Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, contralto Olson is a Teaching Artist in Voice at Drake University. She teaches studio voice as well as Music Theory for Musical Theater Majors. Graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Music in both Vocal Performance and Choral Education, Gloria has been teaching for 25+ years.
Gloria has sung professionally in operas, oratorio and concert works including Baba (The Medium), Third Lady (Die Zauberflote), Mamma Lucia (Cavalleria Rusticana), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Mass in b minor, Verdi’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria. She has directed productions of Die Zauberflote, Cavalleria Rusticana, Gianni Schicchi, Lucia di Lammermoor, L’Elisir d’Amore, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and The Wizard of Oz.
She is a co-founder and Artistic Director of The Opera Project Des Moines, 2015. In demand as a clinician, she has provided Master Classes and lectures throughout the US, at Conservatories in Russia and summer programs in Italy. This summer she will be teaching as a part of La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy and next year in Brazil.
A member of NATS for 23 years, her students have consistently placed at the state, regional and national level. Students under her guidance have attended top conservatories and universities and are now having success as professional singers.
Gloria was choral director at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa (1996-1999) and at Alliance High School in Alliance, Nebraska (1993-1996). Under her direction both programs won consistent top honors at the state, regional and national level in all areas including large ensemble, chamber ensemble, show choir, and jazz choir.
In addition to teaching at Drake, Gloria maintains a full private voice studio in her home and owns and operates Glorious Desserts, a custom cake company. In her free-time, Gloria enjoys spending time with her beloved horses.