Instrumentalists & Singers

January 15 – 17, 2021 via Zoom

Application deadline – Sunday, January 3, 2021

Acceptance notification – Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Tuition deadline – Monday, January 11, 2021

Living Music Institute Tuition: $300 (non-UM students),       $100 (current UM students)

The Living Music Institute will accept a very select group of performers with an entrepreneurial idea for the 2021 Emerging Artist Intensive Program. Join us for this exciting virtual event to receive individual feedback on performing and to fully develop an entrepreneurial idea.

Please fill out the application, pay a non-refundable $15 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).


Click here to apply!

The audition materials are as follows:

  • Résumé and Headshot
  • Link to a video recording (6-minutes max), e.g., aria(s), instrumental solo (accompanied or unaccompanied)
  • Brief description (approximately 150 words) of the entrepreneurial idea that you wish to develop at LMI. This may be a brand new idea or a project already in development. Some possible questions to answer in your statement: 1) What idea do you have that will broaden your music opportunities? 2) What skills, talents, and potential do you need help synthesizing? 3) How would you like to engage with your community?

2021 Renowned Featured Artists

Lucas Meachem

Irina Meachem


Living Music Resource™ presents the fourth annual Living Music Institute (virtual edition) on January 15 through January 17, 2021. This event will take place via Zoom. Submitted videos of arias or instrumental solos will be used to select a “Performance Winner” ($300). Further, accepted participants must bring an entrepreneurial idea that they wish to develop. The program will culminate with the selection of an “Entrepreneurial Winner” ($300). The LMI experience will include individual consultations on both performance and entrepreneurial pitches, as well as sessions with industry professionals. LMI is open to singers and instrumentalists for the first time in 2021.

The Living Music Institute provides a supportive environment for performers to experiment and grow with respect to their artistry and ability to create opportunity as a music professional.

Please email student director Erika Wheeler ( regarding any questions or concerns about the application, application materials, or tuition.

Living Music Institute Faculty 

Living Music Institute Co-Directors and University of Mississippi Music Faculty:  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 is currently Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi.  She has been on the 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

Erika Wheeler is a native of Vicksburg, MS. In 2019, she obtained a Bachelor of Art in Music from Alcorn State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Mississippi. She is an active member of the Mortar Board National Honor Society, National Society of Leadership and Success, and a recent (2020) Inductee of the Gamma Beta Phi Honors Society. She has performed with the University of Mississippi Opera Theatre, University of Mississippi Concert Singers, Operafestival di Roma, Natchez Music League, Nicholls State University, and Cedar Grove M.B. Church. She is currently the Graduate Assistant for the Living Music Resource™. In her spare time, Erika enjoys traveling the world and discovering new places! Erika operates her own travel influencer blog known as, “The Global E,” which highlights and shares many exciting experiences, including those that make the everyday life of a singer worthwhile.

Entrepreneurial Expert

Brady Bramlett serves as the executive managing director of LMR. Brady served as the chair of the NCAA Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. He is now an associate director of development in the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. Brady was a pitcher for the Ole Miss Rebel baseball team. A three-year letter winner he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2015, and again by the Boston Red Sox in 2016. Brady graduated from Ole Miss in 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his master’s in integrated marketing communications in 2018. Musically, Brady has collaborated many times with Nancy Maria and LMR in his own concert titled “He’s Got Pitch.” He was the featured countertenor soloist in the Ole Miss Concert Singers performance of Handel’s “Dettingen Te Deum.” Brady also was the tenor soloist in the University Chorus’ production of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” He was seen as Mary Sunshine in the Ole Miss Department of Theatre and Film’s production of “Chicago.”

Hope to see you at the 2021 Living Music Institute!


 Thank You to our Sponsors: