School of Music brings in nationally renowned artists for free concerts

“Mondays @ MN” holds weekly events at 6 p.m. in Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall.

Graduate student Mario Perez receives instruction from special guest Thomas Muraco in the Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall on West Bank on Monday, Oct. 2.

Jack Rodgers

Graduate student Mario Perez receives instruction from special guest Thomas Muraco in the Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall on West Bank on Monday, Oct. 2.

Cleo Krejci

Every Monday night, students and community members fill an auditorium at the University of Minnesota to listen and learn from nationally renowned vocal artists at no cost.

“Mondays @ MN,” a vocal concert series started by a University music professor last month, will hold master classes and performances for free every Monday night at 6 p.m. in Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall on West Bank.

Adriana Zabala, chair of the voice division and voice professor at the University, founded the program after years of envisioning it.

“I wanted the series to be really clearly open to the community,” Zabala said, adding that vocal students at the University were lacking exposure to nationally-renowned musicians.

Tyler Wottrich, a pianist and University alum who performed during the Sept. 25 Mondays @ MN performance, said he feels other schools provide better access to experienced vocal artists.

”We’ve never had a program like this that brought the community into the School of Music … and the vocal program out into the community,” said Jean Del Santo, an associate professor of voice who has been on staff at the University since 1989.

Ronnie Bell, a doctoral voice student at the University, said he thinks the program helps students experience an artistic culture outside of Minnesota. 

“Exposure to these people can mean potential recommendations for work, or for undergraduate students specifically … it might mean they get into a grad school,” Bell said. “It exposes us, which is what we need.”

Private lessons with nationally-renowned artists can cost $150 to $300 an hour, and many are located outside of Minnesota, Bell said.

Bringing artists and teachers to the University saves students from paying for travel and the class itself, Bell said. 

“It’s quite expensive to be a singer,” he said. 

Clara Osowski, a vocal artist who was recently honored in an international vocal competition, performed on Sept. 25 with Wottrich. 

Ozowski said it often costs money to see these artists and tickets have to be purchased in advance.

“It really frees up who can make it,” she said.

Guest artists are booked through Nov. 27 for six master classes and two performances.

“We are just trying, essentially … to broaden and deepen the experience of the singers in our program,” Zabala said.