UNI voice professor wins Grammy

Philip Glass’ production of Akhaten at the Metropolitan Opera.

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, News Editor

Voice professor and UNI alum Suzanne Hendrix-Case wins Grammy from operar production “Akhnaten:”

UNI 2001 alum and current Assistant Professor of Voice and Vocology within the School of Music Suzanne Hendrix-Case was sitting in the kitchen with her husband when she discovered she won a Grammy. 

“It’s kind of surreal.” Hendrix-Case said. “It’s nice because in classical music, I’ve won a lot of competitions and whatnot, but it’s not something that a normal person understands. But a Grammy, people understand.” 

Hendrix-Case is a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s cast of Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten,” which won a Grammy for the Best Opera Recording. Known as a challenging opera sung largely in Egyptian, Hendrix-Case sang the role of Sotopenre, one of the protagonist’s six daughters. Only one vocal solo in the production is in English, and some songs do not have lyrics at all with the vowel “ah” being used. The costumes complement the complex vocals, with a blue dreadlock wig connecting the sister characters via a black harness. 

Initially Hendrix-Case discovered the production was nominated for a Grammy over a Facebook message group where cast members still keep in touch. One of the leads of the production messaged the group chat once he had accepted the award.

Earning her undergraduate degree in music education at UNI in 2001, she realized elementary teaching was not for her. 

She then returned to UNI and received a master’s in voice instructed by teachers like current voice professor Jean McDonald.

“UNI definitely had a major hand in my musical career. I did not have a particular interesting singing voice before taking lessons, so I literally could not have done this without my teachers here.”

Hendrix-Case also emphasized her pride in representing UNI and the school of music as a performer, alum and professor,

“It’s been a rough two years for everybody, but especially in the performing arts where we can’t do concerts and that kind of thing,” She said. “So it’s nice to have something tangibley good happen for the school of music.”