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Bernard coaches singers, pianists, and aspiring conductors in operatic, song literature, and lyric diction.


When I coach singers, I work systematically towards phonetic clarity and a synthesis of language, music, and meaning. I must be able to inform the singer about stylistic, social, cultural, and dramaturgical matters. There is much to do, and I must manage time well, rehearse efficiently, and provide depth and breadth of perspective. But most importantly, I must work with understanding and empathy for the singer as an individual.


Early in my career I was fortunate to study and collaborate with some of the foremost French, Italian, English, German, and Czech language coaches of the major western European opera houses. These experiences were bolstered by systematic study of lyric diction in the US, including Russian. As a graduate of one of the very few distinguished and well-established opera coaching programs in the United States, I also enjoy sharing these perspectives with aspiring collaborative pianists, coaches, and conductors.


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"A born educator, I have observed Dr. McDonald's indefatigable work educating and training a wide range of people, from professional singers, orchestra players, and collaborative pianists to a children's chorus. He brings industry, humility, and passion to his work. He has a talent for bringing out the best in people and creating an ethos conducive to learning, creativity, and high performance. Not only an outstanding musician, he is a veritable life coach!"

- Alexandra Babbel, soprano and founding artistic director of Opera Kelowna


Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Royal Conservatory of The Hague

Indiana University Opera Theater

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Manhattan School of Music

University of Memphis

University of South Alabama

University of Mobile

University of British Columbia-Okanagan

Grinnell College

Simpson College

Barry University

Troy University


BA, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Collaborative Piano)

MM, University of Glasgow (Musicology)

DM, Indiana University (Conducting)

Artist Diploma, University of Cincinnati (Opera Coaching)



Cavalli’s Ormindo: Tonality and Sexuality in Seventeenth-Century Venice. MMus thesis, University of Glasgow.

Puccini as Modernist: Selected Twentieth-Century Structures in Gianni Schicchi and Turandot. DMus dissertation, Indiana University.



Bernard is based in Des Moines, Iowa, and maintains regular collaborations in Mobile, Alabama. For all booking inquiries, or to schedule a coaching session, contact him directly using the form.

Bernard may also be reached via email at

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