Assistant Professor of Music, Voice
Head of the Music Department
Coloratura soprano Jessica Spafford has had success both nationally and abroad. She earned her doctorate in music performance, pedagogy, and literature from James Madison University in 2017. Since then, she has been teaching in the Shenandoah Valley at James Madison University, Mary Baldwin University, Bridgewater College, and Eastern Mennonite University, while maintaining a full private voice studio.
In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Spafford also maintains an active performing schedule. Aside from being an avid recitalist and master class clinician, in 2018 she presented and sang the U.S. premiere of Lauren Spavelko’s song cycle Baby Book at the Music by Women Festival in March; sang the world premiere of songs by Larry Taylor at the Bridgewater Poetry Festival in May; was a featured soloist for songs by Bernstein and excerpts from Candide with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival in June; and collaborated on an operatic concert project with the Bronx opera, also in June. Dr. Spafford has served as the soprano soloist on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Schubert’s Mass in G with the Shenandoah Chamber Society, on songs by Elizabeth Raum and Stephen Hartke—both with the composers in residence during the JMU Contemporary Music Festivals—and as Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Luray Opera. In June 2016, she performed in Dresden, Germany, having been recruited to sing the Queen of the Night with the Radebeul Landesbühnen Sachsen Theater in their production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. While abroad, she also performed the role of Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone with the Mittelsächsisches Theater and spent time giving recitals in various cities in Germany and Austria.
Previously, she won the Columbus Opera’s young singer competition while at Ohio Wesleyan University and performed with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Master of Music degree from Duquesne University, where she studied with Sari Gruber. Other prominent teachers include Anne Kopta, Marilyn Nims, and most notably, Dorothy Maddison. Spafford has performed numerous leading roles in her career, such as Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La Bohème, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, and Cunegonde in Candide. Spafford joined the faculty at Judson College in August 2018.