The Summit took place on March 26-27, 2021
WATCH THE SUMMIT ON YOUTUBE >https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDnPR7YQOc6y0t68Q4mM-me4q4nIRMw7D
At a time in which the classical music world explores its future in increasingly diverse ways, Art Song is emerging as a rich arena in which performers and composers are expanding their creative horizons and pushing the boundaries of innovation. Some of the most active and respected artists in Art Song joined together for a two-day virtual summit, looking at the history and future of innovation in Art Song.
A central opportunity during the summit was a presentation of The Wandering, an interdisciplinary and immersive online show inspired by the music of Franz Schubert. The Wandering is also a prism — it refracts the queer past into the future.
All sessions were free and open to the public. Click here to see who attended the Summit >
The 2021 Art Song Summit was made possible by a generous grant from the Indiana University Vice Provost for Research in the Arts and Humanities. Partners in this project are the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Voice Department, Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development, and New Voices Opera.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
What is art song? We invite all viewers to continue to participate in conversations on ART SONG SUMMIT SLACK CHANNEL using a Google or Facebook Account.
Alain Barker | firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development & Project Jumpstart, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021
12:00pm | Welcome & Episode I of The Wandering
Watch > https://youtu.be/ikuTrSenvUs
Voice Department Chair Brian Horne, Alumnus Jeremy Weiss, and Alain Barker introduced the summit and invited all to view Episode One of The Wandering.
3:00pm | Panel 1: History of Innovation in Art Song
Watch > https://youtu.be/NhfE_ZVPubA
In this first keynote-style session Dr. Allan Armstrong guided a brief tour of the history of innovation in art song. Armstrong is a pianist/coach in the voice department at the Jacobs School of Music, where he is an Assistant Professor of Music, coaching opera productions and teaching the doctoral-level song literature courses.
6:00pm | Panel 2: Gender and Art Song
Watch > https://youtu.be/98YB7fqrCsM
Composers Ricky Ian Gordon and Mari Esabel Valverde, tenor Matthew Valverde and scholar Cloe Gentile, explored what role gender has played in Art Song and how that is rapidly shifting. This panel session, moderated by doctoral voice student Cathy Compton, examined new pieces being created which aim to break the normative bonds between text and music.
8:00pm | Episode II of The Wandering
Viewers participated in ongoing conversations on the summit Slack channel.
9:00pm | Panel 3: Student Panel
Watch > https://youtu.be/vPMAV7D3LlU
Moderated by Steele Fitzwater, New Voices Opera representative Duncan Holzhall and IU Voice Department students Madison Schindele, Tatiana Lokhina, Sophia Hunt, and Bruno Sandes were joined by representatives from other music schools and conservatories to discuss what art song means to them, their education, and their future career.
SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2021
10:00am | Panel 4: Attention, Listening, and Empathy
Watch > https://youtu.be/vvo-euSa168
Julia Bentley invited Lynn Helding (author of “The Musician’s Mind”) and Andrew Goldman (specialist in music cognition) to explore the nature of listening. Current research offers insight into topics including expertise, attention, and empathy, and can help us reconsider why a song’s a song— and why it matters.
12:00pm | Episode III of The Wandering
We invited all viewers to participate in ongoing conversations on the summit Slack channel.
2:00pm | Panel 5: Art Song and American Culture
Watch > https://youtu.be/2i80PMtjgGA
Experts Darryl Taylor, Beth Stewart, and David Sisco each hold a unique and special view on the intersection between Art Song and American Culture. Links between Art Song and musical theater, race, pop culture, political change, were reviewed by this panel team led by doctoral voice student Tislam Swift.
4:00pm | Panel 6: The Future of Art Song
Watch > https://youtu.be/vO3FVQo9VUc
Having been apprised of new and exciting developments in Art Song thus far, participants had a chance to direct all focus on what is to come with panel experts Martha Guth, Erika Switzer, David Adam Moore, and Shawn E Okpebholo. The Future of Art Song, moderated by doctoral voice student Spencer Lawrence Boyd, explored examples of innovative projects happening in the field right now and where Art Song is headed.
