Sarah Austin is praised for her lyrical voice and dramatic talent. She made her Syracuse Opera debut as Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium and sang Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte at the Tanglewood Music Center under the baton of James Levine, repeating the role at Opera Naples as well. She debuted with the Virginia Opera in the 2006-2007 season and performed the role of Mercedes in Carmen as a member of the Spectrum Resident Artist Program. She also covered the title role of Carmen as well as Nerone and Narciso in Agrippina. In the same season Ms. Austin was hailed for her portrayal of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with the Utah Festival Opera. Ms. Austin has also performed the role of Alma March for the New England premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women with the Boston Opera Project, the lead role of The Child in L’enfant et les sortileges for the Opera North Young Artist Program, and has performed as a soloist with Opera Providence. Her international concert dates have included Mozart’s Mass in C Minor in Wimborne, England, and Handel’s Messiah in Brussels, Belgium.
Originally from Texas, Ms. Austin earned a bachelor of music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University graduating summa cum laude. While part of the SFASU Opera Theatre she performed the roles of Giannetta in L’Elisir d’amore and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. In addition, Ms. Austin holds a master of music degree with academic honors from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her roles while at NEC included Dorothée in Cendrillon, the Second Lady in the touring production of The Magic Flute, and Meg in Little Women. She was also chosen to be a featured soloist in The Saga of Jenny, a tribute to Kurt Weill at Boston’s historic Jordan Hall.
Howard Begun is a New York City based engraver, copyist, arranger, orchestrator, and transcriber. He has prepared music for such artists and groups as Harry Belafonte, Fred Hersch, Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Cab Calloway, music director Danny Holgate, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Palm Beach Pops Orchestra. Howard has also done music preparation on several productions including 3 Mo’ Divas, Jelly’s Last Jam, Ella, Cookin’ at the Cookery, Silver Spoon, Aretha, Blackbirds of Broadway, Sweet and Hot, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Broadway shows Thou Shalt Not and Jane Eyre, as well as a number of revue shows for Holland America Cruise Lines. In addition, he has worked as a freelance engraver on repertoire for the SmartMusic music education software program and for music publisher Boosey and Hawkes.
Howard is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to Los Angeles, he attended California State University, Northridge, before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is an accomplished jazz and classical pianist and has performed worldwide as a soloist, music director, and accompanist.
Ross Benoliel has distinguished himself in many major competitions. He was a 2008 Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition prize winner, a 2008 New England Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, an international finalist in Placido Domingo's 2006 Operalia competition held in Valencia, Spain, a semi-finalist in the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions New England Region, a finalist of the 2006 and 2005 Jensen Foundation Competition, and a finalist of the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the New England Region.
His wide range of operatic roles include Marcello, Valentin, Guglielmo, Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Conte Almaviva, and Schaunard. He also premiered the role of the Reverend John Wilson in Margaret Garwood's The Scarlet Letter and performed Malatesta with Lyrique en Mer in Belle-Ile, France, Marcello for Opera East Texas's La Boheme, and Schaunard for both Opera Omaha and Tulsa Opera. Receiving critical acclaim for his performance of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Granite State Opera, Mr. Benoliel made his New York City Opera debut as Sciarrone in Tosca. He was also featured at Glimmerglass Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Jenufa, and in the world premiere of Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good. In addition, Mr. Benoliel has performed with Chautauqua Opera as Thomas Putnam in The Crucible.
Mr. Benoliel has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, Portland Opera, the Pine Mountain Music Festival and the Lake George Opera Festival. He performed the role of Ben in Menotti's The Telephone and also premiered the lead baritone role in a newly commissioned Italian opera, Café 900, for his European debut in Rome, Italy. Mr. Benoliel's off-Broadway credits include Jim in the world premiere Wallace Shawn play/opera The Music Teacher at the Minetta Lane Theater in New York City.
A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Mr. Benoliel also holds a music degree in vocal performance from the University of Michigan and is a grant winner from the Career Bridges Foundation.
Music has been a significant part of Bill’s life for as long as he can remember. He was singing tunes and picking out melodies even before he began formal study of piano at age four. In high school and college, Bill led and managed a 13-piece dance orchestra and sang professionally in a vocal trio. He began composing for piano, voice, and chorus in the 1950s. He writes both music and lyrics, and often does the arranging. Recently he has begun writing for orchestral ensembles.
