Mary Southworth Shaffer
Instructor - Adjunct
Adjunct Instructor of Voice
CCM Performance Studies - 0003
An extremely versatile performer, Mary Elizabeth Southworth is an active soprano soloist in repertoires including opera, oratorio, art song, musical theatre, and symphonic works. She has performed numerous times with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati May Festival. These performances include: soprano soloist in Zemlinsky’s Psalm 84 (conducted by James Conlon), Blumenmadchen in Wagner’s Parsifal (conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos), Frasquita in Carmen, and Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio (conducted by Paavo Järvi). She was also featured in Cincinnati Opera's outreach program entitled Find Your Voice. Mary has also sung with the Cincinnati Pops under the batons of Maestro Erich Kunzel, John Morris Russell, Eric Dudley and Marvin Hamlisch, performing at the Cincinnati Pops Concerts in the Park series and the Home for the Holidays programs. Mary has also appeared as soloist on numerous occasions with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, including Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Mahler's 4th Symphony.
Mary Elizabeth was in both Nevada Opera`s and Kentucky Opera`s productions of Marriage of Figaro as Susanna and Barbarina (respectively), as well as Dayton Opera productions of Little Women as Beth and The Magic Flute as Pamina. She has sung the role of Gretel in Humperdinck's Hänsel and Gretel with Kentucky Opera and Chattanooga Opera, and she has appeared as a featured soloist with the Northern Kentucky Symphony, the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. She has performed recitals throughout the country and was a featured soloist at a dedication concert for Jerome Hines in 2002.
Mary is an active chamber music musician. In 2006 she helped create a chamber music ensemble called Conundrum with whom she actively performs. In 2007, Conundrum was the artist in residence at the Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts and was a featured ensemble during ChamberPalooza! 2007 and again in 2009. In 2008 and 2010 Conundrum was featured as the headlining ensemble at the California State University, Fresno New Music Festival. She also performs regularly and has toured and recorded with the Dayton chamber music ensemble Top Brass.
Mary Elizabeth has recorded on Albany Records with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and CCM Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as on Sparrow Records with the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. In 2009 she released her first solo album entitled Storyteller based on her very successful recital program; also that same year, Conundrum released their first album entitled That Night. Her second solo album Approaching Eden was released in 2010.
Mary Elizabeth served on the faculty at Wright State University’s theatre program for six years, where she taught Musical Theatre and Acting majors; many of her students have landed roles in national and international tours. Along with her position at CCM, she is currently the Music Director and Cantor for Rockdale Temple. In 2004 she was inducted into the Cincinnati MacDowell Society, and in 2005, Women's Business Cincinnati named her as one of the Top 10 Women in the Arts.
While attending CCM to earn her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance, she was awarded the J. Ralph Corbett Prize and was selected as a Concerto Competition Winner. After graduation, she placed second in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions.
She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, twin daughters Jacqueline and Elizabeth and her three dogs. She is also an avid runner, finishing three Cincinnati Marathons; also, in 2003, she skied the American Birkebeiner 54K cross-country ski race alongside her father.
MM: University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music