Photo by Jeannie Liautaud

Dr. Kanakis (D.M.A., voice, University of North Texas), is based out of St. Louis, Missouri, where she operates a private studio teaching aspiring and current professional classical singers.  Her students frequently win competitions, attend top graduate schools for voice and opera performance, and enjoy successful professional singing careers. 

In competitions, Dr. Kanakis has produced district and regional winners, and a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (MONCA), and finalists and winners of other competitions including the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Opera Index, The Richard Tucker Foundation, Queen Sonja International Music Competition (Norway), FAVA (Franco-American Vocal Academy) Grand Concours de Chant, the International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition (NámÄ›št’ nad Oslavou, Czech Republic), Palm Beach Opera Competition, the AIMS (American Institute of Vocal Studies) Meistersinger Competition (Graz, Austria), Schubert Club Competition (Minneapolis, MN), the Classical Singer National Competition, and NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Student Auditions.

Her students have appeared in young artist programs and on the mainstage with the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Seattle Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Kentucky Opera, Dayton Opera, Knoxville Opera, and the Cedar Rapids Opera. 

Two of her former students (Emily Fons, mezzo-soprano and Andrew Stenson, tenor) were featured on the October 2015 cover of Opera News magazine as two of “Opera’s 25 Top Rising Stars.” 

Emily Fons (seated lower left) and Andrew Stenson (seated lower right)


A 2008 recipient of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) “Emerging Leaders” Award, she earned her D.M.A. from the University of North Texas, her M.M. from Stephen F. Austin State University, and her B.M. cum laude from Missouri State University, where she studied viola and piano in addition to voice.  As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, she also studied abroad at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. 

In 2017-2018, Dr. Kanakis served as a full time sabbatical replacement at Webster University in St. Louis. Prior to that she was a tenured Associate Professor of Music (Voice and Opera) at Luther College, and has also previously taught applied voice at Texas Woman’s University, Missouri Southern State University, and as a Doctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas.  As a Master's Graduate Assistant, she also taught voice and class piano at Stephen F. Austin State University.   


To inquire about lessons please email:  karen.kanakis@gmail.com