Benjamin Smolder, Bass, is Associate Professor of Voice, Director of Miami University Opera Theater, and Director Emeritus of the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition. Smolder has sung principal operatic roles internationally with opera companies in Prague, Vienna, Cairo and in Italy. In this country, he has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Pacific, Des Moines Opera, Opera Columbus, Nevada Opera, and Dayton Opera. As a soloist, he has performed at international festivals including Spoleto, the Santander Festival, Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals, Festival de Mao, Teatro Municipal of San Feliú de Guixols Festival, Almudena Cathedral, Teatre Principal de Mao, Festival de Moiá de Valles, Voces Para la Liturgia, Castell de Belver, and at El Escorial. As a soloist, he has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Central Ohio Symphony, and at Carnegie Hall, the Detroit Institute of Art, and with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the World Equestrian Games. Smolder can be heard on a number of recordings, including Aaron Copland’s The Tenderland with the Bahu-Slav Martinu Orchestra (Albany Records), American Tapestry and American Holiday with the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble and in two albums with The American Spiritual Ensemble.
As a conductor and director, Smolder has received multiple awards from the National Opera Association for outstanding collegiate productions. In the summers, he serves as a faculty member of the Festival of International Opera in San Paulo, Brazil and in Urbania, Italy. He has worked as a vocal coach and accompanist for the equity theater, Downtown Theater Classics formerly based at the Cincinnati Arnoff Center. He is cofounder of S&L Productions and has produced a number of original shows celebrating the Great American Songbook. As director of the Great American Songbook Project, he has produced two professional recordings. As a clinician and has taught at numerous universities throughout the country and for the Washington National Opera Summer Institute at the Kennedy Center and presented classes for Classical Singer, the National Opera Center, National Association of Teachers of Singing National Convention, and the National Choral Directors Association Convention. Smolder studied vocal performance and opera directing at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Kentucky, and Alderson-Broaddus University. Before joining the Miami faculty, Smolder taught at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Transylvania University, Dayton University, and Northern Kentucky University. His students have been accepted into many of the nation’s most prestigious young artists and graduate programs and are currently enjoying careers as international opera singers, Broadway performers, professors, music educators and arts professionals.
Smolder served as the Director of the Schmidt Vocal Competition for seven years before becoming Director Emeritus for the Schmidt Foundation.