Kathleen Allen, soprano and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Central State University, has been singing and teaching professionally throughout the United States for over 30 years, in opera, operetta, recital and musical theater, and in concert, chamber, and choral music. She specializes in new music and French mÃ©lodie, as well as Baroque and traditional operatic performance practices.
Dr. Allen's favorite roles include Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Eleanor of Aquitaine in Carlisle Floyd's monodrama Flower and Hawk, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, and Female Chorus in Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia. Educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, she received her doctor of musical arts degree in vocal performance from Wisconsin in 2004. She studied voice with Ilona Kombrink, Dr. Stanley Cornett, William McGraw, William Eddy and Paul Rowe, and coached with Thomas Grubb, Donna Loewy, Martha Fischer, Dean Williamson, Beth Kirschoff, Bill Lutes, and Joseph Bates. Dr. Allen has sung with conductors Dr. Robert Fountain, Dr. Earl Rivers, Benton Hess, Eric Townell, Carl Chapman, Edward Polochik, Richard Westenberg and Stephen Cleobury, with organizations including the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Kitsap Peninsula Opera Company, the Maryland Arts Festival, the Menomenee Falls Symphony Orchestra, Festival Choir of Madison, Tacoma Opera, and the Madison Opera Showcase, and worked with directors David Bartholomew, Brenda Nuckton, William Farlow, Franklin-White, and Roger Brunyate. In her younger years, the soprano worked at the famous Cincinnati German Restaurant institution, Forest View Gardens, where she learned her performing craft with other opera singers in training, waiting tables, singing popular tunes and performing a different musical theater revue every month.
Beginning in 2004, Dr. Allen was a professor at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, and Auburn University in Alabama. She joined the faculty at Central State University in 2013, and in addition to her Chair duties is Associate Professor of Music~Voice.
She has worked with students in the music education, performance and music business degree programs, at Auburn she also taught musical theater majors in the bachelor of fine arts program of the theater department, and at Central State she coordinates the voice area teaching pedagogy, diction and opera workshop. Many of her students have gone on to graduate work at top music conservatories and schools in the country, including Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Boston University, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Lousisiana State University. Others are teaching professionals in music education, and many are pursuing performing careers in opera and on Broadway.
In 2011, Dr. Allen was named a finalist in the American Prize Professional Women's Division Art Song Competition, with her live recording of Ned Rorem's Women's Voices, in collaboration with pianist Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. In the summer of 2014, Dr. Allen sang with the Central State University Chorus on its tour of Spain, Germany, France and the Czech Republic, performing solos from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess on the Prague Summer Proms. The following year she made her Columbus, Ohio debut, singing Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire for the Johnstone Foundation for New Music concert series at the Garden Theater in the Short North district, and her conducting debut, directing Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance at Central State. In 2016 the soprano expanded her teaching duties to include Columbus Children's Theatre where she prepares young singers for college entrance into leading musical theater programs. Dr. Allen regularly performs as a guest recital and master class artist throughout the country, working with professional, college and high school aged singers.
Recent performances include returning to the Garden Theater stage in June of 2017, performing Le Marteau san Maitre by Pierre Boulez and collaborating in an operatic recital in Redwood City, CA in September, 2018 with Metropolitan Opera artist Malin Fritz-Walrod and renowned tenor Jon Ellis. In the Spring of 2019 Dr. Allen's opera workshop students performed a cabaret version of Stephen Sondheim's Company at Central State University, a concert Dr. Allen conducted. She continues to sing faculty recitals with collaborative pianist Dr. Nanyi Qiang and in January of 2020 she will sing Ravel's Shéhérazade with the Greater Columbus Chamber Orchestra.