Voice program welcomes two distinguished artists for residencies

In Department News, Voice by Mike Matrasko

The UHM Music Department is pleased to welcome back José Meléndez and Michael Rafter for residencies in the voice program.

As pianist and music director for the Opera Workshop under the direction of John Mount. Mr. Meléndez has worked with the students of the vocal area before and has played with and prepared the Opera Workshop for a concert last year. The Opera Workshop presents its performance March 6 at 7:30pm in Orvis Auditorium.  The program will consist of arias and duets from operas by Bellini, Gounod, Hermann, Korngold, Rossini, Strauss, and Verdi.

Pianist José Meléndez is in demand as a vocal coach, conductor, and collaborative artist. His professional engagements have taken him to Europe, South and Central America, Asia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and throughout the mainland United States. He is committed to the artistic development of young and emerging singers, and has been associated with numerous young artist programs, competitions, and training centers.  He holds a full-time position at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where he is Assistant to the Music Director, Orchestra Librarian, and part of the music staff. He serves as Assistant Conductor, Collaborative Pianist, and Vocal Coach for various AVA productions and events, and he is also the Music Director of Concert Operetta Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to the performance of operetta in concert.

The Music Department will also be hosting Michael Rafter – arranger, musical director, musical supervisor, conductor, and musician – for a series of one-on-one coachings in musical theater repertoire with voice students from March 9 to March 15. In 1994, Mr. Rafter received and Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction for the television adaption of the stage musical Gypsy.  As a musical director on Broadway, Mr. Rafter’s credits include Violet, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Sound of Music Revival, and The King and I Revival.