In the early 1980s he began to write seriously for congregation and chorus, inspired by a series of study themes he had developed on the subject of discipleship. These songs were published initially as a collection entitled Ev’rything! They now appear in hymnals, as choral octavos arranged by Fred Bock and Douglas Mears, and have even in German song books translated by Barbara Werner. Bill has also composed two patriotic works arranged and performed by the United States Army Chorus and by the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus. His choral works have been performed on national television by the Cathedral Choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood directed by Fred Bock. Bill was informally commissioned to compose a classical piano work for the 1993 inauguration ceremony of Dr. Richard Mouw as President of Fuller Theological Seminary; his Inaugural Suite was performed by Janet Sanborn. Most recently he has been commissioned to compose and arrange music for the 21st Century Consort concerts presented at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
Bill began his professional career in aerospace advanced systems engineering in San Diego in 1952. In 1964 he joined the personal staff of the Secretary of Defense, and in 1968 was appointed assistant secretary of the army; he then served in the Johnson and Nixon administrations until December 1970. He returned briefly to private industry but was called back to government service in 1973 as an assistant secretary of defense to oversee the transition from the military draft to the volunteer force under the Ford Administration. Altogether, in his government career, he served three presidents and five secretaries of defense.
Currently, Bill holds the title Chairman Emeritus of SRA International in Fairfax, Virginia, a company that he helped found in 1978. He is also a retired director of Herman Miller, Inc., where he served on the executive committee, a former trustee and chairman of CNA Incorporated in Alexandria, and former trustee and chairman of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. While on the board of trustees at Fuller Seminary, Bill and his wife Dee founded the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts.
Today, Bill is energetically pursuing an interest in type 1 diabetes research. Working with the University of Michigan Medical School, he and Dee established a second Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Analysis and have worked with the center to gather a group of colleagues from seven other major universities to work together in close collaboration.
A native of Dearborn, Michigan, Bill holds bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He has also been awarded an LL.D from the university. Bill and Dee reside in McLean, Virginia, and are proud of their son and daughter, their children’s spouses, and six grandchildren, all of whom are involved in music.
Lawrence Craig, known for his dynamic artistry, has earned a reputation for his “fine baritone” (New York Times) and “virtuosic talent” (Zürich Tages-Anzeiger) in Europe and the Americas in opera, concert, and recital. A student of the late internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, William Warfield, Mr. Craig is a graduate of the Florida Grand Opera and Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Programs. As winner of the Bel Canto International Opera Competition, he studied and performed with artistic staff of the famed Teatro Alla Scala.
Mr. Craig has appeared in a number of roles, but most notably as Harlequin in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Dapertutto in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Companies with whom he has appeared include the Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Colorado, Opera Ebony, Florentine Opera, Fresno Grand Opera, Harlem Opera Theatre, Latvian National Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Munich Biennale Opera Festival, New York City Opera (Education Division), Opera Festival of New Jersey, Opéra de Toulon, Orlando Opera, Portland Opera Reparatory Theater, Opera Roanoke, Savonlinna International Opera Festival, Trilogy Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Spoleto Opera Festival USA.
Mr. Craig made his Broadway debut in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème. Other stage credits include the American premiere of Kurt Weill’s Die Bürgschaft with Spoleto Festival USA, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Davis’s X, Menotti’s Medium and Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ain’s The Outcast, Argento’s Postcard from Morocco and Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts. Mr. Craig has performed with many symphonic orchestras and festivals both nationally and internationally.
Michael Denham has been widely acclaimed for his lyrical artistry in and interpretation of opera, oratorio, concert and recital. His operatic and musical credits include The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Gianni Schicchi, Madame Butterfly, Carmen, Susannah, The Student Prince, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, and Brigadoon. "Musically and dramatically impressive," wrote Opera Canada, describing his portrayal of the central role of Prince Edmund in Stewart Copeland's Holy Blood and Crescent Moon.
Mr. Denham has been featured as a soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, and the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra in Monterrey, Mexico> He has also been a soloist with The Washington Bach Consort, and the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington National Cathedral. He has premiered a number of works written for him, including Marc Satterwhite's Painting for the Blind, a cycle of songs for tenor and orchestra nominated for a Prix de Rome.
A graduate of Wheaton College, Mr. Denham earned advanced degrees in both music and theology. He has taught at The University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Arlington, and Lamar University. An ordained minister, he has served as Director of Music Ministries at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., since 1997.
Lisa Emenheiser is one of Washington, D.C.’s most recognized performing artists. She has been performing with the National Symphony Orchestra for the past 20 years, and appears as their pops pianist and acting principal keyboardist when necessary. A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she earned both bachelor and master of music degrees, Lisa is a past winner of the “Young Artist in Recital” and “National Arts Club” competitions.
