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January 17 – 20, 2019 at the University of Mississippi

Application deadline – December 5, 2018

Notification of acceptance – December 10, 2018

Tuition and confirmation of attendance – Dec 19, 2018

The tuition for the Living Music Institute is only $300 and includes housing and some meals.

Please fill out the application, pay a non-refundable $10 dollar application fee, and then submit your materials to Nancy Maria Balach at Please have your credit card ready as you register (Visa and Mastercard accepted).

The audition materials are as follows:

•Links to video recordings (mp3 links, YouTube videos, Vimeo, etc.) of two arias in two different languages.

**While opera arias are strongly preferred, one selection may be taken from operetta.

Please email student director Caitlin Richardson at regarding any questions or concerns about the application, application materials, or tuition.



Living Music Resource™ presents the second annual Living Music Institute on January 17 through January 20, 2019. This event will take place at the University of Mississippi’s Music Building and participants will stay at the Inn at Ole Miss free of charge. The Living Music Institute will accept no more than 18 singers for this Aria Intensive Workshop. Accepted participants must bring 3 performance-ready arias.

Each participant will receive personal attention from esteemed UM faculty and acclaimed mezzo soprano Sandra Piques Eddy.  The program will culminate with each singer auditioning for a Live Panel of professionals to receive valuable feedback and the opportunity to win the Aria Award ($300 monetary prize and soloist with the LOU Symphony Orchestra on the March 4, 2019 concert at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts). The Living Music Institute is an excellent chance for budding performers to experiment and grow in their artistry.


 2019 Living Music Institute Faculty 

Guest Artist: Sandra Piques Eddy

American mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy begins the 2018-19 season by returning to Florentine Opera to sing the role of Mistress Revels in the Carlisle Floyd opera Prince of Players. The artist travels to the Metropolitan Opera to perform the role of the Novice and cover The Abbess in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Having made a huge impact in Japan in recent seasons, the artist returns to Hyogo Performing Arts Center for a New Year’s Eve Concert of timeless classic show tunes before stepping once again into her signature role of Carmen at Seiji Ozawa Music Academy. On the Boston concert platform, the artist joins Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society in performances of Mozart’s Requiem, before heading south to sing the role of Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia at New Zealand Opera.

Recent highlights include Meg Page Falstaff at Opera Colorado and the title role of Orfeo ed Euridice at Portland Opera.  She joined the Beth Morrison Productions for the contemporary role of Naga in their avant garde Boston production of Ouroboros Trilogy.  She appeared in the title role Carmen at Michigan Opera Theatre and at Austin Opera, and at the Metropolitan Opera she covered the roles of The Pilgrim L’amour de Loin and Dorabella Cosi fan tutte. She returned to the role of Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro for performances at the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre in Japan.

Other significant engagements include the artist’s role debut as Charlotte Werther at her home company Boston Lyric Opera; Stefano Romeo et Juliette at Atlanta Opera, Rosina at Opera Omaha (a role she has also made her own at Nashville Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Austin Lyric Opera and at Vancouver Opera), and at Greensboro Opera, Angelina La Cenerentola, a role she previously sang to great acclaim at Austin Lyric Opera, at Spoleto Festival (USA), at Opera Saratoga, at Atlanta Opera and at Arizona Opera.

Leading her past great successes is Miss Eddy’s debut in the title role L’incoronazione di Poppea at Opera North (UK), which sparked The Guardian to proclaim: ‘Sandra Piques Eddy’s magnificently sung Poppea has the feline presence of a young Sophia Loren.’ In the title role of Carmen: she made her European debut as the fiery temptress in a new Daniel Kramer production at Opera North (UK) and has since sung the role at Portland Opera, Calgary Opera, Opera Colorado and Lyric Opera of Kansas and appears in the role in future seasons.

