Acclaimed vocal instructors to join Shepherd School

Two nationally acclaimed vocal instructors — Barbara Paver and Julie Simson — will join Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music faculty next year. Paver, currently with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and Simson, currently with the University of Colorado-Boulder, will become members of the Shepherd School faculty in July 2013.

Barbara Paver

Barbara Paver

“The addition of Julie Simson and Barbara Paver will further bolster the esteem and vaulted national rank of our voice and opera programs,” said Robert Yekovich, dean of the Shepherd School.

“The Shepherd School feels incredibly fortunate to have attracted two distinguished musicians who have demonstrated the ability to teach singers at the highest level,” said Stephen King, chair of the Shepherd School’s Voice Department. “Barbara and Julie are committed teachers with long records of success, and we look forward to their contributions.”

Paver has served on the faculty of CCM, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees, since 2004. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining CCM’s voice faculty, Paver held a teaching internship with the National Association of Teachers of Singing and was an assistant professor of voice at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, N.Y., and, more recently, at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

In addition to being one of the country’s rising vocal instructors, Paver has had a successful performance career spanning a breadth of repertoire that includes opera, oratorio, art song and 20th-century compositions. She was recently featured at the Crane New Music Festival, where she performed Libby Larsen’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese” and George Crumb’s “Madrigals” under the direction of the composers.

Paver students have also seen success as featured soloists in the U.S. and abroad and have been finalists and prize winners in competitions such as the Orpheus Vocal Competition, the Palm Beach Opera Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

“I am delighted to be joining the distinguished faculty at the Shepherd School,” Paver said. “Their warm welcome and introduction to the rich cultural and musical life of Houston made this move a natural step for me. On my first visit I saw a palpable joy in the music shared between the students and the faculty that was grounded in a mutual respect for learning. I am excited about the future of voice and opera at the Shepherd School and look forward to doing all I can to contribute to it.”

Julie Simson

Julie Simson

Simson has taught voice for 25 years, most of those in her current position at Colorado-Boulder, where she received the first faculty endowed chair in voice. She earned her Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in vocal performance and a Bachelor of Music in music education from Western Michigan University.

With a performance career spanning nearly 20 years, Simson has performed at noted opera houses in Houston, Dallas, Denver, Santa Fe, N.M., Cleveland and Memphis, Tenn. She has also been featured in two concerts at the International George Crumb Festival in Prague and in recital and master classes at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.

Simson’s students have performed with many of the major apprentice programs throughout the country, including Santa Fe, Glimmerglass, Des Moines Metro Opera, Ashlawn, Chautauqua and Lake George, among others.

“I began my career at Houston Grand Opera following graduate school, and I’m delighted to return to Houston and to be affiliated with such a prestigious school,” Simson said.

About Amy Hodges

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.