Lisa has given widely-acclaimed recitals at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and Carnegie Recital Hall and has appeared in concerts at the National Gallery, Phillips Collection, Smithsonian Institute, The Kennedy Center as well as at the embassies of France, Austria, Germany, Britain, Slovenia, and Spain. She has also appeared as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, and the Fairfax Symphony. Lisa was also a soloist and a participant in the post-concert AfterWords led by music director Leonard Slatkin. An established chamber musician, Ms. Emenheiser has performed with Julius Baker, Eugenia Zukerman, Ransom Wilson, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, as well as with principal members of the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra.
An avid performer of contemporary music, Lisa is the pianist for the 21st Century Consort and Opus 3 Trio. She was featured on national television as an expert artist commentator and performer in the PBS documentary entitled “Exploring Your Brain”, in which she performed Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1 and discussed the topic of memory. A committed teacher, Lisa holds a private studio in her home and has represented the NSO on various occasions by teaching master classes and serving as their piano instructor for the Kazakhstan liaison held last year. She has recorded for the Pro Arte, VAI Audio, Centaur, Arabesque, Delos, AUR, and Cascades labels.
Michael Gallant holds a bachelor’s and master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Randall Reid-Smith, Martin Katz, and Theodore Morrison. He also attended the Eastman School of Music under scholarship. Mr. Gallant was recently named the first place winner of the Washington, D.C., Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series, through which he made his Kennedy Center recital debut, a concert that was recorded and broadcast live via the internet.
An active opera singer, Mr. Gallant displayed ample evidence of his sterling vocal gifts in the role of Count Almaviva in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Annapolis Opera. He has also performed Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff, and Laurie in Mark Adamo's Little Women. Mr. Gallant has sung with companies throughout the country and was an apprentice artist with both Central City Opera and the Ohio Light Opera Company. He recently made his New York City debut in a concert of arias at the New York Public Library Donnell Center.
Mr. Gallant has won numerous awards, including first place at the Harold Haugh Competition, the coveted Shoshana Foundation Apprentice Award, first place at the Friends of Opera Scholarship Competition, and a full tuition award from the University of Michigan. He was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious Ryan Opera Center for American Artists of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he performed as the tenor soloist for Berlioz's Te Deum with the Cathedral Choral Society under the baton of Riley Lewis in spring 2009.
The performing career of Loretta Giles spans opera, Broadway, symphony, oratorio, concerts, television, radio, and recording. She has performed both nationally and abroad, receiving critical acclaim as a singing actress. Her operatic credits include performances of the concert version of Porgy and Bess, with Detroit Symphony, Binghamton Symphony, and Augusta Symphony. Coached by the legendary Todd Duncan (original Porgy), critics praised Loretta as “a realistic and lyrically beautiful Bess… Her ‘My Man’s Gone Now’ may well prove to be the week’s highlights.” Other performances include Carmen in Carmen, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, Musetta in La Boheme, concert version of Aida, Cherubino in Marriage of Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Cenerentola in La Cenerentola, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Madame de Croissy in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Zazà in Leoncavallo’s Zazà.
Loretta’s Broadway and musical theater credits include Sophisticated Ladies starring Gregory Hines, The King and I head-lined by Yul Brenner and Houston Grand Opera’s Porgy and Bess. She was also featured in the West Indian musical, Calalou with Teresa Merritt, Children of the Sun in Key West, Florida and EUBIE at the Olney Theater in Maryland. Her cabaret act has been widely acclaimed on some of the world’s renowned cruise ships.
In 1977 Loretta co-hosted an original television variety show filmed weekly in Boston. CLUB 44, produced by WGBH, was widely acclaimed and nominated for an Emmy Award. Loretta’s jazz and pop repertoire won her the bronze prize for the United States in a World Song Festival, hosted by Seoul, Korea. She also recorded a highly acclaimed song, written for her, produced by Ebony Records of The Ivory Coast, and dedicated to the memory of Steve Biko.
An ardent supporter of educational programming, and one of the original members of Young Audiences, Loretta has written, produced, and performed in her own federally funded programs, providing an interactive performing experience for thousands of children in the US. She also narrated a nationally-syndicated children’s radio program, The Spider’s Web, produced by Emmy-Award winning Susheel Bibbs. Loretta was one of three national finalists selected by Penn State to perform her “Spanish and African–American Musical Heritage” program in a tour of their campuses for the 2003 Concert Series.
