Associate Professor of Music

Noted for being “most consistently musical, most clear in diction,” possessing a “stunningly beautiful, edgeless tenor” and for “lustrous singing,” tenor Steven Paul Spears has performed with many arts organizations, including those in New York, Berlin, Louisville, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Flagstaff, St. Louis, Palm Beach and Cincinnati.

Specializing in obscure works of the Baroque (Monteverdi and Handel) and Contemporary Periods (Britten and Orff), his operatic repertoire includes the lyric and coloratura roles of Mozart and Rossini, as well as mainstream character roles, such as Little Bat in Floyd’s Susannah and Goro in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Most recently, Steven sang the role of Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace in a joint production with Kentucky Opera and the Choral Arts Society of Louisville.

In March 2003, under the baton of James Conlon, Steven began a series of performances singing the Harlekin in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, produced in conjunction with the Juilliard School. Originating in New York City, the production has been seen in Spoleto, Italy, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, culminating with a performance in Houston November 2006. The Chicago Tribune said his performance was “most expressive and beautiful of voice.”

In 2005 Steven portrayed Demo in Cavalli’s Giasone under the leadership of Early Music specialist Harry Bicket at the Aspen Opera Theatre, garnering glowing reviews from the New York Times, Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News for his comic timing and stage presence.

His avid interest in recital and chamber repertoire has led to engagements with notable organizations, such as the Marlboro Music Festival, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Academy of Ancient Music, Louisville Orchestra and Greenwich Music Festival, to name a few. Often in conjunction with performances at other universities, Steven has enjoyed giving master classes, where he promotes healthy singing, commitment to character and the overall enjoyment of making music.

In Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Steven’s Evangelist was noted in the Courier-Journal as giving “a vigorous point-by-point distillation” with “…exchanges that crackled with a tension that was almost theatrical in intensity.” Of his aria singing in Bach’s St. John Passion, the Wall Street Journal said Steven brought out “one reason why Bach’s vocal melodies have such complex, searching contours; they’re tracing not just musical thoughts, but also the changing weight and implications of the text,” giving a performance “so true to the words.” Steven will be performing in a Bach concert commemorating the life of Blanche Honegger Moyse, founder of the New England Bach Festival in October.

Other appearances this season include a performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral Arts Society of Louisville, a movement from Frank Tichelli’s Symphony #1 with the Lawrence Wind Ensemble, and recitals.

Steven’s recording of Renard, utilizing Stravinsky’s translation and final editions to the score, conducted by Robert Craft was released in early 2005 by Naxos Records. His other recording releases include live performances of Bach’s St. John’s Passion and B Minor Mass with the New England Bach Festival, as well as a studio recording of Britten’s Saint Nicolas with the forces of the Choir of St. Francis in the Fields, members of the Louisville Orchestra and conductor, James Rightmyer, in Louisville, KY.

In 2004 Steven received the Master’s Degree in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Marlena Malas. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Louisville School, working under Edith Davis Tidwell, with whom he still studies.

Steven is enjoying his twentieth year of singing professionally, beginning his eighth year of teaching at Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he is associate professor of music in voice and opera and has just accepted the interim music director position at First Presbyterian Church in Neenah, Wisconsin.

For more information, please visit

Contact by e-mail:

Voice Department Webpage

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube LarryU