Maria McDaniel Willathgamuwa, mezzo-soprano, (BM, MM- Vocal Performance) discovered her talent for classical singing during high school in her hometown near Chicago, Illinois. She developed her niche on the opera stage during her undergraduate studies at Millikin University where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She received a full graduate assistantship to complete her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University. She is now one of the most sought-after soloists and advanced voice teachers in the North Metro Atlanta area.
Maria has since performed leading, supporting and chorus roles in a wide variety of operas in multiple languages ranging from Mozart to Verdi to contemporary Chinese composers. In addition to singing opera, she has performed as alto soloist in oratorio concert works with local symphony orchestras and churches throughout the Southeast; including the Atlanta Symphony, Cobb Symphony, Ludwig Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic and Gainesville Symphony. She has also travelled the country as a recitalist performing a wide variety of art song, musical theater and cabaret songs sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs 2011-2013. She is consistently praised for her excellence in versatility of repertoire, expressive passion, flexible virtuosity and her rich and commanding presence.
Internationally, Maria made her debut with the Chinese National Symphony in 2011 with the prestigious musical exchange program, I Sing Beijing at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Maria also trained abroad in Milan, Italy, at the Institute for the International Education of Students, where she also performed chamber music at a festival in Vienna, Austria. She also spent three summers training and performing with La Musica Lirica at the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy. As an actress, Maria was selected to perform in Italian at an international theater festival in Berlin, Germany.
As a member of the renowned Atlanta Opera Chorus from 2007-2011, Maria has been a featured soloist in many concerts and outreach events with the company. Regionally, she has also performed with North Carolina Opera as the mezzo soloist in recital. Maria completed two summers in the nationally recognized Young Artist Program (both Studio and Apprentice) at Chautauqua Opera in New York. Maria continues to appear regularly in supporting roles with The Atlanta Opera on both the main stage and in concert.
As a natural showstopper, Maria has also competed successfully in several vocal competitions throughout the country. Prizes won include Second Prize at the 2012 Irene Dalis Voice Competition with Opera San Jose, Winner of Women’s Voice Young Artist Division of the 2011 National Federation of Music Clubs in Washington D.C., First Place 2010 American Traditions Competition at the Savannah Music Festival, and 2009 Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at Spivey Hall.
Maria’s ongoing training with top classical voice teachers, coaches and singing specialists give her a broad base of knowledge of the voice. As a result of this success and experience, Maria offers her students a competitive edge that is reflected in her students’ many accomplishments and awards.
Expertise. Encouragement. Excellence.