Susan Williams

Associate Professor of Voice and Vocal Pedagogy
Associate Director of Opera


  • BM, Birmingham-Southern College
  • MM, University of Akron
  • DMA, Cleveland Institute of Music


Susan Williams, soprano, has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of leading opera roles and as a vocal soloist. During a sabbatical research trip in 2022, she guest lectured at The Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. As part of a 2022 concert tour in Brasilia, Brazil, she performed at Casa Thomas Jefferson, and performed and gave masterclasses at the Universidade de Brasilia, and Escola de Música. In 2019, she performed with the President’s Orchestra of Tajikistan through the Pitch Pipe Foundation and gave masterclasses in Kathmandu, Nepal at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy to teach masterclasses and participate in panel discussions at various academic and cultural institutions in the city. In March of 2019, she made her third visit to Havana, Cuba where she performed at the Sala de conciertos Ignacio Cervantes, lectured, and taught master classes with students at the Instituto Superior de Arte. Twice she has toured in Kolkata, India as part of a series of concerts sponsored by Kolkata Classics.

In 2018, she performed with Mississippi Opera in their review of the music of Gilbert & Sullivan. With the Duke Symphony Orchestra, she has sung Despina in Così fan tutte, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and Sophie in excerpts from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. For Opera Birmingham, she sang the Erste Knabe in Die Zauberflöte and the title role in over 30 performances of Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood. She toured northeast Ohio with Lyric Opera Cleveland’s Overtures and with Cleveland Opera as Adina in The Elixir of Love. In Florida, she was soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Master Chorale of South Florida, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes for Miami’s Mainly Mozart Festival.

Under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, she performed in The Cleveland Orchestra’s production of Le nozze di Figaro. As a soloist with the Tuscaloosa Symphony, she has performed Bach’s Cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51, the Schubert Mass in G and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also been a soloist with the Akron Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Cleveland Bach Consort, the Huxford Symphony, and the Johnson City Symphony. In Graz, Austria, she sang the soprano solos in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and was a finalist in the Meistersinger Competition at the American Institute of Musical Studies.

A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, she earned a master’s degree at the University of Akron, and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the guidance of Mary Schiller. At Vanderbilt University, she was a 2013 member of the prestigious National Association of Teachers of Singing internship program where she worked under master teacher Kenneth Bozeman. Dr. Williams joined the University of Alabama faculty in 2012 and received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2019. Prior to her position at the University of Alabama, Dr. Williams was a member of the voice faculty at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. In the summer of 2018, she was a faculty artist for the Bassi Brugnatelli International Conducting and Singing Symposium in Robbiate, Italy.  She is active in the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing where she serves as Membership Chair, and serves as Alabama Governor for the National Opera Association. In addition to teaching applied voice at UA, she teaches the voice pedagogy courses, oversees the UA Voice Lab, serves on the UA School of Music’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) Committee, is Associate Director of Opera, and is co-Coordinator of the voice area.

Her scholarly interests include using body movement systems and integrating virtual anatomy technologies to enhance student learning in the studio. Her articles can be found in The Journal of Singing and Voice Prints: Journal of the New York Singing Teacher’s Association (NYSTA). Dr. Williams earned her 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification in 2014 at Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand. In the summer of 2019, she received her second teacher enrichment grant from Music Teacher’s National Association with which she completed a 100-hour module on pranayama, a yogic system of breathwork.


Williams, SE. Book Review: “So You Want to Sing with Awareness: A Guide for Performers”. Voice Prints: Journal of the New York Singing Teacher’s Association (NYSTA). March/April 2021, Volume 18, No. 4, pp. 91-93.

Williams, SE. Book Review: “Performance Anxiety Strategies: A Musician’s Guide to Managing Stage Fright”. Voice Prints: Journal of the New York Singing Teacher’s Association (NYSTA). September/October 2018, Volume 16, No. 1, pp. 16-18.

Songer, Loralee; Williams, Jeffrey; and Williams, Susan. “Surviving and Succeeding in the Academic Job Market: Expert Panels: Three Junior Faculty Members Discuss Their Experiences”. Voice Prints: Journal of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association (NYSTA), March/April 2017, pp. 6-7.

Williams, SE. George, DR. Finding the Right Metaphor: Strategies to optimize the educational value of virtual anatomy software in the voice studio. Journal of Singing Nov/Dec 2016, Volume 73, No.2, pp.203-209.

Williams, SE. George, DR. 3D Virtual Anatomy Technologies in the Voice Studio: Exploring the Functionality and Limitations of Visible Body®. Journal of Singing, Mar/Apr 2013, Volume 69, No. 4, pp. 437-442.George, DR.

Williams, SE. Southern, DJ. (2010). Humanizing “Alzheimer’s” at the opera: The balance between reductionist and person-centered themes in Strawberry FieldsJournal of Aging, Humanities, and the Arts 4(4): 340-351.