Coloratura soprano Jessica Spafford has had success both nationally and abroad as a performer and pedagogue and currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music in Voice and Theory at Emory & Henry College. Additionally, along with her colleague Joshua Boggs, she is a founding Associate Artistic Director of AppOpera, a new opera company the duo started in the Tri-Cities region.
Jessica earned her doctorate in music performance, pedagogy, and literature from James Madison University in 2017. Since then, she has taught courses at James Madison University, Mary Baldwin University, Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, and the University of Alabama. In August 2018, she joined the faculty at Judson College as an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Study Abroad and later became the Head of the Music Department in 2019. While there, she taught voice lessons, vocal pedagogy, music history, music appreciation, vocal literature, choir, music theory, sight-singing, and ran the opera workshop program.
In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Spafford also maintains an active performing schedule. Aside from being an avid recitalist and master class clinician, in 2018 she presented and sang the U.S. premiere of Lauren Spavelko’s song cycle Baby Book at the Music by Women Festival, the world premiere of songs by Larry Taylor at the Bridgewater Poetry Festival, was a featured soloist for songs by Bernstein and excerpts from Candide with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, collaborated on an operatic concert project with the Bronx opera, and was a Guest Artist for the 38th Annual Contemporary Music Festival honoring Libby Larsen at James Madison University. Dr. Spafford has served as the soprano soloist on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Schubert’s Mass in G with the Shenandoah Chamber Society, on songs by Elizabeth Raum and Stephen Hartke—both with the composers in residence—and as Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Luray Opera. In June 2016, she performed in Dresden, Germany, having been recruited to sing the Queen of the Night with the Radebeul Landesbühnen Sachsen Theater in their production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. While abroad, she also performed the role of Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone with the Mittelsächsisches Theater and spent time giving recitals in various cities in Germany and Austria.
Previously, she won the Columbus Opera’s young singer competition while at Ohio Wesleyan University and performed with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Master of Music degree from Duquesne University, where she studied with Sari Gruber. Other prominent teachers include Anne Kopta, Marilyn Nims, and Dorothy Maddison. Spafford has performed numerous leading roles in her career, such as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La Bohème, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites, Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, and Cunegonde in Candide.
- D.M.A., James Madison University
- M.M., Duquesne University
- B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University