Sarofim Vocal Competition Faculty

Dana Zenobi

Vocal Competition Director
Master Class Clinician

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 was awarded a Citation for Inspiration in Teaching and has been an art song performance national finalist in The American Prize competition. 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 earned 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.



Final Round Guest Judge
Director, Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program

Darlene Wiley has been critically acclaimed on three continents for her work in lieder, opera and oratorio. She began her career as lyric coloratura at the Staatstheater Darmstadt performing over 50 roles.  Ms. Wiley has sung at over 25 opera houses, including Mannheim, Wiesbaden, Kassel, Mainz, Ulm and Kiel. She has sung with the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt, the Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the Austin Symphony. In 1985 she gave her first Carnegie Hall Recital. Her lieder recordings of Schubert, Haydn, Mozart and Schumann with pianist Nancy Garrett are highly acclaimed. She is currently Professor of Voice at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the CASA Vocal Arts Lab and supervisor of the DMA Vocal Pedagogy Program. Several of her current and former students are emerging as artists in their own right including appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Salzburg Festspiele, Washington Opera, Los Angeles Opera, St. Louis Opera, City Opera of New York.


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.


Katherine Altobello

Judge and Master Class Clinician

Mezzo-soprano Katherine Altobello has been hailed a “spitfire…having the energy, concentration, and

stamina to make it look easy.” (Daily Progress News, Charlottesville, VA). Katherine has performed with the New York City Ballet, San Diego Opera, the National Chorale at Lincoln Center, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera, the Knoxville Symphony, Opera in the Heights, Ash-Lawn Opera, LOLA, Lexington Music and Theatre Company, Janiec Opera, Music for All, and Wildwood Opera among others. Favorite roles include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Hansel in Hänsel und Gretel, Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin, Schaunard in La Bohème, Mercedes in Carmen, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, and Liesl in The Sound of Music. Other solo engagements include: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Copland’s In the Beginning, Bach’s Oster Oratorium, Weihnachtsoratorium, and Messe in h-moll, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, and Handel’s Messiah. Ms. Altobello was recently featured in Jake Heggie’s Paper Wings under the direction of Warren Jones at Manhattan School of Music.

Upcoming performances: October 2016 Katherine sings in Living Paper Song Project’s I, too: the Voices of Langston Hughes. Also in October, Katherine performs the role of Scare-rrator in the Halloween musical, ‘Twas All Hallows Eve’. In November 2016 Ms. Altobello performs in Ladies Who Lunch with Austin Chamber Ensemble. In February 2017 Katherine performs in Falstaff with San Diego Opera. Ms. Altobello holds a Master of Music in Voice from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Theatre from Southwestern University. Katherine resides in her hometown of Austin, and teaches voice at Southwestern University.

Bruce Cain

Judge and Master Class Clinician

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.



Final Round 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.



Acting Workshop Clinician

Prior to arriving at Southwestern in July 2003, Dr. Gaffney served for 16 years as Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College. Previous teaching assignments include the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga and Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.

His area of specialty within the theatre field is directing; in addition to many college and university directing assignments, he has directed at a wide range of other theaters, including the Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and the California Theatre Center. He also has directed bilingual and Spanish productions in California and San Jose, Costa Rica; and he has an interest in contemporary Irish theatre.




Final Round Judge
Alexander Technique Clinician

Tenor Jameson James combines over 25 years of singing experience, more than 10 years of studio teaching experience, and the skills of a certified Alexander Technique teacher. He has performed with Boston Lyric Opera, Aspen Opera Theater, Bronx Opera, and New York Lyric Opera. In 2007, Mr. James was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A versatile performer, Mr. James is adept in opera, oratorio, musical theater and new works.  As a voice teacher, Jameson uses the Alexander Technique to integrate the physical and intellectual elements of sound production. He guides students to new expressiveness and effortlessness in their singing. Mr. James is particularly skilled at changes in fach, after his own transition from baritone to tenor. He is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, the New England Conservatory, and Alexander Technique New York City.  He joined the Southwestern University voice faculty in 2016.