THE MUSIC SALON™
Zhanna Alkhazova (www.ZhannaAlkhazova.com)
Zhanna Alkhazova, soprano, was a finalist in the Lakes Region Opera Competition and the first place winner of the Rhode Island NATS Competition. She is also the recipient of the Robert P. Manero Award and the Samuel Vaillancourt Folk Art Memorial Scholarship. A native of Moscow, Zhanna graduated magna cum laude from Clark University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and International Relations, and completed her graduate studies in International Development. In May of 2008, she completed her second Masters degree at the Boston University School of Music in Vocal Performance. Operatic credits include the roles of Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Second Lady (Magic Flute) and Berta (Il Barbiere of Siviglia), Infirmiera and La Badessa (Suor Angelica), Sandman (Hansel and Gretel), Countess and Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimi (La Bohème) and Marguerite (Faust). Internationally she has performed in Chiari, Italy in the partial role of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), and toured Canada and the Republic of Ireland as the soprano soloist in Honegger’s King David. Zhanna has performed with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, Opera Providence, MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Vocal Arts, MassTheatrica, OperaWorks of Los Angeles, CA, OperaHub, Longwood Opera and Opera del West, among others. Zhanna is an active recitalist in the New England area and has been a featured soloist in the Opera Providence Water FireWorks event, Fleet Concert Series, the Summerville Public Concert Series, the Plymouth Summer Concert Series and the First Night of Worcester Concert Series. She was chosen by the composer Joseph Summer to be among a select group of featured performers to premier his new works in The Shakespeare Concert Series.
Nilko Andreas (www.NilkoAndreas.com)
After capturing First Prize at the Artist International Competition in New York, Colombia-born guitarist and composer Nilko Andreas Guarín quickly established himself as a leading classical guitarist. He has performed in over 15 countries on such stages as Carnegie Hall, Wildthurn Castle (Germany), Adolfo Mejia Theater (Cartagena), Teatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), Palacio Foz (Portugal) and Shenzhen Symphony Hall (China). Recipient of international awards including the “Recognition Award” by the City of New York for his contributions to the arts, Nilko has performed as soloist with the Shenzhen Symphonic Orchestra of China, The Azlo Orchestra, the New York Chamber Ensemble, Tactus Contemporary Ensemble, 20/21 Ensemble, and the Mariuccia Iacovino Symphony Orchestra of Brazil. He has appeared on RCN TV, Fox News, Cuny TV, HJUT, “W” Radio in Colombia and WQXR in New York. Nilko has recorded with multi-platinum artist Mariah Carey, and is invited annually to perform for Her Majesty The Queen Sofia of Spain at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gala. He holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated Magna*nbsp;Cum Laude in Classical Guitar, Composition and Orchestral Conducting. As an educator, Nilko has given master classes and conferences on Classical Colombian Music at Columbia University, Mannes College of Music, NYU, The Berkley School of Music, the French Alliance in Cartagena and the Eafit University in Colombia. He has great interest in the composers of Latin America, frequently commissioning and premiering new works. As a composer, he has written music for independent films, theatre and solo artists. His collaboration with award-winning theatre group Artificio, in Federico García Lorca’s The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, won him several awards and rave reviews. He is also the co-founder of La Cumbiamba Eneye, an ensemble that performs Colombian traditional music from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, was created in the year 2000 for the purpose of preserving and teaching Colombian heritage around the world (www.lacumbiambany.com).
Lucy Arner (www.LucyArner.com)
Conductor Lucy Arner brings to the podium a special affinity for Italian and French opera that is enhanced by her vast experience working in some of the world’s greatest opera houses, such as the Liceu in Barcelona and the Metropolitan Opera. She has conducted all over the world, and became the first woman to conduct an opera in Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes. She was the artistic director of the New York Chamber Opera for five years and the principal conductor of the Asociación Bel Canto in Lima, Perú for four years. During the 2008-09 season, she was the interim Music Director of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, conducting critically acclaimed performances of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán. She recently conducted Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi for the Teatro Segura in Quito, Ecuador, and made her debut with Florida Grand Opera with Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, receiving the company’s Henry C. Clarke Award for conductors. As a pianist, she has appeared in recital and worked with many notable singers, such as Aprile Millo, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland and Alfredo Kraus. She has taught master classes in China, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and at Juilliard, Tanglewood, the Met Guild, and the Houston Grand Opera Studio, among others.
Lucas Barkley is a pianist and coach who recently relocated to the New York City area from Pittsburgh, PA, where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music, and accompanist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also coach/accompanist for CO-OPERA, a collaboration between Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the premieres of five one-act chamber operas by student composers. He has curated and/or accompanied numerous art song recitals, including two all-Schubert recitals, Nacht und Träume and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial, as well as an evening of Spanish song and a recital centered around settings of Goethe’s “Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt.” Other former positions include rehearsal accompanist for Resonance Works/Pittsburgh’s inaugural production of Verdi’s Macbeth, faculty accompanist at the Center for Theater Arts, music director at Spotlight Musical Theater Company, and music director at First UP Church of Crafton Heights and at Anglican Church of the Incarnation. Lucas holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with a minor in English Literature from Duquesne University and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from Carnegie Mellon University. Lucas now resides in the New York City area with his wife, his baby daughter and their cat, where he works as a busy freelance vocal accompanist, collaborating on both vocal and instrumental recitals, playing for voice studios in the area, and often playing for “Bohemian Nights” (Mexican Festival Restaurant) and The Music Salon™.
Dennis Blackwell (www.dennisblackwell.com)
Baritone Dennis Blackwell is a versatile artist who has received critical acclaim for his work in opera, concert, recital, and musical theater. Recent regional opera credits include New York City Opera (Antony and Cleopatra and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking), New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (The Usher in Trial by Jury), Gulf Coast Symphony (Frank in Die Fledermaus), Caramoor Opera (Sancio Panza in Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena), Bronx Opera (Gamberotto in the American première of Rossini’s L’equivoco stravagante) and Little Opera Theater of New York (Marcello in La bohème). As a concert soloist, Dennis has collaborated with the American University Symphony Orchestra (Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs), Stonewall Chorale (Messiah) and Princeton Pro Musica (Bach’s Johannes-Passion). Favorite roles include Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Dandini (La cenerentola), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), the title role in The Mikado, and Larry Hastings in Bells Are Ringing, which he performed at the Kennedy Center’s Words & Music series with Faith Prince. Maestro Paul Gemignani chose him to join the cast of Kismet (starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie) in the Encores! concert series at New York City Center.
Alyssa Bowlby (www.AlyssaBowlby.com)
Called “fearless” and “intense” by the Baltimore Sun, soprano Alyssa Bowlby is currently preparing Serafina in Il Campanello with Garden State Opera. She recently finished the American premiere of the Tobias Picker song cycle The Rain in the Trees with the Mimesis Ensemble along with a chamber work of Mohammed Fairouz. Alyssa holds a BA from Haverford College (Magna cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Departmental High Honors) and an MM from the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Pi Kappa Lambda. Recent performances include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Musetta (La Bohème), Clorinda (La Cenerentola), Oscar (Un Ballo in Maschera), Nannetta (Falstaff), Frasquita (Carmen), Marzelline (Fidelio), Mme. Herz (The Impresario) and Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute). Alyssa has also performed Geraldine (A Hand of Bridge), Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Miss Pinkerton (The Old Maid and the Thief), Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Despina (Così fan tutte). She made her Weill Hall debut singing excerpts from Massenet’s Manon in the title role.
Lisa Bryce (http://myrtlehart.org/content/view/244/121)
Lisa Bryce, a native of New York, performs Operatic roles, Oratorio and Concert internationally. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the Manhattan School of Music and Binghamton University. She has performed Mimi (La Bohème), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutti), the Countess (Marriage of Figaro), the Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), the Mother (Hansel and Gretel), Giuliette (Tales of Hoffmann), Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi) and Dido (Dido and Aeneas) with the Tri Cities Opera and Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival. She has performed as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem and Seven Last Words of Christ by Dubois. She has performed with Regina Opera, Harlem School of the Arts, Pacific Opera and Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg. She is Encouragement Award winner of the Oratorio Society of New York, a Prize Winner of the Five Towns Voice Competition and the International Mediterraneo Opera Competition, and was a Semi-Finalist in the Francisco Vinas competition in Barcelona, Spain, and in the Gian Carlo Viotti competition in Vercelli, Italy. According to Classical Singer magazine, “Lisa Bryce sang with an elegant sense of repose…the most extravagantly beautiful voice I have heard in a while.”
Beverly Butrie (www.beverlybutrie.com)
Soprano Beverly Butrie is a singing actress with a voice of surprising size and beauty. She has performed with US opera companies such as Westside Opera Society (NYC), Harmony Project (NYC), Opera Florham (NJ), Temple Opera Company (PA) and Lambs Theater (NYC). She has also appeared with musical theater companies, including Raoul Company (national tour), Big League Theatrical (national tour), St. Michael’s Playhouse (VT), Bloomsberg Ensemble (PA), Fiesta Dinner Theater (NJ) and Huntingdon Valley Dinner Theater (PA). Favorite roles include Konstanza (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Leonora (Il Trovatore), Beatrice (Beatrice di Tenda), Norma, Mimi (La Boheme), Gilda (Rigoletto), Madam Firman (Phantom of the Opera), Lynn (A Grand Night for Singing), Kathy (Company), Julie (Carousel), Alexandra (Vamp) and Rosabella (Most Happy Fella). Bruce-Michael Gelbert of New York Q News wrote of her performance as Anina in La Sonnambula: “a colorful soprano encompassing a bright high range and low register of dark, almost mezzo-soprano timbre… Butrie’s instrument took on an eerie purity… after a creamy legato, she brought the evening, punctuated by her ringing high F, to a conclusion with a brilliant ‘Ah! non giunge’.” She will be singing Violetta in La Traviata this Fall. A Pennsylvania native, Beverly makes her home in New York City.
