The American mezzo-soprano, Marianne Saunders, She also holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy with a concentration in Jazz and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education from Central Washington University. She acquired a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance and Literature and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She is a two-time winner and regional finalist of the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She has been selected three times to sing for master-classes with the highly acclaimed vocal pedagogue, Richard Miller.
As a mezzo-soprano, Marianne Saunders has performed extensively on the east coast in recitals and operas in such roles as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, the Secretary in The Consul and Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring to rave reviews. As an oratorio soloist she has sung many performances of George Frideric Handel's Messiah, Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria, J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243), Mozart's Coronation Mass, and others. Her Symphonic performances include Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2. She has performed as a soloist with the Boise Master Chorale and appeared in the fall 1999 Opera Idaho production of The Magic Flute.
Marianne Saunders came to The College of Idaho in 1993, where she serves as Associate Professor of Voice : applied voice, class voice, vocal jazz ensemble and jazz history. She is director and founder of the The College of Idaho Vocal Jazz Festival. She has been involved with the vocal jazz idiom for over 20 years. She has directed groups at Central Washington University and the Eastman School of Music before she started the The College of Idaho Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She is in great demand as a clinician and adjudicator and she regularly adjudicates jazz festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest. She has performed in Jazz Ensembles and as a solo artist with jazz legends and celebrities as Bob Hope, Dizzy Gillespie, The Nelson Riddle Jazz Orchestra, Mark Murphy, Carmen McCrae, Bobby McFerrin, Take Six and others. She also performed extensively on the East Coast with her own group "Giant Steps".