Eileen Cornett established the graduate Vocal Accompanying Program in Collaborative Piano at Peabody Conservatory, and is currently enjoying her twenty-fourth year as principal coach with Peabody’s Opera Theatre Program. She performs as a collaborative pianist, opera coach, solo and orchestral pianist, music director, and conductor.
Ms. Cornett began her professional career as musical director of the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, Michigan, leading productions including Sweeney Todd, The Pirates of Penzance, and South Pacific. Subsequently, she has conducted and coached internationally for the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival (Italy), Tanz und Gesang Studio at the Theater an der Wien (Vienna, Austria), Creaton Opera Company (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), Baltimore Opera’s Young Artist Program, Annapolis Opera, Fairbanks (AK) Summer Arts Festival, Lake Placid Institute, and the Seagle Colony Summer Vocal Program, where she served as co-director.
Ms. Cornett led Peabody Chamber Opera’s U.S. premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, cited by the Baltimore Sun as one of Baltimore’s best classical music productions of 2015, and recently conducted the newly revised version of Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness: Two Remain, with the composer in residence. A featured solo pianist with the National Symphony Orchestra (Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals), she has performed as orchestral pianist for conductors James Levine, Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Eve Queler, Paul Gemignani, Bill Conte, and Marvin Hamlisch in concerts with Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Bryn Terfel, Frederica von Stade, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and the late Rosemary Clooney. She joined James Levine and the Three Tenors with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra at their performance in the MCI Center, soloing with Luciano Pavarotti. She accompanied mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in a benefit recital at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC and joined soprano Sylvia McNair and stage director Tim Nelson of the American Opera Theatre as musical director and pianist for Songspiel of Kurt Weill at American University and Baltimore’s Theatre Project.
Yearly, Ms. Cornett accompanies all finalists for the Annapolis Opera Competitions’ Preliminary and Final Concerts, and has served as an official accompanist for the International Marian Anderson Vocal Arts, Baltimore Opera, and the Rosa Ponselle “All Marylanders” Competitions. She has accompanied master classes for Mignon Dunn, Margo Garrett, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Cristina Deutekom, Victoria Livengood, Luigi Alva, Paul Sperry, Patrice Munsel, Jennifer Lane, Louise McClelland, and Sherill Milnes. She shared the stage with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in a benefit concert for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. In Baltimore, she joined Irish tenor Finbar Wright in a solo recital for Governor Martin O’Malley and the National Board for Irish Tourism.
As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Cornett has performed in recital at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre, Merkin Hall, National Portrait Gallery, Embassies of France and Russia, Strathmore Hall’s “Music in the Mansion” series, and the Candlelight Concert Society, as well as international venues such as the Museo Correale in Sorrento, Palazzo Mezzacapo in Maiori, Chiesa Madre di S. Margherita in Lauro (Italy), National Concert Hall (Taipei, Taiwan), and the Kinepolis in Oostende, Belgium.
With her chamber music trio, Northern Accord, she has given recitals and master classes at Dartmouth University, St. Olaf College, Luther College, the University of Utah, Butler University, the University of New Hampshire, Brigham Young University, Middle Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, and the University of Mississippi. For over eight years, she toured nationally throughout the United States with the political satire group The Capitol Steps.
Ms. Cornett spent four weeks as a guest artist in Taiwan, giving Master classes at universities and vocal societies in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, and performing in recitals at Taipei’s National Concert Hall with soprano Gigi Chan and Golden Melody Award Winner Peter Lee. She also served as a guest coach for Don Giovanni with the Creaton Opera Company in Kaohsiung.
Ms. Cornett’s eclectic conducting credits include productions of both opera and musical theatre, such as Hansel and Gretel, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Barnum, The Pirates of Penzance, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Die Fledermaus, and Sweeney Todd. She is the originating Musical Director for NOW THIS!, a Washington based comedy group which performs totally improvised music theatre.
Ms. Cornett’s recordings include Opus Opera! with the Da Camera Singers, Domenic Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Wedding with conductor Sarah Watkins and the Sinfonia of St. Cecilia, Spirit by Northern Accord, Make Someone Happy with tenor Stanley Cornett, Four More Years in the Bush Leagues and I’m So Indicted with the Capitol Steps.
Cornett received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and her Master of Music degree in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Martin Katz and Lynne Bartholomew. She pursued additional studies with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Jean Barr at the Music Academy of the West. She is a former faculty member of Loyola College.
Cornett and her husband, tenor Stanley Cornett, make their home in Baltimore, where they are the enormously proud parents of two daughters, Lydia and Emily.