artistic & executive director, co-founder, mezzo-soprano
Hailed as "excellent", "impeccable", "limpidly beautiful", "impressive", and "stunning", Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo's recent work includes solo performances with Artist Series of Sarasota, EnsembleNewSRQ, The Series 'Great Music in a Great Space', Spectrum Singers, and The Shakespeare Concerts. She has performed with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Choral Society, Callithumpian Consort, Halcyon Chamber Series, and Guerilla Opera. Ms. Lobo has appeared under conductors Gunther Schuller, Harry Christophers, Joshua Rifkin, Martin Pearlman, Helmut Rilling, and Andris Nelsons, and has been featured by the Firebird Ensemble, The Bermuda Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, and Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart. Her dedication to new music, art song, and early music has seen her featured on True Concord's Grammy winning recording of Stephen Paulus's 'Prayers & Remembrances', invited to the Carmel Bach Festival as an Adams Fellow, a prizewinner at the Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers, a grant recipient of the Julian Autrey Song Foundation and the Saint Botolph Club Foundation, a featured recitalist for the Boston Portuguese Festival, and performing as a soloist under the direction of composers Steve Reich, Christian Wolff, Louis Andriessen, and many others.
assistant director, co-founder, piano
Hailed as “kaleidoscopic“ (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “excellent” (Gramophone) pianist Eunmi Ko recently appeared in the Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Herbst Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Festival de Musica Contemporanea, San Francisco International Piano Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, Seoul Arts Center, among others. Praised for original interpretations, abundances of piano technique, and interesting programming, she performs a wide range of piano repertoire from premieres of new works by living composers to the traditional and rarely played piano works. As a sought after collaborator of contemporary composers, she frequently commissions and premieres new solo and chamber music repertoire. Ko is co-founder and co-director of new music ensemble Strings & Hammers, which has the unusual instrumentation of violin, piano, and double bass. Each year, Strings and Hammers collaborates with different composers for their project and gives several premieres nationally and internationally. The ensemble’s residency includes COMA’16 in Madrid, Eastman School of Music, USF New Music Consortium, McCormick Percussion Group, among others. For more information, please visit the ensemble’s Facebook page: facebook.com/StringsHammers . Since 2015 she has been the resident artist for award winning percussion ensemble McCormick Percussion Group lead by Director Robert McCormick for the Concerti for Piano and Percussion Project. Ko holds graduate degrees (MM and DMA) from the Eastman School of Music. She is on the music faculty at the University of South Florida and co-advisor of the New-Music Consortium at USF. Ko is the artistic director of international new music festival Dot The Line that takes place in Korea every May.
chairman of the board
Joseph Summer is familiar to audiences both as a composer and as the founder/director of The Shakespeare Concerts. With concerts from Korea to the Virgin Islands; an annual presentation at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall; and recordings produced in the Czech Republic, Mechanics Hall (the preeminent recording facility in New England,) and the WGBH Boston studio; The Shakespeare Concerts is “nothing short of spectacular.” (American Record Guide.) His operatic music has been praised as “comfortably tonal but sophisticated, ceaselessly inventive, and often gripping; he’s a vivid musical storyteller;” (Opera News) and his work for voice and chamber ensembles has been described as a “21st-century world of kaleidoscopic influences like a beautifully transformed Schubert” (Gramaphone). Known as well for his string quartets, the Ulysses Quartet (resident at Juilliard) is engaged in a long term project recording all of his quartet music, including the recently finished “Book of Invisible Women.” In May 2021 the Ruse Opera Company of Bulgaria will premiere Summer’s expansive setting of Hamlet, at the Dohodno Zdanie, followed by the opera’s recording by PARMA Records. Summer’s Tempest Sonata for Violin and Piano will be the featured work on the North American tour of Christina Bouey’s 2021 Ovid themed recital series, debuting at Carnegie Hall. Much of Summer’s music is available on CD and electronic media through the standard outlets. One can peruse the available recordings, and find upcoming events of Summer and The Shakespeare Concerts at http://shakespeareconcerts.org/
vice-chair of the board
Gabrielle Feltner is currently a senior associate of membership and Future Chiefs at Chiefs for Change, a non-profit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. As a senior associate, Gabrielle helps to identify, interview, and vet current K-12 education chiefs for membership for CFC's diverse network of leaders. In addition, she assists in managing CFC's Future Chiefs leadership development program, which is focused on cultivating the next generation of diverse state and district chiefs. Gabrielle has always held a deep appreciation for the arts. She is currently a member of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, the Principal Chorus of The Florida Orchestra. Gabrielle holds a master’s in corporate business administration from Florida International University and a bachelor’s in marketing from Florida State University.
Praised for his “nobility and rich tone,” (The New York Times) bass-baritone Dashon Burton has established a world-wide career in opera, recital, and in many works with orchestra. In key elements of his repertoire — Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the Mass in B Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, Brahms’ Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem – Dashon is a frequent guest with ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Boston Baroque; the Carmel and Bethlehem Bach Choir Festivals, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New Jersey, Oregon, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is a regular guest with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, appearing there in Brahms’ and Mozart’s Requiems, the groundbreaking animated production of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and, most recently, at home and on tour in Europe and Japan in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Forays into more varied repertoire have included his performances of Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time at Harvard, Barber’s Dover Beach and Hans Eisler’s Ernste Gesänge with A Far Cry chamber orchestra in Boston, Copland’s Old American Songs with the Kansas City Symphony, Schubert’s Die Winterreise with Diderot String Quartet, as well as performances and the original cast recording of Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard with the vocal ensemble Conspirare. Burton’s opera engagements include singing Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in Dijon and Paris, and the role of Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor and Pollux with Christoph Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques. Dashon has won prizes from the ARD International Music Competition and the International Vocal Competition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and from the Oratorio Society of New York and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s Competition for Young American Singers. He graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and received his Master of Music degree from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music.
Noted by the Boston Globe for her “intensely lyrical” singing, soprano Elissa Alvarez is committed to the exploration of unconventional programming and enjoys solo, chamber, and ensemble work spanning early music to repertoire of the twenty-first century, across multiple genres. Recent engagements include appearances with George Mason University’s Grand Piano Celebration at the Center for the Arts, in recital with saxophonist Jennifer Bill at George Mason University, Boston University, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Mostly Moss – a celebration of the works of composer Lawrence Moss, and performances with the Handel and Haydn Society and the New York Philharmonic. Now in her tenth year as a core member of H+H, she has appeared with the period ensemble at Licoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tanglewood, Boston’s Jordan and Symphony Halls, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other recent affiliations include performances as a guest artist with the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra, Tufts University’s New at Noon new music series, Bucknell University’s Debussy Centenary Symposium, Georgia Southern University’s Piano in the Arts Concert Series, "The Ghosts of Weimar" cabaret at the University of Delaware and the Lilypad, Cambridge, MA, “Una Voz, Un Mundo," a celebration of Latin American song for Latin American Heritage Month in New York City, as well as the New England Classical Singers, Coro Allegro, the Handel Society of Dartmouth, and the Picasso Machinery salon series in Brooklyn, NY. She is a founding member of Boston’s JEY Trio with saxophonist Jennifer Bill and pianist Yoshiko Kline. The works of Latin American composers feature substantially in Dr. Alvarez’s research and performance. Other areas of interest include rock, punk, and heavy metal, interdisciplinary performance art, the role of art in social justice, and riding and building bicycles. She completed her studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Boston University and currently serves on the faculty of the Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music at George Mason University.
historical keyboards, musicology
Henry Lebedinsky has performed on historical keyboards with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, Seraphic Fire, Sonoma Bach, and the Cantata Collective, among others. Recent conducting engagements include the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and Sonoma Bach’s Live Oak Baroque Orchestra. With Stephen Stubbs, he serves as co-Artistic Director of Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks and the director of the PMW Underground concert series, bringing Baroque music to brewpubs, wineries, and other places where people gather, and presenting it in multimedia contexts which both entertain and educate. Mr. Lebedinsky is co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Agave Baroque, with which he has recently released two albums with countertenor Reginald L. Mobley for VGo Recordings. Their next collaboration, American Originals, featuring music by Black and brown composers born in the Americas, will be released by Acis Productions next year. He and Mr. Mobley have spent the past decade introducing listeners near and far to music by Black composers from the past 250 years, including recent appearances at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and Festival Printemps Musical des Alizés in Morocco. Mr. Lebedinsky has lectured and led master classes on 17th and 18th century repertoire and performance practice at the University of Edinburgh’s Dashkova Centre for Russian Studies, Bowdoin College, and UNC School of the Arts, among others, and is a former music critic for Fanfare Magazine. An active composer and poet, his sacred music for choir and organ is published by Paraclete Press, Carus-Verlag Stuttgart, and CanticaNOVA.
Bulgarian-British-American soprano, researcher, and teacher Theodora Ivanova Nestorova loves creating cross-cultural musical and pedagogical connections. The 2018-2019 first-place winner of the American Prize in Vocal Performance (Art Song University Division), Theodora is an avid early and contemporary musician. She has recorded world premiere compositions at the Bulgarian National Radio in Sofia and performed at the Wien Modern Festival, Bang on a Can 30th Anniversary N.Y.C. Concert, and Emmanuel Music’s The Bach Institute. Recent operatic credits include Clorinda (La Cenerentola), Noémie (Cendrillon), and Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), as well as Oberto (Alcina), and Amore (L’incoronazione di Poppea). As a scholarly voice teacher, Theodora has published and presented her voice science research at the National Opera Association conference, Voice Foundation’s New Investigator Research Forum, and Pan American Vocology Association symposium. Theodora was the 2018-2019 Fulbright Study/Research Grant Recipient to Vienna, Austria in the MA Lied/Oratorio program at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, graduated with a BM (Voice Performance & Musicology) from Oberlin Conservatory in 2018, and is currently pursuing her MM (Vocal Pedagogy) at New England Conservatory in Boston. Theodora is a formerly competitive figure skater and a pentalinguaphile with a passion for traveling internationally. Visit: theodoranestorova.com
Charles Edward "Eddie" Charlton:
Charles Edward "Eddie" Charlton has performed regularly with the Nashville Opera Ensemble since 2012 and is active in Nashville's church/chamber music scenes, premiering the baritone solos in Charles Heimermann’s “A Symphony of Psalms” in 2016, and appearing as baritone soloist in Ted Hearne's Katrina Ballads with chatterbird in April 2017. Mr. Charlton has appeared as guest recitalist/lecturer at East Tennessee State University and Rocky Mount Museum (Spring 2018). His most recent operatic roles were Bugs/Mamie in Nashville Opera's production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, Balthasar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte. Recent orchestral/chamber appearances were as Narrator for the Young People's Concerts with the Nashville Symphony and in excerpts from Nkeiru Okoye's new opera, Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom with Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble in Nashville. Mr. Charlton also works regularly as a voice actor/narrator for documentary films with Nashville Public Television, and has published in an anthology of poetry titled Songs of the Soul.
