D.M.A. University of Oregon; M.M. University of Illinois; B.M. University of Nevada-Reno
Mexican-American lyric tenor Genaro Méndez has a versatile and wide-ranging career as a leading operatic tenor, chamber and solo recitalist, conductor, and voice professor. His operatic performances include Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles, Tibalt in Roméo et Juliette, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Ramiro in Rossini’s Cenerentola, Alfredo in La Traviata, Quint in Turn of the Screw, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Ferrando in Così fan Tutte – to name a few.As an oratorio and chamber music soloist, he has been featured in Carmina Burana, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, & Strings, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requie. Other featured solo engagements have included the Martha’s Vineyard Music Festival, Bach Aria Soloists, Reno Chamber Orchestra, and the Reno Philharmonic. As a conductor and musical director, Genaro has collaborated with the KU University Theater in The Fantasticks and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
A Nevada native, Genaro began his musical studies and performing career under the late master teacher of voice and Nevada Opera founder, Ted Puffer. Under Maestro Puffer’s musical guidance, Genaro completed his undergraduate degree in voice from the University of Nevada Reno and performed in over 30 Nevada Opera productions, from chorus member to comprimario to leading tenor. He continued his formal studies at the University of Illinois, where he performed on the 1990-1997 U.S. tour of the complete songs of Franz Schubert with world-renowned vocal coach, John Wustman. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oregon and studied under mezzo-soprano, Milagro Vargas.
As an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Kansas, Genaro is a dedicated teacher of vocal technique, diction, and repertoire. The students from his studio have enjoyed numerous accolades, in regional and national voice competitions and apprenticeships with opera companies across the country.
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.