MUSE Welcomes Danielle Steele, Interim Director

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MUSE is very pleased to welcome Danielle Steele as interim director for our March concerts. Danielle serves as the Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Earlham College where she directs the Women’s Chorus and Gentlemen’s Ensemble as well as assists with Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers. Danielle’s ensembles recently toured the East Coast and Midwest, performing in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Chicago. Danielle also teaches courses in vocal performance and sight singing as well as supervises independent studies on conducting and research.

Danielle received her education at Butler University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance with a specialization in opera and art song. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in choral conducting.

As music education student at Butler Danielle received her training with Henry Leck and Cheryl West of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and Indianapolis Youth Chorale, known for their quality music education practices and outstanding performances. An active supporter of arts in education, Danielle’s career reflects an intense dedication to keeping classical music alive and relevant to today’s audiences. Most recently, Danielle held the position of Director of Education for Indianapolis Opera, where she coordinated community outreach, the pre-concert lecture series, and the Indianapolis Opera Young Artist Program, advancing the careers of opera’s brightest up-and-coming young talent. A believer that collaboration is the truest way to preserve classical music, Danielle spent two years working with the Indianapolis Spirit and Place Festival, producing avant-garde operatic works focused on diverse themes and collaborating with mixed-media artists, professional dancers, writers, instrumentalists, theater directors and the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus. Danielle most recent performance art project examined the gender roles we “play” in everyday life and how we express those in music.

Danielle feels her music making has the most meaning when it has social justice implications. Her current research involves the integration of transgender singers into their preferred gender ensemble and vocal pedagogy for transgender singers. This past spring, Danielle collaborated in her research with Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus in Boston, serving as a vocal clinician and teacher. In early April, she presented a vocal workshop on singing for transgender speech clients at the Speech Language Pathology Department of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching facility of Harvard Medical. Her most recent workshops were for Ball State University and the Indiana Music Education Association focusing on LGBTQ Awareness: Creating a Safe and Welcoming Choral Classroom. In the February of 2016, she was an artist-in-residence at the University of Northern Louisiana, where she gave vocal master classes and worked with future music educators on creating LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms. In May, Danielle presented at LGBT Studies and Music Education conference at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana on her work with her studio of college-age transgender singers. Ongoing projects include an interview series with conservative Christian pre-service educators who are struggling with how their faith and ally-ship to transgender students intersect.

Danielle continues to be an active performer. Her colorful, lyric soprano voice has earned her roles on the stages of Des Moines Metro Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Peach State Opera, Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, and Intimate Opera of Indianapolis. Her roles include Manon in Manon, Adina in The Elixir of Love, Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, Lucy in The Telephone, Yum Yum in The Mikado, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. A champion of new works, she recently premiered Boston-based composer Ketty Nez’s Rumelian Songs of Love and the Rain with chamber ensemble at Ball State University. In 2014 she premiered a new opera in collaboration with Earlham College Orchestra, Midsummer, about Japanese internment during World War II.

Ms. Steele is also an active performer of oratorio and chamber works. Recent solo engagements include Ball State University's New Music Festival, a radio feature with Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer, 1915 and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with Kokomo Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and Handel’s Messiah with Earlham College. She has sung the soprano solos in Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Creation, and Vivaldi’s Gloria with both Lebanon Ohio Symphony Orchestra and members of the Bloomington Early Music Ensemble. Recent performances include premiers of new works for the Society of Composers, Inc. at their Midwest regional conferences as well as a collaboration with CCM’s Kenneth Griffiths on Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées. Upcoming performances include recitals with percussion and flute featuring the madrigals of George Crumb with IU East professor Jessica Raposo and Earlham’s Keith Cozart.