classical Singer’s Conventions, and has been featured as a speaker for Opera America’s seminar “Building a Career: Strategies for Success.” Representative schools where she has presented workshops include the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, New England Conservatory, Boston University, Westminster Choir College, Rice University and the San Francisco Conservatory.


Pianist Margo Garrett is well known to audiences for her frequent performances in chamber, sonata and vocal recitals. She will present a two-day residency at Bowling Green on Oct. 8 & 10, 2007. The large roster of internationally known artists with whom she has long performing relationships include sopranos Kathleen Battle, Barbara Bonney, Elizabeth Futral, Beverly Hoch, the late Judith Raskin, Lucy Shelton, Dawn Upshaw, Benita Valente, mezzo Shirley Close, tenor Anthony Griffey, violinists Jaime Laredo and Daniel Phillips, violist Paul Neubauer, cellists Sharon Robinson, Matt Haimowitz and the late Stephen Kates. Her recordings can be found on Albany, CRI, Deutsche Grammophon (1992 Grammy for Best Vocal Recital), Dorian, Musical Heritage Society, Nonesuch and Sony Classical. Active for many years in the world of contemporary music, she has performed the premieres of more than 30 works.


Leading heldentenor Jon Fredric West (‘74) presented a two-day residency at Bowling Green on Oct. 4–5, 2006. During the residency he gave a recital and held master classes. A Dayton native, West holds a bachelors’s degree in performance from BGSU. He attended the Opera Theater Program at the Manhattan School of Music for his master’s degree and completed postgraduate studies at the Juilliard Opera Theater. He has received grants from The National Opera Institute, The Sullivan Foundation and an award from The Liederkranz Foundation. West has established himself as the world’s foremost Siegfried in Richard Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. He recently sang the role as part of the complete Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in New York under James Levine. He came to the Met after triumphant performances in both operas at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, led by Zubin Mehta. With pianist and former BGSU Artist-in-Residence Jerome Rose, he recently recorded Schubert’s Winterreise on Medici Classics. West has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony (at the Ravinia Festival), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Rundfunk, Houston, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Boston, Pittsburgh, Toronoto and Cincinnati symphonies. He has sung under the batons of James Conlon, Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, Andrew Davis, Walter Weller, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa and Lorin Maazel.


Libby Larsen (b. 24 December 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over fifty CD’s of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. Click for a gallery of Libby Larsen's visit.


Composer, conductor and teacher Alice Parker began composing early, and wrote her first orchestral score while still in high school. She graduated from Smith College with a major in music performance and composition, then received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School where she studied choral conducting with Robert Shaw. Her life-work has been in choral and vocal music, combining composing, conducting and teaching in a creative balance. Her arrangements with Robert Shaw of folksongs, hymns and spirituals form an enduring repertoire for choruses all around the world. She serves on the board of Chorus America, and was recently honored by the Eastern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. Parker has published books on melodic styles, choral improvisation and “Good Singing in Church.”


Vance Y. George is recognized internationally as one of the world’s leading choral conductors. He has conducted throughout the U.S. as well as Europe, Australia and Asia. During his 23 years as conductor with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the group was hailed as one of the finest in the world. On their behalf he accepted two Grammy awards for Best Choral Performances in 1992 and 1995 for Orff’s Carmina Burana and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. Highly regarded as a teacher of conducting George has taught and presented workshops and lectures at many universities including the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, The San Francisco Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, Kent State University and the University Berkeley-California.


Opera News has called her “maybe the most influential singer in American history” and in fall 2005, she taught students at the College of Musical Arts. Famed singer Marilyn Horne returned to Bowling Green Oct. 4–6, 2005, as the inaugural artist of the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies. She last visited BGSU in December 1996 when she gave a sold-out recital on the Festival Series. Currently focusing on a “master teacher” career, Horne spent several days privately coaching voice students in the College of Musical Arts. She also conducted two master classes featuring many of these same students. Horne’s five-decade career in opera, concert and recital has been celebrated throughout the world for the power and artistry of her unique and dazzling mezzo-soprano coloratura.