Teaching Artist, Voice
Office location: FAC 246
Contralto Gloria Olson, from Duluth, Minnesota, is a Teaching Artist in Voice. She teaches studio voice as well as Italian and German Diction. Graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Music in both Vocal Performance and Choral Education, Gloria has been teaching for 25+ years.
Gloria has sung professionally in operas, oratorio and concert works including Baba (The Medium), Third Lady (Die Zauberflote), Mama Lucia (Cavalleria Rusticana), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Mass in b minor, Verdi’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria. She has directed productions of Die Zauberflote, Cavalleria Rusticana, Gianni Schicchi, Lucia di Lammermoor, L’eliser d’amore, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and The Wizard of Oz.
As founder and General and Artistic Director of The Opera Project Des Moines, 2016 saw the inaugural production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica. This is an educational community project bridging together professional musicians and local Iowa students presenting free opera performances to the public. Featuring the Valley High School Orchestra as our core, this endeavor is well into its second season which will be Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.
In demand as a clinician and guest teacher, Gloria has presented Master Classes internationally and in the Mid-West. In March of 2017, she will be a guest instructor at the Conservatory of Music in Volgograd, Russia. She has been a faculty member of the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy since 2012.
A member of NATS for 22 years, her students have consistently placed at the state and regional levels and most recently her student, Mezzo soprano Kate Broderick, was awarded First Place in the High School Women’s Division at the National NATS Competition. Students under her guidance have attended top conservatories and universities and are now having success as professional singers.
Gloria was choral director at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa (1996-1999) and at Alliance High School in Alliance, Nebraska (1993-1996). Under her direction both programs won consistent top honors at the state, regional and national level in all areas including large ensemble, chamber ensemble, show choir, and jazz choir.
In addition to teaching at Drake, Gloria maintains a full private voice studio in her home and owns and operates Glorious Desserts, a custom cake company. In her free-time, Gloria enjoys spending time with her beloved horses.