ABOUT NOVA ACADEMY'S DIRECTOR AND THE FOUNDING OF NOVA ACADEMY...
Ava Van Houte earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Kent State University. Her teachers included Mary Sue Hyatt, Boyd Mackus and James Mismas (voice); Dr. James Stuart and Stephen Daigle (opera); Dr. Richard Shindle and Dr. Theodore Albrecht (musicology).
A two-time scholarship recipient of Blossom Festival School, Ms. Van Houte studied with Mary Makower (Royal Academy of Music, London); Vance George (San Francisco Orchestra), Robert Page (Cleveland Orchestra), John Wustman (University of Illinois), Lorenzo Malfatti (Cincinnati Conservatory, Opera Lucca), Mignon Dunn and Neil Rosenshein (Metropolitan Opera), Courtney Kenney (Covent Garden) and John Haber (New York City Opera).
A seasoned concert soloist, Ms. Van Houte has appeared locally with the Akron, Alliance, Canton, Cleveland, and Cleveland Heights orchestras in major works by Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Saint-Saens, Vivaldi and Verdi. Her strong dramatic presence has been featured in operatic contralto roles by Menotti, Purcell and Puccini. She has performed in and directed musical and theater venues from the Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, SC to productions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and New York. After performing in Europe, Mrs. Van Houte returned to the United States, where she taught in conventional vocal music programs in northeast Ohio.
Mrs. Van Houte has over twenty years experience teaching voice, acting and movement techniques to students of all ages and abilities. Her teaching methods were founded at KSU, as a Graduate Assistant for the Music Education Division. In 1986, Ava Van Houte began coaching voice students and tutoring graduate students in Music History. In 1989, as a program assistant for the Kent-in-Florence (Italy) Music Program, she taught Opera History; presented master classes for American singers in Italy, and began teaching private voice.
As a faculty member at Mount Union College, Mrs. Van Houte taught Applied Voice to music and theater majors and minors; she also taught through Mount Union’s Preparatory Music Program and Kent State's Community Music Program. Mrs. Van Houte maintained private studios in Munroe Falls and Kent for over a decade, helping many students gain entrance to college theater, vocal music and musical theater programs. She came to see that what serious performers needed was a professionally-minded, comprehensive vocal music, drama and movement program that didn’t cost its participants a small fortune.
In 2001, Mrs. Van Houte founded Northeast Ohio Vocal Arts Academy in Hudson, Ohio to provide professional-level training for vocal performers without the high costs of post-secondary institutions.