After receiving bachelor and master of music degrees in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, Loretta was selected for apprenticeships with Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Studio and has performed in numerous concerts and opera galas, both nationally and abroad. As a private voice teacher, with a studio located in Northern Virginia, Loretta won the “Northern Virginia Opera Guild’s 2004 Teacher of the Year Award.” She also served as a professor of voice at Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland, in 2008.
Loretta continues to concertize, perform, record, and produce audio recordings spanning operatic repertoire, pop standards, and the classics.
British contralto, Claudia Huckle, studied at the Royal College of Music, the New England Conservatory, and The Curtis Institute of Music. She was a 2004 Grand Final winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a graduate of the prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. Claudia’s roles with Washington National Opera have included Irene in Tamerlano with Placido Domingo and David Daniels; Second Maid in Strauss Elektra; Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto; Hansel in Hansel and Gretel; Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly and Siegrune in Die Walküre with Domingo as Siegmund.
As a member of Leipzig Opera’s ensemble, Claudia has performed Olga in Eugene Onegin; Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel; Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte; Clarice/Linetta in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges; Voice from Above in Flower Maiden Parsifal; Flora in La Traviata; Flosshilde in Das Rheingold; First Maid in Elektra; Schwertleite in Die Walküre; Venus in Kurt Weil’s One Touch of Venus and Singer in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Other recent performances include the Duchess in Torsten Rasch’s new opera The Duchess of Malfi and Pitti-Sing’s Mikado for English National Opera; the Forester’s Wife in The Cunning Little Vixen for Deutsche Oper Berlin; Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte for Dresden Semperoper; The Page in Salomé for Santa Fe Opera; The Fox in The Little Prince for Boston Lyric Opera; Emilia in Rossini’s Otello with Washington Concert Opera and the Slave in Salomé with The National Symphony Orchestra, Washington.
Claudia plans to perform Olga in Eugene Onegin for a new Deborah Warner production for English National Opera; Smeton in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena for Washington National Opera; Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel for Garsington Opera, and Bach’s Magnificat with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.
Claudia has been the recipient of The Sybil Tutton Award, a prize-winner at both the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition and The Sullivan Foundation Competition, and the Grand Final Winner of The Thelma King Award for Singers.
Sheri Jackson, a native of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, graduated from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and from Indiana University, where she received her master of music under the tutelage of Virginia Zeani and Patricia Wise.
Sheri has sung with American tenors George Shirley and Paul Sperry and under the baton of noted conductors such as David Baker, Thomas Baldner, David Effron, and Anton Coppola. As a soloist, she has performed with the Aspen Music Festival; the Sofia National Opera Company in Sofia, Bulgaria; the Annapolis Opera Company, Inter-Cities Opera Company, the Maryland Opera Society and Manhattan Lyric Opera.
Described as a soprano with “a voice of ravishing cream” by Peter Jacobi of the Herald Times, Sheri’s leading roles include Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amina in Bellini’s La Sonnambula, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, Hanna Glawari in Lehar’s Merry Widow, Roselinda in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Desdemona in Verdi’s Othello. She is the grand prize winner of the 2006 Marie Crump International Vocal Competition, grand prize and audience choice winner of the 2003 Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition and the 2002 Paul Robeson Vocal Competition and the finalist of the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition. Sheri currently resides in Maryland, where she continues to perform locally and studies voice with Jean Carter.
Praised by the Boston Globe as having a “romantic hero sound” with “leading-man looks,” Christopher Johnston is known for his ease of ability in both classical and music theater style. He has performed numerous lead roles to great acclaim including Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore, Orestes in Iphigénie en Tauride, Ottone in L’incoronatzione di Poppea, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Hanezo in L’Amico Fritz, Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, Lieutenant Montschi in Waltz Dream, Strephon in Iolanthe and Captain Walker in The Who’s Tommy!
Christopher has sung with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Lyric Opera San Diego, Opera Pacific, Glimmerglass Opera, Theatre Cedar Rapids, the Pacific Symphony, the Modesto Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, the Boston Pops, the Long Beach Pops and the Long Beach Symphony.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Christopher is a graduate of the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. He spent two summers alongside some of the world’s top artists at the Tanglewood Music Center. Last summer he performed the role of Nimming Ned in The Beggar’s Opera and covered the role of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia at the Castleton Music Festival conducted by Lorin Maazel. Other career highlights include performing with Christine Ebersole and Ron Raines in A Little Night Music with the Boston Pops and performing Poulenc’s Le bal masqué with Maestro James Levine.
