SCHMIDT COMPETITION TEAM

Benjamin Smolder, bass-baritone, is Associate Professor of Voice, Director of Miami University Opera and the National Director for the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition.  He has enjoyed a varied career as a singer, conductor and producer of opera, musical theater and cabaret programs of the Great American Songbook.   As a soloist he has performed with such notable organizations as the Spoleto Festival, Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals, Festival de Mao, Teatro Municipal of San Feliú de Guixols Festival, Almudena Cathedral, Teatre Principal de Mao, Festival de Moiá de Valles, Voces Para la Liturgia, Castell de Belver, and at El Escorial.  Smolder has sung principal operatic roles internationally with opera companies in Prague, Vienna, Cairo and Rome. In this country he has performed in concert with the Detroit Symphony, The National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Opera, Nevada Opera, Des Moines Opera, Central City, Columbus Opera and Dayton Opera.  He has also performed as soloist at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, in the Detroit Institute of Art Artist Series, with the Cincinnati May Festival and for the National Association of Choral Directors Conference.  Smolder can be heard on a number of recordings including The Tenderland released by Albany Records, American Tapestry with the Vocal Arts Ensemble and in two albums with The American Spiritual Ensemble.  As conductor and producer of Miami Opera, Smolder has conducted operas that have received two awards from the National Opera Association for Best Collegiate Production.  During the summers, he serves as a conductor and faculty member for the Festival of International Opera of the Americas in San Paulo Brazil.  As an advocate for the Great American Songbook, Smolder has commissioned new arrangements and founded an ensemble and jazz orchestra that presents  concerts.  He is the co-founder of S&L Productions whose mission is to produce American-style variety shows to support non-profit arts organizations.  Smolder studied music performance with a cognate in opera directing at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Doctoral Work), voice performance at the University of Kentucky (masters) and voice performance and music education at Alderson-Broaddus University.  His teachers were Barbara Honn, Steven King, Dale Moore, Ken Shaw and Lillian Long.   Many of his students have performed in young artist programs, such as the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Des Moines Opera, Seattle Opera, French Academy of Vocal Arts, Cincinnati Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera North, and others.  Many of his students are now performing with opera companies in the US, Europe and on Broadway.
Recent national finalist in the National Association for Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA), soprano Linda McAlister is equally at home singing opera, oratorio, and art song. Lauded for her stage presence and ability to connect with her audiences, she has impressed German audiences and critics in roles such as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus (Strauss), Venus in Dardanus (Rameau), and Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) as well as in concert engagements of works by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Fauré, and Mozart, among others. A native of Minnesota, Ms. McAlister studied International Business and Vocal Performance at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and continued her education at Miami University (Master of Music) and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (doctoral studies). After singing at the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, Ms. McAlister furthered her study of German Lieder at the Hochschule für Musik, Nürnberg-Augsburg (Meisterklasse). After transitioning into arts administration and education, Ms. McAlister acted as the first-ever Executive Director of SongFest at Colburn (Los Angeles) and the Artistic Coordinator for the Steans Music Institute Vocal Program at the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ms. McAlister is currently faculty at Miami University of Ohio, where she is the Director of the Schmidt Summer Vocal Institute, Coordinator of the William E. Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition, and Instructor of Voice. In the summer, she travels to Germany as is the Artistic Coordinator of the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt.

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THE WILLIAM E. SCHMIDT FOUNDATION

As part of its mission the William E. Schmidt Foundation provides support and encouragement to youth in the arts.  Annually the Foundation provides scholarships and support to over one hundred and fifty students in the arts.

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CONTACT INFO:

Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition

109 Presser Hall

501 South Patterson Avenue

Oxford, OH 45056

schmidtcompinfo@gmail.com

Telephone: (513) 529-3046

Fax: (513) 529-3027