Professor of Music
Office: BC A334
Phone: (405) 208-5018
”The human voice is really the foundation of all music; and whatever the development of the musical art, however bold the composer's combinations, however brilliant the virtuoso's execution, in the end they must always return to the standard set by vocal music.”
”My philosophy of teaching voice is founded on the belief that singing is an extension of speech. Yes, the assortment of pitches and rhythms used for singing are far more extensive and complicated than those used in speech, but the basic physical-mechanical processes employed by both are identical. For me, a fine singer is able to produce a sound that is natural (speech-like), open and evenly balanced over the entire range of the vocal instrument. A singer must also be a fine musician, linguist and actor. While I believe that the study and eventual mastery of these skills is critically important, the student of voice must keep in mind that the primary objective of any vocal technique is to strengthen and refine a singer’s ability to express the words he or she sings.”
---William Nield Christensen
Dr. Christensen holds the B.A., M.A., M.M. and the D.M.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara with additional vocal training at the School of Music at Indiana University, the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, the Opernschule Stuttgart, and the Chor und Konzertverein International Operastudio Meran. Dr. Christensen has studied voice with Donna Roll, Elizabeth Mannion, Carlos Montané, Luisa Bosabalian, Elizabeth Mosher, and James King. He has worked with Master Teachers Virginia Zeani, Warren Jones, Anne Epperson, Klaus Nagora, Jeanine Altmeyer and Martial Singher. Dr. Christensen has taught voice at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of California at Santa Barbara Summer Sessions Young Artist Vocal Institute, Westmont College, the School of Music at Indiana University, the Cate Preparatory School, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Dr. Christensen is currently a member of the vocal faculty at the Key West Symphony Young Artist Program. Dr. Christensen has conducted Vocal Master Classes at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Governor’s School of the Arts in Virginia, the Key West Symphony Young Artist Program, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
A frequent soloist, Dr. Christensen has performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Fort Smith Symphony, Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma, the Key West Symphony Young Artist Program, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Grand Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Santa Barbara, the Adriatic Music Festival, and the Würtembergishe Philharmonie Reutlingen. He has sung many leading roles including the Tenor Soloist from Verdi’s Requiem, Siegmund from Die Walküre, Don Josè from Carmen, Max from Der Freischütz, and Cavaradossi from Tosca.
In 2004 Dr. Christensen partnered with the Santa Barbara County Board of Education and The Children’s Creative Project to form and co-direct a summer music camp for underprivileged and “at risk” elementary school aged students. To date the Performing and Visual Arts Camp has provided core arts education to over three hundred underprivileged and “at risk” elementary school aged students in the Santa Barbara area.
Currently Dr. Christensen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife, Nancy and his son, Steffan.