Sarofim Vocal Competition Faculty

Dana Zenobi

Vocal Competition Director

Dana Zenobi joined the faculty at Southwestern University in 2007. A versatile performer who embraces both traditional repertoire and new music, she appeared in the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Lyric Opera, and performed with Lyric Opera Cleveland in the first production of Mark Adamo’s Little Womendirected by the composer.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised her “dazzling coloratura” and “irresitible phrasing” as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and she has garnered similar success in roles ranging from Mozart heroines Konstanze and Donna Elvira to Verdi’s Violetta Valéry. She is featured on Viola By Choice Chamber Music Ensemble’s 2010 debut recording, Florilegium.

A native of Northport, NY, Dr. Zenobi is active in the local community as the executive director of BELTÀ - Building Empowered Lives Through Art, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging artists as they build successful careers. She recently completed her DMA in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on aural modeling and acoustic analysis of the singing voice.


Bruce Cain

Vocal Competition Judge

Bruce Cain has performed a variety of roles in the following opera companies: the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, Skylight Comic Opera, Pamiro Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Whitewater Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids. In addition to his opera appearances, recent concert performances include Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Billings Montana Symphony, Britten’s War Requiem with the Wheaton Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with the Austin Symphony.

“I believe that trying to balance an active performing career, and remaining committed to quality studio teaching is very important. Guiding young singers to develop a consistent vocal technique that will lead to healthy singing, as well as a foundation for a career or graduate study, is one of my great joys in life.” He is an Associate Professor of Music at Southwestern University. He received his DMus from Northwestern University.


Lois Ferrari

Vocal Competition Judge

Lois Ferrari is Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ferrari conducts the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and also teaches conducting. She is also the Music Director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, Dr. Ferrari was recently named 1st Runner-Up for the 2012 American Prize in Community Orchestra Conducting. In 2010, Dr. Ferrari was also honored as the first woman to conduct an orchestral performance at the Long Center for the Performing Arts (Austin). An enthusiastic champion of new music, Dr. Ferrari founded the bi-annual ACO Composition Contest and is proud to have premiered more than twenty works during the course of her career. One such work was nominated by the Austin Critics Table for Best Symphonic Performance of 2009. In 2012, Ferrari and the ACO were commissioned by composer David Amram to present the Texas premiere of his “Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.” She received her DMA from Eastman School of Music.


Kathleen Juhl

Master Class and Audition Techniques Workshop Clinician

Kathleen Juhl has been teaching acting and performance studies and directing productions in the Department of Theatre at Southwestern University since 1987. Juhl holds an MFA in acting and directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, an M.A. in Oral Interpretation from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Performance Studies. She also is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and has training in a wide variety of related bodywork modalities including the Feldenkrais Technique, Craniosacral Therapy, and massage therapy.

Juhl has directed numerous productions at Southwestern University including most recently, Execution of Justice by Emily Mann, Phyllis Nagy’s Disappeared, and April DeAngelis’ Playhouse Creatures. She has performed professionally in the Midwest and Southeast, in Austin, Texas, and as a narrator for numerous concerts with Southwestern music ensembles. She is currently touring one-person shows from the works of Virginia Woolf, an oral history about a Danish immigrant called Anna, and a collaborative piece, “The Art of Water” with pianist Kevin Kenner.


Nicholas Simpson 

Vocal Competition Judge

Mr. Simpson has performed with the Utah Opera Festival where he covered Alfredo in La traviata and Nicely in Guys and Dolls. He returned to the Spotlight on Opera in Texas to sing Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana. He was an apprentice artist with the Sarasota Opera and was featured in concerts of operatic excerpts by Verdi, Puccini, Gounod, Britten, Beethoven, and Ponchielli. He has performed with the Jarvis Conservatory (Napa, CA) in the role of José Maria in the zarzuela La Chulapona broadcast on PBS and in South America, Pong in Turandot with the Union Avenue Opera (St. Louis), Rodolfo in La bohème, Ruggero in La Rondine, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, Nerone inL’incoronazione di Poppea and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. A frequest guest with Union Avenue Opera, he has performed the roles of Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, Flavio in Norma, Luiz in theGondoliers, and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw. Mr. Simpson completed the role of Don Jose in Carmen with the summer company Spotlight on Opera in Austin, Texas and sang the title role of Don Carlo with Martha Cardona Theater in New York conducted by Eric Halverson. He also covered Vaudémont in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Dicapo Opera. At Gotham Chamber Opera he covered the title role in Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipioneand made an unscheduled debut replacing his ailing colleague. He received his MM from Manhattan School of Music.


David Utterback 

Competition Collaborative Pianist

David Utterback is an active collaborative and solo pianist in the Austin area. Performing most often as a vocal accompanist, he is involved in a wide variety of musical endeavors including chamber music, opera, cabaret, and musical theater. He is a member of the Austin Chamber Ensemble, and also is the accompanist for the choirs of Chorus Austin (Austin Civic Chorus and Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble). He has held his current appointment as a member of the piano faculty at Southwestern University since 1993. He received his MM from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.




Agnes Vojtko 

Vocal Competition Judge

Hungarian mezzo-soprano Agnes Vojtko received her bachelor degree in music at Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Later, she moved to the United States as a Fulbright fellow to attend the Butler School of Music of The University of Texas at Austin, where she received her Doctor in Musical Arts. In 2006, Agnes made her opera debut to critical acclaim with Opera in the Heights’s production of Norma as Adalgisa. She has also appeared in Austin Lyric Opera’s Madame Butterfly as Ms. Pinkerton, and in several productions of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Opera Center and has sung with the Ars Classica Chamber Opera as Fidalma in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage, as Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, as well as Proserpina in L’Orfeo with the Budapest Chamber Opera. Agnes has earned recognition at some of the most prestigious vocal competitions, including the Nyiregyhazi International Music Competition in Takasaki, Japan; the S. Mercadante International Singing Competition in Italy, the International Händel Competition in Hungary, the Händel Singing Competition in England, the Dallas Opera Guild, and the W. Stenhammar International Vocal Competition in Sweden. Her accomplished performance at this last event provided an invitation to sing at the Gala Concert of the Cairo Opera.