DMA, University of Iowa
Iowa native Steven B. Jepson has been described as a “cavalier talent,” “strong-voiced with a zestful comedic delivery,” “a top-notch musician” and “a diamond mine.” A respected international artist with expansive credits in the Americas, Europe and Japan, he displays a wide range of emotion, vocal agility and acting style.
Mr. Jepson’s operatic repertoire includes leading roles in Don Pasquale, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Merry Widow, Ariadne auf Naxos, Roméo et Juliette, La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte and Faust. He made his European debut as Carmen’s Escamillo, his signature role, and has reprised the role with many companies in the United States. Following a performance of Don Pasquale, one critic wrote, “The show was nearly stolen by [his] Malatesta,” who “possessed great stage presence, well-enunciated singing, and expressively broad acting, perfectly suiting his role.”
A refined acting ability coupled with his rich, versatile baritone has produced memorable portrayals in musical theater. He has played such diverse roles as Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Juan Peron in Evita, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, and Sweeney in Sweeney Todd, where critics raved that his voice “was made to sing Sondheim’s score” and acting-wise “has never been better.” He was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical by the Metrolina Theatre Association and Creative Loafing Magazine for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in CPCC’s South Pacific. In a highly successful run of Man of La Mancha, Perry Tannenbaum of Creative Loafing said that Jepson’s portrayal of Cervantes/Don Quixote was “better than any actor [he had] seen.”
Mr. Jepson’s concert experience is rich and varied, from Broadway pops and cabaret to sacred works and symphonies. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Schubert’s Mass in G and also sang at Carnegie in Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of Robert Shaw. A specialist in Vaughan Williams, he has appeared in the Sea Symphony and Mystical Songs with many orchestras. In addition to performing before an audience of 8,000 at a “Carnivale” concert in Mazatlán, Mexico, he has entertained thousands as principal male singer through Jean Ann Ryan Productions aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky. Mr. Jepson recently performed the Brahms, Fauré, Mozart, and Verdi Requiems, and was the bass soloist in the U.S. premiere of Steven Dobrogosz’s My Rose: a Shakespeare Oratorio. He has developed a lecture recital on vocal music based on the works of Miguel de Cervantes and has presented the recital at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. He has also had an active career in print and video commercial work, and created the role of Admiral Slater in the award-winning independent Star Trek film Prelude to Axanar.
The recipient of many vocal awards, Steven Jepson was the first to be awarded the Baughman Artistry Award at the Kansas City Metropolitan Opera Competition. He was named the Best Overall Singer by unanimous vote at the Millie Lewis AMTC Competition, the outstanding male performer at the Friedrich Schorr Vocal Competition and is a past winner of the Concerto/Aria competition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa, a Master’s Degree from Louisiana State University, post-graduate study at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa. In demand as a teacher, director and clinician, Dr. Jepson has served on the faculties of several outstanding Midwest colleges, and was on the faculty of Gaston School of the Arts in the Piedmont of North Carolina, where he was also director of the Gaston Arts Playhouse. Steven Jepson is currently preparing to record several vocal works by the relatively unknown French composer Marcel Delannoy, including a song cycle that has never been recorded in its entirety.