Associate Professor - Mezzo-Soprano
Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano, is a prolific performer known for the depth and beauty of her voice, as well as her interpretive skills. Praised for her versatility, Ms. Watson is equally at home on the opera and concert stage. She began her career in Chicago as a member of the prestigious Lyric Opera Center for American Artists after earning her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College. Her career took her to Germany where, at her first house audition, she was immediately engaged to sing the role of Dorabella in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte by the Staedtische Buehnen Dortmund. This led to her first Niklaus in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. While living in Europe, she was fest at the Theater Oberhausen, where she sang such diverse roles as Cherubino, Stefano and Mrs. Cratchit in the German premiere of Thea Musgrave's A Christmas Carol. This production was later featured at the opening night of the Nordrhein-Westfalen Festival of New German Theater at the Stadttheater Aachen.
After returning to the United States, Ms. Watson sang regularly with Chicago Opera Theater in roles such as Hansel, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She has sung with Whitewater Opera, Madison Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater and Portland Opera, where she received rave reviews as the Secretary in Menotti's The Consul. Ms. Watson is known for her ability to sing a wide range of roles from pants roles to the fiery Carmen, and Musetta from La Boheme.
Ms. Watson is a prolific concert performer, having sung concert repertoire and recitals in Europe and the United States. She has performed many times with the Grant Park Symphony with such conductors as Carlos Kalmar, Zdenek Macal, Hugh Wolff, Jesus Lopez-Cobos and Christof Perick. She performed the alto solos in Handel's Messiah with Musica Sacra at Carnegie Hall, as well as with numerous orchestras and the Apollo Chorus at Chicago's Symphony Center. She sang in the American premiere of Britten's The World of the Spirit and Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Requiem, all at Carnegie Hall. She has sung with Music of the Baroque, Princeton Pro Musica, the South Bend Symphony, the Bach Society of St. Louis, the Virginia Concert, the Richmond Symphony (Indiana and Virginia), I Virtuosi Pragensis (Prague, Czech Republic), the European Symphony Orchestra (Barcelona, Spain), to name a few. She also sang for the Joffrey Ballet in the Dance for Life benefit concert and joined their regular season in 2008 singing Erik Satie's Cabaret Songs at the Ravinia Festival. Her repertoire covers the great oratorios, concert and vocal works from Bach to Mozart to Mahler to Verdi, and many more.
Ms. Watson previously served as Lecturer of Voice and Opera at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. She began her teaching career at Chicago's well-known Old Town School of Folk Music. Ms. Watson was on the faculty at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University from 1998-2009, and at Loyola University from 1995-1999, as well as The Chicago Academy for the Arts from 1996-1998. She was on the faculty of Northwestern University's National High School Music Institute 2000-2010, where she taught studio voice as well as vocal science and health seminars. She had also taught both the Introduction and Advanced Vocal Pedagogy courses at CCPA. Her students are performing both here and in Europe, including apprenticeships with Central City, Intermezzo, Sarasota, BASOTI, La Musica Lyrica, Lucca, and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and with opera companies and orchestras around the world. Her students took top prize at the Chicago Regional NATS competition in 2004, 2005 and 3013. Also, in 2013 her students took first place in the FAVA Grand Concours de Chant, 2nd place in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, and won the Farwell Trust Award. Ms. Watson has been a member of NATS since 1995 and served as a regional board member for two years. She was president of the Chicago Singing Teachers Guild from 2004-2006. She was also contributed to an article on vocal resonance in the December '08 issue of Classical Singer Magazine. In 2010, along with tenor William Watson and director Michael Ehrman, she co-founded the Opera Training Institute of Chicago (OpTIC), a young artists summer opera training program. It successfully ran from 2010-2013. She remains an active performer in both concerts and recitals. Her CD "Poet as Muse" with the Crescent Duo was released on Centaur Records in January 2018. In February 2020, her CD "Chronicles" with the Crescent Duo was released on Blue Griffin Records. Ms. Watson is currently Associate Professor and Vocal Area Coordinator at Central Michigan University.
Alto soloist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Bach Institute at Valporaiso University and the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra; alto soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Rockford Choral Society; recitals at the White Lake Chamber Music Festival, Northeastern University, Friday Noonday Concert in Chicago, Carthage College, Classics at the Presby; master classes at Northwestern University and Georgia State University; Release of the CD "Poet as Muse" with the Crescent Duo; Release of the CD "Chronicles" with the Crescent Duo
BA: 1983, Mount Holyoke College
Courses Taught• Applied Voice
• Voice Pedagogy
• Song Literature