Ronald HedlundProfessor Emeritus of Voice
BA Hamline University, Akademie fur Music und Darstellende Kunst (Vienna, Austria), MM Vocal Performance Indiana University, Post Graduate Work Juilliard School
Critics in the LA Times, Washington Post, NY Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Newark Star Ledger,and Opera Magazine wrote about Ronald Hedlund - "A giant not only in stature, but in voice and character..One of the finest baritone voices extant.. Mr. Hedlund acted brilliantly. He has a voice of good size, too. Anybody with this kind of stage projection, and this ability to shape a smooth musical phrase, can be an asset to any opera house...Indeed the malevolently suave characterization of Scarpia by Ronald Hedlund could be stacked against the acting of any Scarpia on any operatic stage..a singing actor of epic abilities..As a singer-actor, bass Ronald Hedlund is an asset to any production. His spoken parts had a profile and vividness not achieved by any of the others ...Vocally his voice is even, well focused, and apparently without a flaw ... A marvelously pliant, resonant baritone… A monumentally authoritative, quicksilver performer...A vibrant voice, an assortment of appropriate vocal colors and excellent diction...Hedlund virtually stole the show every time he appeared--he has stage magnetism enough for an entire cast, and he sings with the same authority and panache.”
Bass-baritone Ronald Hedlund made his professional debut in 1965 and Metropolitan Opera National Company debut in 1966. He has since earned accolades singing leading roles in every major American Opera House (New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis, Miami, Vancouver, and more). International festival and recital appearances include Canada, Spoleto (Italy), Austria (Vienna, Salzburg, & Eisenstadt), Hungary, Scotland, Mexico City & Guanajuato, and US festivals in Aspen, Santa Fe, Lake George, Chicago, Charleston, Springfield, Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, and Watseka. Hailed for his interpretation of the traditional operatic repertoire, Mr. Hedlund’s versatility is equally recognized in recital, contemporary works, musical theater, and master classes. Listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in Entertainment”, his repertoire includes more than 70 opera roles and over 30 orchestral, oratorio, and chamber works. Ronald Hedlund premiered numerous 20th century operas and song cycles by noted composers Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, Thomas Pasatieri, Hugo Weisgall, Nicholas Scarim, Jose Bernardo, Stephen Oliver, Alva Henderson, Stephen Paulus, and Gerald Ginsberg. His repertoire list, press reviews, sound files, and photo gallery can be found at his web site www.ronaldhedlund.com.
A former US Naval Officer and National Securities Administration employee, Ronald Hedlund is a graduate of Hamline University, Indiana University, the Akademie fur Music und Darstellende Kunst (Vienna, Austria), and the Juilliard School American Opera Center. The Singing Voice Consultant for the Carle Clinic Otolaryngology Department in Urbana, IL, he appears as lecturer, panelist, and performer at International Voice Seminars in Salzburg, Austria and York, England. He is as editorial consultant for The Virtuoso Obbligato Aria Collection sold through major publishing houses in the US, Japan, Austria, Australia and on the internet.
Having taught at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the Aspen Vocal Institute, and Eastern Illinois University, Professor Hedlund taught at the University of Illinois from 1970-74 & 1983-2006. He has the distinction of being the only UIUC Professor to receive tenure twice - in spite a ten year hiatus to resume a full time singing career. As Chairman of the Voice Division & Professor of Voice at the University of Illinois, he taught Studio Voice, Vocal Pedagogy, and a Discovery Course. He also coordinated the Metropolitan Opera Council Central District Auditions hosted by the University of Illinois and served as a judge for the Northern District Auditions. Many of his students were annual Metropolitan Opera Council audition winners.
While teaching at the UIUC, he remained an active performer appearing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Dayton & Michigan Operas, Vancouver Opera, Washington (DC) Opera, Kentucky Opera, Mississippi Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Opera Illinois, Illinois Opera Theater, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Carnegie Hall, Westfield Symphony, Connecticut Grand Opera, Albany (NY) Symphony, South Bend Symphony, Illinois Symphony & Chamber Orchestra, CU Symphony, Danville Symphony, Eastern Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Baroque Artists, Prairie Ensemble, UI Oratorio Society, Sugar Creek Festival, for WILL-TV & WILL-FM Radio, the Springer Cultural Center, Tarble Arts Center, Sandwich Opera House, and Klassiches Musik Festival in Vienna & Eisenstadt, Austria.
Recent engagements include appearances on WDWS Radio AM 1400 on the “Gary O’Brien & Friends” Program, Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” & Mozart “Requiem” with the Eastern Symphony (broadcast on PBS), Haydn’s “Pauken Mass” with the Prairie Ensemble, as Father Capulet in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” with the Sugar Creek Symphony & Song Festival, as Benoit in “La Boheme” at the Krannert Center, in recital at the EIU Tarble Arts Center, a WILL-FM “Second Sunday” Live broadcast, in recital at the Champaign Springer Cultural Center, Mills Breast Cancer Institute, Urbana Free Library Prairie Breezes Series, and regional recitals with historic narration for his “Classics in the Classroom” series [Civil War Songs (Goober Peas), Music of the Depression ( Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?) and Songs of WW II (O’er the Ramparts We Watched), in Handel’s “Messiah” with the CU Symphony, as Arkel in “Péleas et Mélisande” with the Illinois Opera Theatre, in Elgar's “Dream of Gerontius” for the Victorian Society Conference at the Krannert Center, Samuel Barber’s “Dover Beach” with the Shanghai Quartet, as Jesus in Bach's “St. Matthew Passion” with the Baroque Artists, soloist in Copland’s “Old American Songs” for the WILL FM Radio Concert in the Park, in PDQ Bach’s “The Seasonings” with the Prairie Ensemble, narrator for Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” & Stravinsky's “L'Histoire du Soldat” for the Danville Symphony, in WILL-TV Documentaries “Remembering the Music of World War II” & “Tarahumara: Pillars of the World”, a recording & performance at the Krannert Center of Sever Tipei’s “Cantus Interruptus”, lectures & performances at voice conferences in York, England, Frankfurt, & Salzburg, Germany, recitals at the U of IL’s President's Mansion, Smith Music Hall, the Mills Breast Cancer Music Series, soloist in the Mozart “Requiem” with the Illinois Chamber Orchestra in Springfield & Bloomington, soloist in the Prologue to Boito's “Mefistofele” with the Rockford Symphony, soloist in selected Devil arias and the Prologue to Boito's “Mefistofele” with the Champaign Urbana Symphony, soloist and narrator in Broadway songs and opera arias with the Danville Symphony, "Granny's Porch" performances at the historic Virginia Theater, in recital at Montpelier, VA, Viennese songs & operetta scenes with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, premiered the opera “La Llorona” by Daniel Steven Crafts at the New Mexico Cultural Center, and as Dr. Bartolo in the “Barber of Seville” at the Krannert Center.
Married to Emmy winning cellist & music administrator Barbara Hedlund in 1974, he has two sons and two grandchildren. His son Dr. Eric Hedlund, an aeronautical engineer, is Chief of Testing and Evaluation for the US Naval Ballistic Missile Defense Program. His son Alexander, a 2006 Master's graduate in Journalism from the University of Illinois and former writer for The News Gazette & Booze News, graduated from the UCLA Television & Film Producers Program. A former Creative Projects Associate for Warner Brothers Studios & Stars Road Entertainment in Hollywood, CA, Alex is currently a Creative Executive for Legendary Entertainment in Hollywood.