Dan Saunders has a wide range of experience in the fields of Opera and Song Repertoire, as Conductor, Pianist and Coach. His Master Classes have been well received both here and abroad.
Mr. Saunders classes have taken various forms: The Traditional
Performance Classes regarding presentation and what one looks for in an audition.
As a judge for
the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and six seasons as Associate Conductor of Virginia
Opera, he brings to his classes first-hand knowledge of what it takes to “get
Another format involves Opera Scene Development, in which the students prepare
scenes from the standard opera repertoire with piano and perform it for fellow
students. Mr. Saunders then works directly with the singers and pianists (if
students). These sessions can be a lot of fun interacting with the audience,
feedback from faculty, etc.
As a pianist, Mr. Saunders applies his background in concert work to Lieder
Collaborative Piano Classes. He studied at the American Conservatory of Music
with renowned pedagogue William Browning and appeared as soloist with members
of the Chicago Symphony and at Orchestra Hall . He then won a full scholarship
to the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, playing Lieder
Master Classes for pianist Norman Shetler. This segued into four years of study
and concert appearances in London under the guidance of the world-renowned accompanist
Past Master Classes and Lecture/Demonstrations: Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia
Opera, New Jersey Opera Theater, Ash Lawn Festival, Shanghai Opera, George Mason
University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Wesleyan College, Chrysler Museum
, Middle Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University.
Mr. Saunders began his operatic career after being heard by James Levine and
offered a position as Rehearsal Pianist at the Metropolitan Opera. After four
years, he became an Assistant Conductor with the company. He made his Metropolitan
Opera debut as harpsichordist for the new Jean- Pierre Ponnelle production of
Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito telecast on Live From Lincoln
Center and subsequently
played continuo for many productions, including Le Nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo,and L’Italiana
He made his conducting debut in 1993 as Music Director of Verdi’s La
Traviatawith the L’Orchestra Nacional of Costa Rica, returning the following season
for Rigoletto. Subsequently, he conducted the New York City Opera National Company
on tour leading 35 performances of Madama Butterfly. He was then invited to conduct
the New Jersey Opera Theatre and Ash Lawn Festival. In addition to six seasons
as Associate Conductor of Virginia Opera, he has also conducted the Manhattan
School of Music Opera Theater and Boston University Opera Institute. Last season
he led the New York All-State Orchestra at the famed Eastman Theater.