Sam Nelson was born in Lynn, Massachusetts and held his first organist position at the age of 12. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Gordon College in 2011 under the tutelage of Dr. Roy Brunner and Mr. Douglas Marshall. In 2012 he won second prize at the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival. In 2018, he completed a Master of Music degree at Boston University under the tutelage of Peter Sykes. Sam was the organist at Washington Street Baptist Church in Lynn from 2002 to 2013, Music Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lynnfield, MA 2013-2019, and is currently the Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, FL--the largest Episcopal church in the diocese of South West Florida. In addition to his work in Lynnfield, Sam is also a regular substitute at Park Street Church, Boston. Sam has also served as Tour Manager and Organ Technician for Cameron Carpenter and The International Touring Organ during the 2015 and 2016 US Winter Tours, as well as during the 2016 premiere of Carpenter's arrangement of "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" by Rachmaninoff with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, China.
Minneapolis-based soprano, Regina Stroncek, is a versatile artist who frequently performs as a soloist and ensemble singer. Graduating from the University of Minnesota with degrees in Vocal Performance and Spanish and Portuguese Studies, her interest lies in communicating with diverse audiences through language and music. She has been heard in concerts locally in Minnesota and abroad throughout Spain and Brazil. Ms. Stroncek is an avid recitalist with a deep-seated passion for art song, and has participated in the Barcelona Festival of Song and Source Song Festival. An advocate for new music, she has programmed numerous recitals featuring repertoire by living composers, and has sung world and regional premieres of art song and chamber music in the United States and Brazil. As a two-time Fulbright scholar to Brazil, Ms. Stroncek spent 2 years researching and performing Brazilian vocal chamber repertoire in the capital city, Brasília. There she collaborated with local ensembles and curated lecture recitals highlighting art song from the United States and Brazil, performing at venues such as Casa Thomas Jefferson, the University of Brasília (UnB), the Federal Institute of Brasília (IFB), and the Conservatory of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Ms. Stroncek is an alumna of the inaugural class of the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute at Aspen Music Festival and regularly performs with ensembles such as the Minnesota Chorale, Border CrosSing, MPLS-imPulse, and The First Readings Project.
Multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen has spent much of her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music of all kinds. She works regularly as a core member of several early music ensembles, a new music ensemble, Ephemeros; an English Country Dance and Contradance Band, Roguery; and an eclectic ethnic band, Janam. She directs Gallimaufry, an early music chorus, and co-directs WAVE, an early music women’s choir, and she is also the music director of the California Revels. Shira frequently collaborates with diverse performers from many different artistic disciplines, including The American Repertory Ballet Company, Kitka Balkan Chorus, singers Azam Ali and Joanna Newsom, poets Jane Hirshfield and Kay Ryan, storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, clown Jeff Raz, and percussionist Glen Velez. She enjoys working with many performing organizations, such as the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, the California Revels, the Tuolumne Meadows Poetry Festival, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. She has worked with students in many different settings, among them teaching summer music workshops in the woods, coaching students of early music in such schools as Yale University, Case Western, the University of Oregon at Eugene, and working at specialized seminars at the Fondazione Cini in Venice, Italy and the Scuola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. She has played on a number of movie and television soundtracks, when weird medieval instruments are needed. www.shirakammen.com
Dylan Sauerwald is a distinctive historical keyboardist and conductor. At the keyboard, he has been praised for his “fleet fingers” and “sophisticated playing,” (Capriccio), and as a conductor, his productions have been called “heart-wrenching and self-reflecting” (OperaWire). Mr. Sauerwald has performed in venues from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to Taipei's National Recital Hall, and his playing is featured in the BBC historical drama Poldark. As a recording artist, Mr. Sauerwald can be heard on the New Focus, Coro, and Urtext labels, as soloist and continuo player on the harpsichord, organ, fortepiano, and lautenwerck. Standout recordings include the world premiere of David Funck's 1677 collection Stricturae Viola-di Gambicae, as well as appearances at the fortepiano with the Handel & Haydn Society in a disc of Haydn's orchestral works, and as harpsichord soloist in Manuel de Falla's Retablo del Maese Pedro with Unitas Ensemble. A champion of early opera, he has led productions of rarely-performed works acclaimed as “refined and flexible,” (Boston Globe) “fearless,” (Voce di Meche) and “a remarkable musical experience” (OperaWire). He is in demand as a guest conductor, appearing with Sunshine City Opera, the Cantanti Project, Dorian Baroque, Ensemble Musica Humana, and others. Mr. Sauerwald directs Polyphemus, an early music collective and concert series in lower Manhattan, and is Director of Music at the New Dorp Moravian Church. He can be heard performing with the Handel & Haydn Society, Emmanuel Music, Lorelei Ensemble, Dorian Baroque, and many others. He lives in New York City and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in early keyboard performance from McGill University and a Master of Music degree from Boston University.
