Department of Music
Denise Abbott Daverso

Denise Abbott Daverso

Senior Lecturer

253-535-7602 (office)



Applied Voice Lessons


M.M., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

B.M., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Denise Abbott Daverso moved to Olympia, Washington from Chicago, Illinois in 1994. She began her vocal training at the age of 15 and by 18 had sung her first solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She received both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois-Urbana, where her most important teachers were John Wustman (vocal music), David Lloyd (opera), Harold Decker (Choral), and Nicolas Temperley (music history). Ms. Daverso has performed operatic roles with the Illinois Opera Theater, Chamber Music Chicago, the Federal Way Chorale, and Olympia Chamber Orchestra. Favorite roles have been Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible (Ward), Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Hansel in Hansel & Gretel (Humperdinck), Meg Page in Falstaff (Verdi), and Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Uhlman). She created the role of Mother Marie in Mudhoney, by Timothy Brock. Ms. Daverso has also enjoyed singing in professional choral groups such as The Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus, under the batons of Bruno Bartoletti and Marek Janowski, and The Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop with Charles Dutoit. Ms. Daverso also spent many years as a church soloist for several prominent Chicago churches, including Second Presbyterian Church and Rockefeller Chapel and has been a frequent soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah.

From 1986-1989 Ms. Daverso was soprano and founding member of The Rookwood Trio, a professional chamber ensemble specializing in non-operatic music for soprano, tenor, and keyboard. In addition to concerts, and master classes, the Trio commissioned new music which resulted in four world premieres. Her love of newly-composed music led to performances with Steve Reich, Edwin London, and collaborations with David N. Baker, of Indiana University.

Ms. Daverso is a devoted teacher of both private and class voice. She enjoys many styles of music, and believes that healthy vocal technique will benefit any style of singing.  Her students have won many contests and scholarships, and they attend music colleges across the country. She has been on the vocal staff of Pacific Lutheran University since 2005. Before that she taught at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, and Saint Martin’s College in Lacey, WA. She frequently adjudicates voice contests, and presents voice workshops and master classes.  She is member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
Community service is very important to Ms. Daverso and she has been active in the local arts community as an Olympia Arts Commissioner, founder of the Olympia Youth Chorus and performs regularly with community music organizations.  She recently has expanded her musical expertise culminating with a CD of jazz classics with pianist Joe Baque, released in March 2010.  You can hear samples on her web site: