New faculty hires in the College of Liberal Arts, School of Music

Gaining national and international acclaim, the newly formed School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts celebrates four additions to the faculty, welcoming Dolora Zajick, Aren Long, Kevin Miescke and Michael TK Lam

A photo collage featuring all four new faculty members' headshots.

New faculty hires in the College of Liberal Arts, School of Music

Gaining national and international acclaim, the newly formed School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts celebrates four additions to the faculty, welcoming Dolora Zajick, Aren Long, Kevin Miescke and Michael TK Lam

A photo collage featuring all four new faculty members' headshots.

Dolora Zajick

Dolora Zajick posing in front of a grand piano.

Internationally recognized as one of the top mezzo-soprano opera singers of our time, Dolora Zajick has landed at the University of Nevada, Reno as Artist in Residence and teacher of Graduate Voice, starting in Fall of 2023. Specializing in the Verdian repertoire, Zajick has been described as having "one of the greatest voices in the history of opera."

Zajick, hailed as a "force of nature" by Variety, has gained global recognition for her exceptional portrayal of the dramatic Verdi mezzo-soprano, excelling in the composer's most intricate roles. With acclaimed performances as Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida and Eboli in Don Carlo, Zajick has made an enduring impact on prestigious stages worldwide. Throughout her illustrious career spanning over 30 years, she collaborated with esteemed conductors such as James Levine, Anthony Pappano, Bruno Bartoletti, Daniele Gatti and others before retiring from the stage in 2020.

Originally from Oregon, Zajick, was raised in Nevada, and initially pursued pre-med at the University of Nevada, Reno. However, her passion for music and singing became evident while participating in the chorus of the Nevada Opera.

“I found out I had a voice, and started singing,” Zajick said, reflecting on her journey.

Transitioning to music studies, she earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University before furthering her education in New York at the Manhattan School of Music. Dolora's breakthrough occurred with her major operatic debut as Azucena in Il Trovatore at the San Francisco Opera, after her acceptance into the San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and winning the Bronze Medal at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Throughout her illustrious career, she garnered awards such as the Opera News Award and recognition from the Giulio Gari Foundation.

Beyond her storied career on stage, Zajick thrives as a vocal educator. In 2006, she founded the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices (, a training program tailored for singers with large or unique voices, preparing them to sing on the international stage. The institute offers an intensive three-week summer program, enabling these singers to refine their talents under the guidance of seasoned coaches and voice instructors who understand their distinctive needs. The current program is hosted by the University, earning recognition at an international level.

Zajick has returned to her roots at the University. She is currently teaching graduate voice lessons and is involved in working toward expansion of the program.

“I’m back in Reno to collaborate on creative solutions to build the voice department,” Zajick said. “It takes time to cultivate, and build.”

Why not quietly retire? Why the Institute for Dramatic Voices and teaching for the School of Music? Zajick says her love of music still thrives.

“During difficult times, support for the arts is so important,” Zajick said. “It binds people and society together in a cultural way. It’s important that I do my part to bring opera to the people, to keep the craft going. The number of singers who are interested in opera has increased, but it's difficult for young singers to break into the business. They go where they can get the training they need. This is where the Institute for Dramatic Voices comes in, as well as specific voice tutelage at the College of Liberal Art’s  School of Music.”

Aren Long

Aren Long headshot.

Aren Long, appointed as a collaborative piano lecturer for the School of Music starting in fall 2023, holds degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from the University. Beginning his music career as a section violinist for the Reno Philharmonic in high school, Long has since become a versatile performer. He has appeared as a soloist in notable West Coast venues like San Francisco's Warfield Hall, performed in rural areas such as Quincy, CA and Elko, NV, and served as an organ soloist for the Kennedy Center's Capitol Orchestra Festival in Washington D.C. Since 2018, Long has been actively involved with the California Arts in Corrections Program, serving as a keyboardist and assistant director. In addition to his roles with various ensembles and organizations, he frequently collaborates with the Reno Little Theater and Good Luck Macbeth Theater Company, participating in productions like Evil Dead the Musical, Spongebob the Musical, and Something Rotten. Long's musical presence extends to Reno's "Artown" series every summer, and he remains engaged as a freelance keyboardist in the local area.

In addition to his professional work, Aren has a deep passion for creative independent music. In 2022, he released his debut studio album On Greenwich Way, a project that featured 22 musicians and was co-produced, written, arranged and engineered from a home studio. His current musical group, Aren & the Neighborhood, creates collaborative art that centers around the themes of mental health, trauma, and community and has been described as "heart-wrenching" and "wonderfully theatrical."

Long sums up his appointment, “As someone who grew up in Nevada, I have always considered Reno my home and the University of Nevada, Reno as a large part of my identity. I am an alumnus of the School of Music and have always been grateful for the connections and professional opportunities I experienced during my time as a student - I met my best friends and my wife at the school! To now be a part of the faculty and provide support for current music students is a great privilege and I enjoy being able to make music with talented people every day.”

Kevin Miescke

Kevin Miescke headshot.

Kevin Miescke was appointed as a lecturer in Music in the fall of 2023 and primarily serves as an instructor of music theory and undergraduate advisor within the School of Music. Earning his Bachelor’s in Music Education at the University, Miescke reflects on his return.

“I grew up in the Tahoe area and attended the University for my undergraduate degree in Music Education (2004), so returning to campus as a part of the excellent faculty in the School of Music is a dream come true,” Miescke said. “It is so exciting to see how the University has grown and continues to grow and develop. It feels great to be home!”

Before joining the faculty at the University, Miescke served as instructor of Horn and Music History at Eastern Illinois University, Department of Music. In addition to his collegiate teaching responsibilities, his professional focus is as an active French horn performer around the country in orchestral, solo and chamber music. A local focus for Miescke, is as a founding member of the Reno Modern Brass, a chamber ensemble that promotes contemporary music from local and national composers, focusing on subject matter from the history and culture of Nevada. A regular performer with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, he has also performed with ensembles including the San Antonio Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra.

Michael TK Lam

Michael TK Lam performing on stage in a tuxeudo.

Michael TK Lam serves as a visiting instructor in the voice area for the School of Music. Lam completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas under the tutelage of Alfonse Anderson. He is originally from Hong Kong. He has had the honor of performing under the baton of Paul Wingfield, Marzio Conti, Charles Peebles, Christian Schulz and Jonathan Lo; under the direction of Michael Barry and Thomas Guthrie; at masterclasses hosted by Darrell Babidge, Laura Aikin, Roderick Williams OBE, Helene Schneiderman, Luis Ledesma; as well as coaching sessions with Daniel Sarge, Danielle Orlando and Stephen Barlow. In 2022, Michael became a young artist of the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in New York where he performed Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Lucero’s Juana. 

“I decided to join the College of Liberal Art’s School of Music family because I was impressed by the professionalism displayed by my colleagues,” Lam said. “Since my first day, I have been reassured that I’m working in a positive and supportive environment. I thoroughly enjoy inspiring future generations, and I look forward to sharing my passion for music at the University!” 


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