Hailed by Early Music America as “a complete master of rhetoric," Philadelphia native Sylvia Berry is one of North America's leading exponents of the fortepiano. Her disc of Haydn's London Sonatas - recorded on an 1806 Broadwood grand - garnered critical acclaim. A writer from Fanfare enthused: “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement." Ms. Berry is known not only for her exciting solo and chamber music performances, but also for the engaging commentary she provides about the music and the instruments she plays In addition to delighting audiences in Europe, the UK, and the US, she is a published scholar who has written and lectured widely on the performance practices of the late 18th and 19th centuries, with a special interest in the sociological phenomena surrounding the music of that period. A frequent Art Song collaborator, she has performed with numerous vocalists in repertoire ranging from early and infrequently heard Lieder to well known favorites by Schubert that are incredibly different when performed on the pianos of his time. Recent performance highlights include collaborative performances with Les Délices (Cleveland) and Ars Antiqua (New York); solo recitals on the Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque series and the Museum Concerts of Rhode Island series; and performances with her ensemble, The Berry Collective, at the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and the Princeton University Art Museum. In October 2020 she was slated to perform with a concerto with Bach Collegium San Diego, one of North America’s preeminent period orchestras. www.sylviaberry.org
African American soprano, Zyda Culpepper, recently made her role debut as Susanna in the Maryland Opera Studio’s production of Le nozze di Figaro, where she was praised for “demonstrating both the charm and hardness required for the contrivances at court.” She recently returned to the role as a young artist with Chicago Summer Opera, in their production of Le nozze di Figaro. Ms. Culpepper earned her Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from The University of Alabama where she was seen as: Anna Reich in Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Caroline in the world premiere of Amir Zaheri’s Freedom and Fire! A Civil War Story, and Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Ms. Culpepper was a featured soloist with the University of Alabama’s Huxford Symphony Orchestra for a performance of the Weill Music Institute’s Link Up: The Orchestra Sings. In 2016, she was a young artist at Greensboro Light Opera and Song where she performed as Angelina in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. Later that summer, Ms. Culpepper traveled to Robbiate, Italy for the Bassi Brugnatelli Symposium as a young artist where she performed scenes as Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Lisette in Puccini’s La rondine. Ms. Culpepper has been a featured soloist with the Bach Cantata Series at the University of Maryland College Park where she earned a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance. Other roles with the Maryland Opera Studio include: Greta Fiorentino in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Jessie in Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, covering Soeur Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, covering Servilia in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, and Sarah Palmer in the world premiere of Theo Popov’s Town Hall. When she is not singing, Ms. Culpepper is teaching Music Appreciation at the Georgia Military College.
Baroque cello, gamba
Internationally respected baroque cellist and violist da gamba Shirley Hunt brings fierce imagination and integrity to the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Contemporary eras. Praised by The Strad as “stylish and accomplished,” Ms. Hunt performs and records extensively with the nation's leading period instrument ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, New York Baroque Incorporated, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, The Sebastians, TENET, Les Bostonades, and Ruckus. She is a founding member of the Cramer Quartet, a period instrument string quartet performing classical and early romantic repertoire. Recent solo recitals include performances at at DePaul University, the Boston Public Library, Gore Place Carriage House Concerts, Ashmont Hill Chamber Music, and The Pindrop Sessions. Ms. Hunt has performed as a chamber musician and guest artist at the Morgan Library & Museum, the Library of Congress, the Phillips Collection, the Strathmore Mansion, Caramoor, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Rockport Music, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to her concert appearances, Ms. Hunt can be heard on the Parma, Centaur, NCA, CORO, and Origin Classical labels. She has served on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts and the San Francisco Renaissance and Baroque Workshop, and taught masterclasses at University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Adelphi University, Cornish College of the Arts, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 2018, Ms. Hunt’s recording of the viol music of C.F. Abel was featured in a multimedia installation by the Mexican visual artist Mauricio Cervantes in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Margot Rood, hailed for her “colorful and vital” singing by The Washington Post, performs a wide range of repertoire.
The 2019/2020 season marks her debuts with Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Messiah), Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort (St. Matthew Passion), South Florida’s Enlightenment Festival (BWV 202 & 211), and Washington Bach Consort (BWV 106 &198). Recent and upcoming solo appearances include those with Cleveland Orchestra (Stravinsky Threni), Boston Symphony (Benjamin Dream of the Song), Rhode Island Philharmonic (Messiah), Philharmonia Baroque (BWV 61 & 140), New Jersey Symphony (Messiah), Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (Mozart Requiem), New World Symphony (Reich Desert Music), Handel + Haydn Society (The Fairy Queen, Mass in B Minor), TENET Vocal Artists (Messiah, Praetorius Vespers), Seraphic Fire (Messiah, Vivaldi Gloria), Bach Collegium San Diego (Messiah), A Far Cry (Golijov Three Songs), and numerous concerts with acclaimed ensemble Blue Heron. Margot is a former Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music, where she is often featured on Emmanuel's nationally-known Bach cantata series.
Margot belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates a percentage of concert fees to non-profit organizations. She supports My Sister’s Place, an institution that provides resources to domestic violence survivors, through her performances.
