Dr. Brian Gill
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World-renowned educator, singer, researcher, and founder of Gill Mindful Voice Training, Tenor, Brian Gill (D.M.A., Certificate in Vocology, and 2011 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship winner) is Professor of Voice and Voice Pedagogy at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Since being hired in 2015, Gill has established a Graduate Certificate and Doctoral Minor in Vocology, and has begun a voice lab with state of the art equipment. He was previously Music Associate Professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School and Voice Center (Langone Medical Center) where he founded and directed the thriving Vocal Pedagogy program. In addition to NYU, he has taught at Eastern Kentucky University, Pace University, University of Kentucky at Lexington, and University of Colorado at Boulder in the Continuing Education program. Gill maintains a very active, international, private voice studio filled with performers from myriad musical genres.
His students regularly perform on Broadway (Tony Award Winner), Off Broadway, in Broadway national/international tours; in leading opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, The Royal Opera House, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera; at International Rock and Pop Music Festivals; in other important venues, such as The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center; in major ensembles like The Soldiers’ Chorus, Apollo’s Fire, Anonymous 4; and in many regional theaters across the United States and abroad. Gill is a proud mentor to many successful teachers who also have students regularly singing in high-level performance venues throughout the world.Book A Lesson
As a Performer
Gill then moved to Europe, where other performance highlights include singing for a music festival in Paris, 7eme Festivale Nationale de Rimes et Accords. This was Gill's first job in Europe and involved singing as a tenor soloist for several concerts with chorus and orchestra and singing two solo recitals. Due to the success of this festival, he was asked to sing for an Armistice Day concert at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, where British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was in attendance. While in Europe, an opportunity arose and Gill was hired by an award-winning country band, The Moody Brothers, to sing and play bass for the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris and perform at Billy Bob’s, a western-style bar in Festival Disney. In addition, the band played extra concerts from time to time and backed up other famous country musicians like Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Radney Foster.
Upon his return to the states, Gill was engaged to sing and be the voice producer for a concert series celebrating the life and music of Rosemary Clooney (hosted by Nick Clooney). These concerts took place in Kentucky in both Lexington and Maysville (home of Rosemary Clooney). A review excerpt from Cincinnati Post stated, “ A surprise hit of the evening was the Kentucky Jazz Band's salute to Tony Pastor and the Clooney Sisters from the late 1940s…what really turned the audience on was the performance of two beautiful young singers, blond Jennifer Zehnder as Rosemary and brunette Theresa Thompson as Betty, as well as Brian Gill taking on the duties of Tony Pastor, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Their efforts earned a standing ovation.” Gill was also hired back at CU Boulder's Lyric Theater Festival where he performed the role of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes.
One of the most unique singing jobs Gill has had (and still has) is with the Soul Chants ensemble, a small ensemble that backs up Grammy-nominated vocalist and Gill student, Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon. The style of music is a fusion between Indian classical music and more western traditions. They have performed at multiple venues, including National Public Radio Studio in Washington D. C., and the Kennedy Center.
Dr. Gill's broad knowledge of performance styles and intimate understanding of how to achieve the desired vocalisms inherent in each, provides him with a knowledge base to help a wide variety of students. It is rare in this field to have performed professionally in all these styles and it gives him an advantage when it comes to relating to the needs of all his students.
As a Teacher
In June of 2011, Gill received the coveted Van L. Lawrence Fellowship Award for excellence in voice teaching and knowledge of voice science. The award is given by the Voice Foundation (one of the world’s most prominent voice research and educational facilities), and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. While at NYU, he also received the Steinhardt Graduate Student Organization (GSO) sponsored STAR Award, where the Steinhardt GSO “honor outstanding faculty who have positively affected the experience of graduate students" and the coveted Teaching Excellence Award from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development for “excellence in Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring."
In addition to giving master classes and teaching lessons in the United States (in twenty-three states), Gill has been invited to teach and give master classes in Australia, France, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Denmark, Canada, Estonia, Germany, and South Korea.
Dr. Gill received his B.M. from the University of North Carolina, his M.M. from the University of Colorado, under the tutelage of the late Dr. Barbara Doscher, his D.M.A. from the University of Kentucky at Lexington, and a certificate in Vocology from the University of Iowa, under the tutelage of Dr. Ingo Titze. He has also had the honor of attending Dr. Johan Sundberg’s summer course, The Science of the Singing Voice, for which he is now a co-instructor, teaching in various locations around the world for the last ten years.
