Julie Celona-VanGorden is an award-winning lyric coloratura soprano originally from upstate New York. She earned her both the Doctorate of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her undergraduate work at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Specializing in vocal pedagogy during her doctoral work, she attended the Summer Vocology Institute in Denver, Colorado and is a certified vocologist.
An active performer and recitalist, Dr. Celona-VanGorden's has sung solos with companies such as the Greensboro Choral Society, Bel Canto, and the Greensboro Philharmonia. Recently she has sung solo oratorio repertoire including Haydn’s Lord Nelson’s Mass Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah. Other performances include the role of Clorinda in Greensboro Opera’s production of La Cenerentola, soprano solos in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with First Presbyterian Chancel Choir as well as the North Carolina debut of Tito’s Say in the Elon Masterworks Series. Further solo experience includes Cantaloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, Bach’s St. John Passion, Vivaldi’s Magnificat, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Requiem masses by Brahms and Fauré. Dr. Celona-VanGorden made her Capital Opera Raleigh debut as Adina in L'elisir d'amore. Other operatic roles include title roles in The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Lakmé as well as Laurie in The Tender Land. Additionally, Dr. Celona-VanGorden frequently gives recitals and conducts masterclasses. She is also a section leader and soloist at the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro.
Dr. Celona-VanGorden's ability to perform and delight audiences has been recognized in several competitions. In March 2008 she was a finalist in the Long Leaf Opera National Vocal Competition where she won the Audience Favorite Award and "charmed the audience with her bel canto selections and beautiful stage appearance." She also won first place in the North Carolina National Association of Teacher’s of Singing Artist Award (NATSAA) competition in 2006.
Dr. Celona-VanGorden enjoys teaching privately and conducting master classes and welcomes opportunities to teach students of all ages and abilities. She has been on the voice faculty at Elon University for 16 years where she teaches a variety of students including music performance, education, music production and recording, and musical theater majors. Her students have performed roles in productions on and off Broadway, with national touring theater companies, regional theaters, and in other productions locally and nationwide. She has had students perform lead and ensemble roles in Broadway productions of Newsies and A Bronx Tale as well as National tours of Kinky Boots, Annie, Holiday Inn, Dirty Dancing, and A Chorus Line, among others.