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John Koch

Associate Professor of Voice
School of Music
Cook Hall - CH 107
Office Hours
By appointment
  • About
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  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Vocal Area Auditions Coordinator, Illinois State University
Artistic Director, MIOpera, Inc.
Conductor, ISU Civic Chorale

In 1997, John Michael Koch, baritone, began teaching in the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University's School of Music in Normal, Illinois, where he now serves as Voice Area Auditions Coordinator in the School of Music.

Koch has performed over 35 operatic and 50 oratorio roles throughout the world. He is General Director, Co-Founder of MIOpera, Inc., a 501 (c)3 non-profit performing arts organization that had its inaugural season in 2011 with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Subsequent seasons included Don Giovanni in 2012, Le nozze di Figaro in 2013, Bizet’s Carmen and Dan Shore’s The Beautiful Bridegroom in 2014, La cenerentola and Hansel and Gretel in 2015, Falstaff and The dialogues of the Carmelites in 2016, Les contes d’Hoffmann and Pirates of Penzance in 2018, La bohéme and Die Fledermaus in 2019, La traviata (the movie), Amahl and the Night Visitors and Il barbiere di Siviglia in 2021, Carmen and The Sound of Music in 2022 and The Pirates of Penzance in 2023. This company was created to give young emerging singers from all over the world the opportunity to stage and perform complete operatic roles and is now central Illinois' leading opera company. MIOpera has received several generous grants from the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grants Fund and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Mirza Arts and Culture Fund and was proud to offer unique opportunities to central Illinois audiences. As a soloist, Prof. Koch is noted for his interpretation of Orff's Carmina burana. Memorable performances of the Orff include Chicago’s Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Caracas Contemporary Ballet (Venezuela), Karmi'el Dance Festival in Israel (Tel Aviv Opera and Jerusalem), Chautauqua Institution, Cincinnati Ballet, Princeton University Symphony, and Glee Clubs, the Southwest Michigan and Green Bay Symphony Orchestras, the Montréal Philharmonic, the Canadian Ballet, and Illinois State University. Other abroad performances include the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Cairo, Egypt. His world premieres of David Maslanka’s A Carl Sandburg Reader and his Symphony No. 9 have been released on CD by Albany Records. Another world premiere presented a Daron Hagen work based on the famous Civil War letter of Major Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah entitled: The Banner of my Purpose. Performances of the work were given at Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, and Pacific Lutheran University with Prof. Koch as a featured soloist with military band. Recent solo performances have included Haydn's Paukenmesse, Verdi’s Requiem, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Britten’s War Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat mater, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and numerous performances of Handel's Messiah in the Midwest and Illinois. He maintains a full voice studio in addition to conducting the ISU Civic Chorale since 2010.

Current Courses

237.001Applied Music (Advanced Voice)

137.001Applied Music (Voice)

437.001Applied Music-Voice

188.001Civic Chorale

288.001Civic Chorale

488.001Civic Chorale

Teaching Interests & Areas

Opera, Art song, Musical theatre, contemporary music, Choral music

Research Interests & Areas

Opera, Art song, Musical theatre, contemporary music, Choral music

MM Master of Music-Vocal Performance

University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music
Cincinnati, OH

BM Vocal Performance

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI


Meistersinger Opera Competition, Graz, Austria

National Finalist

Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions


Montreal International Music Competition for Singers


Eleanor Steber Music Foundation Grant


Opera Columbus Opera Competition

National Winner/Men's Voice in Opera

International Federation of Music Clubs


The Singer Prepares. The Singer Prepares. MIOpera, Inc.. (2021)