Associate Professor of Music

John Holiday in black turtleneck and black hatCountertenor John Holiday has established himself as “one of the finest countertenors of his generation” (Los Angeles Times). His voice has been praised as “a thing of astonishing beauty” (New Yorker), “arrestingly powerful, secure and dramatically high” (Wall Street Journal), “Exceptional [and] strong… even in its highest range” (The New York Times) and “timeless” (Washington Post). Holiday’s unique voice and powerful story have been the subject of profiles in The New Yorker, CNN’s Great Big Story, Los Angeles Times, and more.

2021-22 is a season of exciting debuts for Holiday, beginning with his debut at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel in an all-Gershwin program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; followed by his anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin; as well as his debut with the New York Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Jeannette Sorrell; and capping off the season with his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Barrie Kosky’s production of Agrippina in the role of Nerone. Holiday will also reprise his signature role of the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Utah Opera and The Dallas Opera.

An acclaimed concert singer, Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Center, and the Philharmonie de Paris. His career highlights have included a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Sorceress in Barrie Kosky’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double at the Los Angeles Opera; the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved with Opera Philadelphia and the Dutch National Opera; title role in Xerxes at the Glimmerglass Festival; and Caesar in Handel’s Guilio Cesare in Egitto at Wolf Trap Opera.

Outside of classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz, gospel, and pop music having opened for Grammy award winner Jazon Mraz in concert. In 2018, Holiday sang the national anthem for his hometown team the Houston Rockets, and in 2019, Holiday performed at the star-studded Ozwald Boateng Harlem Runway Show at The Apollo Theater, in a performance that was covered by Vogue, Forbes and CNN, and attended by celebrities Jamie Foxx, Idris Elba, Dapper Dan and others. Additionally, in 2019 Holiday performed Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala. His debut pop single “Alive in Me” was released in August 2021.

Holiday has been the recipient of numerous major competitions and award programs such as the 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award; the 2014 Richard Tucker Foundation’s Sara Tucker award; first place at the 2013 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition The 2012 Sullivan Foundation, and the 2011 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition; and third place winner in the 2014 OPERALIA competition. In addition, Holiday was selected among WQXR’s prestigious 20 for ’20 Artists to Watch, named one of the BroadwayWorld’s “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving,” nominated for “Newcomer of the Year” by the German magazine Opernwelt, and listed as one of Yerba Buena Center for the Aris 100 honorees for 2018.

John Holiday received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from the Juilliard School in New York City. Holiday grew up in Rosenberg, Texas located near Houston, and attended the town’s public schools. Holiday joined the faculty at Lawrence University in 2017.

Holiday's students have gone on to studies at University of Houston, Pepperdine University, The Boston Conservatory, The University of Washington, The University of Texas, Morehouse, and Houston Grand Opera High School Studio. John has also had winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Central New York Finger Lakes region of The National Association of Teachers of Singing (CNYFL - NATS).  This season, you will see students of Holiday, in leading roles, on regional and national stages, including Cider Mill Playhouse, New London Barn Playhouse, Park Playhouse, Utah Opera Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival, the Brevard Music Center and more.

From Professor Holiday: If you’re interested in attending The Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University, throughout the year, I will be available for consultation lessons, which may be arranged through the admissions department. If you have any subsequent questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Contact by email: john.t.holiday@lawrence.edu

https://www.johnholiday.com/