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John-Paul White


Distinguished Professor of Music, Voice
Voice Program Coordinator
Vocal Pedagogy

Contact: [email protected]
(248) 370-2040

John-Paul White, bass, is the first performing artist in the history of Oakland University to be promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor. 

He made his professional singing debut with the New Orleans Opera in a cast that included Placido Domingo, and since that auspicious beginning, has appeared in over 1000 performances with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Symphony, the Frankfurt Alte Opera, and the Swiss Radio Orchestra in Europe. He was engaged for two seasons by Stadttheater St. Gallen, Switzerland where he made his European debut in Fidelio, and then for four years singing major bass roles at the Staatstheater in Kassel, Germany. For three seasons he appeared in the internationally acclaimed "Hersfeld Festival" (Germany) and was a regular soloist with the Swiss Radio Orchestra, with whom he recorded Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for broadcast.  He has also recorded Handel's, The Messiah on the EMI label.

A long list of American opera engagements include San Francisco, Santa Fe, Chautauqua, Baltimore, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Detroit, among many others.  Of the fifty some roles he has performed, favorites include Mozart’s Sarastro, Figaro, and Osmin, and Verdi’s assassin, Sparafucile.  Not limited to opera, he has also performed several seasons with the Bethlehem Bach Festival and was a resident artist at the renowned Marlboro Music Festival under the direction of Rudolf Serkin.

A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, John-Paul received his undergraduate education at Baylor University, then went on to study with the great Wagnerian soprano, Margaret Harshaw at Indiana University and at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he received his Diploma in Opera.

Upon returning from his European performing career, in 1984 Professor White came to Oakland University as head of the vocal program. Since that time, he has seen it grow to become the largest applied music area in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He was promoted to the rank of full professor in 1997. In a long list of successful students, many have gone on to perform in some the world’s foremost opera houses and festivals, as well as on Broadway and on London’s West End.

Professor White’s teaching and research has ventured beyond his own singing and has led him to work with individuals with various types of vocal fold injuries. He regularly sees referrals from Beaumont and Henry Ford Hospitals, and is a voice consultant for several area laryngologists. Professor White is a contributing author in the medical text, Vocal Arts Medicine: The Care and Prevention of Professional Voice Disorders.

Later career highlights include being named the inaugural Travis Professor of Music at Oakland University, honoring his many professional accomplishments and contributions to the university and the community, and making his Carnegie Hall debut in New York, where he was featured as the bass soloist in the Mozart Requiem, and in Beethoven’s Mass in C. 

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