Mezzo-soprano Beth Ray Westlund is an active performer, teacher, clinician, and scholar. Featured solo performances with professional orchestra include: the Angel in Sir Edward Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Rahab in Jesse Ayer’s Rahab, J. S. Bach Magnificat, St. John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, and Mass in B minor; Beethoven Mass in C and Symphony no. 9; Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Handel Messiah and Belshazzar; Haydn Missa Sanctae Caecilae, Missa in tempore belli, Missa in Angustiis and Heligmesse; Mozart Requiem and Vesperae Solennes; Duruflé Requiem, Vaughan Williams Mass in g minor, and Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, performed with Anonymous 4. Operatic credits include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Dorabella in Così fan tutti, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Mrs. Grose in Turn of the Screw.
Dr. Ray is associate professor of music at her alma mater Luther College, where she teaches studio voice, diction, opera scenes, and serves as Associate Department Head. Previous to this, she was assistant professor of voice at Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, New York. She earned the M.M. and D.M.A. degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, studying under Rose Taylor and Terry Lusk. An article based on her doctoral treatise, “Dominick Argento’s Casa Guidi: A Character and Musical Study” appeared in Journal of Singing. Dr. Ray has given multiple presentations of her 2010 sabbatical research on the dramatic context surrounding operatic arias of G.F. Handel. Her current research focus is Body Mapping for musicians, a method for improving the quality of movement in music making for enhanced performance and injury prevention. She was licensed as an Andover Educator, the professional organization for Body Mapping, in January 2018. Dr. Ray will join the Faculty of the International Music Festival of the Adriatic (IMFA) in summer, 2019.
Nicholas Shaneyfelt is Visiting Assistant Professor of Music in Collaborative Piano at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He completed his doctoral studies in the Collaborative Piano studio of Martin Katz at the University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan, he served as Staff Accompanist for the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with regular involvements at the Northampton Community Music Center, Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, and the UMass Newman Center. He currently accompanies Luther College’s Nordic Choir, and has accompanied the Chamber Choir and Chorale at UMass under the direction of Tony Thornton, the UMass Conducting Institute, the South Hadley Chorale, and regional honor choirs and choral societies in western Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine.
Originally from Knightstown, Indiana, Dr. Shaneyfelt received Bachelor’s degrees in Music and Computer Science from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Music degree from UMass with a dual focus in Solo and Collaborative Piano. At UMass, he was the recipient of the 2011 Eugenie May Piano Award. While at Notre Dame, he was the winner of the university’s concerto competition. His piano trio, “The Nora Trio,” was the first Notre Dame chamber ensemble to be selected as a finalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Notable recent performances include the premiere of David Amram’s Greenwich Village Portraits with saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, recital tours with soprano Katie Calcamuggio-Donner, engagements in Los Angeles, New York City, and the Kennedy Center through the University of Michigan’s Gershwin Initiative, and Winterreise with tenor William Hite.
Nicholas has studied with John Blacklow, Nadine Shank, Estela Olevsky, and Gilles Vonsattel.