Nancy Hermiston

Wall Associate


Professor, Director of UBC Opera Ensemble


School of Music





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Nancy Hermiston

Nancy Hermiston’s operatic career has taken her throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Her New York debut took place in Carnegie Hall with Marilyn Horne and Mario Bernardi. Her European début led to a permanent engagement with the prestigious Nürnberg Opera. She has held numerous appointments as voice teacher, and as stage director at the Meistersinger Konservatorium, Nürnberg, and the University of Toronto Opera and Performance Divisions. She was appointed to the UBC faculty in 1995 as Coordinator of the Voice and Opera Division.

In 2008, Professor Hermiston was the recipient of the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts and in the 2009/2010 academic year received a Killam Teaching Prize.

Hermiston is chair of the School of Music’s Voice and Opera Divisions and also serves as University Marshal. In 2014, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her achievements as an opera singer, stage director and educator.

Primary Recipient Awards

Nancy Hermiston – Arts-Based Initiatives – 2019

This project was supported as a Peter Wall Institute Trustees Initiative for two years.
Learning how to perform opera is both cognitively and physically demanding, yet some of the students who have been most successful in UBC’s Opera Program have had learning disabilities, and appear to have overcome their difficulties, or to have learned compensatory skills that help them not just in opera performance but beyond. The goal of the proposed research is to systematically evaluate and better explain the neural foundations of that observation. In this endeavor, a study is proposed to measure executive function and other learning capabilities before and after opera training, and to determine – through MRI measurement of anatomical changes in fiber tracts in the brain and through EEG measures of circuit function– the neural bases of the behavioral improvements. Necessary control conditions are included to specify just what it is about opera training that leads to success.

Nancy Hermiston – Theme Development Workshop – 2017