The MSM voice concentration at Notre Dame combines professional vocal training in early and new music, oratorio, art song, and chamber ensemble performance with rigorous graduate studies in sacred music and liturgy. Our goal is to nurture entrepreneurial singing artists, capable of working in broad-ranging repertoires and roles as soloists, cantors, professional choristers, vocal ensemble leaders, children chorus directors, and church music and liturgy directors at the highest level. We seek students with exceptional vocal talent, well-rounded musicianship, a strong sense of artistic direction, and a commitment to sacred music and artistic leadership in the community. The concentration is intentionally small (4-6 singers), so that students receive maximum faculty attention and performing opportunities, and collaborate closely with their colleagues in organ and choral conducting. Students also benefit from frequent guest voice and choral masterclasses and performances (Recent and upcoming guests King’s Singers, Seraphic Fire, Conspirare, Pomerium, Kevin Murphy, Heidi Grant Murphy, Isabelle Leonard, Stefan Parkman and many others).
MSM Voice Curriculum
Applied Music (18 credit hours)
- Voice Studio and Performance Class: 12 credit hours (4 courses at 3 credit hours)
- Keyboard: 2 credit hours
- Conducting: 2 credit hours
- Colloquium/Master Singers: 2 credit hours (each semester at .5 credit hours)
Liturgy (15 credit hours)
- Liturgical Year
- Liturgical Prayer
- Gregorian Chant
- Other Electives
Sacred Music (15 credit hours)
- Elective Courses in Musicology: 9 credit hours (3 courses at 3 credit hours)
- Sacred Vocal Literature: 2 credit hours
- Diction (French, German, Italian/English, Latin): 4 credit hours (4 courses at 1 credit hour)
N.B. In a semester where a major recital is being prepared, the student may reduce the course load from 12 to 9 credits due. The student must make up to the courses in the summer for up to two courses (6 credits).
All MSM students meet for Colloquium/Master Singers, every semester on Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50 (.5 credit each semester). The aims of the Master Singers are to build camaraderie among students in the three concentrations, to give students more podium time as conductors, and to encourage the students to pursue the various genres of sacred music that are of interest to them under the guidance of master conductor Carmen-Helena Téllez.
Two times per semester, the Master Singers slot will be occupied by the MSM Colloquium series, a workshop or guest speaker who presents on some aspect of sacred music. Once a semester, on Thursdays at 4:30, the Colloquium is held jointly with the Program in Liturgical Studies. These interdisciplinary sessions address issues common to both liturgy and the sacred arts. They draw the faculty and students into an on-going dialogue surrounding interdisciplinary projects and working methods.
The MSM program seeks to further enrich students' competencies in applied sacred music by offering occasional workshops and master classes on a non-credit basis.
Example topics may include:
Business of Professional Singing
Performing Score Preparation
Choral Repertoire resources
Basics of instrumental conducting
Liturgical Performance Practice and Literature for Piano
Developing Music Programs for Children and Youth
Arranging and composition of sacred repertoires for the solo voice or vocal ensemble
Supervised Placement (Transcripted Only)
Supervised musical placement for four semesters (i.e. internally within the program as vocal artists and production assistants, and in ensembles and programs at the Basilica, in regional parishes, Notre Dame dormitories, etc.)
Recitals and Performance Portfolio
M.S.M. students in voice are required to perform two recitals: one during each year of study.
In order to build repertoire and professional experience, the students are expected to participate in the majority of musical events produced by the Sacred Music program at Notre Dame, and compile a portfolio of their solo, chamber ensemble and choral performance activities, under the guidance of the master teacher in voice, Stephen Lancaster.
M.S.M. students are required to do two recitals or one recital and a 60-minute comprehensive exam (to be administered in the final semester).