Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres, including opera, art song, musical theatre, and jazz, as well as for her teaching and research interests in vocal literature, voice pedagogy, and voice science.
Lori was born into and raised in a scientific household in Izmir, Turkey, which led her onto her unique path towards a career in music that began with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. Throughout her physics studies at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, she performed in numerous concerts and shows as a member of “The Company” METU Musical Society and a student of the well-known Bulgarian jazz singer Yıldız Ibrahimova.
Lori’s musical experiences at METU amplified her interest in music, which gradually evolved into a desire to pursue a career as a singer. Upon completion of her B.Sc. and M.Ed. degrees in physics, she was accepted as a classical voice major at Dokuz Eylül University State Conservatory of Music in Izmir, Turkey, where she studied with distinguished American soprano Jeanette Thompson for five years. During her undergraduate studies in music, she continued to sing jazz as the vocalist of jazz bands RagBag, In n’ Out, and Heaven Experience. She also founded and directed the Jewish Community Choir in Izmir, through which she had the pleasure of making a musical contribution to the community.
Lori’s fascination with the science and mechanics of voice production and singing led to her graduate studies in vocal pedagogy. She applied for a Fulbright Scholarship in Turkey and was selected as a grantee to pursue a Master’s degree in voice pedagogy in the United States. Lori received her Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ, as a Fulbright student, where she studied voice with renowned dramatic soprano Sharon Sweet. She also performed vocal pedagogy and voice science research under the tutelage of Dr. Kathy Price that allowed her to make use of her physics background. Her research has been presented both at The Voice Foundation Symposium (2014, 2015) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Conference (2014). Lori’s operatic appearances at Westminster include Marta/Iolanta, La Ciesca/Gianni Schicchi with Westminster Opera Theater, Pauline/Pique Dame and Prima Donna/Ariadne auf Naxos with Westminster Opera Workshop.
Lori's more recent performances include solo recitals, jazz performances, Angelina/La Cenerentola with Opera NOVA, and she was featured as the alto soloist in the Mozart Requiem performance of the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia (SONOVA).
In 2019, Lori completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied with Martha Randall and focused on the art song repertoire. Her dissertation, Sephardic Art Song: A Musical Legacy of the Sephardic Disapora, explored the Sephardic Art Song repertoire from the Western classical perspective. Over the past few years, she has introduced this repertoire to audiences through solo recitals, in addition to her lectures on the history, language, and culture of the Sephardim, and elements and stylistic features of Sephardic music. Recently, she presented her research at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, the 14th and 16th Barcelona Festival of Song in Barcelona, Spain, the 8th Annual Judeo-Spanish Symposium (UCLAdino) at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Yunus Emre Institute, Sephardic Heritage International (SHIN) DC, and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, all in Washington, D.C.
Lori currently teaches as a Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy at the University of Maryland School of Music and an Adjunct Voice Faculty at the Peabody Preparatory of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She also has an active performing and teaching schedule in the United States and abroad, and serves as an ambassador for the Barcelona Festival of Song.