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Nadia Smelser (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: USA

The American mezzo-soprano and voice tacher, Nadia Smelser, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music (Vocal Performance), a B.M. in Music (Vocal Performance) a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Public Relations) and an A.A. in Liberal Arts (Music emphasis).

Nadia Smelser's kaleidoscopic performance career has spanned both the classical and commercial music worlds. She has appeared on PBS, CNN, National Public Radio, Classic Arts Showcase and Hour of Power, and was asked to perform at the California State Bach Festival (Chico Bach Festival) and to tour nationally with the Anonymous Four in the “Voices of Light” Tour for Columbia Artists, as well as internationally with the Jeannine Wagner Ensemble. She was a finalist in the national cast search for the opera version of the film, Gladiator (composed by Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer), and has had featured roles in the national premieres of two new operas. She has sung for the movie scores of Michael, Oscar and Lucinda (composed by Oscar-winner Thomas Newman), The Last of the Mohicans and The Passion of Joan of Arc (composed by Grammy-winner Richard Einhorn). Nadia has performed as a soloist with prestigious groups such as I Cantori, Pacific Chorale, and the internationally-acclaimed Carmel Bach Festival, with whom she has celebrated nine seasons.

As an oratorio soloist, Nadia Smelser's recent performances include J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243), Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245). Other recent opera credits include The Annunciation, Ordo Virtutum, and The Flying Dutchman. Nadia also appeared in concert series at the Huntington Library, the L.A. County Museum of Art, and the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She has also been a featured soloist at a variety of churches throughout southern California for the last twenty-five years, and is an active recitalist performing a variety of repertoire, ranging from the Baroque through to 20th Century repertoire. Classical CD releases include I Cantori’s critically-acclaimed “A Choir of Angels” and Carmel Bach Festival's “Best of the Fest” Volumes I and I and “Mass in B-Minor”.

Nadia Smelser's diverse list of performance credits also includes appearances on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and E! Entertainment Network, as well as starring in a television variety show under the direction of Joe Lano, musical director for Frank Sinatra. She performed in a Carpenters tribute with Richard Carpenter and the Garden Grove Symphony, at the West Coast premiere of Home Alone II, and in two Disneyland Christmas shows starring Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. Her musical theater credits include Oliver, They’re Playing Our Song and The Music Man, and she also had a cabaret act, frequently performing for Variety Club International’s celebrity tributes, for legendary stars such as Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers and Donald O’Connor. Prior to her classical music career, Nadia also led her own popular dance band, “Eclipse”, and performed with the “Stage Four” vocal jazz quartet. For more than 25 Christmas seasons she has sung with the versatile Lamplight Carolers quartet, which was featured in the pages of Town and Country magazine. Her voice can also be heard on demos for L.A. recording artists such as Grammy-winner Jeremy Dalton. Other unique recordings include the theme song and musical sequences for L.A.’s Mark and Brian morning show, and the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” CD-Rom home game.

Nadia Smelser has been a premier voice teacher in Orange County for over 25 years, teaching both at her private studio and in college and high school class and private voice programs. She currently teaches voice at Orange Coast College, as well as the Vocal Conservatory program at Mater Dei High School. She was a Lecturer at the University of California, Irvine, and also taught at Cypress College and Fullerton College. She maintains a busy private vocal studio and is referred as a voice teacher by many prestigious schools and organizations, including Pacific Chorale, Southern California Children’s Chorus, The Musical Theater Academy of Orange County, as well as the nationally-renowned Center for Voice. Her students regularly win scholarships and competitions, as well as professional positions in both classical and commercial music settings. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, NATS-LA, The Voice and Speech Trainers’ Association, The College Music Society and is listed in Who’s Who in Executives, Professionals and Higher Education. In 2003 she was nominated for Orange County’s “Teacher of the Year” for her work at Fullerton College. In 2004 she gave seminars on vocal health for business professionals for the California Federation of Interpreters, and also presented a paper and vocal workshop at the International Conference on Arts and Humanities in Hawaii. In 2011, she also presented a seminar on Vocal Health and Technique for doctors and speech therapists at the UCI Medical Center Voice and Swallowing Center. In addition to her other activities, Nadia has also adjudicated several vocal competitions, including the Long Beach Mozart Festival and Rotary Club International’s Young Singer of the Year (Musical Theater and Classical divisions).

Source: Nadia Smelser Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2016)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Eliza Rubenstein


Video: BWV 36 [2015], BWV 232 [2015]

Links to other Sites

Nadia Smelser (Official Website)
Nadia Smelser, Voice/Singing Lessons on Facebook


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