Matthew James, bass-baritone, is a Professor of Voice in the department of music at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. From 2008 to 2012 he served as Associate Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts and during his first two years in that position was General Director of the Louisiana Lyric Opera. Prior to holding these positions, he was music department chair at Walla Walla College, now University, from 2002 to 2008.
A 1978 graduate of Missouri Western State College, now University, he completed an M.A. in 1982 and a D.M.A. in vocal performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music in 1989. While at UMKC, James served as a teaching assistant and appeared in many operatic productions, singing major roles in La Boheme, Cosi fan Tutti, Romeo et Juliette, and Postcard from Morocco. He is recipient of the MWSU Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award given to a graduate of the school.
He subsequently was an Apprentice Artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera and an artist with the National Opera Company of Raleigh, North Carolina. In his two years with the NOC, he sang in over 200 performances, appearing in productions of The Barber of Seville, L'Italiana in Algeri, La Boheme, Martha, and El Capitan.
Following this, James was at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, for twelve years where he taught voice and directed musical theatre and light opera productions. In 1999 he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he taught at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and at Southern Adventist University. While at SAU he directed their productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Pirates of Penzance.
During the course of his teaching career, James has continued to sing in opera and oratorio productions. In 1994 he appeared in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Rome Festival. In 1995 he was an Artist Fellow with the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook. He returned to Rome in 2000 and 2002 where he performed and, in 2002, also taught at the Opera State.
In the spring of 2001 he performed the title role in SAU's production of the Elijah and, in the spring of 2002, sang the bass solos in their production of Mozart's Requiem. While at WWC, he led out in a production of The Pirates of Penzance and served as principal violist in the school orchestra.
Sources: Information provided by Matthew James, 2013; his vita and information from printed programs; Biography at the University of Louisiana-Monroe Division of Music website; personal knowledge.