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Renowned Countertenor John Holiday Joins School of Music Faculty

May 17, 2023 School of Music | College of Arts and Humanities

 Headshot of new faculty member John Holiday. Holiday is wearing a black rimmed hate and black turtle neck

Holiday, a successful singer in opera, jazz, gospel and pop genres, starts his position this fall.

By TJ Wagman '20

From his recent role with The Metropolitan Opera in Kevin Puts’ “The Hours” to his current  work as “John Blue” in Pittsburgh Opera’s production of “We Shall Not be Moved,” renowned countertenor John Holiday has performed with some of the country’s most prestigious opera companies.

Soon, University of Maryland School of Music (SOM) students will have the opportunity to train and study with him. Holiday will join the SOM faculty this fall. As a member of the voice/opera faculty, Holiday will teach private voice lessons and support areas throughout the school with his expertise in opera, jazz, gospel, and pop music.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to become part of a school that is dedicated to the highest standards of artistic and scholarly excellence, while also embracing diversity, inclusion and community engagement,” said Holiday. “I am excited to contribute to the School of Music’s efforts in shaping and inspiring the next generation of amazing artists, teachers and citizens of the world.”

Described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the finest countertenors of his generation,” Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Center and the Philharmonie de Paris. Additional career highlights include a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Sorceress in Barrie Kosky’s production of Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” as Orpheus’s Double at the Los Angeles Opera; the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “We Shall Not Be Moved” with Opera Philadelphia and the Dutch National Opera; title role in “Xerxes” at the Glimmerglass Festival; and Caesar in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare in Egitto” at Wolf Trap Opera. 

Holiday’s artistry lives at the intersection of traditional and contemporary. Outside of his accomplishments in opera spaces, he has had great success in jazz, gospel and pop genres. He opened for Jason Mraz in concert in 2006 and performed Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala in 2019. Additionally, he has released several pop singles including “Alive in Me,” “Waste Mine” and “Love Finds a Way.”

Holiday received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School in New York City. He previously taught at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The combination of Holiday’s experience on stage and in the classroom will provide students with a unique opportunity to diversify their vocal training

“We are thrilled to welcome John Holiday to our faculty,” said SOM Director Gregory Miller. “We hope that his instruction and mentorship inspires students to expand their artistic horizons in directions they may have never felt possible.”