American soprano Mimmi Fulmer performs repertoire ranging from early music to premieres of works written for her. Her distinguished career in new music includes premieres of nine roles in eight operas. An expert on Nordic repertoire, she is the editor of a three-volume anthology of songs from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Her discography includes six CDs of American music and a CD of songs from Finland, Sweden and Norway.
The granddaughter of immigrants from Finland and Sweden, Ms. Fulmer is an advocate for bringing Nordic songs to American singers. She has presented programs of this repertoire throughout the United States, including Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Lincoln, Omaha, Charlotte, and Omaha, as well as at conferences in Stockholm, Brisbane, Honolulu, Indianapolis, and Tucson. Her CD “Voyage Home: Songs of Finland, Sweden and Norway” was released on Centaur Records, and her three-volume anthology of Nordic songs, Midnight Sun, including music, phonetics, translations, and recordings of the texts, was published by Subito Music. Her article, “Finnish songs for American college-age singers”, was accepted for publication by the Journal of Singing. She serves on the board of the Edvard Grieg Society of the Great Lakes.
Ms. Fulmer’s undergraduate studies at Princeton University and fellowships at Tanglewood were the springboard for her work in contemporary American music. Her solo CD, “About Time”, was called “a gratifying testimony to …composers in America” by Opera News online and “a spectacular show” by American Record Guide. At the University of Michigan, she premiered a one-woman multi-media opera written for her by Alicyn Warren. She can be heard on CDs of music by David Dies (Albany Records), Joseph Dubiel (Centaur Records), Edward Cone (CRI), and Hans Sturm (Innova). She has been a featured soloist at festivals including Aspen, Bang on a Can, and Bath Fringe Festival, in programs at the Kennedy Center, CAMI Hall, Princeton University, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and the Walker Art Center, and at conferences in Costa Rica and Kyoto.
Her opera roles include standard repertoire as well as premieres of roles written for her, and her oratorio roles include major soprano solos of Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel. Early music has been a significant part of her career, and she performs regularly with the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. She has presented recitals around the US, most recently at the Meadowlark Festival in Nebraska, the University of Tampa, and Meredith College.
In addition to her Nordic song anthology, Ms. Fulmer’s publications include a book and engraved score of “Vision and Prayer” by Milton Babbitt (Subito Music). Selections from her translations of “Pierrot Lunaire” (with Ric Merritt) appear in standard textbooks and are used by performing organizations worldwide.
Critical praise for Ms. Fulmer includes notice by the Washington Post for her “really beautiful soprano”, 21st Century Music as “… the glowing and smoky soprano…”, and Gramophone for her “warm and natural interpretations”. Her CD “American Vistas” was called “superb” by American Record Guide, and NATS Journal notes “…her technique enables her to sing even the most intricate of these songs with assured ease”.
Ms. Fulmer is Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has received both the Vilas Associate and Chancellor’s Awards. Her students are enjoying success around the world with companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Vienna State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne, Mainz Oper, Los Angeles Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Opera Australia. Alumnus Nathaniel Stampley sang the title role in “The Lion King” on Broadway and the role of Porgy in the national tour of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”, and will be featured in a new show, “Paradise Square” opening on Broadway in 2022; Brenda Rae’s international operatic career encompasses debuts with companies including the Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, and she was honored with the Beverly Sills Award in 2021; Gregory Schmidt is on the roster at the Metropolitan Opera. Current student Noah Strube won first place in the 2021 NATS National Student Auditions, Lower Level College Musical Theatre TTB. Ms. Fulmer’s students are engaged in careers as educators at the school and university levels, including University of Tampa, Wingate University, Roberts Wesleyan University, UW-Oshkosh, UW- Platteville, Beloit College, and Viterbo University. Other alumni have pursued careers on cruise ships, in contemporary music, and in music management. Ms. Fulmer has presented numerous master classes, including at University of Tampa, Ball State University, University of California-Riverside, Milwaukee High School for the Arts, and with the Currents Ensemble to rural Virginia schools.
