The Faculty Artist Series is generously sponsored by Patricia Ward Baker.
Dr. Jonathan Retzlaff, lyric baritone, joined the Voice and Opera faculty of the Eastman School of Music in 2015 after serving as Chair of the Voice Department at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University where he was honored as the Distinguished Faculty Member of 2011. For over thirty years, he has performed professionally as a soloist in opera, oratorio, recital, and musical theatre. Following his New York debut recital of French mélodies at Carnegie Recital Hall, Dr. Retzlaff has championed the art of the song recital on prestigious concert series including the National Gallery of Art and Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; the A. I. Lack Music Master Series at the University of Houston, Texas; and the Bechstein Recital Series in Santa Fe, New Mexico and internationally in Graz, Austria. He has also performed on the Community Concert Series under the auspices of Columbia Artists Management, on National Public Radio, and at colleges and universities spanning the country. Dr. Retzlaff was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Elly Ameling Lied Concours held in The Hague, The Netherlands and the Walter W. Naumburg Vocal Competition in New York.
Since 2014, Dr. Retzlaff has held the distinction of Master Teacher in the National Association of Teachers of Singing, a lifelong designation. He has taught internationally during the summer on faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. Dr. Retzlaff's current and former students have performed on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Musical Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Vienna Staatsoper, Opéra Bastille, Teatro La Fenice -Venice, Teatro Regio - Parma, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, St. Louis Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Texas Chamber Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Astoria Music Festival, Amato Opera, Cantiamo Opera, Lincoln Center Summer Music Festival, Sarasota Opera, Berkshire Opera, Chicago Chamber Opera, Breckenridge Musical Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Indianapolis Opera, Sacramento Opera, Connecticut Opera, the Spoleto Festival (USA).
Pianist Russell Miller has been a coach and teacher of vocal repertoire at Eastman since 1995. He has performed throughout the United States and abroad as soloist and chamber musician, including concert tours to Korea and Hong Kong with tenor Robert White and to Alaska and the former Soviet Union with cellist Stephen Kates. With violist Donald McInnes, he has recorded works of Hindemith and Loeffler on the Kleos Classics label. Notable collaborations include recitals with Jan Opalach, Anthony Dean Griffey, Jonathan Retzlaff, Frederica von Stade, Julia Broxholm, Lynn Blakeslee, Zvi Zeitlin, Susan Shafer, Todd Graber, Robert Swensen and Marilyn Horne. In October 2012, he was privileged to give the first North American performances of four newly-discovered songs of Claude Debussy with soprano Elizabeth Calleo as part of Eastman's "Prismatic Debussy" festival organized by ESM Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Marie Rolf. For twelve years he was the musical director for the vocal quartet "SATB", which performed a wide variety of repertoire from classical chamber pieces to Broadway.
A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Miller studied at the University of Southern California, the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, and holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan. His principal teachers have been Edith Knox, Brooks Smith, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Marshall Williamson, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Louis Nagel and Graham Johnson, with additional study in the Alexander Technique with Marilyn Barach. For twelve years he was a staff pianist and faculty member at the summer Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. He also served as pianist and harpsichordist for several professional opera companies, including the Florentine Opera of Milwaukee (Rossini's La cenerentola and Verdi's Aïda), Mercury Opera of Rochester (Mozart's Don Giovanni) and several productions for Eastman Opera Theatre.
Besides his current appointment at Eastman, Dr. Miller has also held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Bowling Green State University, The Ohio State University and Oberlin College Conservatory, and has given master classes at Ithaca College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Missouri. Thanks to the generosity of ReachOut Kansas, Inc., he enjoys an ongoing relationship with the School of Music of the University of Kansas in Lawrence as a visiting vocal coach and teacher of collaborative piano. In recent summers, he has taught and performed at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI) in British Columbia, and at the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF) in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Ukraine.