Ryan D. Kuster joined the prestigious San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship Program in January 2011. In summer 2010, he attended the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Young Artist Program where he distinguished himself in many operatic scene recitals. Other engagements included Pantalone in Le donne curiose with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Santa Barbara, Marullo in Rigoletto with San Antonio Opera and Angelotti in Tosca with Annapolis Opera. With the San Francisco Opera, he performed Mandarin in Turandot, Astolfo in Lucrezia Borgia, Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Escamillo in Carmen.
Mr. Kuster completed his artist diploma at the Academy of Vocal Arts where he recently performed the role of the Govenor in the world premiere of Margaret Garwood’s The Scarlet Letter. Other roles included Schaunard in La Bohème, Enrico in Anna Bolena, Oroveso in Norma, the title role in Don Pasquale, Doctor Grenvil in La Traviata, Dikoj in Kát’a Kabanová, and Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte. He has also appeared as Rambaldo in La Rondine with Oberlin in Italy; and the Parson, Badger and Woodpecker in The Cunning Little Vixen.
On the concert stage, Mr. Kuster has performed the bass solos in the Fauré Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah; the title role of Handel’s oratorio, Saul; and Adam in Haydn’s The Creation. He has also appeared as a featured soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, New Jersey Master Chorale, and Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia. A Metropolitan Opera Council semi-finalist in 2011, Mr. Kuster received his master of music at Boston University and his bachelor of music from Westminster Choir College.
Hannah Penn enjoys a diverse career as a performer of opera, oratorio, and recital literature. Frequently praised for her musicality and the timbre of her voice, Ms. Penn has recently been called “a major talent”, and “an intelligent and wonderfully musical singer” by Portland’s Willamette Week.
Ms. Penn has sung Rosina with Glimmerglass Opera, Teresa in La Sonnambula with Florida Grand Opera, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Tacoma Opera. As a recent member of Portland Opera’s Studio Artist Program, Ms. Penn sang the roles of Diana in La Calisto, Thisbe in La Cenerentola, Mercedes in Carmen, Flora in La Traviata and Nancy in Albert Herring. She sang her first Carmen with Portland Opera, under somewhat unusual circumstances. Ms. Penn was covering the role and went on with 24-hours’notice. Her performance garnered critical acclaim and resulted in a chance to reprise the role the following season with the Teatro National Sucre in Quito, Ecuador.
A strong proponent of new works, Ms. Penn has performed in the American premiere tours of John Adam’s El Nino and Sven-David Sandstrom’s High Mass. Performances of other new works include Anthony Davis’ Wakonda’s Dream and David Carlson’s Anna Karenina at Florida Grand Opera. An active recitalist, Ms. Penn collaborates biannually with Portland Opera’s principal coach, Robert Ainsley. She performed works by Jake Heggie under the composer’s direction and studied German Lied for three years with renowned collaborative pianist Leonard Hokanson. She performed in a staged recital of Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch under the direction of the great lieder singer, Hakan Hagegård and also performed at a master class on Schubert Lieder given by James Levine at Carnegie Hall.
Symphony credits include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Oregon Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and C Minor Mass with Florida Philharmonic, Corigliano’s Fern Hill with Sacramento Choral Society, and Messiah in the Bloomington Early Music Festival. Upcoming performances include Dinah in Takoma Opera’s Trouble in Tahiti and the title role in Portland Opera’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges.
Robert Petillo specializes in concert and oratorio works of the 17th and 18th centuries. His skill with recitative makes him sought after as the Evangelist (narrator) in musical settings of the Passion of Christ, from those of Schütz and Theile in the 1500s to the 18th-century masterpieces of J.S. Bach and Telemann. He has performed frequently along the eastern seaboard for the past 30 years, particularly with Washington’s many choral ensembles, including The Washington Bach Consort, Folger Consort, Master Chorale of Washington, Cathedral Choral Society, Choralis, National Philharmonic Chorale, New Dominion Chorale, Cantate Chamber Singers, Fairfax Choral Society, City Choir of Washington, and Alexandria Choral Society.
Robert Petillo was called “one of our most eloquent Handelian tenors” by New Yorker critic Andrew Porter for his many oratorio roles in the Maryland Handel Festival under the baton of Paul Traver. He has twice been a soloist with Venice’s Accademia di San Rocco orchestra, and been soloist for two tours of Germany with The Washington Bach Consort. His appearance as Jupiter (Handel’s Semele) at the Halle Handelfest received acclaim in the German press. Featured on The Washington Bach Consort’s recording of Bach’s German Masses and on an Arsis recording of Frank Ferko’s Hildegard von Bingen motets, he has also made two recordings of 20’s and 30’s popular music with “syncopated piano” virtuoso Alex Hassan, with whom he has concertized here and at England’s Aldeburgh festival.
