Gwen Paker (she/her) is an award-winning soprano equally at home on the operatic stage and in the concert hall. While studying at the Eastman School of Music with Professor Robert Swensen, Gwen won first prize in the 2022 Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition and the 2019 Eastman Voice Department Concerto Competition. 

Gwen Paker's professional headshot

Opera Performances and Awards

An avid performer of opera, Gwen made her professional operatic debut as Gertrude Stein in Thomson’s The Mother of Us All with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Highlights from her credits with Eastman Opera Theatre include two prima donna roles: Léontine in Bologne’s L’amant anonyme and Eleonora in Salieri’s Prima la music e poi le parole. She also worked with Eastman Opera Theatre as Baker’s Wife cover in Sondheim’s Into The Woods, Erste Dame in a scene from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, La Chauve-Souris in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, and Laura in Pen and Harmon’s Goblin Market*. In addition to her work at Eastman, Gwen spent a summer as a Studio Artist with Opera In The Ozarks. There, she performed as Maria in Rodriguez’s children’s opera Monkey See, Monkey Do and was awarded “Outstanding Performance by a Female Studio Artist.” 

A strong believer that communication is paramount, Gwen is dedicated to polishing her language skills and working with native speakers. Along with intensive diction training, Gwen performed as Zweite Dame and Zweite Knabe in Die Zauberflöte with the German Vocal Arts Institute. She also enjoyed studying in Arezzo, Italy with Oberlin In Italy, where she sang a scene from Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto and as the Seconda Cercatrice in Suor Angelica.

Concert and Oratorio Soloist Performances

Gwen has also excelled as a concert and oratorio soloist, and performed Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Austin Chanu. Earlier, Gwen was the soprano soloist in Liszt’s Missa Solemnis with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and Eastman-Rochester Chorus, conducted by Dr. William Weinert. She also covered the soprano soloist in Britten’s War Requiem with the Eastman Philharmonia, Eastman-Rochester Chorus, and Eastman Chorale, again conducted by Dr. William Weinert.

Gwen Paker singing with the Eastman Philharmonia
Gwen Paker working as an administrator with Finger Lakes Opera

Voice Studio and Arts Leadership

Gwen’s passion for music extends beyond performance, and flourishes as a voice teacher and arts administrator. Applying her voice pedagogy training from the Eastman School of Music, Gwen opened a private voice studio and teaches online lessons to students of all ages. Gwen also uses her extensive leadership experience to pursue opportunities in arts administration. Currently working as the Administrative Coordinator for Finger Lakes Opera, she has also worked with The Hochstein School, Opera On Tap Boston, and the Eastman Institute for Music Leadership. Always learning and building on her skills, Gwen has pursued positions in development, marketing, and social-media management.

*performance cancelled due to COVID-19