International Opera Studio of Dallas
Sheila Jones Harms passed away on December 12, 2004.
website is being maintained in her memory.
Jones Harms strongly believes in helping promising
future opera singers and musicians to achieve their career goals. With this in
mind, she and her husband, Werner Harms, formed the International Opera
Studio of Dallas. Many of her students are now performing in major opera
houses in the United States and Europe and have won prestigious awards such as
Opera Regional Competition and the MacAllister and Sullivan
Sheila Harms specializes in the vocal interpretation of
Lieder, Oratorio, and Opera, combining this with her musicianship at the piano.
Originally a native of England, Sheila attended the Royal College of Music in
London, where she majored in both piano and voice, studying under Dr. Arnold
Smith and Dr. Thomas P. Fielden. Dr. Smith had won acclaim as the accompanist
for Manuel Garcia, the inventor of the laryngoscope, and teacher of Jenny Lind,
Mathilde Marchesi and Julius Stockhausen, among others, while Dr. Fielden had
studied with Claude Debussy.
Upon graduating from the Royal College of Music, Sheila won
the Dame Clara Butt Award, for being the best soprano of her year. This award
took her to Austria, where she attended the Vienna Academy of Music and Dramatic
Art, receiving her Performer’s Diplomas in Lieder, Oratorio, and Opera. Sheila
won practically every scholarship Great Britain had to offer, including a Sir
James Caird Scholarship for three years in succession.
Sheila also taught in four languages at the Mozarteum Summer
Academy in Salzburg, made recordings, broadcast many times on Austrian radio and
television, and won acclaim as a Lieder and Opera singer in Austria, Germany,
the United States, and Canada. Among her many operatic roles was that of
Konstanze in Mozart's "Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail" which
she sang over 40 times.
In the United States, Sheila was leading soprano soloist for
the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel Choir, and concurrently taught
voice and headed the Voice Department at the Music Center of the North Shore in
Before going to Vienna, Austria, Werner Harms, who is also a
singer, studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. The Harms were
invited to assist with the summer program of the American Institute of Musical
Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, providing opportunities and contacts for
American opera singers in Europe.
They moved from Chicago to Dallas in 1979 to help oversee the
American operations of AIMS. Sheila and Werner founded the International Opera
Studio of Dallas (IOSD) in 1984. Each year, the Harms organize and perform in
many concerts in the Dallas area, including performances for the Wagner Society
In a letter to Sheila, Maestro Nicola Rescigno, former
artistic director of the Dallas Opera, wrote:
"It was so nice to hear you on this side of the piano Saturday. You
brought great musicality and sensitivity to everything you sang. I feel sure
that if you can impart even a small amount of what you showed to your
students, they are in very capable hands. I know how conscientious you are
with your pupils in their preparation, and all I can say is that I wish there
were more like you."
Sheila Jones Harms often accepted university and music
school engagements, in which she explained her theories about vocal
interpretation and accompanying, and provided teaching demonstrations.