Earl Buys (http://www.facebook.com/#!/earlbuys?sk=info)
Coach/accompanist Earl Buys has been employed by the Metropolitan, Houston, San Francisco, Sante Fe, Florentine, Pittsburgh, Augusta, St. Paul, New Jersey, Marin, Grattacielo and many other opera companies as assistant conductor and accompanist, as well as serving as chorus master for many opera productions. He has appeared in recital with Gerard Souzay, William Warfield and Jerome Hines, and hundreds of other singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and South America. He has been official accompanist for dozens of competitions, including the George London, The Metropolitan Opera, the Puccini, Singer of the World in Monte Carlo, and Baz Lurmann’s Broadway Bohème. He prepared a Pavarotti and Friends concert for live broadcast from Avery Fisher Hall and a world premier concerto with Yo Yo Ma for American Symphony. He has concertized in every major New York City venue including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher, Town Hall, Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel, and Alice Tully. He has played master classes and lessons for many of the major international singers of the last 60 years including London, Steber, Simionato, Scotto, Crespin, Resnick, Moffo, Albanese and Horne. Earl appeared in outreach programs for the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Richard Tucker Foundation, and has played the Richard Tucker Galas in Manhattan. October 2010 marked his return to solo recital playing with a concert at Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. He played Zankel Hall at Carnegie in December with Hyung Joo Lim. February 2011 will witness his 11th and 12th operas for Martin Halpern. He and his late wife, Metropolitan Mezzo-Soprano Wendy Hoffman, released the CD Women in Love. Earl lives on Central Park South with his hairless cat.
Guillermo Cardenas is a percussionist specializing in Latin rhythms who, in addition to his musicianship, is known for the spiritual quality of his playing. His playing is free and powerful, and he sometimes lapses into trance during solos, taking the audience along with him. Guillermo played on the 2007 Grammy-winning album by Dan Zanes, Catch That Train!, and has recorded with many of the top names in the music business across several genres. He is also a composer of percussion music.
“In addition to possessing expertise in the Cuban and Brazilian bass rhythms of most Latin Jazz, Guillermo Cardenas is a virtuoso performer of Afro-Dominican genres ranging from merengue to seldom heard forms such as gaga, palos and pri-pri. He fuses this expertise with an acute sensitivity to jazz aesthestics, thus representing a unique voice in contemporary improvised music.” ~ Professor Paul Austerlitz, Music Department, Brown University
Tenor Maurizio Casa has appeared in theaters and concert halls throughout the United States and Europe. Recent roles include Rodolfo (La Boheme) at Nordhausen Staatstheatre, Germany, and Ferrando (Cosí Fan Tutte) with the IVAI summer program in Tel Aviv. Other roles performed in Europe include Il Duca (Rigoletto), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Alfredo (La Traviata), Contino (Crispino and Contino) and Bastien (Bastien und Bastienne). Maurizio has performed in Gluck’s Te Deum, Hayden’s Theresien Mass, Mozart’s Mass in D Minor KV275 and Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah with the Nova Amadeus Orchestra, and in Rome in Cimerosa’s Mass with the Vatican Orchestra. His numerous appearances in recitals throughout Germany include concerts at the Burg in Kronberg in 2003, 2004, 2006, the Internationales Theatre in Frankfurt in 2005 and 2007 and concerts of Verdi and Bel Canto repertoire at the Hubertussal in the Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich. He has received awards and scholarships from The Mannes College of Music and the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City, as well as from international vocal competitions such as the Mario del Monaco, Chieti and Rheinsberg competitions. In Germany, he studied at the Wiesbadener Opern Werkstatt. In the United States he has been heard as a recitalist at the Caramoor Festival, where he also understudied the roles of Nemorino (L’elisir D’amore), and Ruggero and Prunier (La Rondine). At the Natchez Music Festival he appeared as Captain Tarnitz in The Student Prince and in the title role of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. He has also appeared in opera gala concerts with Opera in the Heights.
Celia Castro (www.ladolcediva.com)
Dramatic soprano Celia Castro is a native New Yorker. She recently sang the roles of Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito) with One World Symphony and the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Opera in the Slope; she will return to Opera in the Slope in October to sing the role of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). Among roles performed are Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus), Eva (Die Meistersinger), Leonora (Il Trovatore) and the title role in Luisa Miller. Celia has appeared on the Bel Canto program at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and frequently performs in concerts as part of CUNY’s Dominican Studies Program, which highlights classical artists of Dominican decent. A native Spanish speaker, she also performs in zarzuelas sponsored by Los Amigos de la Zarzuela. Celia maintains a voice studio in Edison, NJ, and also teaches voice lessons via Skype.
Darren Chase (www.darrenchase.net)
Raised in a family of musicians, LP recordings of Fischer-Dieskau, Prey and Souzay were Darren Chase’s first influences. He began performing art song as a teenager, studying first in his native San Diego and then continuing his education at UC Berkeley and Boston University. His wide range of operatic, concert and cabaret performances includes appearances with the Santa Fe Opera, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Exilkabarett. He recently released two albums, The Young Debussy, a recording of early Debussy songs with pianist Mark Cogley, and Three Schumann Song Cycles, a recital of Schumann lieder with Sergey Schepkin. Darren’s wide repertoire includes performances with the Santa Fe Opera, Palm Beach Opera, the American Bach Soloists, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Exilkabarett. He holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Boston University and the City College of New York in performance studies, music and education. Aside from his musical endeavors, Darren teaches English at the New Design High School, an innovative public school in his Lower East Side neighborhood. He has published several articles on urban education and is finishing a book about his experience titled Inside School.
Maria Ciccaglione, lirico spinto soprano, has sung Opera and Oratorio in Canada, USA and in Europe. After winning First Prize in the Concurso Internacional de Canto de Bilbao in Spain, she made her European operatic debut with the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao. Maria has sung in concert with conductor Nicholas McGegan (Mozart Concert Arias), the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra in Germany, and with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra in Colorado. Recent performances include her first Maddalena (Andrea Chenier), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana), Mimi (Bohème), and a cover engagement with the New Israeli Opera for the role of Madama Butterfly in a Christopher Alden production. She sang the role of the Mother of the Bishop in Stephen Paulus’ one-act opera The Three Hermits at at St. Bonaventure University and was invited back to sing the double roles of the Mother/Grandmother in Seymour Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood. Her first Tosca with the Whitewater and Sorg Operas was hailed as “rising to match many a noted diva in the strength of her portrayal.” Although Maria focuses primarily on the Puccini and Verismo repertoire, she has also sung Salome, as well as the bel canto role of Adalgisa in Norma. Other roles in her repertoire include Aida, Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Manon Lescaut, Donna Elvira, the Countess, Musetta, Nedda, Margherita (Mefistofele), Desdemona and Leonora. She was soprano soloist in Rossini’s La Petite Messe Solennelle and was featured in a recital of Verdi songs at Trinity Church Noonday Concert Series in New York. She was proud to participate in two Katrina Benefit concerts for Habitat for Humanity with the ensemble La Serenata in New York.
Maria has been a Finalist in many international competitions, including the Luciano Pavarotti International Competition. She was declared the First Prize Winner in the 1999 YWCA Studio Club Competition in New York, where she was invited to perform with orchestra at Merkin Concert Hall. As a Winner of the Martin Kaltman Foundation Young Artists Awards, the New Jersey Association for Verismo Opera Competition, and the 1999 IBLA Grand Prize – Bellini International Competition in Italy, she has been presented in Concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the IBLA-USA Festival in Little Rock, NYU’s Casa Italiana, and the United Nations. In October 2010, after placing in the Finals of the Cappuccilli-Patane-Respighi International Voice Competition she sang in the Finals Concert held in Alessandria, Italy. Maria has been a soloist on two recordings of Buxtehude Cantatas, one of which won the Noah Greenberg Award for Early Music. She earned her Licentiate Diploma in Music/Performance at McGill University, as well as a B.A. in Drama and Theatre, both received with Distinction. She currently resides in New York City.
Andrew Costello (http://www.jo-an.com/AndrewCostello.htm)
A native of New York City, dramatic baritone Andrew was born into a musical family, where he was instilled with a love of music. He was first recruited to sing at the age of four by the local church choir director, his mother. His father, clarinetist with The Florida Symphony, taught him clarinet and music theory. Andrew brings with him a wealth of performance experience, having sung more than 25 leading operatic roles in the United States and Europe. His accomplishments range from the baroque music of Monteverdi to the advanced tonalities of contemporary opera. Critics have consistently recognized his outstanding talent: “In view of his voluminous and agile voice, he is on his way to a fine career.” (Opernwelt) “Andrew Costello’s Scarpia was an erotically threatening presence.” (Metropolitan Opera News) “First and foremost is Andrew Costello, a fabulous heldenbariton, whose reading of the Flying Dutchman Monologue recalled some of the greatest baritones I have ever heard.” (Classical Singer Magazine) Last summer, Andrew returned to Des Moines Metro Opera as Scarpia in Tosca. He also recently debuted in the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer in New York City. Andrew has appeared with, among others, with Glimmerglass Opera, the Atlanta Opera Des Moines Metro Opera, Cologne Opera, Bremerhaven Opera, the Neubrandenburg Philharmonic, Mecklenburg Landestheater and Stadttheater Giessen. Notable roles include Don Alfonso (Così fan Tutte), Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Alidoro (La Cenerentola), Mephisto (The Damnation of Faust), the Four Villains (Tales of Hoffmann), Mephisto (Louis Spohr’s Faust), Escamillo (Carmen), Pizarro (Fidelio), Jokanaan (Salomé) and the High Priest (Samson et Dalila). As a concert soloist, Andrew made his debut at Carnegie Hall in Mozart’s Requiem and was invited back to sing in Handel’s Messiah. Other appearances include Bluebeard (Bluebeards’ Castle), Hopkins (Max Brand’s Maschinist Hopkins), Jokanaan (Mariotte’s version of Salomé), soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, and the title role in Der Vampyr by Marschner, as well as Guilbert in Marschner’s Der Templer und die Jüdin, which was broadcast live on German national radio. He also performed as Wotan in Das Rheingold at the Tiroler Festival in Erl, Austria. Andrew’s many awards include The Wagner Society of New York Competition, Liederkranz Wagnerian Voice Competition, the McCallister Awards and, more recently, the Puccini Foundation.
