Dr. Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, Director of Opera and Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, focused her dissertation research on performance anxiety management for singers. A former sufferer of performance anxiety, her current collaborative study with the UAB Department of Psychology measures cortisol levels in performers. This workshop begins by defining performance anxiety, and notes a variety of symptoms, some of which might be surprising. Various therapies are introduced, including cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and psychoanalytical treatments. Though by definition, performance anxiety is not a reflection of one’s aptitude or level of preparation, strategies for through preparation and memorization are included with cognitive therapies. Recent discoveries in neuroplasticity reveal that one’s neural pathways can be changed. To that end, creative visualization is introduced, so that students may positively alter their thinking about their own performances.
Soprano Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk is the Director of Opera and Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A specialist in the lute songs of John Dowland, her solo CD of Dowland lute songs was released in 2008 by Centaur. She has performed and lectured throughout North America on the socio-political intrigue surrounding the songs. In 2010, she was a fellow at Early Music Vancouver’s “Compleat Singer Programme.” In March, she appeared in the title role in Dido and Aeneas with Bourbon Baroque.
Hurst-Wajszczuk debuted with the Boulder Bach Festival in 2004 and with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in 2011. An active recitalist, her credits include a world premiere of theatre songs by composer Zeke Hecker, songs by Steven Mercurio, and performances and recordings of music by David Hogg. Recent recitals have taken her to Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and the Carolinas. She participated in composer Bill Mayer’s 70th birthday celebration concert in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, in the role of Madeline in the composer’s The Eve of St. Agnes. In 2002, she was a regional finalist in the NATSAA competition; in 2006, she appeared on a Wisconsin Public’s Radio broadcast of Live from the Chazen Museum.
UAB Opera has achieved national recognition under Hurst-Wajszczuk’s direction. For three of the past four years, UAB Opera has won first, second, and third place awards in National Opera Association’s opera production competition. Recent shows under her direction include The Merry Widow, The Elixir of Love, Man of La Mancha, Dido and Aeneas, The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mozart’s La Finta Semplice, Handel’s Semele, and Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace.
In 2011 and 2012 Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk served on the voice and opera faculty of the New York State Summer School of the Arts. Additionally, she has been a regular guest clinician at the Druid City Opera Workshop, and was a Fulbright finalist in 2014. Her research on performance anxiety management includes a study on the effects of peer support with the UAB Department of Psychology.
For more information, please visit www.kristinehurst.com.
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