Stephan Griffin enjoys an active career as a singer, conductor, and organist. Praised by Early Music America and The Washington Post for his warm tone, he has performed with various ensembles including Schola Cantorum of Boston, Texas Early Music Project, Long and Away, Pfunkhaus, and The Brookline Consort. He holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and a Doctor of Music in organ performance from Boston University, and a Master of Music in organ performance with an emphasis in sacred music from the University of Texas at Austin. While in Austin, Stephan served on the music faculty at St. Stephen’s School and as the Chorus Master and bass soloist for the Austin Baroque Orchestra. An avid collaborative artist, he has worked with Berkshire Choral International, the Dallas Wind Symphony, and the Maryland State Boychoir at venues ranging from the Kennedy Center to the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe. He is currently the Director of Music at All Saints Episcopal Church in Brookline, MA. He has also served as the Director of Music at the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport, RI and as Visiting Lecturer in Music and Director of the University Chorus at Brown University.
Soprano Janet Ross is a soloist and chorister based in Boston. She sings with the Handel and Haydn Society, Emmanuel Music, Cantata Singers, Cappella Clausura, Vox Futura, and Church of the Redeemer-Chestnut Hill. Her debut with the American Bach Soloists has been postponed to 2021, due to COVID-19 precautions. Last season, Janet performed with the Skylark Vocal Ensemble, and enjoyed solo engagements of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Musica Sacra and a Nordic song recital in the Cantata Singers Chamber Series. Janet holds undergraduate degrees in piano and flute performance and a Master of Music in piano performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she was named Chancellor’s Scholar, an award recognizing academic achievement and service to the school. As a pianist, Janet won myriad solo and concerto competitions, including the concerto competition, Schubert/Brahms Category, and Grand Prize in the Eastman School of Music’s Young Artists International Competition. She performed in recital at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as the recipient of the VSAArts Panasonic Young Soloists Award.
Dr. Lindsay Garritson has performed throughout the United States and abroad since the age of four. She has received top prizes at the Montreal International Piano Competition and the Mozarteum International Chopin Competition, among others. She was nominated as one of six pianists for the German International Piano Award (Frankfurt) and was selected to compete in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. An active chamber musician, she has collaborated with artists such as Carter Brey, Ani Kavafian, Andres Cardenes, and Ettore Causa. She has performed at many festivals including the Ravinia Festival, Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar, and Music at Menlo Chamber Music Festival. Lindsay made her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut in 2019 featuring the world premiere of Carl Vine’s Fourth Piano Sonata, a work written for her. Lindsay’s teachers include Boris Berman and Santiago Rodriguez, and she is a graduate of Principia College (B.A.), the Yale School of Music (M.M. and Artist Diploma) and the University of Miami (D.M.A.).
Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen's performances have been acclaimed as “absolutely sensational,” “fearless,” and “soul-crushingly vulnerable.” This season she made her Metropolitan Opera debut live and in HD as Ankhesenpaaten/Akhnaten, performed Berio’s Folk Songs with orchestra in Chicago’s Symphony Hall, and sang Adalgisa/Norma with Calgary Opera. An aficionado of new and experimental work, Rosen has co-created and premiered vocal-theatrical pieces with ONE Festival Omaha, Heartbeat Opera, and White Snake Projects, among others. Her training included apprenticeships with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Her recording of Susie in Bernstein's A Quiet Place is available on Decca; she also takes pleasure in recording for the video game music label Materia Collective.
Soprano Michele Kennedy is a versatile specialist in early classical and contemporary music. Praised by The Washington Post as “a fine young soprano with a lovely voice" and by The San Francisco Chronicle as "a wonder to hear," Michele's recent venues include Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Bard Summerscape, Getty Museum, Lincoln Center, Powell Symphony Hall, and Washington National Cathedral. Michele's been thrilled to sing the Bach Magnificat, St. John Passion, and Christmas Oratorio, Charpentier In Nativitatem, Handel Messiah & Dixit Dominus, Mozart Coronation & C Minor Masses, Faure Requiem, and Undine Smith Moore's MLK: Scenes from the Life of a Martyr in recent seasons. She's presented The Monteverdi Vespers with Dark Horse Consort & Voices of Ascension, Bach Cantatas with American Classical Orchestra, and works of Caccini, Strozzi, and Monteverdi with Folger Consort. Most recently she debuted with Bach Society of Saint Louis (Poulenc Gloria), SF Choral Society (Bach Christmas Oratorio), Trinity Wall Street Choir (Handel Messiah), and The SF Ballet (Mendelssohn's Midsummer). Michele's new music adventures include the premiere of Aaron Siegel's I Will Tell You The Truth About This at NYC's Schomburg Center - lauded by National Sawdust for her "fluid soprano that was graceful, lithe, and impassioned" - and songs by Florence Price alongside a world premiere by Dina Shilleh in recital with Mimesis Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. After debuting Julia Wolfe's Fire In My Mouth with The New York Philharmonic & The Crossing in 2019, Michele will next debut with Lorelei Ensemble in the world premiere of Wolfe's Her Story with the Nashville, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and National Symphony Orchestras. A graduate of Yale University and NYU, Michele is committed to working toward greater equity and programmatic representation for BBI, LGBTQ, and female voices across the field. She aspires to further this work from her living room while sheltering at home. A lover of the redwoods and bay vistas, Michele lives with her husband, visual artist Benjamin Thorpe. Please find more at michele-kennedy.com.