Mezzo-soprano Hayden DeWitt is best known to audiences for her portrayal of operatic trouser roles. She has performed most of the favorites in this genre, including Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), The Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) and Niklausse (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), among others. While the characters in the opera repertoire appeal to her most, she is also very fond of other musical styles, both classical and popular and, working closely with New York composers Ishmael Wallace and Mark Ettinger, has premiered several song cycles and opera roles created especially for her. Hayden created the role of the male protagonist, Sid, in the world premiere of The Stranger by Ishmael Wallace, and they collaborated once again for the premiere of Ishmael’s one-act opera Baggage, in which Hayden portrayed three brothers.Recent, more unusual forays onto the stage include the role of The Drummer in Viktor Ullmann’s World War II masterpiece Der Kaiser von Atlantis with New York’s Opera Gaya, the alto solos in Beethoven’s Mass in C at Carnegie Hall and mezzo soloist with Anima, a Baroque ensemble specializing in seventeenth-century music. Hayden is also an accomplished stage director, and directs her own opera company, Teatro Corleone.
Rosa D’Imperio (http://www.randsman.com/roster.html)
Soprano Rosa D’Imperio continues to establish herself as an exciting and versatile soprano who combines impressive vocal and theatrical gifts with masterful interpretations. She has received a myriad of glowing reviews by both the European and American press such as “a real dramatic soprano that savored with aplomb every moment of this difficult score and can also float a sweet Verdi cantilena” in the Mannheimer Morgen for her Abigaille in Nabucco, as well as “a big, red-blooded, Italianate voice, with soaring high notes, and a beautifully tender Vissi d’arte” in the St. Petersburg Times for her Tosca, and as having “rich purity of tone, fluid range and impressive dramatic communication” in The New York Newsday for her Aida, to quote a few. Her roles include Abigaille (Nabucco), the title role of Tosca, the title role of Aida, Leonora (Il Trovatore), Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera), Desdemona (Otello), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana), the title role in Manon Lescaut, Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Leonora (La Forza del Destino), Maddalena de Coigny (Andrea Chénier), Odabella (Attila), Leonora (Oberto), the title role in Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Giulietta (Les Contes D’Hoffmann) and Mimì (La Bohème). Zarzuela highlights include Lola in Maestro Alonso’s Curro el de Lora and Dolores in La Dolorosa. Performances of concert works include the Verdi Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Bach’s Magnificat. A past semi-finalist of Operalia and a finalist in the George London Foundation Competition, she was a 2006 winner of the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Vocal Competition. The 2009-10 season marks her debut as Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth with Fresno Grand Opera and Opera Santa Barbara. Rosa is also preparing some German repertoire roles such as Elsa in Lohengrin, Sieglinde in Die Walkure and Elisabeth in Tannhauser.
Geoffrey Duce (www.futurestarsconcert.com/artist_GeoffreyDuce.html)
Originally from Scotland, Geoff Duce is a versatile pianist who equally enjoys performing as a recital and concerto soloist, a vocal duo-partner and accompanist, and as a chamber musician. He has lived in New York for the past nine years, initially for DMA studies at Manhattan School of Music, where he taught aural skills full time for several years. As a soloist, he plays with orchestras such as the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin (in the Berlin Philharmonie), Olympia Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Sinfonia. As a vocal accompanist, he has performed at Weill Hall, Wigmore Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and on BBC Radio. He recently gave a masterclass in Ramallah, Palestine. Before coming to NYC, Geoff lived for four years in Berlin, and is especially passionate about German Lieder. He enjoys traveling internationally, and that relaxed feeling that comes following a performance!
Kathy came to New York after a stint in the Peace Corps in Honduras and quickly became involved in the excitement of avantgarde dance, music and theater. As a choreographer/dancer in the 1970s–80s, she presented many original works using natural movement and improvisational forms, collaborating with young composers, and using music by Tom Johnson, Gavin Bryars, Stuart Dempster, Skip Laplante, and Pauline Oliveros among others. Kathy was committed to expressing hopeful, spiritual themes of human interdependence and support. Her choreography was critically acclaimed by The New York Times as “some of the most touching dance of the season” (J. Dunning), and “dancing that is full of life and rich with intimations” (Jowitt, The Village Voice). She was honored with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. At the ripe young age of 63, Kathy began serious training in classical voice. She has been delighted to perform in the chorus of full productions of local opera. Kathy has soloed with Classical Productions, directed by Patricia Hancock Rogers, and has sung in the Middle Collegiate Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir. She has recently joined the Lance Hayward Singers.
Lirico spinto soprano Isabella Dupree won first place in the district Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition and was a finalist and prize winner in the regional Metropolitan Opera Competition. Other awards include First Place in the Regional Leontyne Price Competition in San Francisco, Second Place in the National Leontyne Price Competition in Dallas, Texas, and First Place in the NATS competition, Division 2. She was also awarded a Tanglewood Scholarship. Her repertoire includes the title roles in Aida, Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica and Tosca, as well as Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera), Leonora (Il Trovatore), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Leonora (Forza del Destino). Her symphonic repertoire includes The Mahler Second and Fourth Symphonies and Beethoven’s Ah Perfido! She also performed the Mozart Exultate Jubilate with the Albany Community Symphony Orchestra. Amelia has sung with the Bregenzer Festspiel in Austria, Eugene Opera, California State Opera Theater, Russian Opera Theater, Center Stage Opera and Danbury Opera Theater.
Lyric soprano Sarah Dyson recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with an MM in Vocal Performance, where she performed as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and in the title role of Suor Angelica. She recently performed Micaëla in an adaption of Bizet’s Carmen with the Bay View Music Festival.
Jacquelyn Familant Bruce (www.JacquelynFamilant.com)
Soprano Jacquelyn Familant enjoys a career that spans the genres of opera, chamber music and oratorio. She began her career as a principal artist with the Staatsoper Stuttgart where she performed lead and supporting roles for three seasons. Jacquelyn has performed with such distinguished organizations as American Modern Ensemble, the American Music Festival, Summer Stars of Ocean Grove, The Society for Ethical Culture NYC, Borderless Song of Ontario, The Sapphire Ensemble, Forecast New Music, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Brooklyn Opera, Modus Opera, Festival Lyrique-en-Mer, the Vermont Festival of the Arts, the Chautauqua Institution, and the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia. She has won numerous awards and was named a Star of Tomorrow by Europe’s ARTE Film and Broadcasting Network. Jacquelyn holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.
Pianist Cris Frisco works both nationally and internationally in both musical theater and opera. His work on Broadway productions includes a recent stint as musical director and consultant for the New York premiere of Charles L. Mee’s Limonade Tous les Jours. Previously he was keyboardist and musical technician for The Producers on Broadway. He was chosen to conduct the Philadelphia premiere of BatBoy, which received the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Musical. He has been a musical director and pianist for productions at the Walnut Street Theater, The Princeton Festival, The Theatre Outlet, Muhlenberg Summer Theater, 1812 Productions, Passage Theater, Downtown Players, and the Bucks County and Pocono Playhouses. In addition, he partners a number of singers in classical recital and cabaret in both America and Europe. He is also the founding Artistic Director of The New Voice Project, a non-profit organization devoted to developing and promoting emerging musical and visual art and artists. A committed educator, Cris is on the Music Theater faculty of Westminster College of the Arts, where he musically directs mainstage productions, teaches courses in vocal coaching and repertoire building, coaches students, and co-teaches the Music Theater Ensemble course along with Nova Thomas. Cris is a coach/accompanist for the MFA Acting Program at the New School for Drama in NYC. He was music director for the Summer Music Theater Immersion Experience, an intensive summer workshop that partners established Broadway stars with emerging professionals for a series of classes, masterclasses and workshops. He has served on the accompanying staff of the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy, as well as Wichita State’s summer study program in Florence. Cris has collaborated in masterclasses with artists including Liz Callaway, Denis O’Hare, Judy Kuhn, Bernard Telsey, Jason Butler Harner, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Kait Kerrigan, Brian Lowdermilk, Claudia Catania and Suzanne Farrell. He maintains coaching studios in both New York City and Bucks County, PA; his clients are currently appearing on Broadway, national tour circuits, major regional theaters, and on national and international opera stages.
For the most part, my life revolves around two things: Nature and Music. Nature comes first, of course, because without it there would be no music; music, however, is what I live for. My two main instruments are classical guitar and vihuela (I don’t mean the Venezuelan vihuela; I mean the six course vihuela of Renaissance Spain). I also perform on Baroque guitar, lute and fool around with recorders. Frame drums are a passion with me and I occasionally succeed in playing myself into a trance with them. It’s part of that inward journey that I believe all music is a vehicle for; indeed, my most profound spiritual experiences have occured while playing music. I try to share this ecstacy in performance and feel that performing music is a powerful healing experience, for both the audience and performer–but enough on the metaphysics of music for now. Suffice to say that, if you were to go deep into a forest, alone, and play the alto recorder for a little while, you’d get some idea of what I mean. At the very least, it should send chills up your spine…. I began playing the cello when I was ten years old. In 1965, at the age of fourteen, I bought a guitar and spent the next twenty years playing the blues. In 1985, I devoted myself exclusively to classical guitar. Baroque guitar, lute and vihuela quickly followed. I am always learning, and plan to continue my studies until my dying day. I have given recitals and performed in museums, galleries, cafes and restaurants, weddings and corporate affairs, from the Great Lakes to Amsterdam. Nature is my inspiration and I spend my life seeking out beautiful places where I can revel in the free play of melody, harmony and rhythm in my inner ear. I camp and hike when I can. I believe it is foolish to expect that all my questions will be answered in dialogue with my fellow men and women; consequently, I look to the wilderness to teach me and show me the way. I look to my animal brothers and sisters for wisdom. But this is getting way too deep for a quick bio. The Buddha’s teachings guide me in my daily life; the guitar, the drum and the Earth lead me along my spiritual path; and music–well, music is My Reason For Being.
Gabriél Gargarí (www.GabrielGargari.com)
First-generation Mexican-American Gabriel Gargari, a character tenor, made his professional debut with the Bellevue Opera as Remendado in Carmen in 2008. He made his New Rochelle Opera debut in Puccini’s Turandot singing the role of Pang, as well as singing the role of Monostatos in Mozart’s Die Zauberfloete with Prelude to Performance as a guest artist. The New York Times said he was a “a leering Monostatos…brilliant stage presence and superb comic talent.” Gabriel also sang the role of Goro in the Phoenix Opera’s 2010 production of Madama Butterfly and returns to Phoenix Opera in December to revive the role of Monostatos. Gabriel received his Bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and his Master’s at Manhattan School of Music. Gabriel has recently taken on the role of Impresario by producing The Dress Rehearsal, a classical cabaret piece for Singer, Piano, and Actor. The East Coast premiere will be on October 9, 2010 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Province, NJ, and the New York premiere will be on November 11, 2010 at Merkin Concert Hall. A documentary of the creative process from its inception to manifestation in performance is being filmed of the ground-breaking project. Gabriel says that his purpose in singing is to take people on a journey, to feel the full range of emotions, to heal and to help them look within themselves and see why the music he sings affects them. He also sings to become more and more of a vessel for the music. He feels that his gift was meant to be shared with as many people as possible.
Kathy Geary (www.kathygeary.com)
Spinto Soprano Kathy Geary, fresh from Texas, began her operatic career with a stellar debut as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème in Busseto, Italy. Both Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi, her early mentors, proclaimed her “a rare voice, a gifted singer and a moving performer.” Shortly after this triumph, Kathy was forced for personal reasons to take a hiatus from her operatic career. She has recently made her comeback and according to Nico Castel, “We’re lucky to have Kathy back in the business; we need more singers like this.” Maestra Fiora Contino calls Geary “a natural Verdian soprano who understands the traditions and has a good instinct for the vocal line.” Recently Kathy appeared with the New Jersey Concert Opera Orchestra as Siegrune in a full-length concert performance of Die Walküre. Further engagements included the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Capitol Opera Company of Harrisburg and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera with the Burgas Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, Bulgaria. In concert, she performed arias from Un ballo in maschera and Adriana Lecouvreur with pianist Michael Fennelley in a beautful salon setting at New York City’s Steinway Hall.
Singer/songwriter Mike Glick has toured both solo and with his ensemble in the USA and in Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. Robert Palmer said in The New York Times about his group, “The material has the sound and rhythms of Brazilian … and Afro-Cuban music [and] is more rousing and musically substantive than the music of city folksingers of previous generations.” The Newark Star Ledger wrote, “The New Song Quintet had the whole room shaking and clapping, rocking and dancing to their … songs.” Avante in Lisbon, Portugal, reviewed, “Poetic lyrics … rhythmic diversity, brilliant improvisation and versatility distinguish this highly original group.” Pete Seeger has called Mike “one of the best songwriters going.” Mike currently works solo and with a new ensemble with his son, Generations: Mike & Aleksi Glick.
Originally from Wyoming, Richard Gordon’s diverse musical career has ranged from conducting and coaching opera in the Alaskan tundra to performing solo piano concerts in the jungles of Africa. As conductor/accompanist he toured with Met diva Patricia Munsel and film star Jane Powell, and he has accompanied many of the luminaries in the opera world. His associations with opera companies include Washington (D.C.) Opera, New Orleans Opera, Pusan (Korea) Grand Opera, St. Louis Opera, Ecuador’s Teatro Nacional Sucre and Chautauqua Opera. Equally at home in musical theater, he has conducted national tours and been associated with Goodspeed Opera, Playwrights Horizons, and Phillip Glass Ensemble, and with many well-known popular singers such as Audra McDonald, Kevin Kline, David Cassidy and Linda Ronstadt. He has served on the faculties of the University of Liberia (Africa), Shenyang Conservatory (China), Dalien Music Conservatory (China), Southern Methodist University, Westminster Choir College, the American Musical & Dramatic Academy and other institutions, and has offered masterclasses for performers which help singers perform with awareness and physical freedom. Adept at bodywork and possessing an uncanny understanding of vocal anatomy and function, in addition to his mastery of vocal literature, Richard is an outstanding holistic vocal coach. And as a coach/accompanist, Richard has a special gift for bringing out the very best in singers and instrumentalists. He is also Co-Music Director and Pianist for EGMP’s CONCERTS FOR HEALING series.
I started my performing life as a dancer and first came to NYC to attend the Juilliard School’s Dance Department. I later began taking voice lessons as a personal challenge after attending a vocal workshop for women healing from childhood trauma. As I discovered my own singing voice, the challenge gradually shifted from trying to get a sound out to learning the operatic repertoire. This process has been both challenging and rewarding, and I am firmly convinced of the power of music, especially vocal music, to heal the human soul on many levels. One of the nicest compliments I have received as a musician was from a neighbor, who said, “I love hearing you sing when I come home at the end of the day. It lifts me up.”
Elena Greco is a singer, writer, producer/director, teacher and coach. Her primary creative focus is on producing multi-media projects that entertain, educate and enliven through ELENA GRECO MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTIONS™. As a mezzo-soprano, she sings a wide variety of genres and styles, from opera to Spanish art song to Broadway to jazz standards, both as a soloist and as an enthusiastic ensemblist. Her voice has a wide range of colors, and she always does her best to convey the essence of the music in its natural style. She wants the audience to experience in her music direct communication and honesty, and to be entertained, moved and uplifted, whatever the genre. She is also a classical pianist, plays jazz flute, was once a harpist, and occasionally composes. It’s important to her to go wherever the creative impulse takes her, unrestricted by genre, style, medium or instrument. She is particularly dedicated to Spanish art song, and produces a multi-part concert series called THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™ which explores the elements which unite to create the unique sound of Spanish music. She hosts THE MUSIC SALON™ every first Tuesday of the month to provide a haven for creative artists to share their art among colleagues and support their creative process. She also facilitates a meditation group specifically for musicians and other creative artists, the MEDITATION FOR CREATIVES™, and is a holistic voice teacher (Elena’s Voice Studio). You can see more about her background as a group facilitator here: Facilitator Bio. Other EGMP endeavors are CONCERTS FOR HEALING™ and OPERA REALE™.
Soprano Susan Herrmann made her Boston Symphony Hall debut in Cherubini’s Medea with an internationally renowned cast, including Sylvia Sass, Rita Gorr and John McCurdy. Other operatic credits include Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), La Fee (Cendrillion), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Marzelline (Fidelio), Musetta (La Bohème) and most recently Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance). Susan was a Finalist in the Kahn Career Entry Competition and was selected as an apprentice with the Natchez Opera Festival and Florida Grand Opera. She received a Bachelor of Music from The University of North Carolina Greensboro and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Boston University.
Kelly Horsted (www.kellyhorsted.com)
Pianist Kelly Horsted, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, enjoys an active career in New York City as a coach/accompanist specializing in new opera, art song, and role preparation. Kelly is a gifted and versatile pianist whose performances include appearances at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as well as Fountainbleau, France and NBC’s Weekend Today Show. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Eastman School of Music, where he was a fellowship recipient and first place winner in the Kneisel Lieder Competition.
April Lynn James (www.AprilLynnJames.com)
Hailed by The New York Times as a “flash of beauty and inspiration” following her performance at New York City’s historic PS 122, mezzo-soprano April Lynn James is passionate about trouser roles and 18th-century music. She has performed with the Queens Symphony Orchestra, New York Opera Studio, the Christmas Revels and at such venues as Symphony Space, the National Museum of the American Indian and Boston’s Tremont Temple, among others. Among her favorite roles are Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Arsamene (Serse) and Annio (La Clemenza di Tito). A respected champion of women composers, she founded the Maria Antonia Project to bring operas composed by women out of the archives and onto the world’s stages. Their well-received 2008 performance April & Friends: A Concert of 18th-century Music was sponsored, in part, by the Queens Council on the Arts. It included favorite arias by Handel and Mozart, and her appearance as Tirsi in scenes from Il trionfo della fedeltà by the acclaimed Maria Antonia, Electress of Saxony. Additionally, the concert showcased her collaboration with the women’s chorus Willow as mezzo/alto soloist for Vivaldi’s Gloria. April is a regular guest soloist at Zion Episcopal Church in Douglaston, NY. She has performed at the inaugural Faith and Feminism Dialogues at Union Theological Seminary, the 25th Anniversary of the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series at Rutgers University, and the Carnegie Library Centennial celebration of the Queens Library. Awards include the Urban Artists Initiative/NYC Fellowship, the GoTour Road Show Contest, as well as grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Open Meadows Foundation. In addition to being a Mellon Mays Fellow, she spent a year studying and performing in Germany as a recipient of a DAAD Annual Grant. While completing her doctorate in music from Harvard University, her exhibit for Harvard’s Loeb Music Library, In Her Own Hand: Operas Composed by Women 1625–1913, was the first-ever on this subject. As a dancer/choreographer in the baroque style, she performed for several years as a principal member of the Longy Early Dance Ensemble specializing in male roles. She continues to teach and perform baroque dance. A skilled juggler, she taught juggling as well as directed and performed shows for elementary school audiences as a member of the National Circus Project, and toured the Eastern US as Janey in Foodplay. She is also a regular contributor to Classical Singer magazine.
Violinist Emily Kalish is committed to bringing audiences thoughtful, imaginative and emotionally honest interpretations of the classical repertoire, as well as new works written by twenty-first century composers. After earning a Bachelor’s degree from the Hartt School in Connecticut, where she studied with Katie Lansdale, Emily moved to New York to pursue a Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Burton Kaplan. Since graduating, she has made New York her home and has performed and taught throughout the tri-state area. She has played under the baton of conductors Kurt Masur, JoAnn Faletta, Gerard Schwartz, and Robert Franz, and currently holds a position in the Binghamton Philharmonic. Also a dedicated teacher, she is on the faculty of Concordia Conservatory of Music and Art. Originally from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, she enjoys returning to idyllic Berkshire County often to perform. She has performed annually at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown since the inception of its Summer Noontime Concert Series in 2004, and has played recitals at Simon’s Rock College and The First Congregational Church in Stockbridge.
