Hailed by Opera News for her “potent presence” as Mrs. Clemm in Argento’s Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe, lyric mezzo-soprano Soon Cho has gained recognition as a versatile performer. As a recitalist, chamber musician, oratorio and concert soloist, and equally at home on the opera stage, she began her professional singing career under the batons of world-renowned conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Kristjan Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Erich Kunzel, Julius Rudel, Mischa Santora, and David Zinman. Deeply committed to education as an artist teacher, Dr. Cho joined the voice faculty at Texas State University in 2014, having taught previously for seven years at Baylor University. She is also on the faculty at Cornish-American Song Institute in England, a three-week intensive study of art song for singers and pianists.
As Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cincinnati Post praised her performance as “regal in bearing, with vocal endowments to match. The tears were listener response to her heart-wrenching performance of “When I am laid in earth.” Other operatic roles include Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Costanza (L’Isola Disabitata), Mao’s 2nd Secretary (Nixon in China), Adalgisa (Norma), Mercedes (Carmen), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), L’Enfant (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Vera Boronel (The Consul). She has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Astoria Music Festival, New York Philomusica, Seongnam Arts Center Opera in Korea, Opera in the Heights, Opera Festival of Lucca, and Aspen Opera Theater. In addition, she was a member of Cincinnati Opera Young Artist Program, Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence, Seattle Opera Educational Outreach Program, Houston Grand Opera's Opera-to-Go, and the Aspen Opera Theater Center.
On the concert stage as a mezzo-soprano soloist, Dr. Cho has performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and O’ahu Chorale Society, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, Bach’s St. John Passion with Vocal Arts Ensemble and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, A Salute to Opera with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Berlioz’s Les Nuit D’Eté with Opera Philharmonic of Bourgas in Bulgaria, and John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit with the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. Other concert performances as a soloist include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Magnificat, Corigliano’s Fern Hill, Falla’s Three Cornered Hat, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Um Mitternacht, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Pettite Messe Solennel, Saint Saëns’s Messe, Verdi’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
An advocate of new music and a lover of chamber music, highlights include “both sensual and jazzy…especially captivating” Midwest premier of Jake Heggie’s Times of Day at the Grandin Vocal Chamber Music Festival and Scott McAllister’s Screaming Azaleas with Emanon Ensemble at the Ghent New Music Festival in Belgium. Dr. Cho premiered composer Michael Fiday’s Protest Song and Scott McAllister’s Uncle Tom’s Songbook. As a recitalist, Dr. Cho has performed on the Les Arts George V Recital Series and Beaune International Festival in France, Royal Conservatory of Ghent and Ostend City Conservatory of Music in Belgium, Falmouth Recital Series in England, and throughout United States.
Recording credits include Michael Fiday: Same Rivers Different with Innova Recordings label, Menotti Arias for Mezzo-soprano with Hal Leonard Publishing, Haydn’s L’isolda disabitata with NY Philomusica Records, and Meehan/Perkins Duo: Restless, Endless, Tactless with New World Records. Published journal article credit includes “A 2011 NATS Intern’s Perspective.”
Dr. Cho’s students have been accepted for graduate studies in vocal performance at University of Michigan, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Loyola University. They have gained acceptance into and attended opera training programs at Opera Training Institute of Chicago, Opera Works Advanced Artist Program, Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music Opera Studio, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera-to-Go, CoOPERAtive Fellows and Young Artists programs, and numerous international summer opera programs. Her students consistently place in the finals at the Texoma Region and South Texas Chapter NATS Student Auditions.
Dr. Cho received both her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice and Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) working with Barbara Honn. Doctoral cognate fields were in Vocal Pedagogy and Opera Stage Directing. She received M.M. from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University working with Dr. Joyce Farwell, and B.A./B.M. from University of Washington working with Carmen Pelton. As a scholarship recipient for five consecutive summers, Dr. Cho studied with W. Stephen Smith at the Aspen Music Festival. Post-doctoral voice teaching training include 2011 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Intern Program under the tutelage of master teacher Dr. Christopher Arneson, Director of Vocal Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Songfest Mentor Program in 2013 at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and annual voice teachers seminars with master teachers Barbara Honn and Dr. Joyce Farwell.
Dr. Cho is an active clinician and adjudicator. She has presented master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Florida State University, Hawaii Pacific University, Houston Grand Opera High School Studio, Royal Conservatory of Ghent in Belgium, Sam Houston State University, and Western Illinois University. Annually, Dr. Cho adjudicates at University Interscholastic League (UIL) and judges at the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition throughout the United States.