- DM, Voice/Opera Performance, Florida State University
- MM, Opera Performance, Binghamton University
- BS, Vocal Music Education, Townson University
Soprano Luvada A. Harrison is an assistant professor of Musical Theatre/Voice in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Prior to joining the ranks of academia, she spent almost 20 years as a working singer based in New York City. Harrison continues to enjoy a varied and distinguished academic and performing career. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic and her Lincoln Center debut in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Choral Society as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Harrison has performed with regional opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. As an Arts Educator, she worked for the Education Department of the New York City Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the “Meet the Artist” series at Lincoln Center.
Harrison’s performance experiences are multi-faceted. Off-Broadway audiences enjoyed her performance as the opera singer in Prelude and Liebstod by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally. She received national exposure as Aida in the “Drama Queens” episode on HBO’s hit series Sex and the City. Portrayed the role of Nurse Nelda in Aaron Greer and Seth Panitch’s award-winning Independent Film Service to Man. Made her Theatre Tuscaloosa debut as the Music Director for their production of Crowns. As an artist who moves well, Harrison and Lawrence Jackson, dancer performed I Walk with Spirit choreographed by Cornelius Carter at the 76th Dance-Forms International Choreographers’ Showcase at the Festival Fringe in Edinburg, Scotland. I Walk with Spirit was recently featured in the New York Dance Festival 30th Year Celebration: “International Stage: A Celebration of Black Influence in Dance.” She also provided voiceover narration for the award-winning documentary film The Wallace Rayfield Story by documentary film maker, Dwight Cammeron.
As a concert artist she has presented recitals and master classes at several universities throughout the United States including Augusta University in Georgia, Alabama State University, Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Albany State University in Georgia, Liberty University in Virginia, and University of Pikeville in Kentucky. Harrison has performed several times as a guest artist/soloist with the Tuscaloosa Symphony and recently made her debut with the Meridian (2022) and Gulf Coast Symphony (2023) Orchestras of Mississippi.
Harrison’s research activities are interdisciplinary. As a member of the inaugural cohort of Collaborative Arts Research Initiative Fellows (CARI), her completed collaborations include The Visit – a short documentary film recreating for modern audiences Booker T. Washington’s 1910 address delivered at Tuscaloosa’s First African Baptist Church, complete with written and sung material. On Whose Shoulders We Stand: Honoring the Legacies of Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry and Marion Anderson – a multi- media recital presentation recreating the 1982 historic Carnegie Hall duet recital in honor of Marian Anderson’s 80th Birthday originally presented by renowned African American operatic sopranos Shirley Verrett and Grace Bumbry. Harrison’s ongoing collaborations include: The Moods of Dotts Johnson in Song – an original Musical Theatre piece inspired by the life and work of Dotts Johnson, the first African American actor to perform a leading role in a foreign film, Piasan by Italian film director Roberto Rossellini. This collaborative project includes original archival research into the life and work of Dotts Johnson in order, to historically place him in the broader performing arts context. The project will also include the creation of a digital exhibit to make the research accessible to the public and to other scholars. Wearable Breathing Sensors – this unique collaboration blends engineering with voice pedagogy and medical research to design and create a wearable garment with sensors to quantify the complex, dynamic biomechanics of breathing during vocal training to quantify breath capacity outcomes of young singers, professional voice users and chronic respiratory disease patients.
A graduate of Towson University in Baltimore, MD, she holds a Master of Music from Binghamton University, and a Doctor of Music from Florida State University where was the recipient of the prestigious University Fellowship. She was a 2010 member of the prestigious National Association of Teachers of Singing Summer Intern Program at Stetson University where she tutored in Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy by Marjorie Halbert, professor emeritus of Belmont University. She has earned a Certificates of Completion from the Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute of Shenandoah University and Estill Level 1 Figures for Voice Control.
Before joining UA’s Department of Theatre & Dance in 2017, Harrison served on the faculties of Florida A&M University as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice and at Stillman College, Tuscaloosa as Associate Professor of Music/Chair of the Department of Fine Arts. During her tenure at Stillman, she received the Joseph A. Gore Faculty Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the President’s Golden Shovel Award for Community Service. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Tuscaloosa Symphony, Theatre Tuscaloosa, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa.
Current professional affiliations include the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Musical Theatre Educator’s Alliance (MTEA), The Voice Foundation Alabama Chapter (AVF, secretary 2022-2023), and the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA). Dr. Harrison also serves on the Editorial Boards for the MTEA and the Arts to Research Universities (a2ru) Ground Works Journals.
In 2020, Dr. Harrison received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The Leadership Board of the College of Arts and Sciences designated Dr. Harrison as a 2022-2025 Fellow in “recognition of her scholarly achievements, exemplary teaching and as one of the College’s outstanding faculty members.”
Harrison, L. A. “let Go of Why? – Figure Out How” The Voice: Voice in the time of COVID-19, Volume 26, (Summer 2021), 23-24.
Harrison, L. A., Keene, D. A. (2022). “What Does a Syllabus Convey? Insights from the Student Experience Project.” College of Arts & Sciences Teaching Hub, (2nd Quarter/Spring)