Kirsten Kane (www.classicalsinger.com/sites/showsite.php?user_id=27222)
A native of northern Canada, mezzo-soprano Kirsten Kane sings as a freelance artist with various ensembles in NY including the NY Philharmonic, the Little Orchestra Society, the NY Choral Artists, Mostly Mozart, the Good Pennyworths vocal quartet, NY Virtuoso Singers, Belcanto at Caramoor, and the Royal Concertgebouw. She has appeared with the NY Philharmonic as a Hen in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. Other operatic roles have included Wanda (Friml’s Rose Marie), Nicklausse/The Muse (Les Contes d’Hoffmann); Prince Charming and Madame de la Haltière (Masssenet’s Cendrillon), Mercedes (Carmen) Marcellina and Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro), Roméo (Roméo et Juliette), Dorabella (Così fan tutte); La Badessa (Suor Angelica); and Mere Jeanne (Dialogues des Carmélites). As concert soloist, her performances have included Haydn’s Schöpfungsmesse (NY Cantata Singers), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Choral Symphony Society), Handel’s Messiah (Ensemble Sepia Orchestra) and Debussy’s Trois Chansons (Hudson Valley Singers). She appeared in recital at the Fordham-At-Four concert series, and presented a program of French salon songs for the Jewish Museum’s exhibit of Sarah Bernhardt. At the NY Fringe Festival, Kirsten premiered the role of Kathleen in Susan Stoderl’s opera A.F.R.A.I.D. Her latest musical focus has been the French and English lute songs of the Renaissance, and her joy is in engaging audience members in ways they don’t expect. She is a graduate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music in British Columbia, Canada.
Kristi Kelly, soprano, recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with Mid-America Productions. Other concert appearances include the Strauss Four Last Songs and Brahms Requiem (UMass Alumni Gala), Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Fairbanks Symphony), Handel’s Messiah (Commonwealth Opera), John Rutter’s Requiem (St. Paul the Apostle Church, New York), and a World Premiere performance of the Lori Laitman setting of “The brain is wider than the sky” for the Emily Dickinson International Society. Other local concert appearances include concerts with The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Goliard Concerts, and NYMVAE. Recent operatic appearances include Violetta (La Traviata, Riverside Opera), Frasquita (Carmen, Hudson Opera Theater), First Lady (The Magic Flute, Hudson Opera Theater), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel, Commonwealth Opera), and Nedda (cover, I Pagliacci, COSI). Kristi was featured in the Natchez Opera Festival’s Young Artist program for two seasons, singing Papagena in The Magic Flute and Sylviane in The Merry Widow. She has been a finalist in both the Jenny Lind Competition for Sopranos and the Connecticut Opera Guild Competition. She holds degrees in voice from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Craig Ketter (http://harwood-management.com/ketter.html)
American pianist Craig Ketter is rapidly distinguishing himself as a leading pianist of his generation, performing as soloist and chamber musician throughout the world. Critically acclaimed for “transporting the listeners to extraordinary heights” and “into a world beyond time and space,” he is known for playing with powerhouse sonority combined with long-lined, dulcet lyricism. Craig has performed as soloist with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the South Orange Symphony, the Raleigh Symphony, the Durham Symphony, the Rocky Ridge Music Festival Orchestra, and the American Festival for the Arts Orchestra. His solo concerts have taken him to Mexico, Argentina, France, Germany, and Japan and across the United States and Canada. Craig regularly joins forces with international singers and chamber groups. Venues include NPR’s Performance Today series, CBS Sunday Morning, Sirius Satellite Radio, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, La Huaca, Atlapa in Panama City, the Savannah Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, Music in the Mountains in Colorado, and The Marilyn Horne Foundation. Musicians he has collaborated with include flutist Eugenia Zukerman, clarinetists Stephen Williamson and Ricardo Morales, cellists Robert deMaine and Eric Bartlett, violinists Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Roy Malan, singers Deborah Voigt, Margaret Jane Wray, Cynthia Lawrence, Samuel Ramey, Paul Plishka, Ben Heppner, Cliff Forbis, and Robert White, and the esteemed actress Claire Bloom.
Speaking about lyric soprano Ilana Kochinska, Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan has called her voice “powerful and expressive,” and praised her performance in recital, saying she “sang with a deep emotional involvement, a tonal range and control, an attention to the meaning of the words and interpretive gestures that gave the songs maximum impact.” Ilana has performed extensively in opera, recital, and concert repertoire. Her major roles have included Angelica (Suor Angelica), Nedda, Mimì, Pamina, Donna Elvira, the Contessa, and Micaela. In contemporary repertoire, she created the role of the Athenian Woman in Martin Halpern’s The Siege of Syracuse, which had its world premiere in October of 2008. At New York’s The Kitchen, she sang the Cousin in the world premiere of The Past Is Present by Jeffrey Schanzer. Other recent highlights include a recital for Casa Italiana (NY), an exploration of Italian-Jewish musical connections, which included a song cycle for voice and chamber musicians based on poetry by the great Italian writer Primo Levi. Her recording of Yiddish and Hebrew art songs, World of Our Mothers, is available from Finzi Records. Ilana grew up near Washington, DC, where she began her musical studies in voice, piano, and classical guitar. She holds a degree in vocal performance from Wesleyan University (Conn.). She was a finalist in the Bel Canto Foundation competition and received Honorable Mention in the Paul Robeson Vocal Competition.
Viktoriya Koreneva (www.viktoriyakoreneva.com)
Mezzo-soprano Viktoriya Koreneva is a native of Moscow, Russia. Her extensive musical training includes piano and vocal studies at the Central Music School of Moscow, under the auspices of Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. She holds a graduate degree from the Russian State University for the Humanities and an MBA from the American University in Washington DC. Ms. Koreneva has an impressive range capable of expressing both dramatic power and lyric beauty. Favorite roles include Giullietta (The Tales of Hoffman), Le Prince Charmant (Cendrillon), Charlotte (Werther), Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), and Jezibaba (Rusalka). Described as “possessing a voice of distinct timbre, which she uses with a wonderful dramatic intensity”, Viktoriya has excited audiences in her public recitals and concerts in the US and Russia. In 2014 Ms. Koreneva was awarded a distinguished recognition diploma by the Russian Culture Center in Washington DC for strengthening Russian-American cultural relations. From 2011-2013, MsViktoriya was the featured mezzo soloist in Cathedral Choral Society’s performances of Rachmaninoff‘s All-Night Virgil (Solemn Vespers) and Taneyev’s cantata John of Damascus, Dvorak’s Te Deum and Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass. She also performed Gretchaninoff’s Praise the Lord in its Washington premier at the National Cathedral. Viktoriya also performed Recordare from the Verdi Requiem at St. John’s Episcopal Church (known as “the Church of the Presidents”) in Washington, DC, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces at the Strathmore Music Center under the baton of conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez. In the fall of 2012 Viktoriya was one of four US singers who took part in the International Vocal Competition organized by the NTD Chinese Television Network and became a semi-finalist. In 2009 Viktoriya Koreneva was a diploma winner in the Romanciada Without Borders art songs competition in Russia. Her artistic diversity and linguistic fluency allows her to sing a range of eclectic music from across the world in Russian, English, French, Italian, German and Chinese.
Stefanos Koroneos (www.StefanosKoroneos.com)
Stefanos Koroneos is one of the most versatile artists in the music scene today, having appeared with numerous operas companies internationally in a wide variety of standard and unconventional repertoire. Also an actor, he has appeared in films and television shows (including The Good Wife). Known for his strong musical skills, he learns operatic roles quickly. Born in Athens, Greece, Stefanos moved to Milan when he was young to study at the Giuseppi Verdi Conservatory and later at the Rossini Opera Festival Academy in Pesaro. He has performed in opera houses throughout the world, working with world-class conductors such as Richard Bonynge and Anton Coppola and with directors Franco Zeffirelli, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Emilio Sagi, among many others. Recordings include an RAI television performance with Montserrat Caballé, three operas for Sky International Classic Chanel, I Vespri and Madama Butterfly for Dynamic Records and a PBS broadcast of La Bohème with Opera Tampa in 2007. Stefanos made his debut in La Bohème at the Staatsoper in Freiburg, Germany. He has since performed in theatres in Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece, Korea, Spain, Malta and Japan. Theatre appearances include Teatro alla Scala, the Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro, Italy), The Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow), Palm Beach Opera, Teatro Reggio di Parma, Giglio Lucca, Verdi Busetto, Sociale Rovigo, Livorno, Ravenna, Pisa (Italy), and the Athens Concert Hall (Greece). His repertoire includes Don Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Shaunard (La Bohème), Don Alvaro (Il viaggio a Reims), the Count and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Melitone (La forza del destino), the Sacristan (Tosca), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Marcello (La Bohème), Escamillo (Carmen), Zeta and Danilo (The Merry Widow), The King (Aida) and Tom (Un ballo in maschera).
Soprano Pamela Lloyd has performed in Vienna’s Schöne Neue Musik Festival with the Czech State Orchestra as Chemöse in the world-premiere of Alexander Blechinger’s Simä, broadcast on Radio Vienna; as Jenny (Three Penny Opera) with Manhattan’s DiCapo Opera Theatre; and as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) for Staten Island’s Richmond County Orchestra. She recently sang her first Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer at New York City’s Bechstein Hall. Other performances include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), the Soprano Soloist in The Messiah with the Ensemble America Chamber Orchestra, Jenny-Any-Dots/Griddlebone in resident companies of Cats in Zürich, Vienna and Amsterdam and Mother in Amahl and The Night Visitors. In 2010, will be performing Maddelena in Andrea Chénier for New York City’s Espresso Opera. Classical Singer declared, “Outstanding was soprano Pamela Lloyd, who sang with the kind of verve and power that made me think that this is a future Salome, Tosca, or Butterfly, for she combined superb technical skills with a brilliance of tone, and remarkable full chest voice.” Pamela has concertized as a soloist for Trinity Church at Wall Street’s renowned Concerts at One series and with The New York Chamber Players Orchestra; sung the National Anthem and other patriotic songs at a recent televised World Trade Center Memorial Ceremony; created the role of Bunny in Keith Herrmann’s Off-Broadway musical Prom Queens Unchained, as well as its film version, and appeared in musical theater productions throughout the United States. She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was a recipient of the Carol Burnett Musical Theater Award.
