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Tanya Kruse

Associate Professor, Voice & Opera Theatre

Area Head, Vocal Performance


DMA, & MM, Vocal Performance & Opera, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
BA, Music, Concentration in Voice, Minor in Women's Studies


Tanya Kruse holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Cum Laude) from Luther College, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor of Vocal Performance with a cognate in Opera Stage Directing from the same institution. She completed all three levels of Somatic Voicework™: The LoVetri Method, at The Contemporary Commercial Music (musical theatre, jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles) Vocal Pedagogy Institute in July 2015. She was an invited masterclass clinician at the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program in the summer 2017. Kruse will be an Artist Teacher at La Musica Lirica, an International Opera Festival in Novafeltria, Italy, in the summer of 2018.

Kruse, Associate Professor of Voice and Opera and Voice Area Head, has been on the voice faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 2003 and previously taught at Luther College. In 2013/14, she received a UWM “Student Success Award” and “First Year Student Success Award,” recognizing her excellence in teaching. At UWM, she teaches undergraduate and graduate students including voice lessons for classical singers as well as those training in musical theatre and other contemporary styles, Voice Pedagogy, Italian Diction for Singers, Song Literature, and Opera Workshop/Productions. Her students are currently singing in professional musical theatre and opera productions and have won top prizes in competitions such as the Lotte Lenya Competition, Czech and Slovak International Voice Competition, Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, and the NATS National Student Auditions. Recently, her student won first prize in the upper college women division of the National Student Auditions in Boston, was a first-place winner in the Wisconsin District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was a Finalist (one of 10 in the country) in the National MONC Auditions, singing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the spring of 2015.

With Dr. Sheila Feay-Shaw, Kruse won a grant to conduct research on how high school choral directors distribute technical information about the voice to their students. She presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) Convention in 2013 on “Pedagogical Approaches to Functional Anatomy Through Daily Exercises in the Choral Setting” and their poster presentation was given there in 2014. In 2015, she presented at the WMEA with Dr. Zachary Durlam as a “Choral Myth Buster.”  In July 2016, she presented at the National NATS Convention with Dr. Kristen Wunderlich, “Big is Beautiful: Providing pedagogical support for the large voices in our studios”.  As a 2016 presenter for the Music Theatre Educator’s Alliance International Conference in Oslo, Norway, Kruse created, “Picture, palpate, play: Understanding breath and body for music theatre singing”.  Upcoming in June 2018, Kruse will present at the National NATS Conference, Training the Whole Voice: In Pursuit of a New Paradigm”.

A frequent undergraduate research fellow mentor at UWM, favorite topics include voice pedagogy and teaching contemporary singing styles.  She is a past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of NATS and is also a graduate of the NATS Intern program where she studied with Dr. Scott McCoy.

Comfortable in oratorio, art song, and opera, Kruse has played La Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro) with much critical acclaim, Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly), Rusalka (Rusalka), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), and Angelica (Suor Angelica), among others. Recently, she has moved into dramatic soprano repertoire. She is a past winner of the Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and formerly served as a co-director for the MONC Auditions in Wisconsin. Kruse has appeared as soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle, Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard, Verdi’s Requiem, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Solemn Vespers, Vaughan-Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, and more. In the 2014/15 season, Kruse was a soloist with the Wisconsin Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Milwaukee Opera Theatre. In 2014, Kruse and Elena Abend released a CD on Albany Records titled, “Over the Fence: Songs of Elsa Respighi, Lori Laitman, and Modesta Bor,” which contains two world premiere recordings.