Faculty & Staff

Opera Faculty

  • Buck Ross, director and producer. Has staged productions for the Houston Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Houston Symphony, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, El Paso Opera, Utah Opera. For many years he was Director of Dramatic Studies for the Houston Opera Studio and co-director of the apprentice program of the Des Moines Metro Opera. Librettist for opera adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View with music by Robert Nelson. Author of English singing versions of several operas including Don Pasquale, La Finta Giardiniera, and Orpheus in the Underworld. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Bucknell University, and an MFA in stage direction from the University of Minnesota where he was assistant to H. Wesley Balk.
  • Raymond Harvey, Music Director
  • Ana Maria Otamendi, vocal coach. Since her orchestral debut at age twelve, Ana María has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist at important venues and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil,  the United States, Spain, Italy, and Venezuela. After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, she is now a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston, as well as Music Director, pianist and conductor for different programs at HGOCo. She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil). Ana María holds a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin, an Artist Certificate from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with renowned pianist Martin Katz. She was principal keyboardist of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra (2007–08) as well as assistant professor at the University of Musical Studies in Caracas. Besides her musical training, Ana María is also a Geophysical Engineer, and her thesis was published in the prestigious journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Voice Faculty

  • Cynthia Clayton, soprano. Leading roles with Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Knoxville Opera, Central City Opera, New York City Opera, Utah Opera, Orlando Opera, Festival Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Cleveland Opera, and Santa Barbara Grand Opera. Roles include Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Liù in Turandot, Lady Penelope Rich in Britten’s Gloriana, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, both Mimì and Musetta in La bohème, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah, Mary Willis in Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Micaëla in Carmen, Massenet’s Manon, Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, and Marguerite in Faust.
  • Joseph Evans, tenor. Among his appearances as a leading tenor are those for La Scala, Ireland's Wexford Festival, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera de Nantes, Orleans, and Nancy, La Fenice, Theatre de Geneve, New York City Opera, eight seasons, Houston Grand Opera and the companies of San Diego, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Boston and Cleveland; performances with New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, orchestras of Cleveland, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and others; recordings, Sony Classics, CBS Masterworks, Cybellia and Gasparo labels
  • Timothy Jones, bass-baritone. Acclaimed throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, Timothy Jones is rapidly emerging as one of the leading bass-baritones of his generation. His eagerly anticipated performances combine intelligent musicianship, commanding vocal technique and a unique ability to connect with audiences. He is a champion of opera, the concert stage, chamber music, solo recitals and the premieres of contemporary works.
  • Lynda Keith McKnight, soprano, made her stage debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1991 in the world premiere of John Corgliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, and has sung professionally with opera companies throughout the US and abroad. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1988, Ms. McKnight has been featured in Opera News magazine. Operatic performances include bows with the Toledo Opera, the Shreveport Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, the Wolf Trap Opera, and Sugarland Opera. In addition to standard repertoire such as Violetta, Musetta, Marguerite, and Hannah Glawari, she has become sought after as an interpreter of new and undiscovered music, with repertoire ranging from Zemlinsky's The Chalk Circle to Daron Hagen's Amelia. Ms. McKnight holds both a MM in Voice and an Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, as well as a BM in vocal performance from Baylor University.
  • Jeb Mueller, Director of University Men's Chorus, Concert Women's Chorus
    Director of University Men's Chorus, Concert Women's Chorus, helps prepare opera choruses, and teaches choral music education courses. In addition to his teaching duties, he is an active clinician, adjudicator, and conference presenter. Mueller taught high school choral music in the Houston area for six years. His choirs consistently earned superior ratings at contests and were twice chosen the Overall Best Choir at state and national choral festivals. Dr. Mueller holds degrees from The University of Miami, The University of Texas, and Texas Tech University.
  • Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano. International appearances include leading roles with Teatro San Carlo, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Graz Oper, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, New Orleans Opera, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Indianapolis Opera, among others, and soloist with Opera Orchestra of New York, Grazer Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, and Princeton Festival Orchestra. Television performances on PBS- “Live from Lincoln Center” and “Great Performances” and the ORF- Austrian Radio and Television; recording on Reference.
  • Hector Vasquez, baritone. Leading roles, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland, Orlando, and Houston Grand Opera in addition to his appearances as baritone soloist with Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston Philharmonic/Symphony Orchestras, among others. Featured artist at Music Festivals of Berlin, Ojai, Aspen, Carmel, Santa Fe Chamber, and the Hollywood Bowl Summer Season. Voice instructor at University of Southern California and California State University, Los Angeles; clinician, Opera America. National and international adjudicator, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recordings on Kultur Video, Sony Classical and Albany records. Broadcasts appearances include Live from the MET, Live from Lincoln Center and NPR radio.
  • Betsy Cook Weber, Director of Choral Studies. Director of Moores School Concert Chorale; served for seven years as Assistant/Associate Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus; successful music teacher in the public schools at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, during which time choirs there won numerous competitions and awards; active at local and national levels as a conductor, presenter, and clinician; several of her editions of choral works are in current publication; degrees from North Texas State University, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and University of Houston.

Moores Opera Center

  • Jason Burton, assistant manager, Moores Opera House