A member of The United States Army Chorus since 1986, Sgt. Major Petillo is their senior soloist and historian. A soloist on numerous recordings produced by The U.S. Army Band, he is featured on the CD "A Hero for Today," and is a soloist on their new recording of arrangements by Joseph Wilcox Jenkins. In his career with The U.S. Army Band, he has sung for all former, living presidents since Jimmy Carter, for military leaders, for visiting dignitaries in over 30 languages, and for millions of Americans from coast to coast, both live and on national television. He studied music at Rutgers University and at the University of Maryland, where he completed his doctorate.
Jamet Pittman is an original cast member in 3 Mo’ Divas—a show heralded as one of the most musically versatile and dramatically exciting to appear on the modern stage. A native of Washington, D.C., she majored in piano performance at Oberlin Conservatory, but changed majors after she saw her first opera there. She later received a Master of Music in vocal performance with a concentration in opera from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America. At the age of 23, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Washington Northeast Region. One of the judges took notice and invited her to study at the Manhattan School of Music.
Jamet performed in the American premiere of the Czech opera The Two Widows and then made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1998 with a performance of Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner. She performed again at Carnegie Hall in Bach's B-Minor Mass and Handel's Messiah with Musica Sacra. She has also sung with the New York Choral Artists at Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of renowned maestros such as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, and Riccardo Muti.
Jamet was asked to sing the role of Bess in the Porgy and Bess Suite with the Washington Army Band and Chorus at the Gershwin Centennial Birthday Celebration with the much acclaimed Porgy, Alvy Powell. Later, she enjoyed the distinction of becoming part of the first American broadcast of Porgy and Bess in a "Live from Lincoln Center" telecast with New York City Opera. Jamet performed in the highly acclaimed Baz Luhrmann's production of La Boheme on Broadway and has also performed in several musical theater productions, including Carousel and Master Class.
In addition, Jamet has sung and recorded with several professional ensembles, including the Baltimore/Washington Repertory Opera, the Opera Company of Brooklyn, New York Choral Artists, Clarion Music Society, and St. Ignatius Loyola Choir.
Richard Price, engineer & editor, is president of Candlewood Digital LLC, a Connecticut firm specializing in the recording of classical music. He is an alumnus of The University of Michigan, The Juilliard School, and the Pierre Monteux Domaine School for Advanced Conducting Study. Formerly Senior Engineer with a major New York classical recording studio, he has over 900 commercial CDs to his credit over the past 19 years as producer, engineer, editor, and mastering engineer.
A voting member of NARAS, his work has been honored with two 2005
Grammy nominations and a 1993 Grammy award. Prior to entering the recording
Field, he had a 15-year career as a professional horn player. His credits include Borealis Wind Quintet, Galliard Brass Ensemble, Broadway shows, and a New York freelance artist. He is a nationally known arranger, with performances by the Toronto, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit Symphonies, Westminster Choir College, Pro Arte Singers, Canadian Brass, Philadelphia Orchestra Brass, New York Philharmonic Brass, and many others. His works have also been featured on TV, including the Inspector Lynley Mysteries and in film, Being Julia.
Mr. Price was the Music Director and Conductor of the Danbury Concert Chorus from 2002-2010. He was named Music Director Emeritus in May 2010. He lives on Candlewood Isle, Candlewood Lake in CT, with his wife, composer Meg Bowles, and their daughter Hannah.
Wayne Sanders is co-founder of Opera Ebony and has served as its Musical Director since the company’s inception in 1973. Under his direction, Opera Ebony has gained international prominence, performing in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada, and the Caribbean.
As vocal coach and accompanist, Mr. Sanders has performed for televised Opera Ebony concerts worldwide and has also appeared at some of the world’s most important music festivals including the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the Savonlinna Festival in Finland. At leading venues such as The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) and Carnegie Hall (New York City), he has accompanied renowned artists such as Jessye Norman, Florence Quivar, Kathleen Battle, George Shirley, William Brown, Hilda Harris, Jorma Hynninin, Benjamin Matthews, and Jubilant Sykes. Mr. Sanders is currently on the voice faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City.
For his contribution to the arts and humanities, Mr. Sanders has been awarded numerous honors within the United States and Europe; including Austria, Italy, Russia, Estonia, and Germany. In Finland's largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, critic Olavi Kanko wrote, "He will be remembered as one of the great figures in the history of vocal music."
To add to his distinguished accomplishments, Mr. Sanders received high praise for musical direction of Porgy and Bess in Helsinki, Moscow, and Tallin, Anstonia. He also conducted a ten city tour of Opera Ebony's Black Heritage Concerts in Switzerland and Iceland. These performances were broadcast throughout Europe and the Baltic States.
