headshot photo of Dr. Janelle DeStefano

Dr. Janelle DeStefano

College of Performing Arts; Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music
Office Location: Oliphant Hall 307
Office Location: Oliphant Hall 310


American mezzo-soprano, Janelle DeStefano, enjoys the entire gamut of classical singing, from opera and oratorio to recital and chamber music.  Praised for her “passionate delivery” and “rich seamless voice,” she has rendered dramatic performances in such diverse concert works as the Monteverdi Vespers, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion,Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Respighi’sLaud to the Nativity, Zeisl’s Hebrew Requiem, Szymanowsky’s Stabat Materand the U.S. premier of Peter Eötvös, Schiller: Energische SchoenheitOf her performances in the Bach B minor Mass, Stage and Cinema called it “saving the best for last,” and raved that “DeStefano soared into the heavens during her performance of the Agnus Dei.”

Ms. DeStefano has been featured in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Jacaranda Music at the Edge; El Mundo; Bach Collegium San Diego; the Los Angeles Master Chorale; and the Grammy Award Winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Her operatic roles include Romeo in I Capuletti e i Montecchi; Dido in Dido and Aeneas; Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia and the title role in Bizet’s Carmen.

A personal interest in zarzuela and Spanish art song led to Ms. DeStefano’s European debut as part of the 2007 International Festival of Interpretation of Spanish Song in Granada, Spain, as well as a featured performance in the Spanish art song concert series for the 2008 Mannes Summer Institute in New York City. Her appearances with the Grammy®-nominated early music ensemble, El Mundo for the San Diego Early Music Society and the Da Camera Society received critical acclaim. Ms. DeStefano’s portrayal of the gypsy, Maria, in La Alegria de la Huerta at the Jarvis Zarzuela Festival (available on DVD) was hailed as the "pick of the Chueca" by Zarzuela.net.  Most recently, she was featured with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and LA Flamenco in performances of Manuel de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares and El amor brujo.

Ms. DeStefano can be heard on the spring 2018 Delos Label release of Mark Abel’s Time and Distance, where she is featured on the Song Cycle The Ocean of Forgiveness, recently honored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).  Other recordings include Abel’s opera, Home is a Harbor, and The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits also on Delos; Bach B Minor Mass with the Bach Collegium San Diego; as well as recordings with the Grammy®-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale, including Festival of Carols, Górecki: Miserere (Decca); and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2014 recording of Adams: The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Deutsche Grammophon).

Ms. DeStefano graduated with honors from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, earning a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance. A passionate teacher, she has taught voice for more than two decades at collegiate and community music schools including USC Thornton School of Music, UC Santa Cruz, the University of San Diego, and Grossmont College, as well as her own private voice studio. She is currently on the voice faculty at Santa Monica College and Chapman University.