Cellist Mike Lunapiena fuses his classical training with a love of heavy metal, fantasy, film and folk music, building layers of cello to create a unique and beautiful sound. Also known as The Wandering Cellist, Mike often performs in unusual venues, such as the New York City Bach in the Subways programs. He also plays currently with Eli August, Psyche Corporation, Edensong and The Rose West, and is preparing a solo album called Ghosts of Greyhame.
Joaquin is an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has a degree in classical guitar, and enjoys playing and writing bachata and other popular Latin music, as well. He has played in the Dominican Republic at El Teatro Nacional, El Palacio de Bellas Artes and El Auditorium del Conservatorio Nacional de Musica de Santo Domingo, and in the U.S. at the New Victory Theater and Lincoln Center. He wants his music to bring happiness and positive feelings to everyone who listens.
Phillip Massengill, tenor, has performed as a solo artist in opera and oratorio and graduated from The University of North Carolina with a degree in Vocal Performance. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Phillip specializes in Otolaryngology and is a partner at Hudson Valley Ear, Nose & Throat in Middletown, New York.
Tenor Gilbert Mendoza has been heard as Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Sultan Soliman (Zaide), Prunier (La Rondine), Remendado (Carmen), Lysander (Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Alfredo (La Traviata), Pinkerton and Goro (Madama Butterfly), Rinuccio (cover) (Gianni Schicchi), Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Arturo and Normanno (Lucia di Lammermoor). He has sung with The Chelsea Opera, DiCapo Opera Theatre, Natchez Opera Festival, Opera Idaho, Opera On The Hudson, Harrisburg Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Sacramento Opera, Sarasota Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, West Side Opera, PALA Opera Association, and the Naples Philharmonic. Gilbert has been presented in recitals and concerts by Donnell@LPA, Tulane University, Natchez Opera Festival, Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church of Naples, Florida, Rabi-Warner Series at Columbia University, The Nicholas Roerich Museum, Cricket Foundation (NYC), and The Swedish Church (NYC). Tenor solos included Handel’s Messiah with the Hellenic Orchestra (Brooklyn, NY), Saul (Sine Nomine Singers at Alice Tully Hall), Haydn’s Missa Cellensis in C (Naples Philharmonic), the Orfeo Duo, and with the Mendelssohn Club of Albany, New York.
Soprano and Russian native Elena Mindlina received a Master’s Degree in violin from the State Saratov Conservatory in Russia. In 2006 she came to New York to study Musical Theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Shortly after graduation Elena received a standing ovation and “thrilled the audience” with her Broadway debut at the Town Hall, received a standing ovation at the Symphony Space, and “stopped” her first Off-Broadway show Roberta with Musicals Tonight. Two years later Elena decided to move into the classical genre. She appeared as Alessandro in the New York premiere of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo with Stony Brook Opera in 2009, and received a Master’s Degree as an opera singer in May 2010 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In summer 2011 she appeared as Fyodor in Boris Godunov, Elena Franco in South Pacific, Lo-Lo in Merry Widow, as well as participating as a soloist/ensemble member in various concert programs with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater Company. Most recently Elena could be seen in various venues and festivals in Manhattan including Merkin Hall as a finalist of Arcadi Foundation Vocal Competition, Debussy 150 Concert Series and Allegro Pianos Concert Series.
Things that inspire Elena are discovering and learning new repertoire; listening to the great artists and learning from them; collaboration with talented musicians; constant development and becoming a better artist; performing and sharing her experience with the audience as well as friends and loved ones working in other fields. In her personal life, beauty and kindness inspire her the most; she also finds inspiration and satisfaction in being able to help someone. Observing and creating any form of beauty touches her deeply, and she loves observing nature, people, animals and art. She believes that it is crucial for any professional to meet and work with people who have achieved the highest level in their field, not only because you learn so much and have an opportunity to be told what and how to improved, but also because of the aura and amazing atmosphere that is an omnipresent attribute of great people.
Jennifer Johnson Osborne is a dramatic mezzo-soprano whose roles include Azucena (Il Trovatore), Princess Eboli (Don Carlo), Carmen (title role), Zita (Gianni Schicchi) and the Mothers in Hansel and Gretel and Amahl and the Night Visitors. Her extensive repertoire also includes oratorios and musical theater.
A native New Yorker, tenor Joseph Ponte has performed the standard Italian repertory with several local companies, including the Amato Opera and the New Rochelle Opera. A founding member of the Saturday Soiree, Joe has performed with them in concerts at Steinway Hall and, more recently, at the Bechstein Piano Center.
Soprano Andrea’ Powe‘s artistic focus is to promote some of the less-performed solo orchestral works for voice, such as Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder, Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder and the orchestral works of Mahler.
I was lucky enough to be born in Kenya and the home I grew up in was at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Ngongs themselves rise a thousand feet above the floor of the Great Rift Valley, and its primordial immensity, giant volcanoes, vast savannahs, fall away in curtains of colour. Down on the Rift Valley floor you can see groups of Maasai with their cattle, small as ants, move in a cloud of red dust. From a young age I was lucky enough to be let loose in a world of myriad creatures which lived and struggled in this incredibly beautiful land. It engendered in me a profound sense of the inter-connectedness of life. At nine years old I asked for, and received, my first guitar. My guitar teachers were expatriates who came and went on a regular basis, but I had some talent and within a few short years had become good enough to enter, and win, the East African Music Festival. I reached a point as a young teenager where music, and guitar playing, had become such a part of my psyche that I was naturally drawn to some wonderful African musicians. One who truly stands out was a blind man who was wholly a part of his instrument: a small home-made xylophone. I spent one brief evening with him in a little shack overlooking the Indian Ocean. As he began to play, the instrument became an extension of his body and the music poured out of him, gushing from the center of his being. I felt as inspired as looking out over the Great Rift Valley. His intricate and complex sound, along with unexpected and profound rhythms, left me awestruck and hungering for more. I love to play and am constantly amazed at what the six strings of my instrument are capable of. In my desire to write music I keep myself connected with everything and everyone around me, and that wonderful, anonymous blind musician is often up front, egging me on.
A native of Havana, Cuba, baritone Francisco Pérez-Abreu has performed extensively in opera, zarzuela and concert, mostly in the New York City area. In opera he has done most of the major baritone roles in the standard French and Italian operatic repertory, with companies including the Amato Opera, the Brooklyn Repertory Opera and the Long Island Opera. Off the beaten path, he has sung Cambro, the baritone lead in the Amato Opera’s U.S. premiere of Antonio Carlos Gomes’ Fosca, the Captain of the Guards in the Bronx Opera production of Carl Nielsen’s Maskarade, and the Music Master in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, with the Brooklyn Repertory Opera. Last May he performed Alfio in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana at the Rutgers Church’s annual operatic gala in Manhattan and Michele in Puccini’s Il tabarro with the Brooklyn Repertory Opera. In zarzuela Francisco has appeared with Repertorio Español in their revue Havana Sings and in leading roles in Amadeo Vives’ Doña Francisquita and Pablo Luna’s Molinos de viento. As a recitalist he has been a frequent performer at Steinway Hall, Bechstein Piano Center and New York University’s La Maison Française. In April he presented “Tilting at Musical Windmills,” a solo program about the various incarnations of Don Quixote in vocal music, at the Greenwich House Music School.
Carlos Revollar (www.carlosrevollar.com)
Note: I am very sad to report that Carlos is no longer with us. He died of a heart attack in 2015.
Flamenco guitarist Carlos Revollar is one of the most sought-after flamenco guitarists in his native New York City, performing with many of flamenco’s top artists at such venues as the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center Summer Stage, Caramoor Festival, New York Fashion Week, New York City Center, Symphony Space and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He is a guitarist in the Oscar Valero Flamenco Company in New York City. He has performed with many dance companies including Flamenco Vivo, Sol y Sombra, Danzas Españolas and Fiesta Flamenca, enjoying collaborations with consummate artists such as Elena Andujar, Soledad Barrios, Jose Fernandez, Chayito Champion, Nelida Tirado and Yloy Ybarra. He studied both classical and flamenco guitar with Dennis Koster, Antonio “Canito” Suarez, El Entri, Jesus Torres and Luis Heredia. An accomplished composer, Carlos Revollar has won American Music Center Award Grant three consecutive years for his compositions Revmenco (2004), Zapateado Irish (2005), and Tangos de Oliva (2006) for Alborada Dance Theater. He is currently the Musical Director of the Alborada Dance Theater. Carlos Revollar forms a prizewinning duo with the concert flutist Ulla Suokko. They were presented in their official duo debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall on February 10, 2008 in the Artists International’s Special Presentation Winners Series. Artists International will proudly present them again next season in their Alumni Winnners Series. Duo Ulla & Carlos is now in ever-increasing demand, with special commissions and performances at special events and various festivals throughout the world.
Rebecca Salazar (www.RebeccaSalazar.net)
Singer Rebecca Salazar, a native of New York, is an eclectic performer whose vocal styles encompass many regions of South, Central and North America. Her voice has graced the stages of Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Town Hall. Rebecca is quickly becoming known throughout New York and regionally for her sumptuous vocal quality, which she uses to interpret everything from sultry Brazilian bossanovas, to the more folk-inspired nueva canción ballads and songs of her peers. In addition, Rebecca is a lyricist who has written songs in English and Spanish. Her vocal interpretations and writing fuse the influence of her classical training with the fresh outlook of the modern.
