Walnut Hill School for the Arts

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Catching Up With William Guanbo Su '13

This month we chatted with William Guanbo Su, a graduate of our Voice program who recently won the Metropolitan Opera competition—our second alum in three years to do so! William filled us in on his years since graduating from Walnut Hill, and offered some words of wisdom to our youngest alums.


What brought you to Walnut Hill originally, and what was your experience like as a music student here? Do you have a favorite memory from those years?  

I learned about Walnut Hill through a friend attending New England Conservatory, who called Walnut Hill the best art school across the nation—which I totally agree with! When I was a student there, I had the chance to not only focus on my major art, but also to appreciate lots of visual art as well as physical arts (for example: four years of Nutcracker!). My favorite memory is of those Ultimate Frisbee games on the amazing grass field.


Catch us up on the years since you graduated—what did you do after Walnut Hill, and how did that lead you to the career you have now?

I went to Manhattan School of Music to earn a Bachelor of Music degree, graduated from there in 2017, then came directly to Juilliard for my master’s degree. After I graduate this May, I will be joining the Houston Grand Opera Studio Artists in August.


Do you have any lessons or advice for our recently graduated and soon-to-be-graduated Walnuts who are entering the world?

Go for the best teacher and best connection, never the biggest name nor who gives you the most scholarship money. At the beginning of your career, what you need is connection, along with mentors who are willing to give you guidance.