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Heather Mathews

Heather Mathews headshot


Office 506


Courses Taught

Opera Role Preparation

Opera Workshop

Advanced Opera Workshop

Chamber Opera

Spring Opera Theater

AD Opera Showcase


MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


Opera San Luis Obispo

Opera San Jose

Aspen Opera Theatre


— San Francisco Chronicle


What is your hometown?

Castro Valley, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

My family, cooking, and horses!

Who were your major teachers?

Hermann LeRoux and Pamela Brooks.

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“Why?” “Why does the character do this?” “Why does the music do this?” “Why is this word used in the text instead of another?” I love for my students to have opinions.

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

My parents bought me a "Bach's Greatest Hits" album by the Cincinnati Pops when I was seven. I used to conduct the entire album in my room. I was hooked.

What was a turning point in your career?

I had been directing for a few years after graduate school while also pursuing a career as a singer. I received a call from a company I had been working with and they asked me to direct their entire next season. I said yes, knowing that I was making a decision to become a full-time stage director. Over 100 productions later and I still am so grateful and pleased that I chose that path.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would work with animals, specifically horses. Having been an equestrian my whole life, I am lucky to currently use that skill as a Volunteer Mounted Patrol Ranger for the NPS in my spare time. I absolutely love my time outside in the beautiful Marin Headlands riding.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Britten, Mozart, and Puccini.

What is your unrealized project?

I would like to direct a movie someday with my father who is a cinematographer.


Heather Mathews is a 25-year veteran educator, stage director, and performer. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she holds B.M. and M.M degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 

Under her leadership more than 100 productions have been performed by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Opera San Luis Obispo, Brava! Opera Theatre, Opera San Jose, Aspen Music Festival’s Opera Theatre, Napa Valley Music Festival, Festival Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Western Opera Theatre, Grove Street Opera, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. 

As a performer, she has been seen on stages both in Europe and the United States with leading roles in such productions as Così fan Tutte, Carousel, The Music Man, Le nozze di Figaro, The Fantasticks, Carmen, La bohème, Daughter of the Cabinet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Into the Woods, City of Angels, The Sound of Music, The King and I, South Pacific, Transformations, The Boyfriend and many more. Her favorite role to date is, Mom, to her son, Zane. 

In 2021, Professor Mathews was presented with the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching.