Soprano Michelle Kunz has enjoyed a thirty year career as a versatile and memorable artist and educator. In addition to her polish on the operatic stage, she has been noted as an engaging and compelling recitalist and concert artist, singing with a voice of exquisite beauty and color, while drawing the listener into an unforgettably dramatic and emotional musical experience.
Opera and Recital
Dr. Kunz has portrayed some of the most beloved characters in opera to critical acclaim, and has appeared in recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Monticello, including a recital commissioned by the White House Historical Association in celebration of the White House bicentennial.
She has sung in Los Angeles, Sun Valley, Salt Lake City, Saint Louis, Harrisburg, Washington, DC, New York, and Boston, and has been a featured artist at the La Gesse Fesitval in Toulouse, France, and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, as well as Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival in the Berkshires.
Dr. Kunz sang for 20 years with the AGMA chorus of the Washington National Opera, where she also served as the children’s chorus master. She has also sung with the chorus of the Washington Concert Opera.
Dr. Kunz has appeared as a soloist in numerous oratorio and orchestral engagements, including a performance of Henryk Mikolaj Górecki’s Ad matrem on the occasion of the composer’s honorary degree convocation at The Catholic University of America. Her performances include appearances with the New Dominion Chorale and the Washington Choral Ensemble in concerts in the Washington Metropolitan area.
Teaching and Coaching
With more than twenty-five years of teaching experience, Dr. Kunz has been on the voice faculty at the Levine School of Music, Washington National Cathedral, and The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts in addition to private studio and artist-in-residence teaching. She has taught music classes at The Catholic University of America and The Washington Waldorf School. A well trained pianist, Dr. Kunz is also a coach with impeccable ears, highly sought for her ability to help correct inconsistencies in the technique or style.
Dr. Kunz teaching philosophy is to partner with the singer in all aspects of study, in direct contrast to the traditional “teacher on a pedestal” approach. She assists the singer in clarifying their desire to sing and identifying what repertoire best suits their particular goals, passion, and abilities. From there she instructs in vocal technique firmly rooted in the classical bel canto style with a strong foundation based on Body Mapping, a technique providing clear anatomical information which can be applied by the student to improve movement and thus function. Student repertoire includes classical (both opera and art song), sacred, and musical theater. Languages include English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish.
It has been widely documented that musicians all over the world are playing (and singing) with limitations and pain, often to the point of losing their careers. Most of these musicians hurt because they misuse their bodies, not because of disease or structural problems. Most suffering musicians require information and retraining, not medicine, to recover facility and ease in playing.
The body is the instrument all musicians play. Most music teachers use a combination of intuition, imagery and metaphor to convey information related to movement of the body, often with misuse built in. There has not been an effective way to communicate the information. The information provided in the course What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body is precisely the information needed by musicians to prevent injury and pain and to promote excellence in practicing and performing. A six hour course designed to give specific, clear information about the body to musicians, with an emphasis on integrating the information immediately into the musician’s body map, this course is a music education breakthrough. The breakthrough is the realization that we move based on how we think we are put together, not how we are actually constructed. When musicians learn the truth about their bodies in movement, develop an embodied attention and a language of precision, music education and performance can be utterly transformed.
As a Licensed Andover Educator, Dr. Kunz has been trained to teach “What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body” and is available by appointment to present the course in a variety of formats, including workshops of varying lengths and private one-hour lessons tailored to the needs of the student.
Education and Training
Dr. Kunz holds her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from The Catholic University of America Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, where she studied under the direction of Denes Striny, Jane White, Michael Cordovana, and Vera Danchenko-Stern. She has coached with Evelyn Lear, Louise Urban, Rogelio Riojas-Nolasco, Steven Gathman, and Marie-France Lefebvre, and has appeared in master classes with Carol Yahr, Phyllis Bryn-Julsen, Lauren Flanigan, Richard Miller, and Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart (sponsored by Opera Music Theater International). She has studied Body Mapping with Barbara Conable and Amy Likar, and has attended the McClosky Institute of Voice Summer Workshop.
Coaching and Development
Dr. Kunz is Principal and Founder of PEL Coaching, LLC, where she is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index – Master Practitioner. In this capacity, she assists individuals, teams, and their leaders in clarifying purpose, assessing strengths and weaknesses, leveraging strengths to meet goals and address areas of weakness, removing blocks to success, and identifying areas where they might be more productive and engaged. She partners with her clients to learn new skills and set exciting and meaningful goals which will empower them to achieve peak potential and become highly functioning individuals and teams.
Dr. Kunz also coaches individuals on how to achieve greater satisfaction and joy in their intimate relationships.