Voice students at the University of Evansville are challenged to perform at the highest level while receiving individual attention within the environment of a small, closely-knit liberal arts institution. Our faculty have years of experience as teachers while maintaining active performing careers in opera, musical theatre, oratorio, chamber music, and art song.

Solo, choral and opera experience

  • Our area is large enough (approximately 45 students) to perform major choral works and opera, and yet is small enough that the entire faculty develop relationships with every student without the competition of a graduate program.  Our students are given frequent opportunities to perform in weekly activities such as choirs, opera, master classes, studio classes, a concerto competition, and degree recitals. In fact, freshmen have performed lead roles in opera productions and have been chosen as soloists on choral concerts because they aren't competing against students that may be five or six years older.

Competition and young artist success

  • UE voice students can be found among the winners of the annual National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) regional and state competitions and rank equally well in other vocal competitions such as the Orpheus and NATSAA. Recently, several of our students have performed with regional opera companies and have participated in summer professional opera young artist programs across the United States and internationally.

Interaction with artists

  • Each year the vocal area hosts well-known vocalists to perform in recitals and to coach our students in master classes. Recent guest artists include the King's Singers, David Small, Mary Ann Hart, and John Van Cura.

Alanna Keenan, Associate Professor of Music

Dr. Alanna Keenan, DMA

Associate Professor of Music

Krannert Hall of Art and Music, Room 33
Keenan Keenan Full Biography

Gregory Rike, Assistant Professor of Music

Dr. Gregory Rike, DMA

Assistant Professor of Music

Krannert Hall of Art and Music, Room 105
Rike Rike Full Biography

Dr. Alanna Keenan, assistant professor of voice, holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in vocal performance with a minor in musicology from Louisiana State University. She teaches applied voice and diction. Prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Music she taught at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where she directed the vocal program and taught courses in performance, music history, diction, and aural skills.

Dr. Keenan is an active performer both in recital, opera, and oratorio. Among the roles she has sung are Mother Marie (Dialogue of the Carmelites), Mrs. McClean (Susannah), Cathleen (Riders to the Sea), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), and the title role in Carmen. Oratorio credits include Saint-Saëns’s Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Keenan has recently appeared as a soloist with OvreArts, the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra, and choir of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Keenan’s students have been accepted to graduate schools across the country including Indiana University, Catholic University, Cleveland State University, and East Carolina University. Her students have been accepted into summer programs such as SongFest and the American Singers’ Opera Project. She is a full member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Eric McCluskey is an assistant professor of music at the University of Evansville. He currently teaches applied voice and the vocal diction courses. Prior to coming to the University of Evansville, Dr. McCluskey was an assistant professor of music at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia where he taught applied voice, vocal diction, song literature, and second semester of vocal pedagogy. He holds a doctor of music degree from the Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Distinguished Professor, Timothy Noble. His Masters of Music and Bachelors of Music come from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Additionally, McCluskey received training while participating in the Merola Program with the San Francisco Opera, the Musicians Club of America in Franklin, North Carolina, and at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.

Before beginning a teaching career McCluskey sang professionally and continues to perform as often as his teaching will allow today. His career spans over thirty years and began with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 1985 singing the role of Fiorello in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Leonard Slatkin, conducting. After completing a Masters degree in 1986 his career began to escalate and by the early 1990’s he had sung with opera companies across the United States. His performances include touring with San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater and two tours with New York City Opera’s National Company. He has sung side by side with some of the great ladies of opera today including: Susan Graham, Anna Marie Martinez, and Christine Brewer. McCluskey has also worked with some of the leading conductors, coaches, and stage directors including the already mentioned Leonard Slatkin, John Nelson, Donald Palumbo, Stephen Lord and the late Colin Graham.

Mr. McCluskey has sung a few world premieres including: Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Singing Child with the Spoleto Festival USA and Opera Omaha’s performances of Weisgall’s Gardens of Adonis and Casken’s Golem. His career has afforded him some unique performances as one might expect including singing with the Paris Opera Ballet, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. McCluskey sang the performance with the orchestra in the pit while the international ballet star, Rudolf Nureyev danced. Dr. McCluskey has also enjoyed performances on board the HMS Sagafjord and Vistafjord on three different occasions.

Several awards helped jump start his career including: the William Matheus Sullivan Award, the Richard Gaddes Award from Opera Theater of Saint Louis, the Merola Opera Awards, and the Young Artist Competition from the Women’s Association of the St. Louis Symphony Society. He also credits competitions in which he competed as a finalist in support of his career including: The Bruce Yarnell Competition and the Zachary Competition.

Dr. McCluskey while completing his doctoral degree at the Jacobs School of Music began building a web site for the songs of Gerald Finzi and one can now visit an expanded version of the site at: www.finzisong.com

Gregory Rike is an Assistant Professor of Music and also serves as Musical Director for the nationally-recognized UE Theater. Prior to coming to Evansville Dr. Rike held teaching positions at the University of Mississippi, The Ohio State University, Ohio Northern University, Heidelberg College, and the University of Findlay.

In demand as a performer, clinician, and coach, Dr. Rike is equally comfortable with opera, oratorio, art song, and musical theater genres. He has been musical director of such shows as A Little Night Music, Follies, Company, Urinetown, Grand Hotel, The Last Five Years, Into the Woods, Parade, Assassins, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Sweeney Todd as well as The Marriage of Figaro, Baby Doe, and Tartuffe. He has performed with various opera companies as well as the Evansville, Toledo, Charleston, Columbus, and Ohio State Symphony Orchestras. He has judged National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Ontario, Canada, as well as the Metropolitan Opera auditions in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Rike currently teaches courses in applied voice, song literature and vocal pedagogy.

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Room 133, Krannert Hall of Art and Music