In 2008, Gill was asked by the New York Singing Teachers’ Association (NYSTA) to write a review of a new book, Resonance in Singing, by Don Miller, to be published in their official journal, VOICEPrints, in the March-April 2009 issue; this began his interest in research and publishing. Since then, Gill has joined forces with Drs. Johan Sundberg and Filipa Lã, and they have built a strong team of collaborators around the world and have begun contributing a great deal to the understanding of voice production with the unique combination of their backgrounds and skills.
This group’s first couple of papers were investigations into whether professional opera singers deliberately tune their vocal tract resonances in a systematic way as pitch changes: “Professional male singers’ formant strategies for the vowel [a]” and “Formant Tuning Strategies in Professional Male Opera Singers.” A couple of years later, the focus was on the effects of changing vowels on the voice source: “Voice Source and Vowels in Male Voice.” Another more recent example of Gill’s accomplishments in research involves one of the most debated topics in voice training: whether the velum (or soft palate) should be closed completely or be left slightly open during singing. This study and resultant article uncovers the acoustical reality of having the velum completely closed, open slightly, and open a lot: “Spectrum Effects of a Velopharyngeal Opening in Singing.”
Dr. Gill has become known as someone who translates science to practice, and this ability has earned him many invitations to serve as master clinician/guest lecturer at locations around the world. Some of his most significant engagements include: The New York Singing Teachers’ Association where he was asked to give a talk on the acoustics of the voice and then demonstrate how research in this area informs the practical application; the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Los Angeles, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Colorado) to present research findings and give masterclasses to translate these findings; the Acoustical Society of America, one of the most significant research conferences dedicated to promoting knowledge and practical application of acoustics, where, in 2011, Gill was invited to present his research on formant tuning in operatic singing at their meeting in Seattle, Washington; the Voice Foundation’s summer symposium, the largest international meeting of its kind, where over the past ten years, Gill has been a regular presenter and session moderator; Stockholm’s Musikpedagogiska Institut’s conference, “Singing in the Brain” – one of the most eye-opening conferences to which Gill has been invited – where he gave a lecture on Voice Science and participated in a round table discussion regarding the inclusion of scientific information in the teaching of voice, as well as in the training of athletes (the sports physiologist on the panel was stunned to learn that most voice teachers do not know the functioning parts of the voice, even though they are training a person how to use it); and the XXIV Pacific Voice Conference in Warsaw, Poland, where Gill’s talk, “Breathing Patterns and Their Effects on Phonation,” was one of four invited talks which included top experts in the field of voice science and voice medicine: Drs. Johan Sundberg, Matthias Echternach, and Christian Herbst.
Several other favorite appearances include: Physiology and Acoustics of Singing Conference (Sweden), where he discussed his concept of a delayed passaggio in contemporary singing; Pan-European Voice Conference (France, Denmark, & Czech Republic), where he discussed research on respiration and acoustics; Gill’s invitation to Korean Musical Theater Association (2010), ChungKang College (2010), and the Seoul Musical Festival (2012) in Seoul, Korea, to translate science to practice in musical theater singing; the University of Aveiro and University of Coimbra, Portugal keynote invitations to discuss the most salient recent research findings in voice; the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing (Sydney) keynote invitation to highlight “Voice Pedagogy: What We Think We Know vs. What We Know”; and two invitations to lecture for VMTheatre and Taipei Performing Arts Center (Taiwan) (2015 and 2019), where Gill unpacked all the latest research findings regarding the functional unity of all the systems involved in singing.
In popular media, Gill has been interviewed for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine for an article on vocal health that appeared in the March, 2011 issue, page 36. In 2012, he was a guest on the Sirius radio program, Doctor Radio – Real Doctors Helping Real People, which aired live on March 12. The goal of the program was to discuss voice issues and answer questions of listeners who called in; the show received a high volume of calls. More recently, he was invited on The Pulse on NPR, “The science of a healthy career for the hard-living Broadway singer”. The interview aired on May 14, 2014, and the transcript was published on newsworks.org. Gill was interviewed by Christopher Intagliata as a voice expert discussing the topic of healthy, sustainable singing. Please listen to the audio; his part begins around 5:05. Most recently, one of his favorite accomplishments was being an invited guest expert on Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk. Neil’s team researched top figures in voice science and reached out to him to appear on the show to help analyze answers about singing given by world famous singer, Kelly Clarkson. This aired in March of 2018 and is by far one of the most exhilarating experiences of Gill’s career! Here is the link to listen to the interview.
Gill has been published in VOICEPrints (NYSTA official journal), Logopedics, Phoniatrics, Vocology, the Journal of Voice, and The Oxford Handbook of Singing.