12th World Symposium on Choral Music

Rachel Inselman, Richard Robbins and Andrea P. Herrera


Country: USA

Instructors of voice and choral directors in the United States, and throughout the world, are increasingly faced with the responsibility of teaching singers who identify as transgender or non-binary. This presentation, which might best be understood as an open dialogue regarding the various biological and social issues that arise in dealing with these singers in the context of a vocal or choral rehearsal, seeks to identify questions and possible answers that will help instructors understand and welcome these vocalists into their singing communities.

The presentation will conclude with an open dialogue for sharing. The leaders of this presentation have experience with transgender and non-binary singers within their voice studios and choral classes. Anecdotal information and real-life applications for this material will be given.

Rachel Inselman, soprano is a Professor of Voice at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has performed numerous opera roles as well as appearances as soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the United States including the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, and Lincoln Symphony Orchestra. International credits include engagements with the Shanghai Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, Paris Sinfonetta, and the Tatui Wind Ensemble in Brazil. As a recitalist, Rachel has appeared in Australia, Italy, Costa Rica, Brazil, Turkey and Canada. She was named a winner at the 1996 Metropolitan Opera District Auditions for the fourth consecutive year, and a third-place finalist at the Met Regional Auditions in 1995 and 1996. She has presented “Teaching Transgender Singers” on a panel for the 2017 International Congress of Voice Teachers conference in Stockholm, Sweden and “Teaching Outside the Gender Binary: Working with Transgender or Non-Binary Singers”  at the 2018 National Association of Teachers of Singing conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Richard Robbins is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he conducts the University Singers and Chamber Singers, in addition to teaching an array of choral conducting and music courses. Richard travels extensively as a clinician, adjudicator, and director for choral festivals and honour choirs across the United States. His editions of Italian sacred music of the early Baroque are published internationally, and he has been invited to present on a range of topics for music education and conducting organisations, including the American Choral Directors Association, and internationally at Warsaw’s Chopin Conservatory of Music. Richard also serves as Chorus Master of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and he has prepared choruses for the Houston Ballet and for over 50 performances with the Houston Symphony. He taught choral music in the Texas public schools for several years and directed two ensembles at the University of Houston. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, previously serving on the Executive Board of the Southwestern Division.

Andrea P. Herrera (she/they) holds a master’s degree in Sociology and a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Oregon. Andrea is currently a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Department of Sociology at UO, where she has taught courses in Sociology, Ethnic studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies. She has published articles on sexual identity hashtags, the construction of gender and sexuality within and by high schools, discourses of sexual violence at university campuses, and strategies for eliminating sexual inequalities. She coedited Gender, Sexuality, and Race in the Digital Age, a forthcoming anthology from Springer Social Sciences. Andrea has more than a decade of experience singing choral music in university and community choirs in Texas and Oregon. Her professional memberships include the American Sociological Association, the National Women’s Studies Association, and Sociologists for Women in Society. Andrea has won awards for her dissertation research on dismantling gendered and sexual inequalities and for excellence in undergraduate teaching.  

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