Cara Chowning
Cara Chowning
Assistant Teaching Professor (Vocal Coach and Music Appreciation)


Room:MU 111C

Equally at home in vocal and instrumental repertoire, Cara Chowning is in demand as a coach, music director and collaborative artist. She has performed extensively throughout the United States, South America, and Europe as duo partner, chamber musician and orchestral pianist. A frequent guest coach and conductor, Chowning returned this season to conduct Rodelinda at UMKC, work with Theatre students at the University of Illinois and serve as the music director and pianist for the vocal series of the Bar Harbor Music Festival. She also appeared in recitals with Trio Village, Bernhard Scully (French horn) and Metropolitan Opera singers, Harold Meeres and Janinah Burnett (currently singing Carlotta in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera).

Dr. Chowning has served on the accompanying faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music as well as the faculties of Simpson College, Oklahoma City University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Former students and singers from her private coaching studio can be heard in young artist programs, theater series and opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, Kansas Lyric, Union Avenue Opera, Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera and Writers Theatre. Chowning is a frequent guest on recital series throughout the Midwest and Northeast Ohio and has been broadcast on WFMT, WCLV and Iowa Public Radio and has recorded on the Albany label. She has performed at the National Flute Association’s Convention and the International Double Reed Society Convention as competition pianist and recitalist and is principal keyboardist with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.

Internationally, Dr. Chowning has served on the accompanying faculties of the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria and is a frequent guest at the Mitad al Mundo Flute Festival in Quito, Ecuador as pianist and master teacher. She has lectured and performed for Road Scholars and Uniworld cruises.

An accomplished artist and versatile musician, Dr. Chowning has prepared numerous complete opera or musical theater productions as a music director and pianist, at the professional, young artist, and collegiate levels. As conductor she has produced The Threepenny Opera, Oh What a Lovely War and Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play for the University of Illinois Opera and Theatre Departments, The Mikado, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Die Zauberflöte for Simpson College, Nine for Oklahoma City University; Carmen, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Madama Butterfly, L'elisir d'amore, La Bohême, La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni and Don Pasquale for the Bar Harbor Music Festival; and has served as cover conductor for productions with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and the University of Illinois Opera Theater. Additionally, Chowning has served on the music staff of Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Opera Cleveland, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the capacities of assistant chorus master, rehearsal pianist, recitalist, coach, and musical director. An avid supporter of outreach and arts education, Dr. Chowning worked with Cleveland Opera On Tour for four seasons preparing and performing music in the greater Cleveland community. Later, as music director of Opera Cleveland’s Great Works outreach Department, she created several new educational programs for performance in schools across Northeast Ohio.

Among the many awards and competitions received by Dr. Chowning, are the Nancy Kennedy Wustman Memorial Award in Vocal Accompanying, the Marian Bowker Davidson award in accompanying, and the McDowell Society of Allied Arts Piano Competition. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Accompanying and Vocal Coaching from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Doctor of Musical Arts - Accompanying and Vocal Coaching
University of Illinois at Urbana

Prior Employment

University of Illinois