Mr. Sanders is a prominent figure in the preservation and presentation of new American operas and many of his students now perform with major opera companies and musical theaters throughout the world. With special emphasis on works by women and people of color, he has co-produced and served as musical director for several world premieres. A brief listing includes Perfect Harmony by Heikki Sarmanto (Finlandia Records), The Outcast by composer Noa Ain, and The Meetin' by Pamela Baskin-Watson. He is now working on the new opera-musical theatre, Leo Edwards’ Harriet Tubman, and Opera Ebony's new touring musical review, The Colors of Love.
Described by Plácido Domingo as an “orchestra at the piano” and hailed as a pianist who “really has it all – fiery technique and a rich, warm tone,” Joy Schreier has been praised by The Washington Post as a “responsive accompanist” and an “ideal support” at the piano. She is credited as “providing much of the evening’s musical nuance,” “so noteworthy that the room seemed to vibrate from her depth and skill,” and “perfection itself…the dream accompanist that a singer hopes to find at some point in one’s lifetime.”
Schreier has been presented in recital at Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, the White House, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the Cosmos Club, Strathmore Hall, the Embassies of Austria, Russia, Poland, Anderson House on Embassy Row, and recital halls throughout the country. Internationally, she has performed in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Currently the keyboard artist and vocal coach of the Cathedral Choral Society, Schreier has coached for the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and served as official pianist for both the Washington International Voice Competition and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She received her doctorate in accompanying and chamber music in 2003 at the Eastman School of Music where she was the recipient of the Barbara Koeng Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying. Former teachers include Jean Barr, Ann Schein, and Laurence Morton.
Gregory K. Squires is president of Squires Music Production, a Westchester, New York, company now in its third decade of capturing great music. The company, founded in 1974, has more than three thousand productions to its credit, a discography that has earned two Grammy awards, nine nominations and high praise from major music critics around the world. Mr. Squires has tremendous experience working with the full classical repertoire, jazz, Broadway musicals, and film soundtracks, traveling world-wide to serve an international clientele. Some of his orchestral credits include American Composers Orchestra; London Chamber, London Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestras; Borealis Wind Quintet, Budapest string Quartet, Dorian Wind Quintet, English Chamber Orchestra, New York Woodwind Quintet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Washington Chamber Orchestra. Well-known artists include Grace Bumbry, Misha Dichter, Elliot Fisk, James Galway, Benny Goodman, Barbara Hendricks, Awadagin Pratt, Ruth Swenson, Tatiana Troyanos and Benita Valente.
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the Manhattan School of Music as a French horn major, Mr. Squires did post-graduate studies at Yale University. He was the principal horn player with the Buffalo Philharmonic under Lukas Foss. He also taught on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music for 18 years. In addition, Mr. Squires was a consultant to Mitsubishi and Studer on digital audio workstations.
Born and raised in Westchester, New York, Mr. Squires likes to indulge in his other passion when he’s not recording. He flies his own private aircraft and is also a Federal Aviation Association Examiner.
A native of Washington, D.C., Danielle Talamantes has quickly become one the region’s most sought after soprano soloists. After receiving her bachelor of arts in vocal performance and music education from Virginia Tech in 1998 and her master of arts in vocal performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in 2001, Ms. Talamantes soon began to garner the attention of a number of classical music organizations, symphonies, and opera companies.
Appearing before sold out houses last year, Ms. Talamantes recently debuted as Violetta in Fremont Opera’s production of La Traviata to rave reviews. The Independent’s reviewer, Susan Steinberg wrote: “This lovely lithe soprano gave perhaps the most moving portrayal of Verdi’s doomed heroine in my 50+ year memory of famous Violettas. She conveyed her feeling with exquisite restraint but great visceral impact. It’s a rare quality and will assuredly earn her international acclaim.”
Ms. Talamantes was thrilled to fulfill her debut contract this past spring with the Metropolitan Opera, covering the role of Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. Other operatic roles recently performed include Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel; Alexandra in Blitzstein’s Regina; Micäela in Bizet’s Carmen; Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; and Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
After winning the competitive NATSAA Award in 2007, Ms. Talamantes performed a highly acclaimed solo debut recital in Carnegie Hall. Some of her national and international competition honors include first place in the Irene Dalis Opera, San Jose; Irma M Cooper Opera, Columbus; XII Concurs de Trujillo; and International Lotte Lehman Cybersing. She received second place in the National Opera Association and Liederkranz Competition and fourth place in the Seoul International Music Competition. She has also been featured as a soloist by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Chorale & Orchestra, the Oratorio Society of Virginia, the City Choir of Washington, the Blacksburg Master Chorale, the Norwalk Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony.
