John M. Koch, baritone
Midwest Institute of Opera

MIdwest Institute of Opera
2017 Program Information
2017 Application
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Past Productions
John M. Koch, baritone

Welcome to the website of Prof. John M. Koch and the Koch Studio of Voice at Illinois State University. I remain committed to giving my students a strong foundation in breathing for the singing voice and establishing a life-long vocal technique. With weekly lessons and regular master classes, students are assigned appropriate repertoire to help build a strong and flexible voice. If you are interested in joining my studio, please contact me at

I come from a long background of performing opera and oratorio throughout the U. S., Canada, South America, Europe and the Middle East and have been on the Illinois State University Voice faculty since 1997.

In 2003, John Michael Koch, baritone, was granted tenure in the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University's School of Music in Normal, Illinois, where he has been nominated to Who’s Who in America in 2008 and 2009, and three times to Who's Who Among America's Teachers and has served as Voice Area Coordinator in the School of Music since 2009.

Koch has performed over 35 operatic and 45 oratorio roles throughout the world. He is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Midwest Institute of Opera that had its premiere season in 2011 with Die Zauberflöte. The subsequent seasons included Don Giovanni in 2012, Le nozze di Figaro in 2013 Bizet’s Carmen and Dan Shore’s The Beautiful Bridegroom in 2014, Cenerentola in 2015 and Hansel and Gretel, Falstaff and The dialogues of the Carmelites in 2016. This summer opera program at Illinois State was created to give young emerging singers locally and from all over the world the opportunity to stage and perform a complete operatic role. The program is growing rapidly and has hired opera professionals such as Maestro Joshua Greene from the Metropolitan Opera, Lucy Arner of the Mannes School of Music, Liora Maurer of the Metropolitan Opera and James Marvel, Director of Opera at UT-Knoxville to lead our participants in fully-staged productions. 2014 also brings the premiere of “MIOperatunities,” a matinée version of Carmen that filled our performance hall with young camp students, special needs students, and older community members at no cost to them, offering a “highlights” opera that included interpretive signers, Flamencan dancing by the USA Ballet, information on Spanish culture in the 19th century, French opera and a “Meet and greet the artists” session post-performance. The Midwest Institute of Opera and MIOperatunities has already received several generous grants from the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grants Fund and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Mirza Arts and Culture Fund and is proud to offer this unique opportunity under the auspices of the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music.

As a soloist, Mr. Koch is noted for his interpretation of Orff's Carmina burana that he debuted at Chicago's Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Noted performances of the Orff include the Caracas Contemporary Ballet (Venezuela), Karmi'el Dance Festival in Israel (Tel Aviv Opera and Jerusalem), Chautauqua Institution, Cincinnati Ballet, Princeton University Symphony and Glee Clubs, the Southwest Michigan and Green Bay Symphony Orchestras, the Montreal Philharmonic, and the Canadian Ballet and Illinois State University. Other abroad performances include the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Cairo, Egypt. His world premieres of David Maslanka’s A Carl Sandburg Reader and his Symphony No. 9 were just released on CD by Albany Records. Another world premiere presented a Daron Hagen work based on the famous Civil War letter of Major Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah entitled: The Banner of my Purpose. Performances of the work were given at Illinois State University, Western Illinois University and Pacific Lutheran University with Mr. Koch as featured soloist with military band.  Local solo performances have included Verdi’s Requiem, Elgar’s The dream of Gerontius, Britten’s War requiem, Rossini’s Stabat mater, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and several Carmina buranas at Illinois State University. Mr. Koch maintains a full voice studio in addition to teaching Vocal Pedagogy and conducting the ISU Civic Chorale.

Updated 1/17

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