6:00pm | Episode IV of The Wandering
Viewers participated in ongoing conversations on the summit Slack channel.
6:20pm | Panel 7: Media and Technology in Art Song
Watch > https://youtu.be/BYEBIjJse_w
Members of the team behind The Wandering discussed how the power of Franz Schubert’s Lieder found its way into the core of an interdisciplinary, immersive work that is altogether thought provoking, highly imaginative, and captivating. They discussed the creative processes they used that merge vocal and piano performance with digital technology, film, electronic art, 3D animation, and other modalities.
The Wandering is an online and offline show inspired by the music of Franz Schubert. The Wandering is also a prism — it refracts the queer past into the future. It is a visual album, a narrative drama, and a live experience that transports, surprises, and connects. It is not a Zoom performance. Ready? Come wander with us.
Do you miss live performance and feel uninspired by Zoom? Us too. Let’s make some 4D art together. Materials arrive in the mail soon after you purchase a ticket. In this multi-day experience, prepare to make new friends, paint your face, enter an augmented-reality prism, and fall in love with art song.
Our interactive, password-protected website serves as the stage. It lives behind the page you are on right now. Can you sense it?
Was the 19th-century Austrian composer Franz Schubert gay? Probably. Listen to his music closely, and you are connected to the long-overlooked and often-stigmatized queer past. In this way, listening is a small act of transformative empowerment.
Interested in reclaiming your attention span? Like in live performance, you will only be able to watch the narrative once. No pause button here. To help you out, we divided the film into four short episodes, which you can start whenever you would like.
Jeremy Weiss – is a classical vocal artist and actor who specializes in new and devised work. Recently, Jeremy performed on PBS Great Performances as a street singer in Bernstein’s Mass with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop. In 2019 he also made his debut at National Sawdust in the premier of Dialogues of the Travelers and premiered the role of The Creature in The Modern Prometheus in Redhook’s Studio 153. He is also a two time finalist and award winner at the Lotte Lenya Competition (2019, 2020). Recent roles include: the title role in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, West Side Story (Action), and Rodelinda (Garibaldo) at Indiana University Opera, The Good Swimmer (Lifeguard) at BAM, Di Goldene Kale (Berke) with the National Yiddish Theater Off-Broadway, Belli’s Orfeo Dolente (Orfeo), Cavalli’s Erismena (Erimante), Oklahoma! (Curly), My Fair Lady (Freddy), and Into the Woods (Wolf/Prince). Jeremy completed his MM at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Dr. Brian Gill and graduated from Yale University with a double major in Humanities and Theater Studies. ➞ jeremyweissperformer.com
Soprano Martha Guth has performed recitals at Wigmore Hall and Leeds Lieder Festival with Graham Johnson at the piano, the Vancouver International Song Institute and the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival with Erika Switzer, Lincoln Center with Bradley Moore, the Liederkranz with Pianist Dalton Baldwin, and an all Britten recital with Pianist Malcolm Martineau for Five Boroughs Music Festival. Her recitals have been recorded and broadcast for the CBC Radio/Radio Canada, the BBC Radio in the U.K and the WDR in Germany. Her operatic performances include the Santa Fe Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, the Grazer Oper, in Austria, Opera Lyra in Ottawa, Canada. Other performances include St. John’s Smith Square in London, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Voices of Ascension in NYC, The National Cathedral, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Aldeburgh Connection in Toronto, and both Claveçin en Concert and the André Turp society in Montreal. She is proud to have worked under the batons of Maestro’s Seiji Ozawa, Robert Spano, Helmut Rilling, John Nelson and Richard Bradshaw, and Alan Gilbert among many others.
