Cynthia Haymon-Coleman

Assistant Professor of Voice

B.M., Northwestern University

Cynthia Haymon made her debut in 1985 in the title role of Thea Musgrave's Harriet, A Woman called Moses, in the world-premiere performance for the Virginia Opera. Since then, her career has taken her around the United States with engagements that include Micaela in Carmen with the San Francisco Opera and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Li in Turandot with the Seattle Opera. 

In 1986 she made her European debut as Bess in Trevor Nunn's production of Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne, with Sir Simon Rattle. Professor Haymon also created the role of Coretta King in the musical King, opposite Simon Estes in London's West End. In concert, Professor Haymon has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, the London Symphony Orchestra under both Myung-Whun Chung and Michael Tilson Thomas, the Cleveland Orchestra under Isaiah Jackson, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Ned Rorem's Swords and Plowshares. 

Professor Haymon performed in the world premieres of Portraits by Richard Danielpour, with Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax, and John Williams' first song cycle, Seven for Luck. Professor Haymon's first solo recording, Where the Music Comes From: American Songs, on Decca's Argo Label, features art songs by American composers. She also portrays Bess on the EMI recording of Porgy and Bess with Sir Simon Rattle, which was recorded from the original Glyndebourne production and won a 1990 Grammy Award. She has sung the role of Leila in Les P'cheurs de Perles for Portland Opera, Eileen in Bernstein's Wonderful Town, and Poppea in Pierre Audi's production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. Other engagements have included Li for the Portland Opera, Verdi's Te Deum, Mendelssohn's Elijah, with James Conlon and the Cincinnati Symphony, and Philip Glass' Symphony No. 5, with Carl St. Clair and the Indianapolis Symphony.

Teaching Philosophy

As a beginning vocal instructor, I am discovering the value of discovery. I am discovering what each student brings to the student/teacher relationship while, hopefully, guiding and inspiring the innate artistic instinct of each student. Since I fundamentally believe singing is the murmuring of the soul, I firmly believe in simple un-manipulated tonal production. For me, that means singing on the breath with a low abdominal connection, forward placement and a relaxed body without neck, jaw and tongue tension. I believe whole-heartedly in the total singing actress/actor; which means movement, languages, good body alignment and musical versatility. I believe that today's artist cannot afford to be limited to opera, but has to be willing to explore many musical genres. I also firmly believe that young singers should sound like young singers. While not forsaking the natural vocal timbre, young singers should be encouraged to preserve their youthful sound while allowing their voices to develop naturally on a solid technique! Finally, I believe in communication and the power of the universal language of music.