Highly adept in Rossini/Mozart repertoire, Miss Eddy appeared as Cherubino Le Nozze de Figaro at Canadian Opera Company, Los Angeles Opera, Atlanta Opera and at Austin Lyric Opera; Dorabella Così fan tutte at Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan, Zerlina Don Giovanni at Portland Opera and Opera Omaha, Idamante Idomeneo and Juno/Ino Semele at Florentine Opera, and as Isabella L’italiana in Algeri.

Ms Eddy graduated from Boston University with a master’s degree in Vocal Performance and was an apprentice artist at the Boston Opera Institute where various roles included her signature Cherubino in a production by Thomas Allen, Tieresias in the staged premiere of Merryman’s Antigone, and, most memorably, Sesto La Clemenza di Tito. She made her professional debut with Boston Baroque in Vivaldi’s Gloria, where further invitations included Messagiera/Speranza L’Orfeo, and Valletto/Amore L’incoronazione di Poppea. Boston Lyric Opera roles include Dorabella (also at Pittsburgh Opera) and Idamante Idomeneo.  She sang the role of Dinah Trouble in Tahiti with Boston Midsummer Opera.

Sandra Piques Eddy was the New England Regional Winner of the 2000 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a National Semi-finalist, leading to her Met debut in 2001 with further appearances as Cherubino, Lola Cavalleria rusticana, Zulma L’italiana in Algeri, Rosette Manon and Olga The Merry Widow.

Other New York appearances include at Glimmerglass Festival Opera the roles of Romeo I Capuleti ed i Montecchi and Meg Little Women (also at Fort Worth Opera and Kentucky Opera); her Avery Fisher Hall debut in The Messiah with the National Chorale; at New York City Opera as Charmian Antony and Cleopatra, Dorabella, and Don Ramiro La finta giardiniera which she also sang at Florida Grand Opera.

Further roles in Ms Eddy’s repertoire include Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel (Portland Opera); the title role in Peter Brook’s La Tragédie de Carmen and the title role Béatrice et Bénédict (Chicago Opera Theater) and Varvara Katya Kabanová (Boston Lyric Opera).

Major symphonic engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mass in C; Mozart’s Mass in C Major and Mass in C Minor; Bach’s Magnificat and Mass in B Minor; Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and his Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen among other works.  She has shared the stage with such eminent conductors as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Laurence Cummings, Julius Rudel, Jane Glover, Marco Armiliato, James Levine and Valery Gergiev.


Co-Directors: Nancy Maria Balach and Amanda Johnston

Nancy Balach

Nancy Maria Balach is a versatile soprano described by American Record Guide as “sweet and tender… gracefully projecting music, text, and character” and “sings exquisitely.” Opera News states that she is “deliciously sly” and “shapes lovely phrases.”  Her performing career has included opera, operetta, musical theatre, concert, cabaret, song recital, and chamber music.

On the operatic stage, Balach has performed and covered leading roles with Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Tulsa Opera. She has extensive operetta experience, performing in more than 26 productions with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and the Ohio Light Opera.  Her musical theatre credits include productions by Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Stephen Sondheim.  Balach has done extensive concert work with the symphonies of Acadiana (LA), Canton (Ohio), Mississippi, North Carolina, Tupelo (MS), and Tuscaloosa (AL). As a recording artist, she can be heard on Albany Records, Newport Classic, New World Records, VOX Classics, and Operetta Archives in leading roles.

In competition, she has won the Audience Choice Award at the American Traditions Competition in Savannah (GA), was a regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Great Lakes Region), and a Pittsburgh Concert Society Recital Series winner.  She was selected by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation to be one of 222 Quarterfinalists for the 2015 Music Educator Award from more than 7,000 nominations.

Balach is an active recitalist performing innovative programs internationally. She is an advocate of new music, commissioning and premièring works by American and Canadian composers. Balach has achieved recognition with her research projects, many inspired by living composers.  She has presented at the national conferences of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association, and the College Music Society, and internationally at the Phenomenon of Singing Symposium in Newfoundland and the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.