Her discography includes a solo disc of Schubert songs with Penelope Crawford playing her original Graf forte piano, Roberto Sierra’s Beyond the Silence of Sorrow with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Puerto Rico for Naxos (nominated for a 2016 Latin GRAMMY), John Fitz-Roger’s Magna Mysteria for the Innova label, songs of Andrew Staniland with baritone Tyler Duncan pianist Erika Switzer in Go by Contraries released on Centre Discs, The Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes for Sparks & Co., and the first Five Boroughs Song Book for GVR records.
With friend and frequent collaborator, pianist Erika Switzer, she is the Co-Director of Sparks & Wiry Cries, a global platform dedicated to art song spanning publication, live performance, and commission of new works. Sparks is the force behind the popular regional songSLAM’s that are presented in partnership with other small art song orgs. and presents its own songSLAM Festival weekend every January in NYC. Martha lives and works in Ithaca, NY where she is Assistant Professor of Voice at Ithaca College. She is on faculty at Songfest in L.A. and is a teacher and performer with many of the national training programs that celebrate song. Upcoming are performances with the Maryland Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, multiple recitals with Erika Switzer at the piano in NYC, and a recital tour with long time partner Graham Johnson at the piano, Fall of 2020.
Alain Barker is senior lecturer in music in music entrepreneurship and director of music entrepreneurship and career development at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, appointed to the faculty in July 2014.
His entrepreneurial career includes arts organization development, arts policy research, communications and marketing, teaching, and performance.
From 2004 to 2014, Barker directed Jacobs School of Music marketing and publicity operations. Initiatives during this time included a rebranding of the school, development of multiple communications platforms, and integration of social media into school life. He led publicity and media relations for more than 1,100 events annually as well as marketing campaigns for IU Opera and Ballet Theater, Admissions, Development, Alumni Relations, school departments, and the Summer Music series.
Barker was executive director of the Bloomington Early Music Festival from 1994 to 2004, a time during which a small collection of concerts was transformed into an early music festival of national significance. He has worked as a consultant to the Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia; agent, organizer and publicist for local not-for-profits, concert series and artists; manager of three international tours by Aguavá New Music Studio; and manager for two U.S. tours of the Legêne, Kuijken, Gibbons Chamber Trio.
Barker was co-principal flute in the Orchestra of the Asturian Principality, in Oviedo, Spain, and principal flute in the Marion, Ind. Philharmonic. He has performed in numerous recitals and music festivals around the U.S. and, with the Aguavá New Music Studio, toured across the U.S., as well as to Mexico, Colombia, and Israel. He taught for four years as a visiting lecturer in flute at the Jacobs School’s summer semester.
He is a faculty affiliate of the IU Center for Rural Engagement, serves on the IU Career Services Council and Arts & Humanities Council, and is a member of a number of local not-for-profit boards and advisory committees.
Receiving an M.M. with honors in performance from the Jacobs School of Music in 1989, Barker completed a D.M. at Jacobs in 2001.
Tenor Brian Horne is associate professor of voice, specializing in studio voice and voice pedagogy, at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College in Ohio as well as master’s and doctoral degrees from the Jacobs School. He has taught at the University of Missouri and Shorter College, and continues to perform and present master classes.
Horne’s former students perform at venues such as the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe, Opera Memphis, Atlanta Opera, Chicago Lyric, and Bayerishe Staatsoper (Munich), as well as with symphonies such as those of Colorado, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Melbourne, and Cleveland. His students have won competitions such as the Cardiff Singer of the World, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the $10,000 first prize in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artist Awards, and awards such as Outstanding Performer in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year. His students have been finalists in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum competition, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist, Dallas Opera Guild, Opera Columbus Irma Cooper Vocal Competition, and the Mobile Opera Competition, and won career grants from the Richard Tucker and Merola Foundations.
His students have participated in summer programs such as Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, Merola, Central City Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera New Jersey, and Des Moines Metro Opera, as well as in professional training programs such as the Academy of Vocal Arts and the Houston Opera Studio.
