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Katya Powder


Lecturer of Music, Voice

Contact: [email protected]

Mezzo-soprano Katya Powder (they/them) is originally from the suburbs of our great Motor City – Detroit, Michigan. They received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Oakland University, and graduated with a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Manhattan School of Music.

Since 2005, Katya has been teaching private voice lessons, adjudicating national competitions, hosting master classes, and working as a singer in both Metro-Detroit and New York City. Their students have gone on to have successful careers as performers, composers/song writers, music producers, recording artists, and social media creators. As a non-binary educator, Katya prides themself in providing a safe environment for students to explore their truest authentic voices through gender-affirming instruction.

Katya is a classically trained mezzo-soprano and sings regularly with Detroit Opera – past productions include La Bohème, Faust, Aida, and Ainadamar. Most recently, Katya performed the tenor role of Lil Bat in Susannah with Queer Opera in Portland, a company that employs the use of unconventional casting methods. Past operatic roles include Gianni Schicchi (Zita) and Pénélope (Cléone), both of which received praise in Opera News and The New York Times, respectively. They also sang the world premiere of Margaret Ellen in Bettina Sheppard’s opera Stillwaters, a role written specifically for their voice by the composer. Also a concert musician, Katya has performed as the alto soloist in Haydn’s Grosse Orgelsolomesse, Schubert’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Missa Brevis in G, and Handel’s Messiah. 

Katya enjoys performing contemporary music, most notably with New York composer and guitarist Andrew McKenna Lee. They were a lead vocalist with Mr. Lee’s contemporary group, The Knells, and recorded and released a self-titled album with New Amsterdam Records. The album received wide critical acclaim in The New York Times, “Top 10 Best Overlooked Albums” in The New Yorker, “Best of 2013” in The New Republic, “Top 10 Albums” in Textura Magazine, and Time Out New York’s “Critic’s Pick.” Also a lover of musical theater, Katya made their New York City musical theatre debut as Mrs. Gardner in Pride and Prejudice, and was met with rave reviews, most notably by Nite Life Exchange who praised, “…her burnished mezzo-soprano gleamed effortlessly”.

This upcoming season, Katya looks forward to performing with Detroit Opera in their production of Madame Butterfly. They are thrilled to be joining the voice faculty at Oakland University this fall, and excited for the opportunity to give back to the school that nurtured their love of performing and teaching. Katya currently lives in the Metro-Detroit area as a vocalist and educator.

School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041