Hope Koehler, soprano, whose voice has been heralded as having “the richness of Marilyn Horne at the bottom and the clarion clarity of Leontyne Price at the top” has appeared all over the United States, in Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America where she has been heard in recital, concert, and opera. She has appeared in a wide variety of operas, singing the title roles of Tosca, Maria Stuarda, Carmen, Fidelio, and Madama Butterfly. In addition she has appeared in a variety operetta and musical theatre productions. Her oratorio and other choral orchestral works include Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, and Vesperae solennes di confessore, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection), and many others. In June of 2008 Albany Records released Koehler’s recording of John Jacob Niles songs titled The Lass from the Low Countree, performed with James Douglass at the piano. June 2013 saw the release of Koehler’s second solo CD titled Lost Melodies, featuring unpublished and out-of-print songs of John Jacob Niles. This CD was also recorded with James Douglass at the piano. She is a featured soloist with the world renowned American Spiritual Ensemble, and can be heard on the CDs The Lily of the Valley, The Spirit of the Holidays, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, as well as the DVD and PBS documentary, The Spirituals. In addition to serving as Associate Professor of Voice at West Virginia University, Koehler serves on the voice faculty of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, as well as the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. She also serves on the faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. Koehler received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance and Music Education at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at the University of Alabama. Her Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance was completed at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where she studied with tenor Everett McCorvey, and soprano Gail Robinson.
As a collaborative pianist James Douglass has performed across the United States, Europe, and China, in genres as diverse as opera, choral arts, vocal arts, chamber music, jazz, musical theater, and cabaret. His performances have been heard on public radio and television broadcasts in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville, Mississippi, and Alabama, as well as the Welsh Television network in Great Britain, and in venues such as Carnegie Weill Hall and the Liszt Academy (Budapest). Dr. Douglass has taught at Mississippi College, Occidental College (Los Angeles), the University of Southern California, and Middle Tennessee State University where he was director the of collaborative piano degree program. In the summer of 2004 he began teaching in the summer study program AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies) in Graz, Austria where has served variously as the instructor of collaborative piano and a vocal coach in the Lieder studios. He joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2005 and is currently the Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano, director of the collaborative piano degrees program, artistic director of the Collage Chamber Series, coordinator of chamber music activities, and vocal coach. Dr. Douglass holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Alabama (BM, MM) and the DMA in collaborative piano from the University of Southern California. He is also active as a clinician, adjudicator, and recording artist, having most recently released two CDs with soprano Hope Koehler of the songs of John Jacob Niles; currently he is preparing two recording projects: a project of the Brahms clarinet sonatas with clarinetist Boja Kragulj which will explore new approaches to recording techniques, and a multi-CD compilation of the chamber music with piano of Libby Larsen.