​​ Mary Saunders-Barton, MA

Singing Teacher

Professor Emeritus, Penn State

New York, NY

Mary Saunders Barton is a Penn State Professor Emeritus, currently residing in NY where she maintains a musical theatre voice studio for Broadway performers. While at Penn State, she was head of voice instruction for the BFA in Musical Theatre and created an MFA in Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy to meet the growing demand for voice teachers who specialize in vernacular techniques. In this and recent seasons her students have been seen on Broadway in Wicked, Mamma Mia, Lion King, Pippin, The Book of Mormon, Newsies,Kinky Boots, Bandstand, A Bronx Tale,Beautiful, Ain’t Too Proud andBe More Chill, among others and inmany national tours and regional productions. Her own performing career spanned twenty years and included Broadway, off Broadway, regional, film, and television credits. 

Mary received a Master’s degree in French language and literature from Middlebury College and the Sorbonne, Paris. While in Paris, she studied French art song with the great baritone, Pierre Bernac. She is an unapologetic Francophile.

She is frequently invited to present her workshop Bel Canto Can Belto for singers and teachers of singing at universities and voice conferences in the U.S. and abroad. Mary has been a featured presenter for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Opera Association (NOA), the Voice Foundation Symposium, the New York Singing Teachers Association (NYSTA), and the Musical Theater Educators Alliance (MTEA). She was the keynote musical theatre speaker at the 2013 International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT) in Brisbane, Australia. She has served twice as a master teacher for the NATS Intern Program and serves as a board member and teaching mentor for New York NATS. She is an invited faculty member of the Vocal Pedagogy Professional Workshop (VPPW) at Boston Conservatory/Berklee.

Mary has co-authored a book “Cross-Training in the Voice Studio: A Balancing Act” with colleague Norman Spivey. She is a contributing author of a chapter in the recent NATS publication “So You Want to Sing CCM” edited by Matthew Hoch and was featured in the second edition of “A Spectrum of Voices” by Elizabeth Blades.

Mary has produced two video tutorials– Bel Canto/Can Belto: Teaching Women to Sing Musical Theatreand What About the Boys?She was the keynote speaker and 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah Conservatory. She is Chair of The American Academy of Teachers of Singing.

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