BRUCE EARNEST JR.
Producing Artistic Director of IPAI
Since 2006, Bruce has served as Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the International Performing Arts Institute with an internationally renowned collaborative piano, voice, acting, dance, and opera faculty in Germany. Bruce started IPAI to build a more student-centric professional training experience.
Dr. Earnest has stage directed, music directed, or produced over 120 musical theatre and opera productions at universities and professionally and has appeared as a soloist in concert, opera and musical theatre in the United States, Germany, and Austria. Bruce has studied with or done masterclasses with Barbara Daniels, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, Helen Donath, Barbara Bonney, Jason Robert Brown, Scott Allen, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Maltby, David Shire, Sherril Milnes, Robert Westenberg, Thomas Hampson, Robert Evans, Russel Young, Franklin Summers, Richard Owens, Kenneth Manzer, Oresta Cybriwsky, Michael Vale, Robin Jensen, Michael Strauss, and others.
Bruce is an early pioneer in the development of vocal technique designed to provide safe pedagogical approaches for singing musical theatre styles called Belting. He has presented master classes and workshops on the voice, opera, German, casting, career development, auditioning, song interpretation, entrepreneurship, arts administration, educational leadership, global engagement, strategic planning, and program development at universities, theatres, conferences, and professional programs throughout the United States, Thailand, and Europe.
From 2001 to 2005 he was Guest Associate Professor of Voice at the Hochschule for Music in Munich, Germany and a production consultant for Stage Entertainment in Hamburg and Essen, Germany. He also served as founder and Director of Musical Theatre and Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida from 1995 to 2000, and as Director of Musical Theatre and Associate Professor at The University of South Dakota from 2006 to 2009. Since 2010, Dr. Earnest has been a professor, department chair, graduate dean, and vice president for advancement. Currently, he leads the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston Salem, North Carolina and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Earnest is the Co-Author of A Beginner’s Acting Companion with the late Lani Harris. His favorite composers are Richard Strauss and Jason Robert Brown and his favorite hobbies are making Italian food and sitting in the Kieferbach in Kiefersfelden, Germany.
Artistic Producer, IPAI Germany
Anica Binder graduated from the University of Mobile in 2010 with a BA in Theatre. Some of her show credits include, Godspell, Thoroughly Modern Mille, Joseph and the Technicoler Dreamcoat, Lend Me a Tenor, Oklahoma, etc. Following graduation she attended The International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany for Musical Theatre and then returned in 2011 for the Stage Management Program. Upon completing the program, she returned to her Alma Mater and took the position of Assistant to Dr. Bruce Earnest in the Theatre Department. In the summer of 2012 she had the opportunity once again to return to IPAI and work alongside Dr. Earnest as his assistant. It was during this program that Anica met a local by the name of Andreas Binder. On January 26, 2013, the two of them were married in Mobile, Alabama. After the wedding Anica moved to Oberaudorf, Germany where she now lives with husband Andreas, her daughter Skyler and son Leo.
Since living in Germany Anica has had the privilege of continuing her work alongside Dr. Bruce Earnest with the International Performing Arts Institute as the Producer and Director of Operations Germany. She has also had the privilege of working for Dr. Maryann Kyle, and was the Assistant Artistic Director for Everblue Social Media and Promotions from 2019-2021.
Director of Opera and Voice and Audition Coordinator
Dramatic tenor Tyler Smith has appeared in numerous operatic and concert performances throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Most recently he was seen as Canio in the Mobile Opera production of I Pagliacci and Tamino In Louisiana Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte. He also performed the role of Howard Boucher in New Orleans Opera’s critically acclaimed production of Dead Man Walking. Other appearances with Louisiana Opera include Rodolfo in La bohéme and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana. For Opéra Louisiane he has performed the roles of Siegmund and Siegfried in a production of The Ring: a two-hour reduction created by Michael Borowitz. For his performance as Eléazar in a highlights concert of La Juive, he won The Big Easy Award in New Orleans for Best Community Opera in 2013.
Other recent roles include Canio for New Orleans Opera and The Southern Opera & Musical Theatre’s productions of I Pagliacci as well as Maxwell in Pensacola Opera’s world premiere of The Widow’s Lantern. For his debut as Canio with New Orleans Opera, Mr. Smith stepped in with six hours notice for an ailing colleague. Opera News deemed his performance a “heroic job…[a] powerful voice and was remarkably in touch with the drama.” For Des Moines Metro Opera, he has covered the roles of Max in Der Freischütz, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Otello in Otello and Riccardo in The Masked Ball. Other roles performed include Don Jose in Carmen, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Max in Der Freischütz, Boris in Katya Kabanova, the title role in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, Florestan in Fidelio, and Belfiore in Argento’s Casanovas Homecoming (released on the Newport Classics label). In 2001 he made his Houston Grand Opera Debut as Carlson in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men (released on the Albany label). Future engagements include leading roles in Verdi’s Macbeth, Susannah, and Die Fledermaus.
Mr. Smith is currently Extraordinary Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Voice Studies at Loyola University of New Orleans. He received his doctorate in Vocal Performance from the University Houston’s Moores School of Music. He holds a Masters of Music from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Music from Southeastern Louisiana University. Some of his teachers have included, Scharmal Schrock, David Holley, Joseph Evans, and Bill Shuman.