Dr. Amity Bryson is the Chair of the School of Performing Arts at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. After first attending Cottey College, Dr. Bryson completed a BS Ed in music education and an MM in voice performance at the University of Missouri—Columbia and later a DMA in voice performance and pedagogy at the University of Missouri—Kansas City Conservatory of Music. In addition to previous faculty appointments at William Woods University and Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Dr. Bryson has taught in the public school systems at both the elementary and secondary levels.
At Avila, Dr. Bryson remains in the classroom in addition to administrative duties. Dr. Bryson teaches various music courses each semester including applied voice. She has been instrumental in initiating a Bachelor of Music degree and revamping the Musical Theatre degree program within the College of Humanities and Performing Arts to offer programs balanced in technique and performance. Dr. Bryson conducts University Singers and Cyrene Inspiration (a Women’s Ensemble) the top two choral ensembles on campus as well as Men’s GLEE. University Singers has performed in Carnegie Hall and Festival Corale Internazionale di Roma; they have received invitations to perform at the Sydney Opera House, the Beijing Olympics as well as the Salzburg Mozart Choral Festival in Vienna 2011. Her singers returned to the Festival Corale Internazionale di Roma to perform a summer tour of Italy in June 2016 and were named Outstanding Ensemble of the Paris Choral Festival in 2019. Dr. Bryson has been selected to perform a residency at Carnegie Hall in 2022.
Dr. Bryson is active in local, state, and national professional music organizations. NATS has provided an opportunity to serve both students and colleagues most directly through local, state, and regional adjudications. Dr. Bryson has organized state and local NATS auditions hosted at Avila University three times. In addition to NATS, Dr. Bryson has served the Missouri Choral Directors Association as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women’s Choirs. Other professional organizations include the National Association for Music Educators, College Music Society, and the Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music.
As a lyric soprano, Dr. Bryson continues to perform on both the recital and opera stage finding ways to incorporate her research into performance. Her main area of research broadly encompasses women in music. For example, she recently performed a program of art songs by women composers from Anne Boleyn to Amy Beach and featuring In a Persian Garden by Liza Lehmann demonstrating the development of the female composer from the parlor to the concert stage. Other areas of research include the impact of music on the women’s movement in the 1970s and the relationship of music and politics through propaganda, censorship, and latent psychological effects. This scholarship has resulted in the creation of a course entitled “Music and Politics” at Avila. In fall 2015, Dr. Bryson taught on location in Berlin Germany. Students were exposed to the juxtaposition of jazz and the Germans in the 1940s with Techno Music of the late 1990s/early 2000s in relation to global politics and the fall of the Berlin wall.