Pianist Maureen Zoltek enjoys a diverse career working with leading vocalists, instrumentalists, orchestras, and opera companies across North America.
Dr. Zoltek currently serves as an assistant conductor, vocal coach, and orchestral keyboardist at San Francisco Opera and as a member of the Vocal Institute Faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In the 2021-2022 season she returns to San Francisco Opera for productions of Fidelio and Così fan tutte. An active proponent of new music, she recently served on the music staff for the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West and Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, which will return to the War Memorial Opera House stage next summer.
Dr. Zoltek is a graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and has collaborated with the Lyric Opera of Chicago on several productions, including La clemenza di Tito, Tosca, Idomeneo, and the world premiere workshop of Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz’s Bel Canto. At the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis she served as music staff, pre-concert lecturer, and orchestral keyboardist for Puccini’s La rondine, as well as a coach for Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. Dr. Zoltek has also been an assistant conductor and coach at Canadian Opera Company, Opera Omaha, and Opera San Jose.
As an orchestral keyboardist, Dr. Zoltek has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with major conductors including Boulez, Salonen, Conlon, Dudamel, Gilbert, and Gergiev, in addition to premiering works by composers-in-residence of the CSO Augusta Read Thomas and Marc Anthony Turnage. She has also appeared with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and as a soloist with the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Zoltek attended both the Aspen Music Festival and School (2009) and Music Academy of the West (2010, 2012). winning first prize in the pianist division of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition during her second summer at the Music Academy. Her association with Marilyn Horne also included participation in the legendary mezzo-soprano’s series “The Song Continues” (2011, 2012), with performances and masterclasses held through Carnegie Hall’s “Marilyn Horne Legacy” program. Among the other star performers with whom Dr. Zoltek has recently collaborated are mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and Welsh singer-songwriter Katherine Jenkins. She is also featured alongside mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in Nicole Miller’s installation, “To the Stars,” a multi-sensory work that weaves together film, sound, and laser light at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Phyllis Wattis Theater.
Dr. Zoltek completed her D.M.A. degree at the Manhattan School of Music, and holds a master’s degree in piano performance and musicology from Roosevelt University in addition to a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from DePaul University. Her primary teachers include Mary Sauer and Warren Jones. When she is not in rehearsal or teaching, Dr. Zoltek enjoys true crime podcasts, baking various and sundry desserts, and going out and about with her standard poodle and travel companion, Henry.