101 Walnut Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540
Susan Shiplett Ashbaker is an independent artistic advisor/consultant and an opera/vocal coach. Her experience on both sides of the opera industry gives her a rare and comprehensive approach to the key elements of career advancement for singers as well as a unique vantage point in the administration of opera companies, arts organizations and institutions of higher learning. She is currently Executive Director for the Commonwealth Youthchoirs, host to both the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and the Keystone State Boychoir. Recent projects include serving as artistic consultant at The Mann Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia, OPERA America, spearheading their newest publication in the PERSPECTIVES series, "Building and Managing Your Network, and Fort Worth Opera Association in preparation for the new opera and their first commission, Frau Margot, by Thomas Pasatieri, with libretto by Frank Corsaro. Ms. Ashbaker is also in demand as vocal coach and master class presenter, having recently presented master classes at the Manhattan School of Music, The Florida Grand Opera, and The CoOPERAtive Program in Princeton, with whom she is Artistic Advisor, among others. Ms. Ashbaker was affiliated with the Opera Company of Philadelphia for 16 years, the last 11 as director of artistic and music administration, leading the casting practices of the company and supervising all activities of the Artistic and Music Departments. Under her direction, OCP established an intern program with The Curtis Institute of Music. In addition, she has worked as assistant conductor and vocal coach with the New York City Opera, European Center for Opera and Vocal Arts (Belgium), New Israeli Vocal Arts Institute, Theater am Goetheplatz (Bremen, Germany), and the Academy of Vocal Arts. A frequent panelist with Opera America (where she was chair of the Artistic Network), she also judges the Metropolitan Opera Competition (district, regional, and semi-final levels), the Marian Anderson Emerging Artist Competition, and the Richard Tucker Foundation Auditions, among others. In 2002, Ms. Ashbaker was the Honored Master Class Teacher of The Voice Foundation’s 31st Annual Symposium. She trained at Southern Illinois University, l’Ecole Normale de Musique (Paris), and received a second Master’s degree in accompanying/coaching from University of Illinois. Ms. Ashbaker is on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music (a position she’s held since 1993), and is an adjunct professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.