Soprano Rhoslyn Jones (Opera ’06) is a sought-after vocalist across the United States and Canada, Career highlights include roles such as the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Musetta (La bohéme) and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) for Opera Santa Barbara, Chicago Opera Theater, and the San Francisco, Arizona, Vancouver, and Pittsburgh operas; and concert appearances with numerous orchestras. She was a member of the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera and has attended Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and the Merola Opera Program. Rhoslyn is a gifted educator and was recently appointed to the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Read her full bio here.
“I’ve always been some kind of teacher to people around me.”
So says Rhoslyn Jones (Opera ’06), who—in addition to her thriving performance career as a soprano with opera companies nationwide—is a teacher of distinction who recently joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Rhoslyn grew up as the eldest child of two educators, and today, looking back on her unique and fulfilling career path, she also recognizes the profound influence of her principal voice teachers.
Rhoslyn received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she studied with Nancy Hermiston, whom she recalls as "a really wonderful teacher who helped foster a love of performance and community engagement as well.” Moving on to the Curtis Institute of Music to pursue a performance certificate, she encountered Marlena Kleinman Malas (Voice ’60). “I didn’t realize it until later, but her style of teaching and the style of singing that she goes for with her students is something that I…picked up from her and try to use in my teaching: a real attention to detail and a real foundation in bel canto singing and technique that will hopefully last a lifetime.”
Rhoslyn began teaching to supplement her performing income in the wake of the 2008 recession in the U.S. She quickly discovered her natural talent and passion for music education, teaching at summer vocal programs at UBC and at the San Francisco School of the Arts. Buoyed by encouragement from former Curtis dean Robert Fitzpatrick (Conducting ’68) as well as other Curtis connections in her performing network, she moved on to Sonoma State University and later a faculty position at UBC which she still holds. In January Rhoslyn joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “The connections I made while at Curtis hooked me up with the people who I work with now at the conservatory, “ she says. “I’m very grateful for [them].”
In addition to teaching at the college level, Rhoslyn runs a nonprofit, Bay Area Vocal Academy (BAVA), now in its third year. “I wanted to foster a love of this art form in students of a high school age,” she says. “As soon as they get hooked on it, they just love it.” Staffed by two vocalists and one pianist, BAVA provides comprehensive vocal training for talented young singers, preparing them for college and a career in classical music. BAVA partners with world-class solo artists and Bay Area arts organizations to offer professional performance experience and mentorships, as well as personalized college counseling and exposure to the administrative side of the music business.
A tandem program, the Youth Vocal Mentorship Program (YVMP), is still in its infancy. Through YVMP, high school-aged BAVA participants provide vocal and music theory instruction to middle school-aged students who are interested in singing, but can’t afford lessons. Under the supervision of adult instructors, the BAVA students acquire invaluable teaching experience and build their resumés, while providing a service and access to an underserved community. “Access to music and music education is expensive and hard to find sometimes, so that is a priority for us,” she notes, “to make this accessible to as many people as possible.”
Rhoslyn still maintains an active performing schedule, and values the multi-faceted path her career has taken. “You can’t just be one thing anymore,” she says, noting her appreciation for the growth of Curtis’s artist-citizen curriculum. “It’s important to make sure all…students are well-rounded and can make a life in music, no matter what.” She admits that as a young student she never expected opera or education to play such a large role in her life, but as she looks at her career she can truly say, “I built something I’m proud of.”