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St. Bonaventure University

Dr. Rachel M. Harris named executive director of SBU’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Dec 19, 2023

Dr. Rachel M. HarrisDr. Rachel M. Harris has been named executive director of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University. She begins work Jan. 16.

“Dr. Harris has a wealth of experience and ideas to bring to the executive director role at the Quick Center,” said Laura Peterson, associate professor of music at St. Bonaventure and chair of the search committee. “The Visual and Performing Arts faculty are excited to collaborate with her for upcoming seasons of art, music and theater, and believe that the future of the arts at St. Bonaventure is very bright.”

A native of Lowville, New York, Harris is a freelance opera director/producer based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She began her directing career in 1997 working with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute

“St. Bonaventure University is a very special place,” Harris said. “I look forward to collaborating with amazing colleagues at the Quick Center, the students, faculty and administration across campus, as well as the community at large.”

Harris is a former guest artist stage director for Heartland Opera Theatre; The Varna International Opera Academy; Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond; and the University of Utah, Logan. 

Her freelance credits include Mobile Opera; Opera Louisiane; University of Missouri, Kansas City; Loyola University, New Orleans; Crane School of Music, SUNY-Potsdam; University of Alabama; Sam Houston State; and Louisiana State University.

Her award-winning productions have been recognized by the American Prize Competitions in the Performing Arts, the National Opera Association, and the Big Easy Tribute to the Classical Arts.

In collaboration with Charles Effler, their publication, “Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot with English Translation by Rachel M. Harris and Orchestrations by Charles Effler” (Scena Music Publishing), has been widely performed throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Neal Long, an artist who worked with her on Heartland Opera Theatre’s production of Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” was effusive in his praise of Harris.

“Rachel possesses a ‘can do’ work ethic that makes the impossible possible,” Long said. “She is exceedingly willing to offer clarity and review and is mindful of the needs of others. I appreciate her skillful and passionate devotion to her craft.”

In addition to her work as a stage director/producer, Harris taught courses at LSU in Music Appreciation and Introduction to Stage Techniques.

Harris was also a Lenna Visiting Scholar for two weeks at St. Bonaventure in 2022 and a taught masterclass in performance techniques for SBU students in 2015. She was also a vocal department chair and instructor at Rivers Music School in Weston, Massachusetts, and Metropolitan School for the Arts in Syracuse, New York.

A gifted soprano, Harris has more than 30 performances to her credit, from Handel’s “Messiah” to “The Music Man” to “The Marriage of Figaro.” She has performed with the Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera and LSU Opera.

Active in the National Opera Association, Harris has served on the Board of Directors (2018-2022) and sits on several committees. She has been a preliminary/finalist judge for the NOA Collegiate Opera Scenes since 2014 and Opera Production competitions (2020-2022).

Harris holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from LSU (2005); a Master of Music in opera from Binghamton University in conjunction with the Tri-Cities Opera Artist Residence Training Program (1988); and a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from SUNY-Fredonia (1985).


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).