Brenda Rae (BM 2004), is enjoying international operatic stardom. A 2021 winner of the Beverly Sills Award, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2020 in the role of Poppea in Agrippina, and at the Lyric Opera in 2019 in the role of Ginevra in Ariodante. She performed numerous major roles as a member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt. Recent debuts include Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House (London). She made her debut with the Vienna State Opera in 2012 in the role of Lucia (broadcast live over international radio). She returns to the Metropolitan Opera in 2022 as Zerbinetta and as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet http://www.brendarae.com/
Nathaniel Stampley (BM 2008) starred as Porgy in the 2013-14 national tour of “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and as Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway. He was in the cast of the Broadway production “The Color Purple”, played Mufasa in West End London in a long-run production of “The Lion King”, and toured across the United States in “Ragtime”. He is featured in a new work, “Paradise Square”, opening in fall 2021 in Chicago and on Broadway in spring 2022. https://www.nathanielstampley.com/
Tenor Greg Schmidt is on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his debut in La Donna del Lago and has covered numerous roles. Recent engagements include Edgardo and Almaviva with Opera Tampa, Nemorino and Tebaldo with Tulsa Opera, Camille and Alfredo with St. Petersburg Opera, Don Ramiro with Fresno Grand Opera, and Ferrando with El Paso Opera. Schmidt has performed leading roles with Tacoma Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Chattanooga Opera, Nevada Opera, Skylight Opera Theater, Nashville Opera, Opera Carolina, Skylight Opera and Madison Opera. He made his professional debut with Washington D. C. Opera in the role of Count Belfiore, returning to the Kennedy Center stage the following season as Tamino. He apprenticed with Santa Fe Opera and was a Metropolitan Opera Audition National Finalist. http://www.lombardoassociates.org/gregory-schmidt
Emily Eagen (MM 1999) received a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Since moving to New York City she has been active in performance and teaching in the city and across the country. She was a co-founder of the M6: Meredith Monk Third Generation, an ensemble that works close with Monk to prepare and perform her works. She serves on the faculty at the Amherst Early Music Festival where she performs and teaches, and she has toured with the contemporary ensemble Bang on a Can for their production of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer. She is a teaching artist for Carnegie Hall, where she teaches songwriting workshops, in particular to young mothers who learn to write lullabies for their children. She is co-composer of “NOOMA”, an opera for babies, premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2019. The opera premiered at Minnesota Opera later that year, with additional performances set for the San Francisco Opera in a future season.
Hein Jung (DMA 2006) is a Professor on the faculty at the University of Tampa. Recent performances include recitals with the Sarasota Artist Series and guest soloist with the Sarasota Chopin Festival, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte with the University of Florida -Gainesville, Zerbinetta with St. Petersburg Opera, and concerts in Tampa and Illinois for the New Music Festival. Her CD of songs of Liszt was released on Centaur Records in 2013. The recipient of a Collins Fellowship, she was a Fellow at Tanglewood, and an apprentice at Merola. http://www.heinjung.com
Anthony Cao (BM music ed 2002, MM music ed 2010) has been the Director of Choirs at Madison West High School since 2004. He teaches Freshman Chorale, Treble Choir, Concert Choir, Popular Vocal Styles, History of American Popular Music, and Hip Hop Studies. Cao has worked as guest clinician/composer with choirs throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest. Equally comfortable in many genres of music, he stays active as a pianist/vocalist, including his all-request show every week at The Ivory Room. He served as artistic director of Madison Chamber Choir, and has been chorus master of Madison Opera since 2010.
Abbie Furmansky has sung leading roles at New York City Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mainz Oper, and Canadian Opera, and performed with the Los Angeles Symphony and the Amsterdam radio symphony. She performed her first Madama Butterfly in 2010 under the direction of Katharina Wagner. http://abbiefurmansky.net/
Anne Seaton had a decades-long career as a member of the Singing Sergeants in Washington D.C., and performed with them on numerous official occasions.
Rachel Renee performed as lead singer/dancer on round-the-world cruises, and is free-lancing in Chicago.
Randy Pagel was the principal of Morris Sunset East High School (Las Vegas). His book, “The Choral Director’s Guide to Sanity… and Success!” was published in 2004. His Ritchie Valens Medley was published by Hal Leonard Corporation. Randy continued to mentor young singers in Las Vegas as administrator and Dean at Morris Sunset East HS. randypagel.com
Kristin Schwecke (MM in voice 2010) made her orchestral debut as soprano soloist in “Carmina Burana” with the Cobb Symphony in Atlanta. She participated in the Crested Butte Festival Young Artist Program, and was fifth place winner in the 2009 International Czech-Slovak Competition in Montreal. She won an Encouragement Award in the 2011 Regional auditions of the Metropolitan National Council and was a Fellow with the AJ Fletcher Opera.
Karen Bishop (MM in opera 2008, DMA 2011) focused her research and performance on unpublished songs of American composers. Her first volume of songs by Ernst Bacon was published by Classical Vocal Reprints and showcased at the National NATS Convention in 2013. She has edited a volume of songs by John Duke, and her article on these was published in the NATS Journal in 2014. She presented a lecture on her work at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Brisbane in summer, 2013.
