Vocal Arts Faculty

Matthew BurnsMatthew Burns
Assistant Professor of Voice

cathlinaFrancis Cathlina
Director of Choral Activities 

CobbJoyce Cobb 
Popular Music- Voice

fisherRyan Fisher 
Professor of Music Education, Choral
Interim Dean, College of Communication and Fine Arts

FrizzellEmily Frizzell 
Assistant Professor of Music Education, Choral

Stephen KarrStephen Karr
Opera Musical Director

rushingRandal Rushing 
Professor of Voice

benBenjamin Smith 
Associate Professor
Stage Director for Opera

VillarrealPaulina Villarreal
Assistant Professor of Voice

wilsonMary Wilson
Associate Professor of Voice

Recent Research & Creative Activity


  • Mary Wilson was a soprano soloist for the Whitacre Five Hebrew Lovesongs, Sarasota Ballet.
  • Mary Wilson was awarded University Research Professorship “to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the University’s education, research, outreach and service missions.”


  • Paulina Villarreal was appointed Young Singer's Program Director for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
  • Mary Wilson performed as a soprano soloist for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the  Colorado Symphony.
  • Paulina Villarreal organized and directed "Voces a la Distancia," Northern Mexico's first national virtual voice competition, a part of Cantos para Hermanar al Mundo concert series.
  • Mary Wilson performed as a soprano soloist for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.


  • Paulina Villarreal was a mezzo soloist for the world premiere of Mango Suite (Derek Bremel, composer/Sandra Cisneros, poet) with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
  • Paulina Vilarreal organized and directed "Cantos para Hermanar al Mundo" 4th concert edition and tour of Coahuila, Mexico.
  • Randal Rushing performed a solo recital, music of Ralph Vaughan Williams in London, United Kingdom, and Regensburg, Germany.
  • Benjamin Smith founded Memphis Light Opera and oversaw all aspects of its first production, “The Gondoliers.”
  • Mary Wilson was a soprano soloist for Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 “Kaddish,” with the Nashville Symphony.
  • Benjamin Smith was the Stage Director for “Il tabarro” with the Mobile Opera.