Founder and Artistic Director of the nationally acclaimed performance training program OperaWorks, Ann Baltz will be offering four free classes on improvisation for classical musicians on Nov. 15 and 16 at the AU School of Music.
On Thursday Baltz will offer a Performance Techniques Master class at 12 p.m. and an Improvisation Master class at 1 p.m. in the Krannert Fine Arts Center. On Friday she is offering "Improvisation in Performance and 'Flip Side: When Good Opera Goes Bad'" at 3 p.m.; and "Teaching Outside the Box—Improvisation: How to incorporate improvisation to facilitate learning by discovery" at 4 p.m.
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 of Music.
An inventive approach and reputation as the consummate pedagogue have made Baltz a much sought-after teacher and coach. Her students, many of them graduates of OperaWorks, grace the operatic and concert stages, and consistently reach the highest honors in national and international competition. Among her teaching positions, Baltz served as Director of Apprentice Programs for Orlando Opera, and Opera Pacific; Music Director for the Wesley Balk Summer Institute; and as Guest Director of the Opera Workshops at Carnegie-Melon University. Baltz is on the opera faculty of California State University, Northridge.
Her diverse professional background includes roles as assistant conductor, coach, and chorus master in more than 40 productions of operas with such companies as Minnesota Opera, Orlando Opera, Portland Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Pacific and Wolf Trap Opera. She has worked with noted conductors including Richard Bonynge, Anton Coppola, Stewart Robertson, and celebrated singers Dame Joan Sutherland, James McCracken, and Ruth Ann Swenson. An accomplished pianist, Baltz played extensively on tour with Columbia Artist Concerts, Western Opera Theater, and Minnesota Opera.
Through her deep commitment to new and experimental works, Baltz has served as Music Director and Co-creator of Composer-Librettist Studios in San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis, as well as Music Director for New Works Projects at the Minnesota Opera Institute and Portland Opera.
In 2004, Baltz received a Red Carpet Award from "Women In Theatre" recognizing her outstanding achievements in theater in Los Angeles. She was a recipient of a prestigious grant from the National Institute for Music Theater to engage in an in-depth study of twelve operas and the Italian language.
As a writer, Baltz has contributed articles for Opera America's publications Business Advice for Singers and Making Choices. Additional articles appear in Classical Singer, and Vocals magazines. She frequently serves as an adjudicator for competitions throughout the country including the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions.
Baltz earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of New Mexico and a Masters degree in Piano Accompanying from Arizona State University. She studied at the San Francisco Opera where she received the Otto Guth Award for outstanding coach in the Merola Program.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.