John T. Holiday, Jr. (he/him/his)

Campus Address
Music-Drama Center
Room 256
Conservatory of Music
Associate Professor of Music - Voice

Countertenor John Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican Center, and the Philharmonie de Paris. His career highlights include a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved with Opera Philadelphia and the Dutch National Opera, 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 title role in Xerxes at the Glimmerglass Festival; and the title role of Giulio Cesare in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto at Wolf Trap Opera.. In addition, Holiday has curated The John Holiday Experience (JHE) to showcase his affinity and talent for many different genres from pop, jazz, and R&B.In the midst of his operatic season, Holiday has also released three pop singles - “Alive in Me”, “Waste Mine”, and “Love Finds A Way.”

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.

Holiday made 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 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 return to the Metropolitan Opera this fall in the highly anticipated new production of The Hours, he makes his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Proximity, as well as his debut with the Quantum Theatre as the title role in Idaspe. In the previous season, to high acclaim, Holiday made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Jeannette Sorrell; and reprised his signature role of the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for his house debut with Utah Opera and his long-awaited staged role debut with The Dallas Opera, under the baton of Maestro Emmanuel Villaume.  Future seasons will see him return to the Metropolitan Opera, where he will reprise his role in The Hours, in addition to returning to the Bayerische Staatsoper, Dutch National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and making a significant role and house debut at the Komische Oper Berlin. 

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. During the pandemic, he was a top five finalist, on Season 19 of NBC’s THE VOICE, where he partnered with coach John Legend with whom he has forged a long-lasting friendship. 

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 graduate studies at Southern Methodist University, Manhattan School of Music, Frost School of Music, Arizona State University,  New York University, University of Houston, Montclair State University, 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 and Wisconsin Region of The National Association of Teachers of Singing.  This season, you will see students of Holiday, in leading roles, on regional and national stages, including The Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Opera in Ozarks, Cider Mill Playhouse, New London Barn Playhouse, Park Playhouse, Utah Opera Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival, the Brevard Music Center, Red River Lyric Opera, Seagle Festival Opera, and on tour with Ain't Too Proud: The Musical.

Prior to Holiday’s appointment at The Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University, he served on the faculty of the Ithaca College School of Music voice faculty from 2015-2017. A frequently sought after adjudicator and teacher, he has presented masterclasses around the world at The Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Southlake High School, Chicago SPA, East Carolina University, The Juilliard School, Southern Methodist University: Meadows School of the Arts, Oakland University, University of Michigan School of Music, Fort Worth Opera Studio Artists Masterclass, University of California - Irvine, Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Conference - CHICAGO, NATS - DFW Chapter, SUNY - Fredonia, Santa Fe Opera High School Studio, Macau Polytechnic Institute, John J Cali School of Music at Montclair State University and will serve as the head judge, for the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition.

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:

Professional Affiliations:

  1. National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 
  2. National Opera Association (NOA) 
  3. American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA)
  4. The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  5. The Recording Academy (Grammys®)
  6. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
  7. Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity
Artist Diploma in Opera Studies - The Juilliard School, 2014
Master of Music in Vocal Performance - University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2012
Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance - Southern Methodist University: Meadows School of the Arts, 2007
Years at Lawrence