Benjamin Smolder, bass-baritone, is Associate Professor of Voice, Producer/Conductor of Miami University Opera and the National Director for the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition. He has enjoyed a varied career as a singer, conductor and producer of opera, musical theater and Great American Songbook programs. As a soloist he has performed with such notable organizations as the Spoleto Festival, Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals, Festival de Mao, Teatro Municipal of San Feliú de Guixols Festival, Almudena Cathedral, Teatre Principal de Mao, Festival de Moiá de Valles, Voces Para la Liturgia, Castell de Belver, and at El Escorial. Smolder has sung principal operatic roles internationally with opera companies in Prague, Vienna, Cairo and Rome. In this country he has performed in concert with the Detroit Symphony, The National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Opera, Nevada Opera, Des Moines Opera, Central City, Columbus Opera, Lexington Philharmonic, with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the World Equestrian Games, West Virginia Symphony and Dayton Opera. He has also performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, in the Detroit Institute of Art Musical Artist Series, with the Cincinnati May Festival and for the National Association of Choral Directors Conference. Smolder can be heard on a number of recordings including The Tenderland with the Bahu-Slav Martinu Orchstra (Albany), American Tapestry with the Vocal Arts Ensemble and in two albums with The American Spiritual Ensemble. He appears in the documentary The Spiritual that has aired on PBS. Smolder was a finalist in the Wurlitzer Competition and winner of the Greenbriar Festival.
As conductor and producer of Miami Opera, Smolder has conducted two operas by Benjamin Britten that have received recognition from the National Opera Association for Outstanding Collegiate Production. During the summers, he serves as a conductor and faculty member for the Festival of International Opera of the Americas in San Paulo Brazil and has acted as vocal coach and accompanist for Downtown Theater Classics, an equity theater based in the Cincinnati Aronoff Center for Arts. He is the co-founder of S&L Productions with a mission to produce professional American-style variety shows with revenue going to non-profit arts organizations. Smolder studied music performance with a cognate in opera directing at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Doctoral Work), voice performance at the University of Kentucky (masters) and performance and music education at Alderson-Broaddus University. His teachers were Barbara Honn, Steven King, Dale Moore, Ken Shaw and Lillian Long. Before teaching at Miami, Smolder served as a member of the faculty at Dayton University and Northern Kentucky University. Many of his students have performed in young artist programs, such as the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Des Moines Opera, Seattle Opera, French Academy of Vocal Arts, Cincinnati Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera North, San Diego Opera, and in Fest at Oldenburg and Mainz.