Caterina Secchi (www.CaterinaSecchi-MezzoSoprano.com)
Caterina Secchi feels equally at home in Italy and in the United States, where she was born and where she began her vocal studies with the late Elio Gennari, graduate of the Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, Italy. A longtime resident of Milan, Italy, Caterina Secchi made her debut at the Teatro Regio of Parma as a very young singer in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She was immediately re-signed by the Teatro Regio and appeared as soloist in Bruckner’s Mass in D Minor, singing in Parma, Modena, Ferrara, and Reggio Emilia. With the La Camerata Internazionale Rossiniana she performed frequently in Milan and on tour as soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solemnelle, as well as interpreting the part of La Monaca di Monza in Ponchielli’s rarely-performed opera I Promessi Sposi. She has performed the leading mezzo-soprano roles in Nabucco, Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Il Trovatore, among others. In Milan, Caterina performed in numerous gala and solo concerts and appeared on Italian television (Lirica in Salotto) and radio (Radio Meneghina). In the United States, Caterina has performed with Palm Beach Opera, Fort Lauderdale Opera (Azucena in Il Trovatore) and in numerous orchestral works (Berlioz’s Cleopatre and De Falla’s El Amor Brujo with the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra) as well as such oratorio works as Verdi’s Requiem, and the Magnificat of both Bach and Vivaldi. In April of 1999, Caterina sang two concerts at the Bay of Islands Arts Festival in New Zealand. The concerts included Italian and French song, Italian, French and Russian dramatic mezzo-soprano arias, and Mussorsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. She has sung recitals and been featured in gala concerts with the Wagner Society of America (Chicago, 2004) as well as with the American Association of Verdi Studies Gala at Carnegie Recital Hall.
Eric Sedgwick (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=811811109#!/eric.sedgwick)
Eric Sedgwick is a pianist and vocal coach whose clients have appeared on- and off-Broadway and in major opera houses around the world. As an accompanist he has performed in concert with some of some of music’s biggest talents, including Leona Mitchell and Marni Nixon, Broadway leading ladies Sarah Rice and Carole Demas, Thomas Stacy of the New York Philharmonic, and jazz vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He is currently on the coaching staff at the Manhattan School of Music, where he is the music director for the Junior Opera Theater directed by Catherine Malfitano. On the west coast he frequently coaches and music directs productions for the cutting-edge OperaWorks training program in Los Angeles. Opera and musical theater credits include performances of La Voix Humaine, Le Nozze di Figaro, Xerxes, L’Elisir d’Amore, The Wild Party and Side by Side by Sondheim. Eric has been involved with the Art Song Preservation Society since its inception, playing for their masterclasses, workshops and competitions. He also performs regularly with Opera Singers Initiatives, an organization dedicated to nurturing careers in the field of classical voice, as well as SongFusion, committed to innovative approaches to art song performance. For the past five seasons he has been the pianist for the Stonewall Chorale in New York and for the Broadway Concerts Direct concert series in Wurtsboro, NY. He was a winner of the Boston Steinway piano competition, and has premiered works by composers Seymour Barab, J. Mark Stambaugh, Joelle Wallach, and Louis Hardin. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Eric holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Brown University. He maintains a private coaching studio in New York.
Dan Franklin Smith (www.danfranklinsmith.com)
Concert pianist Dan Franklin Smith performs throughout the US and Europe. He has been described as “an incredibly sensitive player” and “a master pianist.” Accolades such as “breathtakingly beautiful,” “technical wizardry,” “brilliant technique and emotional fervor” appear in every review. An Aliso Viejo, California, headline proclaimed, “Classical Pianist Moves Audience to Tears.” He made his European recital debut in 1997 in Sweden, where he received a standing ovation and rave reviews. The following year he made his European orchestral debut in Stockholm at Sofia Kyrkan and was later featured on Swedish TV. A debut recording with the Gävle Symfoniorkester soon followed, and not long afterward, a recording with the Stuttgart Philharmonic. These premier recordings received outstanding reviews and are broadcast on dozens of classical stations throughout the US. As Music Director and recital soloist with the international festival, Elysium: Between Two Continents, he is showcased in performances here and in Europe. As concert pianist he has performed extensively throughout the US and Europe, receiving high praise from Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as the Münchener Merkur, Coburger Tageblatt and Neue Presse. As chamber musician and vocal accompanist, he has performed at venues such as The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC—where he recently presented a solo recital—-the Cleveland Museum’s Distinguished Artist Series, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as tours in Bermuda, Taiwan, and Puerto Rico. He is the recipient of a Performing Artist Grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation of New York City. He is a member of the Recording Society as well as the American Matthay Association, and frequently performs at their yearly conferences.
Ulla Suokko (www.ullasuokko.com)
New York City-based concert artist Ulla Suokko enjoys a versatile international career sharing the magic of music, poetry and stories throughout the world. In addition to being a concert flutist, she is a performing artist, actress, Reiki master, sound healer and teacher who combines music with storytelling in a unique fashion. Ulla says that it is her mission as an artist and human being to bring peace, love, harmony and joy into this world in whatever capacity she can. An advocate of the healing power of music, Ulla was one of the musicians who brought music to the relief workers and to the families of the victims of the WTC tragedy. She played over 40 concerts in St. Paul’s Chapel at Ground Zero. She also brings concerts to hospitals, nursing homes, children’s advocacy centers and into the homes of hospice-care patients. Complementing her musical work, she gives workshops on peak performance, stress release, relaxation techniques, listening, communicating, and improvisation, as well as on the healing and transformational power of music. Her improvised, soothing solo flute CD, Bridge of Light, is an invocation for peace, balance, harmony and love. In addition to solo and chamber music performances in the traditional concert hall, she often brings music into more intimate settings, creating special custom-designed programs for a variety of audiences, including New York public and private schools. Ulla holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School; she earned the Master of Music degree from Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Her doctoral dissertation was on music and rhetoric: the art of oration, communication, persuasion and presentation. In addition to the regular concert flute, she is at home on the bass flute, the alto flute and the piccolo, as well as using herself as an instrument through breath, sound and movement. She has lectured and taught master classes in the U.S., Europe and Central Asia. Ulla also has many credits as an actress, including the title role in an award-winning short film Dolores this year, as well as multiple appearances on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien as Conan’s Finnish wife. Together with flamenco guitarist Carlos Revollar, she performs as part of the flamenco duo, Duo Ulla & Carlos. As winners in the Artists International 35th Annual New York Debut Award Auditions, Ulla and Carlos were presented in their official New York recital duo debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on February 10, 2008 in Artists International Special Presentation Winners Series. They were invited back right away to be presented in the Artists International’s Alumni Winners Series.
Joyce had the good fortune to grow up with parents who believed in her and had a vision. Her mother always urged her to have a profession and not be dependent, and Joyce found herself espousing feminist principles at the tender age of 9, long before the word was even invented. She inherited her physician father’s love of medicine and planned to be a doctor until the age of 13, when her passion for music prevailed. Having studied piano from the age of 7, she entered the High School of Music and Art and took up the oboe. After entering Juilliard on an oboe scholarship, she changed her major to voice. She trained in voice at Juilliard with Beverly Johnson, and became a Master teacher of the Alexander Technique, pianist, oboist, and composer, as well as a specialist in English and French diction. After Juilliard, Joyce specialized in contemporary music. She began teaching singers, as well as playing piano in nightclubs and accompanying modern dance and ballet classes. The need to make up her own music for the modern classes led her to composing when a friend challenged her to write music for a lyric he had written, and everyone loved what she wrote. She has since composed many pieces encompassing classical, jazz and contemporary music styles. “The thrill that comes with [an interesting problem] – that’s why you do it. It gives you back something. If you go out just to have a good time, you have a good time and feel good. But that’s not enough for me. For the creative person, if they’re not creating, they feel that there’s a gap in their life. You can fill it up, but it doesn’t get ful-filled.”
Soprano Evelyn Thatcher was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in New York. After beginning her higher education in Dance, she took her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature (Shakespeare specialty). She went on to take a degree in Music and ultimately earned a Master’s Degree in Opera at UBC. She has sung operatic roles and appeared as soloist with orchestras in fields as far apart as the Czech and Slovak Republics, Italy, Bulgaria, the US (Texas, North Carolina, California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey) and all around British Columbia. She recently sang a leading role in the Richmond, B.C. production of the Secret Garden, for which she received high acclaim.
Anna Tonna (www.annatonna.com)
Mezzo-soprano Anna Tonna returned recently from Madrid where she served as U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Spain from 2007-2008. She completed an investigation of the Spanish composer Julio Gómez (1886-1973) at La Fundación Juan March, under the tutelage of the distinguished Spanish pianists Miguel Zanetti and Jorge Robaina of the Escuela Superior de Canto of Madrid. In the fields of recital and concerts, Anna Tonna has bowed with the following organizations: Música de Cámara, Los Amigos de la Zarzuela, Elysium Between Two Continents and Joy in Singing in Nueva York. The mezzo-soprano has appeared in Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center), Weil Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) CAMI Hall, Merkin Hall and New York’s Town Hall. Anna is dedicated to the performance of art songs from Spain and Latin America, as well as contemporary American song. She is a co-founder of New Music New York, a chamber ensemble group that premieres and commissions works by both established and up and coming composers.
Michelle Trovato (www.michelletrovato.com)
Michelle Trovato is quickly becoming recognized internationally for her warm and agile Lyric Coloratura Soprano voice and dynamic stage presence. Michelle’s most recent triumphs were to win the Concorso Lirico International Opera Competition U.S. Division, and 3rd Prize at the 10th Annual Marie Kraja International Opera Competition in Albania. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Michelle has been awarded several scholarships and study grants that enabled her to do a summer study in Perugia, Italy at the University for Foreigners, and the prestigious Chautauqua Institute for Voice. She swept the Les Azuriales Opera Young Singers’ Competition by winning 1st Prize and the Junior Prize for Most Promising Young Singer in France, 3rd Prize for the St. Andrew’s Arts Council International Aria Competition in Canada, the Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges Grant Award, an Opera Index, Inc. Encouragement Grant Award, and the Harold A. Norblum Outstanding Artist Award from Opera Colorado. In May 2009, a review by Nino Pantano stated: “Ms. Trovato deftly and adroitly banished all vocal obstacles with ease and gave us hope…for the future where she will surely shine among the luminaries”. Most recently, Michelle was a featured soloist with the Utah Festival Opera Company Orchestra and was a Festival Artist with the company, covering the roles of Micaela in Carmen and Nedda in I Pagliacci. In the spring of 2009, she returned to Opera Colorado as a guest artist to sing Despina in Cosi fan tutte with the Colorado Symphony. In the fall of 2008, the dynamic young soprano joined the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program, singing the roles of Tatyana in Eugene Onegin and, in 2009, Helena in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Michelle Trovato’s Helena was spot-on and engaging from the start; she was consistently the most animated and interesting of the main characters” (The Northwest Reverb). Michelle is committed to inspiring others through music, joy, and laughter.
