Dr. Tanya Kruse is a total voice pedagogy nerd! She loves to create other voice nerds and delights in inspiring others to understand their voices more completely. When students find their own unique sound and are able to sound like the artist they hear in their head, she is happy.
Tanya holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Cum Laude) from Luther College, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor of Vocal Performance with a cognate in Opera Stage Directing from the same institution. She completed all three levels of Somatic Voicework™: The LoVetri Method, at The Contemporary Commercial Music (musical theatre, jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles) Vocal Pedagogy Institute. She has been an invited masterclass clinician at places such as the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program and was an Artist Teacher at La Musica Lirica, an International Opera Festival in Novafeltria, Italy.
Kruse, former Associate Professor of Voice and Voice Area Head, obtained tenure and was on the voice faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) from 2003-2022. There, she authored the BFA: Versatile Voice degree program and launched it, the only program of its kind in the US. She previously taught at Luther College, her alma mater. She has received awards recognizing her excellence in teaching at UWM where she taught undergraduate and graduate students including voice lessons for classical singers as well as those training in musical theatre and other contemporary styles, Voice Pedagogy, Italian Diction for Singers, Song Literature, and Opera Workshop/Productions.
Her students are currently singing in professional musical theatre and opera productions and have won top prizes in competitions such as the Lotte Lenya Competition, Czech and Slovak International Voice Competition, Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) National Student Auditions, Wisconsin District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and she had a Finalist (one of 10 in the country) in the National MONC Auditions where her student sang with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Her students also enjoy singing in their church choirs, as cantors, in rock bands, with contemporary church bands, and in semi-professional groups such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
With Dr. Sheila Feay-Shaw, Kruse won a grant to conduct research on how high school choral directors distribute technical information about the voice to their students. She presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) Convention in 2013 on “Pedagogical Approaches to Functional Anatomy Through Daily Exercises in the Choral Setting” and their poster presentation was given there in 2014. In 2015, she presented at the WMEA with Dr. Zachary Durlam as a “Choral Myth Buster.” In 2016, she presented at the National NATS Convention with Dr. Kristen Wunderlich, “Big is Beautiful: Providing pedagogical support for the large voices in our studios”. As a 2016 presenter for the Music Theatre Educator’s Alliance International Conference in Oslo, Norway, Kruse presented, “Picture, palpate, play: Understanding breath and body for music theatre singing”. In 2018, Kruse presented at the National NATS Conference, “Training the Whole Voice: In Pursuit of a New Paradigm”. A frequent undergraduate research fellow mentor at UWM, favorite topics include voice pedagogy, teaching contemporary singing styles, and training large voices.
Kruse has been a guest lecturer for local public school teachers In-Service training, teaching about vocal health. She’s been a guest clinician at several universities, such as UNC-Charlotte, Viterbo University, and Luther College, giving master classes on the function of the singing voice within multiple styles. She enjoys mentoring educators and future educators on their own voices as well as that of their students/future students.
She is a past president and vice president of the Wisconsin Chapter of NATS and is also a graduate of the NATS Intern program where she studied with Dr. Scott McCoy. Currently, Kruse is a full member of PAVA (Pan-American Vocology Association).
On the stage, Kruse has played La Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro) with much critical acclaim, Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly), Rusalka (Rusalka), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), and Angelica (Suor Angelica), among others. Recently, she has moved into dramatic soprano repertoire. She is a past winner of the Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and formerly served as a co-director for the MONC Auditions in Wisconsin. Kruse has appeared as soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle, Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard, Verdi’s Requiem, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Solemn Vespers, Vaughan-Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, and more. Kruse has been a soloist with the Wisconsin Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Kruse and pianist Elena Abend released a CD on Albany Records titled, “Over the Fence: Songs of Elsa Respighi, Lori Laitman, and Modesta Bor,” which contains two world premiere recordings.
Kruse maintains a thriving studio of adult singers who work with her outside of an academic setting. These adult professional voice users often are performers, but also live in the world of speech and language pathology and avocational singing. Some of her studio is composed of those who have a diagnosed vocal pathology or health issue, such as Parkinson’s disease or muscle tension dysphonia, or who have had a surgery related to their voice and need some help recovering after speech therapy. Others are accomplished singing actors and/or voice educators, working on stages and in classrooms. (Told you she was a voice nerd!)
She lives in Waukesha with her husband (love of her life), two (tall) children, and sweet pup Ethel. When she’s not teaching, she is probably sipping good coffee, reading about the voice, selling real estate, kayaking, biking outdoors, or listening to a podcast.