Balach has been on the music faculty at the University of Mississippi since 2000 and has taught courses in applied voice, pedagogy, diction, vocal methods; as well as freshman seminar for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.  Balach has been an invited master class clinician at universities in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  Balach utilizes her vast experience as a performer and educator as director of the University of Mississippi’s Living Music Resource™ (  She is making Oxford the portal for a 21st Century approach to music research through interactive and innovative events.  Balach is dedicated to bringing acclaimed professionals to MS (including Grammy Award recipients and performers from Broadway, The Metropolitan Opera, and La Scala), as well as showcasing Mississippi artists.  Current UM music students work closely with Balach learning skills that enhance their programs of study and make them more marketable in today’s world of music.

Service in both her field and community are important to Balach.  She is currently the District Governor of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing .  Over the past several years, Balach has been a featured artist on Link Up Concerts sponsored by NYC’s Carnegie Hall for over 15,000 Mississippi students.

Nancy Maria Balach received her BFA in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and her MM in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.  Born in Pittsburgh, PA, she has lived in many parts of the United States, but finally found her “home” in the great state of Mississippi.



Canadian collaborative pianist Amanda Johnston is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi where she acts as Music Director/Vocal Coach for the Opera Theatre; teaches courses in advanced diction; and coaches students at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is also on faculty at Musiktheater Bavaria (Oberaudorf, Germany) and the Druid City Opera Workshop (Tuscaloosa, AL). She is author of English and German Diction for Singers: A Comparative Approach, 2nd edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), highly praised in the Journal of Singing for “enlivening the study of diction”. Her CD recordings include Pleas to Famous Fairies with Linda Lister, soprano (Albany Records 2018); Métissage with Adam Estes, saxophone (MSR Classics 2017); and Mahler: Rückert-Lieder with Julia Morgan, mezzo-soprano (MSR Classics 2012).

Johnston’s research on comparative diction and lesser-known composers of German lied has been presented at conferences held by the International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT), College Music Society (CMS), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), National Opera Association (NOA), and Song Collaborators Consortia (SCC). She has presented master classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto); University of South Dakota; Queen’s University; Harding University; Bucknell University; Virginia Tech; Indiana University South Bend; University of South Carolina; Mercer University; and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Previous appointments were held at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), York University, Taos Opera Institute, and Lied Austria (Leibnitz).

Johnston has received prestigious grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to work with masters in the field of collaborative piano, most notably Malcolm Martineau, Rudolf Jansen, Martin Isepp, Dalton Baldwin, Elly Ameling, Wolfgang Holzmair, and Helmut Deutsch. Further professional development occurred at the Franz-Schubert-Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria); Académie Francis Poulenc (Tours); Académie internationale d’Été (Nice); Oxenfoord International Summer School (St. Andrews); and the Aspen Music Festival.

Amanda Johnston has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, Classical 96.3 FM, CKWR, and NPR and has performed in Hong Kong, Germany, France, Austria, Scotland, Canada, and the United States. Her language proficiency includes English and German (native fluency), French and Italian (high facility), as well as Spanish, Czech, and Russian (phonetic proficiency). She was educated at Queen’s University, the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” (Weimar, Germany), and the Janáček Academy of Music (Brno, Czech Republic).  For more information:


Student Director: Caitlin Richardson

Caitlin Richardson is making her debut appearance with the LMR Dream Team this year as the first Graduate Assistant to the program. Coming from Mahomet, Illinois, Richardson is a second year Master of Music student at The University of Mississippi, studying under the direction of Professor Nancy Maria Balach. In May of 2017, Richardson graduated with her Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, Richardson is locally involved as the soprano Choral Scholar at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, along with her participation in the Oxford Civic Chorus. Richardson is incredibly thrilled to be a part of the LMR Dream Team, and looks forward to the incredible artists and people she will meet through the program.


Hope to see you at the 2019 Living Music Institute!


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