My Journey from Behind the Piano to Center Stage
By Kristina Nicole Lewis ’09
Converse has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. Within my first year in attendance, I had never felt so at home and appreciated, as I did at the Petrie School of Music. The leadership and support of the faculty, along with the great friendships I made with my colleagues, allowed for an atmosphere of the utmost inspiration. What I love about the Petrie School of Music, is the passion and drive the school has, in bringing out the best in all their students. Being there, I wanted to work hard and be the best, every day. What I found to be even more inspirational was how Converse College and the Petrie School of Music challenged you to become creative and to experience being outside of your comfort zone. Never, in a million years, did I think I would ever become an opera singer.
I would not be where I am today, had I not had been under the great mentorship of my professors, colleagues, faculty and staff at Converse College and the Petrie School of Music.
When I first attended Converse, I was solely a concert pianist. However, thanks to Dr. Beverly Hay, Dr. Douglas Weeks, and the encouragement of so many others, I began to sing, without knowing where it would take me. Thanks to the Petrie School of Music’s dedication to being the best, I pursued a career in opera, after only having had two years of voice lessons from Converse. It was a daunting journey, making such a transition from classical piano to opera. To this day, being a pianist is still one of my greatest passions. However, I would not be where I am today, had I not been under the great mentorship of my professors, colleagues, faculty and staff at Converse and the Petrie School of Music. The leadership and support of the faculty allowed for an atmosphere of utmost inspiration.
“The leadership and support of the faculty allowed for an atmosphere of utmost inspiration. “
There has been great success since having graduated from Converse. I am currently in my second year at the Academy of Vocal Arts, currently studying with world-renowned teacher Bill Schuman. I have made my international concert debut in the Bahamas, with the Bel-Canto Singers and my Canadian debut, in Montreal, Canada, with Peabody Conservatory alumni. Other concert guest appearances include Harlem Opera Theater, the Greater South Jersey Chorus, and the Bucks County Choral Society. I made my national solo debut with the Baltimore Symphony, under the direction of Marin Alsop and Didi Balle in 2011.
Kristina’s Latest Achievements
- Artist in Residence at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia
- Regional finalist and Encouragement Award from the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Mid-Atlantic Region at the Kennedy Center
- 1st place of the 2012 Classical Vocal Arts Competition – Mid-Atlantic District of the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs
- Winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Council District Auditions in Washington, DC, 2011, the Opera Index, Inc. Voice Competition in New York, NY
- 1st place winner of 2009-2010 Sylvia Green Voice Competition of the Peabody Institute