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Susan Bender


Susan Bender, a versatile soprano and teacher, was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Winner in 1986, the same year she debuted with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in a concert of operatic arias. From 1985-1989, Ms. Bender was a member of the United States Navy Band Sea Chanter Chorus in Washington, D.C. and toured with their premiere wind ensemble as their soloist on three national tours and performed for international dignitaries.

As a teacher of voice, Professor Bender’s students have won many Maryland, Wisconsin and Mid-Atlantic NATS awards and have gone on to study and work at Indiana University, Northwestern (Chicago), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of North Carolina- Greensboro, The Catholic University, the Washington Opera Chorus, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway.

Research Interests

  • Solo cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Solo songs and chamber music of Samuel Barber
  • French Baroque opera and performance practice

Professional Experience

  • Les Violons de Lafayette (specializing in French Baroque opera performance practice)
  • The Folger Consort (specializing in music before 1600)
  • The Washington Bach Consort, 20th Century Consort at the Smithsonian (specializing in the works of living composers)
  • Iowa Bach Festival
  • The International Handel Festival at the University of Iowa
  • The Washington National Opera
  • The Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions and Winner’s Concert
  • Interact Theatre Company (specializing in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan)
  • Signature Theater (specializing in the works of Stephen Sondheim)
  • The Stony Brook Bach Festival
  • The Unruly Music Festival in Milwaukee, WI.
  • Twice-nominated actress in a leading role in a musical by the Washington Theatre Guild’s Helen Hayes Awards.


  • Guest Soloist for the 21st Century Consort, Stephen Albert’s To Wake the Dead.
  • Naxos recording of Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice (1774 version in French), 2002.
  • Albany Records, The Canticle of the Sun, music of Amy Beach 1998


  • Karna, Duane R., Bender, Susan (contributing author), (2012).  The Use of  the International Phonetic Alphabet in the Choral Rehearsal.  Scarecrow Press (now Roman and Littlefield, Contributing author of the Italian chapter.


  • Artistic Consultant, American Gothic Performing Arts Festival, Ottumwa, Iowa, 2018- present
  • Reviewer, Oxford University Press for IPA for Singers manuscript proposals
  • Regional Governor, National Association of Teachers of Singing 2020-present
  • Master Adjudicator, Wisconsin State Music Association 2017-present


I’m most proud of the atmosphere for learning my colleagues and I create not just for our students but for each other as we pursue excellence as teaching artists.  We’re all here to help each other, and our students enjoy witnessing our collaborations. I live for the moment when the lightbulb clicks and a student delights in doing something they never thought they could do – it’s just about the coolest thing ever! If you view your work as fun, you’ll fit right in at UWSP!  Susan Bender


Susan Bender
Professor - Voice

313 Noel Fine Arts Center


MM - Music Performance
University of Maryland, College Park

BM - Music Education
University of Iowa, Iowa City