An alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Joseph Li made his conducting debut leading new works commissioned for Houston Grand Opera by Jack Perla and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh. Mr. Li has served as principal coach for world premieres including André Previn’s Brief Encounter at Houston Grand Opera and John Musto’s The Inspector, commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Productions he has coached at HGO include La fille du régiment, La bohème, Béatrice et Bénédict, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, and Dead Man Walking. He has performed in recital with Jamie Barton, Tamara Wilson, and Ryan McKinny, and has served as a guest coach for Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Minnesota Opera, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, and the Aspen Opera Theater Center.
Mr. Li has performed and coached for Wolf Trap Opera since their 2012 summer season. During the 2017 WTO season he conducted Philip Glass’ chamber opera The Fall of the House of Usher in collaboration with the Inscape Chamber Orchestra and Halcyon Stage in Washington, D.C., and later conducted the first studio recording of the piece, which was released in 2019 by Orange Mountain Music. Other projects during WTO’s summer seasons have included conducting Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins in collaboration with the Hong Kong Ballet and Halcyon Stage, performing in duo-piano chamber recitals with Steven Blier, Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song, playing for WTO’s Vocal Colors series at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and coaching for productions of Don Giovanni, Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Madama Butterfly, The Juniper Tree, and Bastianello.
Since Mr. Li’s first collaboration with Steve Blier in 2016, he has performed regularly with the New York Festival of Song and now serves on NYFOS’ Artist Council. He made his NYFOS and Merkin Hall debut in New York City performing in recital with Mr. Blier in W.C. Handy & The Birth of the Blues, and returned in December 2019 to perform in T’aint Nobody’s Business if I Do: Songs of Gay Harlem. In August 2020 Mr. Li recorded Schubert’s Auf der Bruck with baritone Samuel Kidd for the opening of NYFOS’ 2020-2021 digital concert series, We’ll Be Together Again.
Mr. Li joined the faculty of Baylor University’s School of Music in 2016, where he conducted Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with the Baylor Opera Theater and created a new class on performing recitative. Prior to joining Baylor, he taught at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University for five years. In 2022, Mr. Li joined the staff of Minnesota Opera as VP of Artistic.
Mr. Li is Guest Faculty at the 2023 Schmidt Vocal Institute