Vocal Study

University of Portland Voice Faculty

*Contact Dr. Nicole Leupp Hanig to schedule a consultation lesson as part of your campus visit.

* See our biographies at the end of this page

Who are We?

  • We are performers and teachers who attended small liberal arts schools and universities as undergraduate students and went on to receive graduate degrees from The Manhattan School of Music, The Royal Academy of Music in London, Yale University, The Academy of Vocal Arts, and Shenandoah Conservatory. These programs are consistently ranked in the top ten music programs in this country and abroad.
  • We believe that vocal study not only teaches improvement in one’s singing voice, but also teaches discipline, problem solving and poise—combining self-expression with scholarship.
  • We are singers who have been trained in the classical tradition who believe that classical training provides the best foundation for the singing of all types of music.

Who are Our Students?

All those who wish to improve their singing.

  • We are dedicated to guiding career-minded music majors towards their goals. As we have made the transition from small schools to prestigious music programs, we are uniquely qualified to do so.
  • We are committed to sharing our expertise with the student who wishes to continue pursuing musical instruction alongside a major in another field.
  • We seek to introduce students who have little to no experience in music to vocal study. After all, the voice is an instrument all people possess and the exploration of new areas of study is at the core of the University of Portland’s liberal arts education.
  • We are proud that a number of our students have gone on to earn graduate degrees from top schools including Westminster Choir College, San Francisco Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, Oklahoma City University, the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois.

Performance Opportunities at University of Portland

  • University Singers, Bel Canto, Chapel Music Ensembles, Chamber Singers, and Residence Hall Mass Music
  • Opera/Music Theater Workshop Class
  • Fully Staged Musical Theater Show every other year
  • Concerto/Aria competition with orchestra
  • Musical Theater and Classical NATS Vocal Competitions
  • Music at Midweek Performances
  • Voice Performance Workshop
  • Non-Major recital each semester
  • Senior recital for music majors
  • Elective recitals for voice students
  • Honors Recital

Choosing a music school as a voice major or career-minded singer:

  • The most important relationship music majors have is with their private teacher. This is especially true for singers as the key developmental years for the singing voice are during the undergraduate years. 
  • Your voice teacher guides you through four years of study and supervises your final recital.
  • With this in mind, we encourage you to contact us in order to have a sample voice lesson along with a visit to our campus. Please contact Dr. Nicole Leupp Hanig (hanign@up.edu) to schedule a sample lesson with any of our teachers.

Choosing a school as a student who wishes to be involved in voice lessons for the first time or who wishes to continue voice study while committing to another major:

It is of primary importance that you ensure your needs will be met by the department in which you plan to major. If your interests extend to continuing vocal study or beginning vocal study alongside a major in another field, you may wish to consider the following:

  • It is important to seek a program that welcomes non-voice majors or minors to take part in music related coursework. At UP, all music lessons, ensembles and music courses are open to all students. 
  • The most important musical relationship musicians have is with their private teacher or ensemble conductor. It is important that these instructors have the expertise and enthusiasm to work with both beginning and advanced singers.  Often beginning singers are more challenging to teach than the advanced. At UP we love this challenge and seek to introduce all who have a desire to the world of vocal study.
  • With this in mind, we welcome you to contact us in order to have a sample voice lesson along with a visit to our campus. Please contact Dr. Nicole Leupp Hanig (hanign@up.edu) to schedule a sample lesson with any of our teachers.

Faculty Biographies

  • Soprano Nicole Leupp Hanig serves as Director of Vocal Studies at University of Portland. She has appeared as a soloist with the Jussi Björling Festival in Sweden, the Maggio Musicale Festival in Italy and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. She has performed solo recitals at St. Martin’s in the Field, London and for the Cairo Opera in Egypt which was recorded for Egyptian television.  Opera roles include Die Feldmarschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, The Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, and the role of Sian in development workshops of James McMillan’s opera The Sacrifice. Recent projects include premiere performances of works by composer Cynthia Gerdes, two solo recitals with Atelier Lyrique in Paris, and a faculty position with Music in the Marche, an opera training program and festival in Mondavio, Italy. Her primary areas of research are social justice themes in art song and lyric theater repertoire and the sacred in opera. Dr. Hanig holds degrees from The University of Colorado, and The University of Illinois as well as a Post Graduate Diploma from The Royal Academy of Music in London where she was awarded the Diploma of the Royal Academy for distinction in performance.  Her teachers include Inci Bashar, Nelly Miriciou and her beloved mentor, John Wustman.
  • Lyric soprano, Jill Soltero, has performed a wide variety of roles with regional opera companies including Arkansas Opera Theatre, Berkshire Opera, Sarasota Opera and Connecticut Opera. Opera roles include Anna in NABUCCO, Mimi in LA BOHEME, Barbarina in the MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, and Papagena in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Nedda in I PAGLIACCI, Micaela in CARMEN, Adina in ELIXIR OF LOVE, and Gretel in HANSEL AND GRETEL. Jill Soltero has served on the faculty of Oregon State University, Pacific University, Marylhurst University, Lewis and Clark College and is currently teaching at University of Portland. Soltero holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California and a Master of Music degree from the Yale University School of Music. Her teachers include Ellen Faull, Martin Katz, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Evelyn Lear and Joan Dornemann.
  • Bass-baritone, Daniel Mobbs, has won praise for his "solid, resonant voice and boundless energy...his stage presence virtually ensured that he was the focal point of nearly every scene in which he appeared," as written in the New York Times. Mr. Mobbs has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Boston Lyric Opera Minnesota Opera, Portland Opera and many others. He is sought after as both a performer and teacher, teaching young artists at the Caramoor International Music Festival, Portland Opera and at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Mr. Mobb’s awards include first place in both the College Division of the MacAllister Awards and the Mario Lanza Scholarship. He is a winner of the Sullivan Foundation Award and also a recipient of a grant from the Puccini Foundation. In 2008, New York City Opera awarded him the Kolozsvar Award, recognizing his "memorable performance of multiple roles in Purcell's King Arthur." He is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
  • Mezzo-soprano Sarah Maines is a versatile performer experienced in musical theatre, classical, and choral styles. As an active singing voice specialist, she also administers voice rehabilitation to injured singers referred by Portland laryngologists. Dr. Maines is the Cascade National Association of Teachers of Singing Student Auditions Co-Chair and President-Elect. She holds a BA in music from Berea College as well as MM and DMA degrees in voice pedagogy from Shenandoah Conservatory.
  • Vocal Coach/Pianist Susan McDaniel has performed around the world in locations such as France, Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from Linfield College in 1997 and a master of music degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2001. McDaniel has been a member of the music staff at Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, and the Atlantic Music Festival, as well as music director and pianist for the San Diego Opera Ensemble, Off-Center Opera in Seattle and Puget Sound Concert Opera. In addition to playing as an accompanist, McDaniel is a soloist and a chamber musician with Northwest Piano Trio.
  • Mezzo-soprano Lisa Actor-Leslie earned her master's of music in vocal performance from the Yale School of Music. An Oregon native, she received her BFA from Portland State University after returning from studying abroad in Vienna, Austria with renowned Viennese Staatsoper basso, Otto Edelmann. Ms. Actor-Leslie has appeared as an artist with Glimmerglass Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Yale Opera and has been a guest soloist with Columbia Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Portland Sinfonia Concertante, Cape Cod Bach Concerts, Norwalk Music Festival, New Haven Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Willamette University-Salem Chamber Orchestra, Oregon State University Symphony, Trinity Consort Music Series, Friends of New Music in NYC and the Alamos Music Festival in Sonora, Mexico. An avid singer and promoter of art song and chamber music repertoire, Ms. Actor-Leslie has sung on many art song series and festivals, including New Music New Haven, Trinity Episcopal Treasury of Art Song, and the St. Mary's Cathedral Sacred Recital Series. Ms. Actor-Leslie is President of the NW Cascade Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, a member of The College Society and The Bach Society and is an active clinician and adjudicator in the NW. She taught at Pacific University, Oregon State University, Portland State University prior to joining the voice faculty at the University of Portland.