Paul Houghtaling joined the University of Alabama faculty in the fall of 2007 as Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Theatre and was promoted to Full Professor in 2019. In 2015, he was awarded the Morris Lehman Mayer faculty award, an honor given to “one member of the Alabama teaching faculty for exemplary teaching, leadership and service to the UA community as demonstrated in the life and career of Morris Mayer.” Also in 2015, Dr. Houghtaling was awarded the Druid Arts Award for Music Educator of the Year by the Tuscaloosa County Council on the Arts & Humanities, and the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award (OCTA) given by the National Alumni Association of the University of Alabama. In 2019 he was the recipient of the President’s Faculty Research Award and the Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Faculty Award, one of the university’s highest faculty accolades.
Dr. Houghtaling is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences such as the College Music Society (CMS), National Opera Association (NOA national and regional conferences), various NATS regional conferences, AMTA (Alabama Music Teachers Association, MTNA Affiliate) and the Classical Singer National Convention and College Expo and he is in demand as an adjudicator (state and regional NATSAA, MTNA, AFMC, Alabama Vocal Association, Distinguished Young Women [formerly America’s Junior Miss]) and master class clinician. He previously served on the faculty of Hunter College in New York (CUNY), and has given residencies, master classes, and recitals at the University of Texas, Brownsville; University of Nevada Las Vegas; Binghamton University (SUNY); University of Louisiana, Lafayette; Columbus State University; the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts; Shorter University, Georgia; Stillman College in Tuscaloosa; University of West Georgia; Texas A&M University-Commerce; and the University of Alaska, Anchorage, among others. The 2013-2014 season included visits to Mississippi State University for master classes and a recital with soprano Linda Lister, Louisiana State University for a recital with soprano Loraine Sims, State University of New York at Brockport, and Virginia Tech University. 2015-2016 brought visits to Bucknell University, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Hunter College, and Holy Cross.
Dr. Houghtaling returned to Mississippi State in 2017 for their Mississippi Voice Symposium and Institute, and taught at the University of Southern Mississippi for the Pedagogy of Style Conference, and Delta State University for a series of classes and workshops. In the 2017-2018 season, he was a guest Artist-in-Residence at UNLV, teaching a series of classes and workshops, and was a guest commentator on Mississippi College’s VocalFri podcast. In the 2018-2019 academic year, Dr. Houghtaling taught classes at Mississippi State, and Hinds Community College in Jackson, Mississippi, and was a guest artist in the costume design course in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Alabama as a guest of Professor Donna Meester. During the pandemic, Dr. Houghtaling taught virtual master classes for the University of Delaware and the Classical Singer National Convention, and appeared on a panel discussion for Hunter College. He also offered an in-person master class at Virginia Tech in April of 2021.
He holds degrees from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA (B.A.), the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (B.M.), Hunter College (M.A.), and the City University of New York (D.M.A.). His students are performing with young artist programs and opera and musical theater companies across the country and are frequent finalists and winners at state and regional competitions including MTNA State, Division, and National Young Artist Voice finals, NATS, NATSAA, Vann Vocal Institute, National Federation of Music Clubs, and Birmingham Music Club Guild. Dr. Houghtaling’s current and recently-graduated students are performing, or have recently performed with, Opera Saratoga, Opera Birmingham, Natchez Festival of Music, Utah Festival Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Ashlawn Opera, International Performing Arts Institute (IPAI) and others. In addition, his former students are teaching at Baylor University; Tabor College, Kansas; Mississippi State University; Samford University; Samford University; McNeese State University; Mars Hill University, North Carolina; Sheridan College, Wyoming; Hinds Community College, Mississippi; and others.
Additionally, Paul was the Artistic Director of the Druid City Opera Workshop, an intensive opera training and young artists program and performance opportunity for singers, pianists, and directors. Founded in 2010 by Houghtaling, Druid City gained national attention. In 2013 the program hosted the first stage directing intern sponsored by the National Opera Association. In 2014 the program introduced a collaborative pianist intern program to compliment the stage directing internship. After 10 successful seasons, the Druid City Opera Workshop changed course in 2022, becoming Druid City Opera, the first professional opera company in Tuscaloosa and West-Central Alabama.
In 2022, the UA Opera Theatre won first place in its division of the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition for its production of Picker's Thérèse Raquin. In January 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, Houghtaling and several student members of the UA Opera Theatre represented UA as finalists in the NOA’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition at that organization’s national conventions in Atlanta, San Antonio, Memphis, and Greensboro. The ensemble placed second and third in 2011 and captured third place again in 2012. In both 2017 and 2018, the UA Opera Theatre took second place in the Chamber Opera Division of NOA’s Opera Production Competition, first with the Fall 2016 world premiere of Amir Zaheri’s Freedom and Fire and then with the Fall 2017 production of Jeremy’s Gills Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain. The program has celebrated Opera America’s National Opera Week by bringing opera workshop classes to Capstone Village Retirement Community in Tuscaloosa. Members of the program enjoy leading residents in classes in movement and improvisation and residents then serve as a mock audition panel for Audition Class. Opera America was so intrigued by UA’s National Opera Week offerings that they featured it in their national press release as a unique and noteworthy event in 2011.
Dr. Houghtaling is a Past President of the National Opera Association (2018-2020), and previously served that organization in a variety of other capacities, including Board member, VP for Regions, and Chair of the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition. In 2013, he was appointed to the Executive Board of the Alabama Music Teachers Association and serves as a State Auditions Coordinator, and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Montgomery Symphony’s Vann Vocal Institute.