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Sara Chiesa, DM

Adjunct Instructor of Vocal Coaching

Music - Vocal Coaches


Detroit-native SARA CHIESA is routinely sought-after as a Music Director, Pianist, Coach, and Educator. She has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and she is thrilled to join the faculty of Oklahoma City University this year. In 2021-2022 and 2018-2019, Dr. Chiesa was a Professor of Vocal Coaching and Collaborative Piano at Utah State University. Previously, she served as Professor of Music at Molloy College in New York City where she also music directed the opera ensemble. Dr. Chiesa has been the Resident Guest Artist Coach with l’Opéra de Montréal, Fort Worth Opera, and Detroit Opera (formerly known as Michigan Opera Theatre).

In Summer 2022, she was the Pianist/Coach for her fourth production of Rigoletto, this time with Resonance Works in Pittsburgh. She was also on faculty for the Vienna Summer Music Festival, where she was the Rehearsal Pianist/Coach/Continuo Player for Le nozze di Figaro. In April 2022, Dr. Chiesa was the Assistant Music Director and Principal Coach for the world premiere of Uncovered, an opera by Lori Laitman and Leah Lax that tells Leah’s story of leaving Hasidism after nearly 30 years. As part of the production process, she worked closely with the composer and librettist in their week-long residency at Utah State University. Furthermore, she programmed a semi-staged double-bill of Dichterliebe and Songs of Travel with two undergraduate students, where she served as Music Director/Pianist alongside Director, Vanessa Ballam.

During the tumultuous and sparse time for the arts in 2020-21, Dr. Chiesa maintained an active musical presence producing over 40 music videos, four full recitals, and several remote opera projects. She was honored to be the Pianist/Recording Engineer for the project The Black Composer Speaks, a recording series of previously-underrepresented songs by Black composers. This project was created in partnership with Thomas Hampson of the Hampsong Foundation and Dr. Louise Toppin and Dr. Scott Piper of the University of Michigan – School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. The recording includes selections from a new publication by Drs. Toppin and Piper entitled An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs, and it is available through Classical Vocal Reprints.

In January 2020, Dr. Chiesa was the Music Director/Pianist for the first fully-staged production of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs with soprano Cristina Bakhoum and director Jennifer Williams. This immersive, multimedia performance came to life at The Alchemical Theatre in New York City. In summer 2019, she enjoyed her time as the Music Director and on-stage Performance Pianist at Highlands Playhouse in Highlands, North Carolina for the productions of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Oklahoma!, and Always… Patsy Cline.

Dr. Chiesa has worked at diverse places throughout the U.S. and abroad, some of which include the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy; the Prague International Piano Masterclasses; Virginia Opera; Arizona Opera; Opera Saratoga; North Carolina Opera; l’Opéra de Montréal; Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre; and New Opera Singapore. She is equally comfortable in the musical stylings of opera, art song, musical theatre, and cabaret.

As a vocal coach, Dr. Chiesa works with singers who sing at the Metropolitan Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and on Broadway. Her former students are currently pursuing graduate music degrees at the Eastman School of Music; the University of Michigan – School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; NYU Steinhardt; the Shenandoah Conservatory, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Chiesa holds piano performance degrees from Oakland University (B.M.) and Bowling Green State University (M.M.), as well as a Doctor of Music in Collaborative Piano from Florida State University.

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