Assistant Professor of Music
John Holiday, one of Broadway World’s “New York Opera 2015 Gifts that Keep on Giving,” recent nominee for “Newcomer of the Year” by the German magazine Opernwelt, and the 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award Winner, conferred upon him by the Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera, has established himself as a singer to watch. Singing the role of Caesar in the U.S. Premiere of Catone in Utica by Antonio Vivaldi during the 2015 Glimmerglass Festival, Holiday was greeted with standing ovations and outstanding critical praise.
“… there is a major reason to see this production: the superb young countertenor John Holiday, in the role of Caesar, who displayed an arrestingly powerful, secure, and dramatically high instrument. I had that jolt of excitement once before: exactly 20 years ago, at Glimmerglass, when David Daniels sang the title role in “Tamerlano” and made operatic countertenors something to be reckoned with.” Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal.
Holiday recently completed appearances in the role of “first male voice” in Paradise Interrupted at the Singapore International Arts Festival 2016 and the Lincoln Center Festival 2016. Holiday’s performances received critical acclaim: “The Woman encounters four male singers portraying the Elements: … and the countertenor John Holiday, an exceptional vocalist with a strong voice, even in its highest range…” Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
In the summer of 2017, Holiday returns to the Glimmerglass Festival singing the title role in Xerxes by Handel. After his performances there, he will make his company debut with Opera Philadelphia, originating the role of John Blue in the world-premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved, directed by the Award-Winning Bill T. Jones. This production will travel to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and The Hackney Theater Empire in London. In 2018, Holiday will perform the title role of Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice with The Florida Grand Opera - making both his company debut and role debut. During the 2016-2017 season Holiday will debut with Boston Baroque in the role of Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare by Handel, He will also appear with the Nashville Symphony in Handel’s Messiah and as a soloist in the Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein with The Phoenix Symphony.
Holiday debuted with the Spoleto Festival USA 2015 in the world premiere of Paradise Interrupted and also substituted in the role of Zaida in Veremonda, l’amazzone di Aragona by Francesco Cavalli during its U.S. Premiere run at the USA Spoleto Festival. Due to last minute cast needs, he learned the role in only one day. Holiday debuted in 2014 at the Los Angeles Opera in Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas as the Sorceress and appeared with the Wolf Trap Opera in June 2014 as Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto. During the 2013-2014 season, he was seen in the title roles of Radamisto at the Juilliard School with the Juilliard Orchestra in Giya Kancheli’s And Farewell Goes Out Sighing... under Anne Manson, and as Sposo in Scarlatti’s La Sposa dei Cantici with Ars Lyrica in Houston.
Holiday made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2012 in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Holiday joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera to cover Nireno in Giulio Cesare in Egitto under Harry Bicket in David McVicar’s new production and reprised his roles in Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei at the Cincinnati Opera, having first performed the work at the Portland Opera for his operatic stage debut. He was an apprentice artist at Santa Fe Opera where he covered the role of Corrado in Peter Sellars’s production of Vivaldi’s Griselda and was seen as the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for the Apprentice Scenes Program.
Holiday’s recital schedule includes engagements in Saint Paul, Minnesota with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Chorus of Westerly in Rhode Island, the Nashville Symphony, The Kennedy Center, East Carolina State University, and programs with Ars Lyrica and Mercury Baroque in Houston, Texas.
Major competitions and award programs have recognized Holiday’s accomplishments. Most Recently, he is the 2017 Winner of the Marian Anderson Vocal Award, which was conferred upon him by the Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera. He is a 2014 recipient of the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Development Grant from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and is also a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and first prize from the Richard Tucker Foundation Sara Tucker award. He was awarded first place at both the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition for 2013 and the Sullivan Foundation for 2012. Holiday also received a first place win at the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. In 2007, he was the first place winner in his district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
In addition to his classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz and gospel music having opened for Grammy award winner Jason Mraz in concert. In 2006, Holiday released his debut jazz album entitled The Holiday Guide.
Holiday currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at The Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University. He has also served on the faculty of The Ithaca College School of Music. He 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 (former Juilliard Opera Center) from The Juilliard School in New York City. Holiday grew up in Rosenberg, Texas, located near Houston, and attended the town’s public schools. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.
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.
After serving two years on the faculty of The Ithaca College School of Music, John joins the faculty of The Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University in the Fall of 2017. Welcome to Lawrence University and the Con!
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.