Professor of Voice Lindsey Christiansen passes away

Christiansen joined the Westminster faculty in 1977
Lindsey Christiansen (photo: R. Terrio 2013)

Lindsey Christiansen (photo: R. Terrio 2013) 

Professor of Voice Lindsey Christiansen passed away on Wednesday, March 1, at 5:35 p.m.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau St., Princeton, N.J.

Christiansen joined the Westminster faculty in 1977. In addition to teaching voice and song literature, she was a founder, along with Dr. J.J. Penna, of Westminster’s Art Song Festival, a now annual two-day celebration of the creativity found in the union of poetry and song. She was the chair of the Voice Department (now the Piano and Voice Department) for 18 years.

She was a fierce champion of students in every aspect of their education, both in nurturing and encouraging those with difficulties and insisting upon and maintaining the high standards that she and the art of singing demand.

“Lindsey, we are thankful for your broad and unconditional love; we are thankful for your gift of linking heart and brain, ear and eye; your legacy will live on in the mystic harmony of our community as we experience the lasting effects of your time with us each and every day,” Piano and Voice Department Chair Margaret Cusack and Westminster College of the Arts Dean Matthew Shaftel wrote in a message to Westminster students, faculty and staff.

Christiansen received her bachelor’s in music history from the University of Richmond and a master’s in voice and organ from the University of Illinois. She studied at the Opera School of the Hochschule für Musik, Hamburg, as an International Rotary Foundation Fellow (1974-75) was also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, University of Illinois Fellow and Fellow of the Bach Aria Festival and Institute (1989).

As a member of the American Academy of Teachers of Singing and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Christiansen was active as a clinician for master classes and lectures in song literature and voice pedagogy. She was twice a master teacher for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Internship Program for young teachers.

Christiansen was a lifelong student and lover of the music of Franz Schubert. She was a participant in the Aston Magna Academy on "Schubert's World" and later presented a paper on Schubert and Friedrich Schlegel for the Northeast Modern Language Association. At Westminster, she organized and coordinated a festival/symposium on the music of Schubert. She has twice been artist-in-residence for voice study for the prestigious Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria.

Her students and former students have sung in opera houses all over the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera etc. They have been prize winners in major competitions including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Mario Lanza Competition and many others.

She taught on the music faculties of the University of Illinois and University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in addition to Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Christiansen is survived by husband Knud, children Molly, John and Andreas, and her grandchildren.

For those of you who would like to honor her life and legacy, Christiansen's family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival Endowed Fund, which has been established in honor of Lindsey Christiansen to sustain the study and performance of art song at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Contributions may be made online at or sent to Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Attn: Art Song Festival, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton NJ 08540.

For assistance in making a gift, please contact Kate Wadley '02 at 609-921-7100, ext. 8213, or [email protected].