Horne serves on the Jacobs School of Music Council, as regional governor for the Great Lakes Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and as president of the NATS Foundation. As faculty sponsor of the Student NATS chapter at Indiana University, professor of the doctoral voice pedagogy courses, and research director for doctoral dissertations, he has mentored dozens of students into college teaching positions. He was chosen to serve as a master teacher for the 2014 NATS Intern Program and is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Teachers of Singing.
Pianist and vocal coach Allan Armstrong is assistant professor of music in voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he specializes in art song literature and opera coaching. He is also the official accompanist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for both the Colorado/Wyoming District and the Rocky Mountain Region.
From 2017 to 2020, he was a postdoctoral scholar and visiting assistant professor in chamber and collaborative music at the Jacobs School. He was previously a member of the applied piano faculty at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he codirected the nationally award-winning Bravo Opera Company.
Armstrong has been a principal production pianist and coach at Eugene Opera, Opera Colorado, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Sugar Creek Opera, Tel Aviv Summer Opera Program, and Opera Tampa. He has taught on the faculty of the Sherrill Milnes Savannah Voice Festival and the International Vocal Arts Institute, in Blacksburg, Virginia.
In 2005, he coached and recorded the newly revised version of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle under the direction of the composer’s son, Peter Bartók. In 2010, Armstrong was a featured solo pianist in a recital of the complete solo piano works of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici at New York University Steinhardt.
Armstrong earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. He also earned a Master of Music degree in Chamber Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida, where he studied with Svetozar Ivanov and Robert Helps.
Armstrong holds professional memberships in the College Music Society and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). In 2019, he was chosen to participate in the acclaimed NATS Intern Program at the New England Conservatory.
Catherine served on the voice faculty of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley from 2016-2018, where she taught applied voice, lyric diction, music entrepreneurship, and opera workshop. She holds a Master of Music degree in voice performance and pedagogy from CU-Boulder and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Iowa State University. She received further training at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig, Germany as a 2011-12 Fulbright fellow. She was a 2018 NATS Intern with the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
At Indiana University, Catherine is an Assistant Director with the renowned IU Opera & Ballet Theater; she also serves on the administrative production team. She directed UTRGV Opera Theater in Brownsville, Texas from 2016-18, where her productions were recognized by the National Opera Association, including first place for Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach) in the 2016-17 Collegiate Opera Production Competition. Photographs below are from Opera Workshop at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
A frequent recitalist, she is dedicated to advancing the works of female composers with special focus for the songs of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Catherine was a Fulbright fellow in Leipzig, Germany, where she sang with the Leipzig Bach Festival, Mendelssohn Haus Museum, and Gewandhaus zu Leipzig as well as the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Fulbright Kommission in Berlin. Recent performances in the US include Lili Boulanger’s Clairières dans le ciel at Indiana University, the Brahms Requiem with the Truman Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Cantata 51 with the Brownsville Chamber Orchestra, and Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Central Iowa Symphony. Operatic roles include Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Magic Flute), Erste Dame (Magic Flute), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Gretel (Hansel & Gretel), among others. She was a winner in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition in 2011.
Matthew Valverde has been praised for his sensitive phrasing, “mellifluous” singing, and his “handsome” tenor voice (Star Tribune, New York Classical Review). He was awarded a DMA degree and an MM degree in vocal performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) and holds degrees from Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX). Valverde is Associate Professor of Music at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, where he also serves as Inclusive Excellence Liaison, supporting initiatives of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Valverde has performed solo recitals and has been featured in concerts and operas in New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Indiana, New Mexico, and Texas. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2014 and has been tenor soloist in performances including Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos, Mozart’s Requiem, and Britten’s Serenade and War Requiem. Orchestral credits include: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Oratorio Society, Finger Lakes Choral Festival, and the San Luis Valley Symphony. Valverde has appeared with the Rochester Lyric Opera, Finger Lakes Opera (Geneseo, NY), Eastman Opera Theatre, TCU Opera Studio, and sang in the première performances of Tienda (Moya/Vincent) in the Twin Cities. He has performed with the Internationale Bachakademie’s Festivalensemble Stuttgart (Helmuth Rilling), Vox Humana (David Childs), Voices Chamber Choir (William Weinert), Border CrosSing (Ahmed Anzaldúa), First Inversion Vocal Ensemble (Lee Wright), and is the tenor section leader of EXIGENCE Vocal Ensemble (Eugene Rogers).