Praised for her “alluring clarity” (New York Times), Jamie Jordan sings modern and contemporary classical music, and has premiered several dozen works. She has performed at the Brooklyn Museum for the Bang on a Can Marathon and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Music Series; Carnegie Hall with Daniel Druckman, Colin Currie and the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble; Detroit Institute of Arts with Amphion Percussion; Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group; Big Ears Festival, Disney Hall, June in Buffalo, Lincoln Center Festival, Miller Theater and the Stone with Ensemble Signal; Abrons Arts Center with Experiments in Opera; MATA festival and Wesleyan University with Mantra Percussion; Merkin Hall with Mimesis Ensemble; Merkin Hall and Tenri Cultural Institute with New York New Music Ensemble; MATA Festival with Talea Ensemble; National Sawdust on the New York Philharmonic's CONTACT! series; PASIC with the Bob Becker Ensemble; and Symphony Space with American Composers Orchestra and Nadia Sirota and friends. Jamie Jordan has appeared as a guest artist at the American Academy in Rome, California State University, Sacramento, Cornell University, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Ohio University, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Fredonia, Syracuse University, University of Maryland, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Music on the Edge (UPittsburgh), NYCEMF, Resonant Bodies Festival, Unruly Music Festival (UMilwaukee), and Wisconsin Flute Festival. She has also appeared as soloist with Alia Musica Pittsburgh, NOCCO (Seattle), and Southern Tier Symphony. Other performances include the role of Romilda (Xerxes) with the Connecticut Early Music Festival, and one-woman cabaret shows at Rose’s Turn. She can be heard on Albany Records, GIA publications, Innova Records, Ravello Records, and Sanctuary Jazz. Jamie Jordan is a passionate music educator. She teaches privately in New York City and the metropolitan area. (Photo Credit: Rosemary Dai Ross)
Sini Virtanen holds a doctoral degree from Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Prof. Mikhail Kopelman and worked as his teaching assistant. Virtanen is a co-founder and co-director of the ensembles Strings&Hammers with pianist Eunmi Ko and double bassist Julia Keller, and Trio Ramifications with pianist Säde Erkkilä and hornist Tommi Hyytinen. Virtanen resides and teaches currently in Finland, and performs around Europe and the United States.
Tenor Omar Najmi enjoys a dual career as a performer and composer. While his diverse repertoire includes everything from the Baroque to the avant-garde, Omar’s particular passion for new music has led him to several collaborations with living composers. He looks forward to creating the title role in the world premiere of Joseph Summer’s Hamlet with Bulgaria’s Ruse Opera in 2021. Omar performs regularly with the Boston Lyric Opera where he has recently appeared as Nick in The Handmaid’s Tale, Flavio in Norma, Beppe in Pagliacci, and Vanya Kudrjas in Katya Kabanova. He will return to BLO as Goro in their upcoming production of Madama Butterfly. Omar has additionally performed with Opera Colorado (Joe in La Fanciulla del West, and Edgardo in the Lucia di Lammermoor student matinee), Opera NEO (Camille in The Merry Widow, Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Arbace in Idomeneo), Annapolis Opera (Spoletta in Tosca), Opera Maine (Sumeida in Sumeida’s Song, 1st Armored Man in The Magic Flute), Odyssey Opera (Aufidio in Lucio Silla), Opera Fayetteville (Bill in Flight, Laurie in Little Women), Chautauqua Opera (2nd Pastore in l’Orfeo), Opera Saratoga (Ricky (cover) in the world premiere of The Long Walk), Emmanuel Music (Filch in The Beggar’s Opera), American Lyric Theater (El gobernador in La Reina), and Boston Opera Collaborative (Werther in Werther). Omar made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 as the tenor soloist in Mark Hayes’ Gloria. He has since returned twice - as a featured soloist in Talents of the World Inc.’s Caruso Tribute Concert, and as the tenor soloist in Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living with Mid America Productions. He has additionally performed as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Choral Fantasy, Mass in C, and 9th Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and Stabat Mater, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Verdi’s Requiem, Saint Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Mozart’s Requiem, and Coronation Mass, Britten’s Canticle V, and Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings, and Bach’s Magnificat. Omar has joined the touring concert Video Games Live as a vocal and piano soloist in four of their concerts, including a performance at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. He can also be heard on their album Video Games Live, Level 5. Omar made his compositional debut in 2019 with the world-premiere workshop performance of his opera En la ardiente oscuridad, which was made possible by the generous support of The Boston Foundation. The piece is scheduled for a new production at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in 2021. Omar is currently working on his newest opera - This is not that dawn - about the 1947 Partition of India. For more information, visit www.omarnajmi.com
Pianist, vocal coach, and conductor, Brendon Shapiro, is quickly garnering a reputation from coast to coast as a champion of new music and opera of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is a recent alumnus of LA Opera's Young Artist Program where he performed with such artists as Renée Fleming and Susan Graham, and played a key role in the musical preparation for the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin's Eurydice, along with productions of La Traviata, El gato montés, La Clemenza di Tito, The Light in the Piazza, and Satyagraha. He was an Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera where he has served as pianist and coach for Pagliacci and The Rape of Lucretia, and will return next year for Madama Butterfly. He was a part of the creative team that recently brought the legendary "Drive-In" Tosca to life at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, and looks forward to music directing the first fully-staged production of Omar Najmi's En la ardiente oscuridad there next summer
Tsitsi Jaji is a poet and scholar. She is the author of 2 collections, Mother Tongues, (2019, winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern UP Prize) and Beating the Graves, (2017), and a chapbook, Carnaval, (2014, in the New Generation African Poets series). She has given readings at the UNESCO, Library of Congress, United Nations, and the Poetry Foundation, and has taught writing workshops in her home country, Zimbabwe as well as at Duke Unviersity, where she is an associate professor of English at Duke University. She is keenly interested in intersections between music and literature, and wrote a scholarly book, Africa in Stereo : Music, Modernism and Pan-African Solidarity (2014), studying exchanges between musicians in Black America, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa. She earned a B. Music at Oberlin a couple decades ago, and, as a woman of words and “recovering pianist,” she is fascinated by the intersection of music and literature in vocal music.
