Natalie Emptage Downs is an adjunct instructor of voice at Spring Arbor University.
She holds a Bachelor of Music from Otterbein College, a Master of Music from Michigan State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Michigan State University. She studies with Anne Nispel.
As a light lyric soprano, Dr. Downs is an active recitalist and has performed in various opera and musical theatre productions. Most recent performances include The Red Mill, Le nozze di Figaro, Gianni Schicci, Candide, and Brigadoon. She has sung the soprano solo in Camille Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. She also performs early music with The Arbor Consort located in Ann Arbor, MI. In 2008, Dr. Downs was the winner of the Charlotte Ruppel Memorial Voice Award from The Birmingham Musicale located in Birmingham, MI. She has also been featured in operetta recordings such as The Prince of Pilsen and The Girl From Utah with the Comic Opera Guild of Ann Arbor, MI.
Outside of Spring Arbor, Dr. Downs is the vocal area chair at Michigan State University’s Community Music School in East Lansing, MI. In the summer, Dr. Downs serves on the faculty of the MSU Community Music School’s Musical Theatre Camp, where she directs small scenes and choreography.
Offstage, Dr. Downs’ research primarily focuses on women in music. Her doctoral thesis is entitled “The Diva Without A Voice: Pauline Viardot and the Problem With Biography.” Dr. Downs was awarded a research enhancement grant from the Michigan State University Graduate School and College of Music, which was used to conduct research at the Houghton Library at Harvard University on Viardot’s vocal music. Dr. Downs is currently editing and translating Viardot’s music.