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Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies

A Letter From The Area Director

Welcome to the Choral, Vocal, and Opera area of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. Almost daily, I receive emails and phone calls from prospective students and their parents asking me, "Why should I come to the Bob Cole Conservatory? What makes the voice program special, and what do you consider to be your strengths?" These are some of my favorite questions, because I believe we are not only the best value in collegiate music education in California, but our alumni have consistently shown that a Bob Cole education allows them to do exactly what they wanted to do when they started school—follow their dreams as performers, teachers and scholars.

"The faculty and I are passionate about our program. We believe in the transformative power of music in people’s lives and we work to share that with our students, our audiences and our community every day."

Dress rehearsal for the Mozart Requiem
Dress rehearsal for the Mozart Requiem.

As a student at CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory, you will receive weekly voice lessons with some of the finest studio voice faculty in the country. You will be immersed in five centuries of repertoire and you will be nurtured by teachers who care—really care—for their students. You will be held to the highest standard in practice and in performance, and you will gain the needed skills to become a professional. The ensembles you’ll sing in are some of the most celebrated in the nation, with appearances at national conferences, yearly touring opportunities, and collaborations with living composers like Richard Burchard, Jake Runestad and Eric Whitacre. Our fully staged, orchestrally accompanied operas are selected to highlight the talent we have in-house; we do not use ringers or faculty in our productions.

Alumnus Tyler Alessi with composer Ricky Ian Gordon at Opera Fusion Cincinnati
Alumnus Tyler Alessi with composer Ricky Ian Gordon at Opera Fusion Cincinnati.

Alums of our program make a living in music. They perform on TV, on the nation’s great operatic stages (including the MET, San Francisco, LA, and Cincinnati), in Broadway touring companies, with major bands, in combos, on cruise ships, and in the recording industry. They sing with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Pacific Chorale, The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Music education majors who elected to have voice as their principal instrument are teaching at every level. They are elementary school teachers and Directors of Choral Activities at great schools of music. They are private voice teachers and church choir directors. They are living their musical dream and sharing the joy of performance and singing with the next generation.

The faculty and I are passionate about our program. We believe in the transformative power of music in people’s lives and we work to share that with our students, our audiences and our community every day.

I encourage you to come and visit. Plan a day; participate in rehearsals, observe lessons and sit in on classes. See for yourself what makes the Bob Cole Conservatory such a special place to sing.


Jonathan Talberg headshot and signature.

Jonathan Talberg, DMA
Area Director, Choral Studies
Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

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Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Music, Option in Performance—Concentration in Voice

The Bachelor of Music, Option in Performance-Concentration in Voice is a pre-professional program aligned with NASM standards that gives students the necessary tools for a professional career as a singer. The Bob Cole Conservatory Choral, Vocal and Opera Program, one of the largest undergraduate voice departments in the state of California, supports seven ensembles, the CSULB Opera Institute, weekly master-classes, international tours, and significant scholarship to all voice majors. Our students take the required core in music theory, history, piano proficiency, and applied lessons; our ensembles, opera and musical theater productions, vocal jazz groups, and repertoire courses prepare our young artists for a life in music.

Bachelor of Music, Option in Performance—Concentration in Opera

The purpose of the program is to prepare students for admission into the nation’s most prestigious graduate opera programs and to work in professional opera companies. We aim to provide training in the musical, linguistic and theatrical aspects that will make our students successful in this highly specialized and competitive profession. Our training is accomplished both in the classroom and in public performance.

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Voice Faculty

All Faculty/Staff

Choral Events

All Events

Winter Festival Concert

Jonny Arenas, Brian Dokko, Christine Guter, Joshua Palkki and Jonathan Talberg, conductors

The Winter Festival Concert features more than 200 singers ringing in the holidays with favorite carols, songs, and classical works in Long Beach’s greatest Winter extravaganza. Set in the historic sanctuary of First Congregational Church of Long Beach, this traditional concert has thrilled audiences for over five decades. Enjoy the majesty of the great Möller organ, the supreme talents of the Southern California Brass Consortium, Pacific Handbells, and, of course, the combined voices of the CSULB choirs!

  • Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • 1250 N. Bellflower Blvd.
  • Long Beach, CA 90840-7101
  • 562-985-4781 phone
  • 562-985-2490 fax

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