Soprano and Piano

Sunday March 10, 2019 @ 15h00

Sheila Dunn, soprano; Blake Riley, piano. Works by Fauré, Strauss, Gordon and Barber ( full program details )

Dr. Sheila Dunn, soprano, is an Associate Professor of Voice and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of West Florida where she primarily teaches applied voice, vocal pedagogy, vocal literature, opera workshop and women in popular music. She maintains an active performing career particularly in opera and as a concert artist and recitalist. She has performed with Chautauqua Opera, Nevada Opera, Lake George Opera, Pensacola Opera and the Indianapolis Symphony among other organizations.

She has earned praise for her operatic performances in such roles as Adele (Die Fledermaus), Blonda (Abduction from the Seraglio), Costance (Les Dialogues des Carmélites), Despina (Cosí fan tutte), Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro). Her performance repertoire is diverse including works from Handel and Mozart to Wolf and Poulenc. She is equally comfortable in the classics of musical theater and pops and has a special interest in the music of the Tin Pan Alley Era.

In 2011, she was recognized for her dedication to teaching by receiving UWF’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2014, her online course, Women In Popular Music, was awarded Quality Matters certification. In 2016-2017, she will participate in the inaugural class of UWF’s Faculty LEAD program.

Dr. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and both a Master and Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

In constant demand as a collaborative partner, pianist Blake Riley has been praised for his beauty of tone and communicative powers. Through his performances with Pensacola Opera’s Salon Series and other concerts, he has worked with artists from some of this country’s leading opera houses, including San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Houston Grand Opera.
Born in Canada, he attended Mount Allison University and the University of Toronto. He was awarded full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he received a Masters in Collaborative Piano.
Blake has been a faculty member in the music department at the University of West Florida since 2005. During that time he has taught Applied Piano, Collaborative Piano, Class Piano, Foreign Language Lyric Diction and conducted the University Singers from 2010 to 2015. Under his direction, the University Singers enjoyed several exciting collaborations with Maestro Peter Rubardt and the Pensacola Symphony including the Mozart Requiem and John Adams’ On The Transmigration of Souls. He has performed in recital with vocal faculty from many leading American universities including Indiana, Florida State, Baylor, Rice and the University of Wisconsin. In 2009, along with Mezzo-Soprano, Elise Quagliata, he performed for King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain, on the occasion of their visit to Pensacola.
Possessing broad musical and artistic interests, Blake also enjoyed a ten year career as a professional dancer. This culminated in four years in the Broadway Company of Miss Saigon. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment was the merging of musical and dance careers when he conducted Miss Saigon’s presentation for the annual Broadway ‘Gypsy of the Year’ competition at the Palace Theater. Broadway luminaries, Fred Ebb , John Kander and Chita Rivera awarded the performance, ‘Best in Show’.


Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Les Roses d’Ispahan (Leconte de Lisle)
Nell (Leconte de Lisle
Chanson d’amour (Armand Silvestre)
La Fée aux Chansons (Armand Silvestre)
Notre amour (Armand Silvestre)

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden (C. Brentano)
Ich schwebe (K. Henckell)
Breit’ über mein Haupt (A.F. von Schack)
Ständchen (A.F. von Schack)

Ricky Ian Gordon (b. 1956)
Heaven (Langston Hughes)
Coyotes (Ray Underwood)
Port Town (Langston Hughes)
Daybreak in Alabama (Langston Hughes)
Joy (Langston Hughes)

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Nuvoletta (James Joyce)
The Daisies (James Stephens)
Solitary Hotel (James Joyce)