Vocal Coach - Opera
John Greer is an accompanist, vocal coach, conductor, arranger and composer heard in these capacities throughout Canada and abroad. He is an honoured music graduate of both the University of Manitoba where he studied piano and composition with Boyd McDonald and of the University of Southern California where he was a student of pianists Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Brooks Smith and harpsichordist Malcolm Hamilton. His conducting teachers had included James Fraser-Craig and Boris Goldofsky.
Mr. Greer has been fortunate to have worked in recital with many of Canada’s most talented young singers of his generation: Nancy Argenta, Tracy Dahl, Rosemarie Landry, Linda McGuire, Kevin McMillan, Mark Pedrotti, Catherine Robbin, Michael Schade and Monica Whicher, to name a few, as well as the renowned American singers/teachers Carmen Balthrope, Linda Mabbs, Carmen Pelton, Ashley Putnam, William Sharp, Carol Webber and Delores Ziegler.
As a conductor or head coach Mr. Greer has prepared and performed over one hundred different opera and operetta titles, some more than once and several premier performances. As a faculty member of the University of Toronto opera division he made his conducting debut in 1983. Subsequently he worked for Victoria’s Opera Piccola, Ottawa’s Opera Lyra, The Banff School of Fine Arts, the Toronto Gilbert & Sullivan Society and Mirvish Productions. He has worked on numerous productions with Opera (Hamilton) Ontario and the Canadian Opera Company where he was chorus master for their 1989 productions of Un Ballo in Maschera and Il Barbiere di Siviglia and assistant conductor for their 1990 production of Suor Angelica. The majority of his career was spent as music director at various prestigious American music schools: firstly at the Eastman Opera Theatre in Rochester, New York, the Opera Studio and the University of Maryland followed by a decade as Director and Chair of Opera Studies at the New England Conservatory in Boston. For three seasons he was visiting Head Vocal Coach for the University of Kentucky voice and opera in Lexington, KY. For ten seasons his summers were occupied with his duties as General Manager and Head of Music Staff for the Janiec Opera Workshop at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and he has also served on the music staff of Glimmerglass and Chautauqua Opera companies. He is currently on the Faculty of the Glen Gould Professional School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, teaching Concert Repertoire and Opera Repertoire to their graduate singers.
Mr. Greer’s compositions include twelve song cycles written for Canadian singers such as Catherine Robbin, Kevin McMillan, Mark Dubois, Tracy Dahl, Monica Whicher, and Adrianne Pieczonka, numerous works based on Canadian folk song and many pieces of diversely-scored vocal chamber music. He has written two operas for the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus; The Snow Queen based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale with a libretto by Jeremy James Taylor of Britain’s National Youth Music Theatre, and an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale The Star-Child with librettist Ned Dickens and a revision and orchestration of the 1889 Canadian operetta Leo the Royal Cadet by O. F. Telgmann, commissioned by Toronto Operetta Theatre. His most recent short comic opera A Tall Order was written for the Boston Opera Collaborative and premiered in 2016.