Soprano, Adelaide Boedecker, has been described as “emotionally transparent and beguiling of tone” (The San Francisco Chronicle). Ms. Boedecker is a former resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera, and completed two summers as an apprentice artist with both the Santa Fe Opera and Merola Opera Program. Upcoming, Ms. Boedecker will star as Pamina, in Die Zauberflöte, with Pittsburgh Opera. She just made her role debut as Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Sarasota Opera, and was to sing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Las Vegas, but the production was canceled due to COVID-19. Recently, Ms. Boedecker debuted the iconic role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with James Conlon and James Darrah at Music Academy of the West. In the spring of 2019, Ms. Boedecker debuted as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and covered the title role in Donizetti’s Rita with Sarasota Opera. Following that, Ms. Boedecker made her Opera Columbus debut in their Opera Swings Jazz concerts. Ms. Boedecker was seen as Meridian in the Santa Fe Opera’s tour of UnShakeable, and premiered Moon, Bride, Dogs II and Bedtime Story with NANOWorks Opera Festival. This past year Ms. Boedecker made her concert debuts with the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, with the Naples Philharmonic, and at the Santa Fe Lensic New Year’s Eve Gala, singing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, respectively.
Hailed by former Sarasota Herald-Tribune music critic Florence Fisher as an “outstanding organist whose musical interpretations always reflect the integrity and the period of the composer,” Ann Stephenson-Moe is a major musical force in the greater Sarasota area as harpsichordist, accompanist, organist, and conductor. Her reach, however, extends well beyond Southwest Florida. She has performed solo recitals at St. Thomas Church (Fifth Avenue) in New York City; at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; at Trinity Church (Copley Square) in Boston; and at the American Cathedral in Paris, France. Dr. Stephenson-Moe co-founded the renowned and much-loved Key Chorale – the Symphonic Choir of the Florida West Coast Symphony. She also co-founded, and performed as associate conductor and keyboardist, for Gloria Musicae, a widely popular chamber chorus which performs throughout Southwest Florida. In an ecumenical spirit, Dr. Stephenson-Moe has been directing choirs at Sarasota-area synagogues since 1984. She is currently Organist and Music Director at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key. Dr. Stephenson-Moe holds a masters in Sacred Music, summa cum laude, from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she studied with Alec Wyton and Robert Baker. While living in New York, she served on the music staff of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine alongside Dr. Wyton. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Florida State University, and a Masters in History from Rollins College. She received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary in 1997 in recognition of her leadership in the field of church music.
Kira Gaillard is an operatic soprano native to Sarasota, Florida. She has been praised for the warmth of her voice and her “beautiful cultured soprano.” Kira has sung for the Weimar Lyric Opera Studio, St. Petersburg Opera, and as a youth member of the Sarasota Opera. She has also had the opportunity to complete a choral residency at the Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England under the direction of Sarasota’s Dr. Robert Parish. Working in Southwest Florida, Kira has been involved in many local music groups. She currently sings at the Church of the Redeemer as a soprano section leader. She has been a guest artist and soloist with Key Chorale, Musica Sacra, Gloria Musicae, Venice Chorale, Venice Concert Band, Port Charlotte Concert Band, and the Anna Maria Island Chorus and Orchestra. Kira graduated from the University of Miami in 2011. There she premiered the roles of Girl in Michael Torke’s Strawberry Fields. She also sang the roles of Emmie in Albert Herring, the First Spirit in the Magic Flute, and covered the role of Frasquita in Carmen. She is attending the University of Florida in Fall of 2020 to pursue her Master of Music as a graduate assistant.
Dr. Yeil Park (pronounced ‘Yale’) is a dynamic cellist who enjoys his career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and educator. He is a tenured member of Arizona Opera since 2014. Other orchestral engagements include the Castleton Festival Orchestra, where he sat assistant principal under maestro Fabio Luisi, and as a regular substitute with The Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet, and The Ying Quartet. Other highlights include performing the Elgar Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations as the winner of ISU's Concert of Soloist competition. Dr. Park was recently appointed as the cello faculty at Glendale Community College. He received his Doctorate in Cello Performance at Arizona State University, where he served as teaching assistant to Tom Landschoot and wrote his dissertation on the quantitative analysis of Skype lesson efficacy. He received his MM in Cello Performance at Arizona State University and was the recipient of the Atsumi Cello Scholarship. He received his BM magna cum laude at Iowa State University, where he studied with George Work of the Ames Piano Quartet. Previous teachers include Dr. Julie McGinnis Sturm, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Stephen Geber, and Yehuda Hanani.
