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Department of Music
The University of Mississippi

Nina Cole Garguilo – Alumna Spotlight

Nina Cole Garguilo

Instructor of Voice, Phoenix College, Glendale Community College, and  Private Instruction

Hometown: Germantown, TN
BM in Music, emphasis in Music Performance, Vocal Concentration (2011)
Professional Website

Originally from Memphis, Nina Cole has been performing and teaching in the Phoenix area since 2011. Most recently, she performed as Sarah in Harrower Opera’s Ballad of Baby Doe. In 2016, she performed her “Southern Comfort” recital series in New York City and Brooklyn. She has also performed roles including Despina (Così fan tutte) Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Bellomy (The Fantasticks), and Fleta (Iolanthe) and Maria (West Side Story). In the summer of 2013, Nina sang the title role in Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank at the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany.

In addition to opera and musical theatre performances, Nina has been featured in many choral works. While at the University of Mississippi, Nina was a soloist for Ola Gjeilo’s “Tundra” and his premieres of “Liberation of Ellisbell” and “New York I & II.” In 2012, she began work as a professional chorister with the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale.

In 2015, Nina was the featured soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutches Requiem. Winning ‘Best Choral Performance’ on the album Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil, Nina also shared in the 2015 Grammy Award. Phoenix Chorale is no stranger to the Grammys. The group has been nominated for eight Grammys, winning three times. They are considered among the most talented choral ensembles in the country.

She completed the Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at Arizona State University in 2017, where she held assistantship from 2013-2015.  Since then, she has been teaching voice and actively recruiting at Phoenix College.

Garguilo attributes much of her success to date to the things she learned in the UM Department of Music.

“I am extremely grateful for my time at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “I had never really considered Ole Miss until I realized that all of the important musical role models in my life—from my voice instructor to my choir directors and family friends—were UM alumni. Because of this musical enrichment, I had cultivated a broad range of experiences that would ultimately shape me as an artist.”

Garguilo’s success comes as no shock, said Donald Trott, UM professor of music and director of choral activities.

“Nina is a very talented soprano, and it brings pride to all of us here at Ole Miss to see her excelling and performing at such a high level,” Trott said.

photo of the Grammy award

When not performing, Garguilo enjoys teaching students of all ages, whether they are just learning the fundamentals of singing or preparing for performances. As her grandfather and Oxford native, William Grundy Cole, instilled a love for music in her life, Garguilo strives to do the same for her students.

“The recent Grammy win means so much to me,” she said. “The award-winning album, ‘Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil,’ is proof that with collaboration, hard work and sincerity, something can be created that is both wholly human and completely divine.”