Oklahoma City University | Jan McDaniel Skip to content

and Staff

Jan McDaniel

Professor of Music

Music - Opera & Music Theater
Music - Vocal Coaches


Jan McDaniel is equally at home on the podium and at the keyboard. He is in his 25th year on the faculty of the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, where he is Professor of Vocal Coaching and a conductor of the Oklahoma City University Opera and Musical Theater Company. In the latter capacity, McDaniel has served as musical director and conductor for over thirty productions, including the world premiere of Edward Knight’s Night of the Comets and the regional premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca, along with works such as Puccini’s La rondine and Suor Angelica, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s La traviata, Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Floyd’s Susannah, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Flaherty and Ahren’s Seussical, Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, Sklar’s The Wedding Singer, Schwartz’s Children of Eden, and Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing. His 2013 production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia was chosen as the Best Opera Production for Division III in the National Opera Association’s annual competition, two of his productions won similar NOA awards in January 2017, and has had at least one winner in each year since then.

McDaniel also directs the Master of Music program in Vocal Coaching, one of the only programs of its kind in the United States – providing pianists with training in style, language, diction, and teaching techniques necessary to enter the field as successful vocal coaches of opera, art song, and musical theater. Its graduates are serving as vocal coaches and musical directors in professional and academic settings across the country.

McDaniel served for 10 years as director of accompanying and orchestral activities at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. His appearances as a collaborative pianist include concerts and recitals from Germany to Japan, and he was featured as harpsichord soloist in the world premiere of Der Turmbau zu Babel with the Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1982, Mr. McDaniel accepted a position as assistant conductor and vocal coach with the Detmold State Theater in Detmold, Germany, the largest touring opera company in that country, a position he held until 1985. In association with the opera theater at SFASU, he conducted over twenty separate productions, including such works as Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria rusticana, Falstaff, Suor Angelica, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Così fan tutte, Roméo et Juliette, and La tragédie de Carmen, as well as the musicals Once upon a Mattress, The Most Happy Fella, and A Little Night Music. McDaniel has performed with such notable artists as Kelli O’Hara, Kristin Chenoweth, Marquita Lister, Susanne Mentzer, Mary Jane Johnson, Uwe Heilmann, Yvonne Redman, and Leona Mitchell. His present and former coaching students are working worldwide in opera houses and on stages on Broadway and across the country.

McDaniel also serves as musical director for Painted Sky Opera, Oklahoma City’s professional opera company, where he has led productions such as Verdi’s La traviata and Rigoletto, Puccini’s Tosca and La Bohème, Heggie’s Three Decembers, Cipullo’s

Glory Denied, Kaminsky’s As One, Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Medium, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Arias and Barcarolles, Chabrier’s L’éducation manqué, and the Bizet-Brook La tragédie de Carmen.

With Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, he has served as musical director for West Side Story (2017), Disney’s Freaky Friday (2018), and Disney’s Newsies (2019)—and he also acted as musical director and performed the role of stage pianist Manuel Weinstock in Lyric’s 2021 production of Terrence McNally’s Master Class, and was at the helm of Lyric’s Kinky Boots in July 2022. He appears regularly as a guest conductor for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, including a recent appearance with Kelli O’Hara in late February 2023.

McDaniel’s association with orchestras in the Southwest began in 1991, when he became conductor of the SFA University-Community Symphony Orchestra. In 1995, he was appointed music director and conductor of the newly-formed Orchestra of the Pines, a position he held for the orchestra’s first three seasons. McDaniel was a Rotary International Graduate Scholar at the Nordwest Deutsche Musikakademie in Detmold. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Midwestern State University and a Master of Music degree in musicology from the University of North Texas, where he completed coursework and qualifying examinations for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. He appeared in an all-Brahms Liederabend in the Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and served as musical director of the Festival Lyrique de Belle-Île-en-Mer, on an island off the coast of Brittany in France. McDaniel is featured on the Albany Records release Where the Sunsets Bleed: The Chamber Music of Edward Knight. He also served for several seasons as musical director of the Key West Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Opera Program in Key West, Florida, and was on the faculty of the Taos Opera Institute, where he taught for six years.

Back to Top