Praised for her “radiant soprano” by Boston Classical Review, soprano Dana Lynne Varga has established herself as a dynamic interpreter of a wide variety of repertoire on opera and concert stages. Recently, Ms. Varga made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Mid-America Productions. Her recent appearance as Pallas Athene in Gluck’s rarely heard Paride ed Elena with Odyssey Opera garnered critical acclaim. Ms. Varga maintains a busy schedule on the concert platform. The Boston Globe praised her recent appearance with the Cantata Singers in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, noting that she “streaked up into the stratosphere and back down with ease.” Other recent engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with Greenwich Choral Society, Bach’s Magnificat with the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and Haydn's Creation with Andover Choral Society. Favorite operatic roles performed include Musetta in La bohème, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Micaëla in Carmen, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, and Alcina in Alcina. Ms. Varga received her MM from New England Conservatory and her DMA from Boston University. Also an accomplished voice teacher, career coach and producer, she is a fierce advocate for singers, devoted to progressive change in the classical vocal industry. Please visit www.danavarga.com and www.theempoweredmusician.com.
American mezzo-soprano Vera Savage has earned praise from critics for her “thrilling power” and “rich, mellifluous, mezzo voice.” Vera’s singing has been described as “a dream; supple and powerful with a deep velvet shimmer” and “heart-stoppingly gorgeous.” Vera’s recent seasons included a “cold and gleaming” (Opera News) portrayal of handmaid New Ofglen in Boston Lyric Opera’s highly acclaimed production of The Handmaid’s Tale, Salieri’s Requiem with the Commonwealth Chorale, Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Arias and Barcarolles with the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, and the Verdi Requiem with the Metropolitan Chorale in Boston’s Jordan Hall. Vera has performed with numerous opera companies, festivals, and orchestras across the United States, including Opera Saratoga, Florentine Opera, the Spoleto Festival USA, Opera on the James, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Tanglewood Institute. Season highlights include engagements with White Snake Projects, Boston Lyric Opera, and American Lyric Theatre. Vera is featured on the recently released albums Music to Hear and Who is Sylvia by the Shakespeare Projects. Please visit www.verasavage.com for more information.
Described by the New York Times as a “talented and entrepreneurial pianist” and an “able and persuasive advocate” of new music, Nicholas Phillips’ playing has been praised for its “bejeweled accuracy” (Fanfare) and as “razor-sharp yet wonderfully spirited” (American Records Guide). He maintains an active schedule as a soloist and collaborative artist having performed all across the United States. He has also given solo recitals and performances in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa. Phillips is an active recording artist and champion of living composers. In 2011 he released two CDs on Albany Records: Portals and Passages, which features the piano music of American composer Ethan Wickman (b.1973), and Boris Papandopulo: Piano Music. Recent releases include American Vernacular: New Music for Solo Piano (New Focus Recordings, 2014), which features commissioned works written for him on that theme by 10 American composers, and Impressions (Blue Griffin Records, 2016), a collection of 21st century American piano music. His newest release, Shift (Panoramic Recordings, 2019), features world premiere recordings of works by eight living women composers. Phillips is a Yamaha Artist. For more information, please visit www.nicholasphillips.net
Adia Evans is first-year master’s student at University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she studies with Dr. Kimberly Roberts, in pursuit of her Master of Music in Voice Performance. Evans received her Bachelor of Music from University of Maryland College Park. Evans is a proud alumna of Baltimore School for the Arts. Last season, Evans starred as Adina in University of Tennessee Opera Theater (UTOT)’s production of L’elisir d’amore and as La Zia in Knoxville Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly. This season, she will be featured as Laetita in UTOT’s production of Old Maid and the Thief. Recent operatic credits include the title role in the undergraduate opera production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience, the Sorceress in of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and the role of Princess of Monte Carlo in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company. During her time at the University of Maryland, she has toured with the UMD Chamber Singers to the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference in Charleston, SC, and the 10th World Symposium for Choral Music in South Korea. She has sung on multiple occasions with the National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center, Washington DC) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Meyerhoff Hall, Baltimore). She has served as a soloist for the UMD Bach Cantata Series in a performance of Cantata 106, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit and in Cantata 23 Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn. She has been the invited soloist at the University of Maryland Main Campus Commencement and the School of Music Honor Recital. Evans, devoted to social action and advocacy, completed two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Washington DC, through Public Allies.
Robin Bier has been praised for her inimitable, resonant contralto (Phindie), “particularly moving singing” (Cleveland Classical) and “mysterious, dark hue and sauntering presence” (San Francisco Classical Voice). She has appeared as a soloist with the American Bach Soloists, the Sarasota Orchestra, the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, the Cantata Collective, Bourbon Baroque, the Dartington Festival Orchestra, the English Symphony Orchestra, the Baroque Collective, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Compagnia d’Istrumenti and Brandywine Baroque, among others. As an ensemble singer Robin has performed with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Clarion, I Fagiolini, Apollo’s Fire, Voices of Ascension, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Ensemble VIII, The Thirteen, and Opera Philadelphia. She is co-director and alto of solo-voice ensemble Les Canards Chantants. Robin holds her bachelor’s degree in voice performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and postgraduate degrees in solo-voice ensemble singing and historical performance practice from the University of York, UK. Originally from Alaska, Robin is now based in Philadelphia, PA, and is a student of German baritone Christian Immler.