To serve as inspiration and provide students with a wealth of knowledge from their exceptional careers, internationally recognized mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Doug Wright will each join the faculties of the J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts during the 2019-2020 academic year.
The caliber of Graham and Wright as Distinguished Visiting Professors acts to strengthen the bond the college has with its students by encouraging their ambition and curiosity. Their respective classes will enrich the honest artistic expression, unceasing creativity and hard work Talkington students learn. "I am thrilled to come back to Texas Tech to share my experience of over 30 years in the professional international opera world with the wonderful students in the School of Music," says Graham. "I've been privileged to learn from the world's greatest stage directors, conductors, coaches and teachers, and I'm very happy to pass that knowledge on to the young musicians who occupy the spaces I once did, here at Texas Tech!"
Graham, a world-renowned mezzo-soprano, made her international debut in 1994. Hailed as "an artist to treasure" by the New York Times, Graham won "Best Classical Vocal Performance" at the 47th annual Grammy Awards in 2004. She has shared the stage with various performers including Renee Fleming and Placido Domingo, and has performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Sydney Opera House and the Opera National De Paris.
"Coming to Texas Tech feels like coming home in a way," explains Wright. "My grandparents lived in the community, and my three Lubbock cousins are all graduates of Tech. Mark Charney is building a truly impressive School, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."
Wright is a Pulitzer Prize recipient for his play I Am My Own Wife. He wrote the book for Grey Gardens, War Paint and Hands on a Hardbody. Wright also has credits for screenplays for Fox Searchlight, Fine Line Features, and Dreamworks. He has been awarded multiple fellowships throughout his career, including the William L. Bradley Fellowship at Yale University. Wright has served as president of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Noel Zahler, Dean of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts, commented "These faculty appointments highlight the strength of our programs and the alliances we have had with alumni and long-time collaborators to our programs. Our faculty inspire and educate students for success as performers, creators, scholars and educators in visual arts, dance, music and theatre."
The School of Art, School of Music and School of Theatre & Dance host more than 800 public events a year on the Texas Tech campus and in the community.