Soprano JoAnn Smith Ottley is a former soloist and vocal coach with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and an adjunct associate professor of voice at the University of Utah (from 1986 to 1994). She also was a soloist with the Utah Symphony and had appeared with Utah’s Ballet West. She has also performed throughout the world. She has conducted workshops, seminars, and master classes in the United States and in the British Isles. She is the wife of former Tabernacle Choir director Jerold Ottley and they have two children.
JoAnn learned to play the piano on the piano her grandfather gave her family. She helped her family pay for voice lessons by cleaning the house of her music teacher. She began singing in junior high school and competed and performed extensively while she continued to develop technical skills and repertoire. She studied at the University of Utah with a music scholarship.
She met Jerold Ottley on a blind date. In 1968, they received a joint Fulbright grant to study at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne, Germany. At the end of their study, they considered staying in Europe for their careers or returning to Utah. They returned to Utah where they believed their future was waiting.
In 1992, JoAnn was presented the Heritage Award by Utah-California Women for her contributions to the world of music.