Faculty & Staff
Professor of Voice
- 1983: Bachelor of Music in Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City
- 1990: Master of Music, Performance, University of Maryland, College Park
- Diction (Ecclesiastical Latin, Italian, English)
- Opera Workshop
- Song Literature
- Applied Voice
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. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Washington Opera (Washington National Opera), the Graz, Austria Festival Orchestra, Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, on an international tour to Southeast Asia with the United States Information Service, the Garth Newel Chamber Players in Italy, the Washington Bach Consort, the Iowa Bach Festival, Stony Brook Bach Festival (as an apprentice to soprano Beverly Hoch), the 20th Century Consort at the Smithsonian, Signature Theater and with Interact Theater for several summers performing the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Her work on the musical theater stage earned two Helen Hayes nominations from the Washington Theater Awards Association (for Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and for Johanna in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd). She was also selected to tour Southeast Asia for two months in 1992 as part of a cultural exchange program. Opera roles in her repertoire include Norina, Don Pasquale; Susanna, the Marriage of Figaro; Poussette, Manon; Diane, Hippolyte et Aricie; Damigella, L'incoronazione di Poppea.
Ms. Bender's recital, oratorio and interpretation of contemporary music consistently receive high marks; performed repertoire includes numerous and varied works by Hildegard von Bingen, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Fauré, Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Poulenc and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Washington Post called her performance of Olivier Messiaen's Poèmes pour Mì "nothing short of breathtaking," The New York Times proclaimed her as possessing "charming, lyric coloratura" and Tom Strini raved of her Milwaukee concert of Georges Aperghis and John Cage as being a “tour-de-force,” and able to “apply commanding technique, canny phrasing and sly wit” in her presentation of these “avant-garde manifestoes.”
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.
Ms. Bender’s singing is recorded on the Norton, Foundry and Albany labels; her most recent recording was of Gluck's Orphée on Naxos with L'Opéra Lafayette, and Opera News reviewed her as "a persuasive Diana" in that company's production of Jean-Phillippe Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie.