School of Music

Paul Berkolds

Paul Berkolds

Paul Berkolds is a voice teacher and performer of diverse repertoires including classical, contemporary classical, musical theater, music-theater and folk music. 
During his 30-plus year career, he has performed in the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, England, Taiwan, the Baltic States and Australia and has appeared with operas companies in Houston, Dayton, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, Detroit, Orlando, New York, Washington DC, and overseas in Germany, France and Latvia. Classical roles include Escamillo (Carmen), Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Colline (La Boheme). Musical Theater roles include El Gallo (The Fantasticks), MacHeath (Threepenny Opera), Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha) and three years on the Third National Tour Phantom of the Opera playing the roles of Auctioneer, Don Attilio, Passarino and Firman. 

As an avid practitioner of contemporary classical music, Dr. Berkolds is active in the Southern California concert scene, where he has performed with the LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella Concert Series, MicroFest Concert Series, Monday Evening Concerts, Jacaranda Concerts and The Industry as well as Other Minds in San Francisco. He often performs with the ensemble “Partch” and can be heard as featured vocalist on the Grammy-winning CD of Harry Partch’s “Plectra and Percussion Dances”, selected as the Best Classical Compendium 2014. Other recent collaborations include premieres or first performances of works by Ben Johnston, Harry Partch, Ian Xenakis, Anne Le Baron, Marc Lowenstein, Talivaldis Kenins, David Diamond, William Brooks, and Frank Denyer. 

He is an original and ongoing participant of, a multi-media interactive website which promotes the examination, performance and documentation of the Song Books of John Cage. His renditions of this unique work have been performed in the U.S., the Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia. Of particular note was the Los Angeles collaboration with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company during the troupe’s 2010 farewell tour. 

Berkolds is a first-generation American, born of immigrant parents from Latvia. His love of and deep connection to the Latvian culture has manifested itself in numerous trips to the region to study, work and teach. He is founder of the Baltic Folk Ensemble “Lāčkāja” and the CalArts Baltic Ensemble “SKAN,” both of which promote the ancient music of this region. 

Dr. Berkolds is Co-Director of the VoiceArts Program at CalArts. He attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from the University of Southern California.