Mari Esabel Valverde
Award-winning composer and singer Mari Esabel Valverde (b. 1987) has been commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and Boston Choral Ensemble among others and has appeared with Dallas Chamber Choir, Vox Humana, and EXIGENCE (Detroit). She was a featured composer at the 2016 Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival, where her “Our Phoenix” was premièred by six collective ensembles from the United States and Canada. Her works are published by earthsongs and Walton Music and self-published.
Fluent in Spanish and French, she actively studies Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish. She has translated numerous vocal works and documents including a phonetic guide of Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Based in North Texas, she taught voice at the high school level for over six years. Her former students have participated in All-State Choirs and State Solo Competition. She currently teaches singing and transgender voice training with TruVoice Lessons.
She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the American Composers Forum, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
David Adam Moore
vid Adam Moore is a highly sought-after leading baritone by major opera houses and orchestras worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Salzburg Festival, Carnegie Hall, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Théâtre du Châtelet, Bunkamura (Tokyo), Grand Théâtre de Genève, Israeli Opera, LA Opera, New York City Opera, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, LA Philharmonic,
Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Symphony Orchestra, and many others. His performances have been broadcast on BBC, Arte television, NPR, Radio France, RAI, ORF, and Radio Netherlands, and recorded by Erato, BMG, GPR, and Innova records.
With a repertoire of over 60 principal roles, he is best known for his portrayals of Billy Budd, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Rossini’s Barbiere, Joseph DeRocher in Dead Man Walking, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Prior Walter in Angels in America, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, Schubert’s Winterreise, Carmina Burana, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and the Soldier in David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, which Moore premiered and recorded. A celebrated interpreter of contemporary music, he has created roles and premiered works for some of today’s most important living composers, including Thomas Adès, Peter Eötvös, David T. Little, Holly Herndon, John Eaton, Ricky Ian Gordon, Conrad Cummings, Martin Hennessey, and Tom Cipullo, while simultaneously garnering critical acclaim for his interpretations of opera, art song, and concert works from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Moore’s Metropolitan Opera debut performance as Colonel Gomez in Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel was broadcast in theaters worldwide and is available on dvd.
Also notable for his work as a projection designer, composer, digital media artist, and stage director, Moore recently made his Lyric Opera of Chicago stage design debut as projection designer for a new production of Faust – in which he collaborated with renowned sculptor/animator John Frame and stage/film designer Vita Tzykun. Working in partnership with Tzykun, he is a founding member of GLMMR – an NYC-based interdisciplinary art collective that works in a variety of artistic fields. GLMMR’s latest original work, Book of Dreams: chapter sand, is an electro-acoustic performance installation featuring an electronic composition by Moore, an interlocking vocal composition by David T. Little, production design and direction by Vita Tzykun, and sound-reactive video design by Moore. Performed without microphones, it explores uncharted sound worlds by creating a symbiosis between un-amplified vocals and a floor-shaking electronic accompaniment carefully designed to integrate with the acoustic properties of an operatically-produced voice. It premiered to a sold-out audience at National Sawdust in a performance described by music journalist Jeremy Hirsch as “unpretentious and utterly enjoyable while it effectively told a treacherous story.” GLMMR’s multimedia staging of Schubert’s Winterreise, starring Moore, has garnered critical acclaim in productions by The Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Anchorage Opera, and in its NYC premiere at National Sawdust. Other stage productions by GLMMR include set, costume, and projection design for David T. Little’s Soldier Songs at The Atlanta Opera and in a PBS-televised production, starring Moore, for San Diego Opera. GLMMR created the largest-scale production to date of Michael Nyman’s opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, based on the book by Oliver Sacks. Co-directed and co-designed by Tzykun and Moore in collaboration with a team of consulting neurologists, the production premiered at Indianapolis Opera in 2015, is set to make its European debut in a future season, and will be featured in a forthcoming documentary about the life and work of Dr. Sacks. Moore’s projection design work has been featured in Lighting and Sound America magazine and his award-winning photography has been published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Boosey and Hawkes Music, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. His other interactive works and collaborations have been presented by the Guggenheim Museum (Holly Herndon: Blood Makes Noise), the 92nd Y, .NO Gallery, Town Hall (Nick Hallett and Performa), and Sybarite 5.
