Opera greats Sherril Milnes and Maria Zouves were 2022 Artists in Residents

February 25, 2022


Opera legend Sherill Milnes and his wife Maria Zouves, a soprano and arts administrator, were the 2022 Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Artist in Residence. 

ISU students and the Ames community members gleaned much from Milnes and Zouves during their residency February 6-11. Throughout the week, 30 students received personal vocal coachings and the Department of Music and Theatre presented five lecture/workshop events - both in person and livestreamed. After hearing these talented young singers, Milnes and Zouves are also keen to give ISU students opportunities in their summer voice intensives.

Sherrill Milnes was a leading baritone at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for over forty years, garnering multiple Grammy nominations and wins. During his prolific career as a performer, he was regularly guest teaching at prestigious young artist programs and universities, such as International Vocal Arts Institute and Northwestern University. In 2000, he co-founded the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs - VOICExperience and Savannah VOICE Festival - with his wife, Maria Zouves and they serve has artistic director and executive director respectfully. 

Ms. Zouves is a dynamic soprano in her own right, but her skills as a stage director and administrator are what drove her to co-found the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs, which now helps develop young artists in cities all over the United States. VOICExperience primarily works out of Florida and New York City, while Savannah VOICE Festival is primarily a training program that occurs in Savannah, GA during the month of August. She’s proven to be an influential director and educator as several of the singers who’ve participated in the VOICE Programs have gone on to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Staatsoper Berlin.

Assistant Teaching Professor Chad Sonka, who organized the residency, remarked, "I've received emails from and talked with many students and community members about how their purview on opera and vocal performance grew in their interactions with Sherrill and Maria. I know we will feel the positive impact of their visit for months and years to come. I'm incredibly grateful for the Dean's office for providing the funds to create this extraordinary opportunity for our students."