Lydia Eiche (BM 2014) won 1st place in Upper College Musical Theatre Women at National NATS in 2017. She has been performing processional throughout the Midwest, including special projects with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Wild Space Dance Company https://onmilwaukee.com/ent/articles/svadba-wedding-review.html
Venezualan baritone Juan Tomás Martínez (BA 1988) enjoys an extensive international career as a singer of opera, zarzuela, oratorio, recitals and musicals. In 1995 he won the Latin-American Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. His operatic career has taken him to Perú, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Rumania, Bulgaria and Korea.
Baritone Ryan Thorn (BM 2009) completed his MM in Voice at UCLA. He sang the role of Figaro in both Le Nozze di Figaro and Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Pacific Opera Project. He participated in the 2015 Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and performed in January 2016 in Carnegie Hall as part of Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues”. Ryan was a resident artist at Portland Opera in 2016-17.
Jeffery McGhee (DMA 2006) is Professor of Voice at Roberts Wesleyan University. He has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Orchestra and the Rochester Oratorio Society. He has presented a lecture-recital on spirituals at universities and churches around the country and at the 2017 NYSSMA Winter Conference.
Melanie Cain (MM 2003, DMA 2005) is artistic director and founder of Fresco Opera Theatre and owner of Maven Vocal Arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is Co-Director of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Wisconsin District.
Dan Plummer Koehn (BM 1997, DMA 2003) was general director of Opera for the Young for many years, and also served as Director of New Initiatives & Special Projects at Florida Grand Opera. He is currently Alumni Relations Director for Student Affairs Advancement at UW-Madison.
Benjamin Schultz (DMA 2012) is the author of Singing in Polish: A Guide to Polish Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire. Published in 2015 by Scarecrow Press, it is based on his doctoral research on this repertoire. He has taught as lecturer of voice at UW-Platteville and Beloit College, and performed numerous roles with University Opera. He currently serves as Leadership Search Manager in the Dean’s Office of the School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.
Jordan Wilson (DMA 2014) completed his undergraduate and MM studies at the Eastman School of Music and taught at Roberts Wesleyan College. While a student at Madison, Jordan taught at Beloit College as well as serving as TA for the voice area, winning the Campus-Wide Teaching Award. He joined the faculty at Missouri Southern State University in fall 2014 as an Assistant Professor, and in 2018 joined the faculty at Wingate University, where he is an Associate Professor.
David Williams (DMA 1995) holds a JD from New York Law School. A fierce advocate for artists’ rights, he left the corporate setting in 2015 to dedicate himself to this work full time focusing on completing his first book, The Enterprising Musician’s Guide to Performer Contracts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) He is a faculty member at The New School in Manhattan where he teaches Entrepreneurial Musicianship (at The Mannes School of Music) and Music Industry Law/Management, and the Crane Institute for Music Business at SUNY Potsdam where he is faculty supervisor of practica and internships. He also serves as Executive Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar (www.FallIsland.org). As a writer, he is a regular contributor to Modern Singer Magazine and is currently at work on his second book which focuses on entrepreneurial-themed legal issues relevant to emerging artists working in the music and theatrical production space.
Anja Pustaver (MM 2020) was selected to be a Studio Artist with Madison Opera for the 2021-22 season.
Amanda Lauricella (DMA 2021) started positions in fall 2021 as adjunct professor of voice at Viterbo University and at Beloit College. She will go to New York in January 2022 to represent the North Central Region of NATS at the Artist Awards competition.
Cayla Rosché (MM 2018, DMA 2020) received an American-Scandinavian Foundation grant to go to Iceland to continue her research on Icelandic repertoire and diction. In addition to maintaining a thriving private voice studio, she began a position in fall 2021 as interim faculty at UW-Oshkosh, as well as becoming an interim instructor at Edgewood College.
Jessica Timman Schwefel (MM 2005) serves as Lecturer at UW-Whitewater and runs a private music studio She has performed in over 35 operatic productions with the Florentine Opera Company, Madison Opera, Candid Concert Opera, Opera for the Young, Fresco Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Stoughton Opera, UW Opera, among many other professional engagements. An active promoter of music by the composer Paul Bowles, she produced a critical edition of Bowles’s unpublished songs, presented lectures about Bowles’s musical output, and performed many of his works. http://www.timmanmusic.com/biography.html
Noah Strube (BA 2023) won first place in the NATS National Student Auditions, Lower Level College Musical Theatre TTB, July 2021.