Professor of Music, Leslie Umphrey, is a graduate of the University of Richmond and the Eastman School of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature. Additional studies include a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Festival, The Richard Miller Institute, Opera Works teacher training and Yale University’s directing program.
She recently made her Lincoln Center debut as the soprano soloist in René Clausen’s Requiem. With considerable acclaim, The New York Concert Review said that “soprano Leslie Umphrey was angelic in the ‘Pie Jesu.’” She has sung many and varied roles in both musical theater and opera. Some of these include Adele in Die Fledermaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème and Madama Butterfly in Madama Butterfly. She made her European debut as Nedda in I Pagliacci in Rome and enjoyed playing that role with several productions in the United States. Her later roles have included Michaela in Carmen and Pamina in The Magic Flute. In the early part of the 21st century Ms. Umphrey made her debut performance as Susannah in Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susannah. She continues her recital and oratorio work with orchestras throughout the United States.
Ms. Umphrey has recorded with ALBANY records and OPUS ONE recordings. The latter was recorded in Katowice, Poland with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. These were the first orchestrated recordings of John Donald Robb’s pieces, Hispanic Folksongs of New Mexico and Art Songs. Her latest recording is on the NAVONA label, Divisadero—Songs of Love and Longing.
As an opera director, Ms. Umphrey has directed productions of I Pagliacci, The Beautiful Bridegroom, Le Villi, Suor Angelica, The Magic Flute and various opera scenes at the University of New Mexico. She recently directed a production of Mozart operas at the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy. Each summer she travels to Italy to serve as voice teacher and director with the Tuscia Operafestival.
Ms. Umphrey is a dedicated teacher. Her students, both past and present have made their Carnegie Hall debuts as winners of the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. Others have gone on to have careers in singing in regional opera companies and teaching careers in colleges and universities. Ms. Umphrey is the past Chapter President and Regional Governor of the Rio Grande National Association of Teachers of Singing. She is a member of the National Opera Association. She is co-director of the UNM Opera Theatre and the coordinator of Vocal Studies for the Department of Music.