Vocal Arts

UCI Vocal Arts has a long tradition of performance excellence. The Vocal Arts program of study at UC Irvine provides intensive study and exceptional performing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to pursue a career in vocal music.  Undergraduates have regularly been accepted into prestigious graduate programs in research universities and conservatories, and graduate students have been successfully employed in university teaching and performing organizations.

Weekly master classes are augmented by guest classes presented here by such distinguished artists as George Shirley (2014 recipient of National Medal of Arts), Lawrence Brownlee, Elizabeth Futral, Pretty Yende, Roberta Alexander, Brian Asawa, and Paula Murrihy.

Students are offered additional performance opportunities through the Art Song and Artistry Series. Concerts have included works by California composers Mark Carlson, Alan Smith, Margaret Bonds, Jacqueline Hairston, and others like Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, and Florence Price. Whether it’s a Liederabend with songs by German composers, a Spanish Noche Cantando with songs in the Spanish language, or an Evening of Spirituals, performances are always engaging and great opportunities for students and the community.

In collaboration with UCI Symphony Orchestra, UCI Vocal Arts has been proud to present the Southern California premier of Ned Rorem's opera, Our Town (based on the play by Thornton Wilder), along with Puccini's Suor Angelica, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Still’s Highway 1, USA, and an Arias Concert with works from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Past staged productions include The Medium, Hansel and Gretel, The Old Maid and the Thief, and Dido and Aeneas, among others. Students may also audition for Drama productions, are heard with area orchestras and opera companies, and can collaborate across disciplines of the CTSA.

Home of the African American Art Song Alliance, CTSA is proud to host international conferences on this subject with guests from around the globe converging for performance, scholarly presentations, and panel discussions. The next will take place February 9 – 12, 2017.


Art Song and Artistry
Darryl Taylor, Artistic Director

The concert series is devoted to bringing Art Song to the attention of students and audiences alike, presenting events showcasing students and composers. Past programs include Wagner at 200 – a concert of song, featuring alumna Cari McAskill, recent finalist with the Liederkrantz International Voice Competition, Wagner Category; An Evening of Spirituals; Songs from the Iberian Expanse (with works in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan); The ABCs of Song: Songs of H. Leslie Adams, Samuel Barber, and Aaron Copland; and a concert devoted to women composers in the spring. Past events have included the African American Song Alliance national conference, master classes by local composers and recitals of a wide-ranging Art Song repertoire.


Guest Master Classes

Guests invited to present master classes for involving our students have included Lawrence Brownlee, Brian Asawa, Roberta Alexander, Elizabeth Futral, George Shirley, and Angela Brown, among many others..



UCI Vocal Arts provides outreach opportunities through performances and presentations in the community and in schools throughout Orange County (Creative Connections student scholars).


Voice Faculty

Darryl Taylor
Frances Young Bennett
Seth Houston



AcaLove: Southern California A Cappella Festival
Dr. Seth Houston, Conductor
January 26, 2018, 8:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall
UCI Chamber Singers and UCI A Cappella host leading a cappella groups from UCI and other Southern California campuses.  Free admission

Music Showcase Concert
February 14, 2018, 12:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall
A noontime concert showcasing UCI music students.

A Music Salon with Johannes Brahms
Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 8:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall
An elegant salon featuring chamber, chamber vocal, and solo music by Johannes Brahms, with conversation about Brahms and his world by world-renowned Brahms scholars David Brodbeck and Nicole Grimes. Please join us for a reception before the concert.

The Brahms Requiem
Dr. Stephen Tucker, conductor Dr. Seth Houston, conductor
“Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning” – Psalm 30:5
Friday, March 9, 2018, 8:00 p.m., Irvine Barclay Theatre
UCI Chamber Singers, Cal State Long Beach Chamber Singers, and the UCI Symphony Orchestra join forces to present Johannes Brahms’s exquisite A German Requiem. The concert will also include Sir Edward Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture.

Something Old, Something New
Frances Young Bennett, soprano
Saturday, April 14, 2018 , 8:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall
Soprano Frances Young Bennett, described by the LA Times as “A soprano of gossamer sheer purity,” joins forces with UCI faculty pianists Nina Scolnik and Lorna Griffitt in a recital of music by Henry Purcell, American art song, and songs from the Great American Songbook.

Puccini’s Suor Angelica
Music by Giacomo Puccini with Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano
Darryl Taylor, artistic director, Stephen Tucker, conductor
May 12 – 13, 2018, Irvine Barclay Theatre
Opera UCI presents Suor Angelica. First performed in 1918, this opera presents the story of Sister Angelica, who has been forced by her family to enter a convent following a scandal. After her aunt, the Princess, asks Angelica to sign over her inheritance to her younger sister, drama ensues. Suor Angelica is the second in Giacomo Puccini’s ethereal and spiritual triptych of operas, Il trittico, the others being the dark melodrama Il tabarro and the gutsy comedy Gianni Schicchi.

Celebrate Music at UCI
Friday, May 18, 2018, 8:00 pm, Irvine Barclay Theatre
An exciting, fast-paced evening of musical performances by the Department of Music at Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ students and faculty, including instrumental and vocal ensembles of all sizes, diverse forms of traditional classical music and jazz, and new works by UCI composers. A family-friendly evening of performances to celebrate the arts and music at UCI.

Music Department Spring Soirée
Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 8:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall
Celebrating outstanding graduating students in an elegant evening concert. Featuring solo performance, chamber music, small jazz, and contemporary music ensembles. Please join us for a reception before the concert.

For more information, please view our Calendar of Events.