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Alumni Spotlight: An Early Music Tenor Hails International Operatic Career

With a niche in baroque music, Zachary Wilder enjoys globetrotting career.

Zachary Wilder mastered music vocal performance at the Moores School of Music (MSM) in 2008 and now leads a wonderful life in France, performing all over the world with early music ensembles that take him to North America, Europe and Japan. After being scouted by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence while on tour with Houston’s Mercury orchestra, he has become a sought-after tenor in the music world. 

Wilder says he had a great time at MSM. Here, he performed, honed his craft and became a part of a community that “fostered a lot of important friendships.”

“The size of the program really allowed for a lot of one-on-one interaction with the faculty, who seemed inexhaustible in their willingness to help you develop your skill set,” Wilder says. “I felt that I left the program prepared for a lot of the curveballs that the industry could throw my way.”

Learn more about Wilder and his path from MSM to living and performing early music abroad in the Q&A below! 

Where has your music career taken you since graduation?
After graduation, I moved to Boston. I had just finished a summer at Tanglewood, a Massachusetts music venue, and collaborated with Boston Early Music Festival so it made the most sense. I began working full time all across the United States with various ensembles. In 2010, Mercury Houston invited me on a tour to Paris, France as Renaud in Lully’s “Armide,” and there I was scouted by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Les Arts Florissants for their emerging artist productions. My career expanded to Europe, I moved to France and now I sing all over Europe, North America and Japan. 

How has a career in the arts surprised you?
I’m surprised by how seemingly small opportunities can lead to big results and vice versa. It’s also always a pleasant surprise to see people you knew from before pop up in the industry. (Be nice to everyone!) 

What career accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m humbled that I’ve had the opportunity to work with ensembles and luminaries I used to listen to as a student, particularly as a member of the Le Jardin des Voix with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants as well as a member of John Eliot Gardiner’s seven-month long international Monteverdi Trilogy tour. I’m also proud of the projects I couldn’t have predicted or dreamed of, such as singing in televised performances of “Tale of Genji” at Tokyo’s Kabuki-za or Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” at the Philharmonie in Paris last year.

How has your time at the Moores School of Music furthered your career?
I did seven roles in two years during my time at UH. I think the enormous amounts of stage time really allowed me to experiment, gain experience and learn good role prep and singing habits. Besides the world-class group of voice teachers, the acting and directing courses taught by Buck Ross were real treasures that dealt with the practical issues of opera, which is a pretty rare treat — in other words, acting courses actually suited to the challenges that opera singing presents. 

What are some future projects we should look forward to?
I have a lot of recordings coming out, including Handel’s “Almira” with the Boston Early Music Festival and Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” with Bach Collegium Japan. I have European tours next season with Bach Collegium Japan, John Eliot Gardiner, L’Arpeggiata, Le Concert d’Astrée, as well as a role debut as the title role in Rameau’s “Dardanus” in New York City and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in June. I’m also very proud of my recent recital albums “Eternità d’amore with lutenist Josep Maria Martí Duran and “Amours Contrariées” with Les Bostonades.