Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Ellen Rissinger

Ellen Rissinger

Vocal Coach and Collaborative Pianist

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Ellen Rissinger is an American Vocal Coach/Collaborative Pianist who came to European attention in December of 2008, when she accompanied a performance of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf on one hour's notice. Much of her career was spent in Germany, including eight seasons on the music staff of the Sächsische Staatsoper (Semperoper) in Dresden, Germany. In July 2019, she returned to the US full-time. She has since been on the music staff of Wolf Trap Opera and joined the music faculty of Carnegie Mellon University in the fall of 2020.

She has worked in both the United States (with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Kentucky Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Baltimore Opera among others) and in many houses in Germany (Semperoper, Bregenz Opera Festival, Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper am Rhein among others), and has coached and given master classes for several music programs in Europe, including: The Centre for Operatic Studies (COSI) in Sulmona, Italy; the Scandinavian Vocal Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden; The International Performing Arts Institute (IPAI) in Kiefersfelden, Germany; The International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy; University of Miami's summer program in Salzburg, Austria; AIMS in Graz, Austria; as well as at several universities in the US, including: University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Eastern Michigan University; Boston Conservatory; Oklahoma City University; Murray State University and the Boston NATS Chapter among others. In recital, Ellen has performed with such artists as Jane Henschel, Kenneth Riegel, Mirko Roschkowski, Christa Meyer, and Rachel Willis-Sørensen.

As a founder, producer and host of The Diction Police podcast since April 2010, she has led the way for classical singers and coaches from all over the world to hone their foreign language skills. Ellen is fluent in German and English, conversant in Italian, French, Spanish and Modern Greek, and continues to work on her conversational ability in Russian.

Photo credit: Matthias Creutziger