John Stephens holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Hamburg, Germany. He received advanced training at the Juilliard School of Music, where he was a member of the American Opera Center. In addition to teaching voice and stage directing operas at KU, Mr. Stephens maintains a professional career as an opera and concert singer and stage director. He has sung leading roles with numerous companies including the Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, New Orleans Opera, Atlanta Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Opera Pacific, Orlando Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, Boston Lyric Opera, Cleveland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Omaha, Chautauqua Opera and the Kansas City Lyric Opera. He has directed productions for the Wichita Grand Opera including H.M.S. PINAFORE and DON PASQUALE; and THE MIKADO and SUSANNAH for the Lake George Opera Festival (now Opera Saratoga). Additional professional directing credits are with Winter Opera of St. Louis, and at the University of Georgia. As a concert soloist he has sung with the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, the Orlando Symphony and at the J. F. Kennedy Center. For several years he was the principal bass soloist for the Bach Aria Group.
Stephens has recorded for Columbia Masterworks, Newport Classics, and the Musical Heritage Society. A recipient of the Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas, Professor Stephens' voice students have sung with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Paris Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand opera, Portland Opera, The English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Ireland's Wexford Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Glimmerglass Opera, Chautauqua Opera, the Tanglewood Festival and others, as well as on Broadway, and in numerous national tours. Stephens' recent singing engagements include COSI FAN TUTTE with both the Kansas City Lyric Opera and Opera Saratoga, BILLY BUDD with the Santa Fe Opera, IL TROVATORE with New Orleans Opera, and OF MICE AND MEN with Kentucky Opera.