Jane-Anne Tucker, who hails from Tifton, Georgia, graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in history. While at Dartmouth, Ms. Tucker received her first taste of opera, appearing as Susanna in Act I of The Marriage of Figaro, and in her sophomore and senior years she won first place in the competitive New Hampshire-Vermont State NATS competition. She received a master of music in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music, gaining valuable performance experience as a member of the NEC Opera Studio, under the direction of John Moriarty.
Ms. Tucker received warm reviews for her portrayal of Sister Constance in Opera International’s production of The Dialogues of the Carmelites at the Lisner Auditorium in 2004. The Foggy Bottom News commented that she presented “the best voice of the evening with the delightfully brisk and comic Sister Constance” and The Washington Post added that her “stratospheric range served her well.” Reporter Jens F. Laurson wrote: “The attractive soprano Jane-Anne Tucker (Constance) has an appropriate and wonderfully agile voice [and] sang impressively all night.” Among her oratorio credits, Ms. Tucker has appeared as a soprano soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C, Handel’s Messiah, John Rutter’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria and Britten's Carol of the Bells.
Prior to her move to the Washington area, Ms. Tucker was a member of the Virginia Chorale, a professional ensemble in Norfolk, Virginia. As soprano soloist for the prestigious National Presbyterian Church for over seven years, Jane-Anne’s beautiful, silvery voice continues to delight the congregation in worship services, oratorios, and concerts. Residing in Mclean, Virginia, with her husband and three children, Ms. Tucker is often invited to perform locally.
Jamie Van Eyck appeals to audiences and critics alike as a compelling young artist in opera and concert, with polished, elegant vocalism and committed dramatic portrayals on stage. In the 2011-2012 season she returned to Madison Opera as Olga in Eugene Onegin. She also sang recitals in repeat engagements for the Dallas Museum of Art and the Wolf Trap Foundation Discovery Series. In concert, Ms. Van Eyck sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and debuted with the Phoenix Symphony in Handel’s Messiah. She recently returned to the Bard SummerScape festival as Queen Alkmene in Die Liebe der Danae, and made her Boston Lyric Opera debut as the Drummer in The Emperor of Atlantis and as Daughter in the premiere performances of After-Image. She returned to Utah Opera as Meg in Little Women, giving a performance that Opera News called “luminescent”. Other roles include Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Milli in Franz Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang, Mercedes in Carmen, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, and Dryade in Ariadne auf Noxos.
In concert, she has performed with organizations such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, she released her second recording with Bridge Records of New York entitled, “Complete Crumb Edition”, Vol. 15, which has been praised as “consistently wonderful” and “not to be missed” by Classics Today.
Ms. Van Eyck has sung premiere performances of works by composers including Ned Rorem at Carnegie Hall and George Crumb at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. She toured the United States and Russia with the Mark Morris Dance Group as Dido in Dido and Aeneas and has been featured with the series “Encores!” at New York City Center. Ms. Van Eyck’s recording of her leading role in Elliott Carter’s What Next?, under the baton of James Levine, can be seen on the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s DVD release of the opera.
Matthew Worth was hailed by the Dallas Morning News for his "dashing, fine bright baritone" and the New York Times for a voice that is "fully powered and persuasively expressive." He was recently the featured "Sound Bites" artist in Opera News, and is enjoying successes on both the operatic and concert stages in all styles from the Renaissance to new repertoire.
Mr. Worth made his debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos in season 2011-12 and with the Minnesota Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. He also returned to Virginia Opera as the title role in Philip Glass's Orphée, reprises the role of Charlie in Heggie's Three Decembers in his Fort Worth Opera debut, and sings as Curly in Central City Opera’s Oklahoma! In 2011 he made his debut with Santa Fe Opera as Valentin in Gounod's Faust as well.
Recent engagements include his debut with Pittsburgh Opera and Connecticut Concert Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia; performing Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Boston Lyric Opera; collaborating with Lorin Maazel as Tarqinius in The Rape of Lucretia with the University of California at Berkeley; performing Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with New Orleans Opera Association, and a solo performance with New York Festival of Song in a program entitled "Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life." Other roles with Chicago Opera Theater include Britten’s Owen Wingrave and Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédict. Recent highlights include Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with New Orleans Opera; the title role in Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera and Jupiter in Orpheus in the Underworld with Central City Opera.