Flutist Jessica Valiente is a musician who defies categorization. A conservatory-trained classical musician, she began to expand into jazz improvisation and studies of traditional music from all over the world about 10 years into her classical performance career. Her musical interests reflect a life-long passion for early music, as well as her family’s mosaic heritage, including African American traditional and popular styles, music of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and indigenous music of both North and South America. While she continues to perform as a classical flutist, recorderist and traverso player, she also specializes in Afro-Cuban and other Latin styles, Brazilian choro and straight-ahead jazz, and performs on traditional Native American style courtship flutes and the Andean quena as a soloist. Jessica holds a BA in music from Barnard College in conjunction with Manhattan School of Music, an MA in music performance from Queens College, and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has performed in numerous classical, jazz, Latin and world-music groups, and was formerly a member of the salsa and mambo orchestra of Orlando Marín and the Afro-Dominican folkloric group, Pa’lo Monte, the critically-acclaimed Bronx-based bilingual Spanish/English Teatro Pregones, and the bilingual Italian/English commedia dell’arte troupe, I Giulari di Piazza, led by Alessandra Belloni. Jessica has also distinguished herself as a leader, leading the classical chamber group Non Sequitur (flute, violin, cello) for over 30 years. Today she performs with the Brazilian choro quartet, Choro Down Neck, as well as her own jazz trio, and is known mostly as the musical director of Los Más Valientes, the salsa and Latin jazz ensemble that she has been leading since 1995. Together Jessica and Los Mas Valientes have produced and released four CDs, which have all received wide critical acclaim. Jessica has taught music at Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Baruch College, University of Bridgeport, New School University, Mercy College, and the John J. Cali School of Music of Montclair State University.
Tenor Joseph Venezia has performed in leading tenor roles in the USA and in Italy. Operatic roles performed include Maurizio (Adriana Lecouvreur), Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera), Turiddu (Cavelleria Rusticana), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), des Grieux (Manon), Alfredo (La Traviata), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Don Jose (Carmen), Admete (Alceste) and Cassio (Otello). He has also been heard in operetta as Mikado (Mikado), Alfred (Die Fledermaus) and Camille (The Merry Widow. Opera engagements have included New York City Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Philadelphia Grand Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York in Camegie Hall, Connecticut Grand Opera, Civic Opera of the Palm Beaches in Florida, Opera a Ia Carte in Jacksonville, Florida, Opera Classics in New Jersey, Intermountain Opera of Bozeman, Montana, Lyric Opera Company of Long Island and Windham Music Theater in New York State. His concert appearances include Verdi’s I Masnadieri with Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler, Conductor, at the Enrico Caruso Centennial; concerts of operatic arias in New York’s Central Park and in Victory Stadium with the North Miami Beach Symphony Orchestra; and the Verdi Requiem with the Performing Arts Society of New York City. He performed in a radio recording on Paris ORTF of Leoncavallo’s La Boheme, conducted by Nino Buonavolonta. He also appeared with the USA Puccini Intemational Festival Orchestra. Joseph was a Regional Finalist in the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions and a receipient of the Sullivan Foundation Award. He currently resides in New York City.
Vita Wallace is known as a powerful, sensitive, and versatile musician. She won the Felix Salzer Award at the Mannes College of Music, where she studied violin with Felix Galimir. Vita is a member of ARTEK and Philomel and is a founding member of Foundling Baroque Orchestra and Women’s Advocacy Project. In these groups Vita plays music of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries on a baroque violin with replicas of early bows. She has performed and recorded extensively as violinist of the Orfeo Duo, with which she also teaches improvisation and plays the piano in four-hand repertoire. The Duo’s latest CD, described as “daring and fresh” by the National Post, features the complete Schumann sonatas on period instruments, on the unedited Unacorda label.
Soprano Baoguo Wang was born in Inner Mongolia, China, and has performed over 500 concert performances throughout China as a member of the Central Song and Dance Ensemble of China, Beijing. She has appeared in concerts with Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, Siena Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, New Rochelle Opera, Siena Symphony Orchestra, NYPR Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, New York Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra. The Middletown Journal said of Baoguo’s performances of Madame Butterfly with the Sorg Opera Company in Ohio and the Whitewater Opera Company in Indiana, “In the title role, Baoguo Wang debuted as a lyrical, almost ideal Butterfly. Delicate of voice and figure, she sang passionately, portraying a woman both fragile and strong willed in her love for her American husband and in her desire to become Americanized. Throughout the opera, her voice remained warm-toned and she displayed a ravishing pianissimo.” The Palladium (Richmond, IN) said, “Wang’s vocal power was readily apparent in several of her arias, and her singing was often sublime. Some of Wang’s high notes were, as one character described Butterfly herself, ‘as delicate as spun glass’.” Of Baoguo’s performance of the title role of Leila in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs des Perles, the Boston TAB wrote, “Wang delivered a gutsy, passionate performance in what’s essentially a pretty wimpy role.” Baoguo has performed the title role of Cio-Cio San in Madam Butterfly with Miami Lyric Opera, New Jersey State Repertory Opera, The Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, the New Rochelle Opera (NY), Jefferson Performing Arts Center (Metairie, LA), Henry Street Settlement, Abron Arts Center (New York City), and the New Orleans Opera Company. Other roles performed since coming to New York include Nedda, Donna Anna, Micaela and Musetta with the Hudson Opera Theater, Opera Arts Ensemble and Opera Asia. Recent recitals include Great Neck Concert series, Beethoven Festivals of the Arts, New York Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra Benefit Concert, Alice Tully Hall Orchestral Concert, The Friends of Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and an “Evening of Chinese Songs” in Merkin Hall. Baoguo was a Finalist in the Liederkranz Vocal Competition and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition. She received her Bachelor of Music degree with honors from Boston Conservatory of Music and her Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music.
Jazz pianist and composer Mamiko Watanabe, according to JazzReview.com, “plays and composes with passion and direction” and is “unafraid to explore and incorporate different styles.” In 1999 Mamiko Watanabe received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music and studied Jazz Piano, Improvisation and Composition. She was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in Montreux, Switzerland both in 2002 and 2003. She has toured Germany, Italy and Japan and has performed with several jazz greats such as Joe Lovano, Kevin Mahogany, Bobby McFerrin, Tiger Okoshi and Phil Wilson while in college. In 2003 she received the DownBeat Student Award in the Jazz Soloist Category before she made the decision to move to New York and expand her music horizons. Since then, Mamiko has performed at notable venues such as The Kitano NY, BlueNote NY Sunday Brunch & Late Night Groove Series, Iridium, Dizzy’s Club, The Lenox Lunge, Blues Alley (in Washington, Dc), the Kennedy Center, Victoria Theater (New Jersey Performing Arts Center), Joe’s Pub and S.O.B.’s. Her exposure to several different styles of music such as Latin, Gospel, Reggae, Funk and R&B is the result of her working with several Afro-Brazilian and African bands and playing Gospel in church every Sunday morning. She has worked with Roland Alexander Quintet, Joe Ford, Valery Ponomarev Big Band & His Quintet and Afro-Brazilian groups such as “Ogans,” Dende & Band and Velly Bahia & Kazwa Band. As a leader, Mamiko recorded her album, One After Another, in 2005 and released her second album, Origin/Jewel, in 2007, which is actually the combination of two separate discs; Origin is a collection of the Funk and Latin influences compositions, and Jewel contains works recorded in a more straight-ahead jazz piano trio format. She started recording her third album, Mother Earth, in 2010.
Soprano Cheryl Warfield has performed over 15 roles in the standard operatic repertory during her career. She made her European operatic debut as Fiordiligi (Cosί Fan Tutte) with the Rome Festival Orchestra, and has appeared with the Bregenz Festival (Austria), the Theater des Westins (Berlin), in Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.
Cheryl made her debut with Amore Opera as Tosca during the 2010-2011 season followed by performances as Micaëla (Carmen). Last summer, she was the guest soloist at the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. While noted for singing Verdi and Puccini heroines, Cheryl made her 2010 debut with One World Symphony as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame. She received critical approbation in the Chicago Tribune for her portrayal as Strawberry Woman in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Porgy and Bess in 2008. Cheryl performed in Hal Prince’s Showboat on Broadway and has appeared on CBS’ The Good Wife. She also appears on the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast DVDs of the Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Fidelio. Cheryl founded ADVANCE, a not-for-profit vocal arts organization that produces concerts of classical music and opera, and has written and starred in the spirituals concert, “Paul Robeson: A Celebration of Culture,” and the musical “Meet Dorothy Maynor,” about the life and singing career of the founder of the Harlem School of the Arts. Cheryl is also a teaching artist in New York where she introduces pre-K through 12th grade school children to opera and chorus singing.
Chelsea Wengler (www.chelseawengler.com)
Mezzo-soprano Chelsea Wengler is originally from Kinderhook, NY. She grew up around music and theatre and fell in love. In addition to a deep passion for singing, she has a great love for playing the flute. She graduated in 2009 from Shenandoah Conservatory with BFA degree in Music Theatre Performance. Chelsea was last seen in the reading of the new musical The Piper at the Capital Repertory Theatre, music by Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon, book by Michael Aman and Marcus Hummon. All last year she had the unique opportunity to tour the world performing with ArtSpot International singing in schools, universities and theaters everywhere. As a result she has now performed in over 16 different countries. She has had the esteemed honor of working with many phenomenal Broadway directors and veterans over the past couple years, and is eternally grateful for each and every opportunity that has come her way. Recent appearances include Capital Repertory Theatre, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Riverside Theatre, the New York State Theatre Institute, Cohoes Music Hall, Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre and the Mac-Haydn Theatre. Chelsea is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association.
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