Bruce Schoonmaker is a widely respected teacher who has helped guide students to some of the most respected opera houses in the world. A native of Charlotte, Schoonmaker attended Davidson College and Furman University, where he graduated in 1973. He moved with his wife, Gail, to study at Northwestern University, becoming well known in the Chicago area as a soloist and singing actor. After four years, he moved to Furman and has taught voice and opera there ever since. He solos with major orchestras and choral organizations in the southeastern United States.

Schoonmaker's former voice students include Tony Stevenson (winner of the National MONC Auditions and Metropolitan Opera Artist), Bob Moody (assistant conductor for the Phoenix Symphony and music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra), Rusty Smith (scenic designer for Broadway and films like A League of Their Own and The Good Son), Nat Chandler (performer on national tours of Broadway shows), David Holley (director of opera at UNC-Greensboro), Anne Allgood (Broadway singer-actress), Sandra Truitt (Miss America finalist), Hugh Floyd (director of choral activities at Furman) and Paul Smith (New York City Opera).

Name Title Description




Opera Performance Studies

Vocal interpretation and characterization of operatic roles, moving to music, understanding theater skills and conventions, preparation and performance of opera scenes.


Literature of the Instrument

Survey of the musical literature of a particular performance area. Students (typically performance majors) channel their research and study toward their own performance specialty and survey the general body of compositions written for that medium

I believe in voice teaching that leads to greater beauty in the voice and inspires the audience to love music. The proper basis for most music is joy. Singing should not only entertain and edify; it should heal. The audience should feel better after you sing. After such a performance, there's a tangible buzz among the crowd and people will not want to leave. They want to remain in the presence of something healing and eternal.

  • Studied with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi at the Bel Canto Seminar in Busseto, Italy (1984)
  • Bel Canto Competition Winner at Tito Gobbi Opera Workshop, Florence, Italy (1975)
  • Furman Rookie Teacher of the Year (1973-74)
Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Furman University
Training Under
Titto Gobbi
Titto Gobbi Opera Workshop in Florence, Italy
Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi
Bel Canto Seminar in Busseto, Italy

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