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Kevin McMillan

Teaching Philosophy
In my view, the goal of any elite singer should be relatively simple – to do service to the art placed before them by the composer and the poet. To do this, it is essential to study in detail the techniques and traditions of elite vocalism. When the technical function of a voice is solid, safe, and well-informed, an artist’s creative spirit can be implemented most effectively.

This study can be bewildering at times, so through any means possible, I strive to codify, clarify, and de-mystify the singer’s study while constantly steering toward the standard technical practice and appropriate expression for each style of singing. I share evidence-based information freely and honestly, so students become increasingly self-aware. Hopefully, this inspires their personal process of continued development and makes my instruction more and more redundant.


Canadian baritone Kevin McMillan’s performing career has spanned almost 40 years with over 900 concerts, 15 professional recordings, a Grammy award, a Gramophone award, and numerous Juno award nominations.

Critics have praised his “elegant lyric baritone voice” and “singularly remarkable interpretive skills” in appearances with virtually every major North American orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.

He has also established a presence in Europe, with appearances in centers such as London, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, and Prague. He has worked with such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Andrew Davis, Neeme Jarvi, Sir Roger Norrington, Hellmuth Rilling and the late Robert Shaw, Kurt Masur, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Pierre Boulez, and Sergiu Commissiona.

After preliminary schooling at the Universities of Guelph and Western Ontario in Canada, Mr. McMillan studied at the Britten-Pears School in England and attained a Master’s Degree at the Juilliard School in New York.

Despite a farming accident 40 years ago that left him a partial paraplegic, he has traveled the world extensively, and has had the opportunity to perform not only concert repertoire but also a number of operatic roles in semi-staged performances. His performances and recordings of the art song repertoire are widely-regarded as some of the finest of his generation.

He ranks as a Full Professor at James Madison University in Virginia, USA, and his studio there is well-established as an international center for vocal excellence. He teaches a studio of voice students from all over the world. He also teaches both undergraduate and graduate vocal pedagogy, coaches the JMU Bach Aria Group, and coordinates Auditions and Admissions for the JMU Voice Area.