Moore maintains a private teaching studio in NYC and teaches masterclasses for universities, opera companies, artist training programs, and arts organizations throughout the U.S. He serves on the advisory boards for San Diego Opera’s Opera Hack and Austin Opera’s Innovation Council – brain trusts comprised of technologists and arts leaders dedicated to developing ideas for the future of technology in opera. He is also a member of the guest faculties at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, UC Davis, and Mannes School of Music, where his work focuses on creative process, audiovisual technology, and vocal arts.
A widely sought-after and award-winning composer, Shawn E. Okpebholo has been described by Augusta Read Thomas as “…a beautiful artist …who has enormous grace in his music, and fantasy and color.” Okpebholo comfortably composes in various styles and genres, intentional in creating music that is diverse, dynamic, and genuine. His artistry has resulted in many prizes and honors, including First Place Winner of the 2020 American Prize in Composition (professional/wind band division) and Second Place Winner in the 2017 American Prize in Composition (professional/orchestral division), First Prize Winner in the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition, Sound of Late Composition Contest, Accent06 International Composition Competition, and the Inaugural Awardee of the Leslie Adams-Robert Owens Composition Award.
Okpebholo maintains a dynamic career as a composer, including performances on five continents, over forty states, almost every major U.S. city, at some of the nation’s most prestigious performance spaces, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the National Cathedral. He was awarded a two-year residency with the Chicago Opera Theater (2021-2023 seasons) and has had performances by many celebrated artists and ensembles, including The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Fifth House Ensemble; Ensemble Dal Niente’s Tara Lynn Ramsey and Kyle Flens; United States Army Field Band; vocalists J’Nai Bridges, Will Lilverman, Ryan McKinney, Robert Sims, and Tamera Wilson; pianists Paul Tuntland Sánchez, Mark Markham, Craig Terry, and Robert Ainsley; euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead, flutists Jennie Oh Brown and Caen-Thomason-Redus; among others. Okpebholo regularly receives commissions from noted soloists, universities, and organizations, including the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, the United States Air Force, Astral Artists, the Ohio Music Education Association, The Meir Rimon Commissioning Program of the International Horn Society, to name a few. And his music has been featured on numerous festivals, concert series, and radio broadcasts, including the EarTaxi Contemporary Music Festival; Washington National Opera: Monuments of Hope series, Lyric Opera of Chicago recital series, Monte Music Festival (Goa, India); MusicX Contemporary Music Festival; The Uncommon Music Festival (Alaska); Front Wave New Music Festival; national conferences of the National Flute Association, Society of Composers, Inc., College Band Directors National Association, and Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers; and Chicago’s WFMT 98.7 and Cincinnati’s WGUC 90.9. His compositions have been featured on six commercially released albums, including his first album solely devoted to his music, Steal Away, a collection of re-imagined Negro spirituals.
As a pedagogue, Okpebholo has given masterclasses at many academic institutions worldwide, including two universities in Nigeria, and has served on the faculty of summer music festivals, currently on the Fresh Ink Festival’s composition faculty. His compositional and research interests have been a gateway for ethnomusicological fieldwork in both East and West Africa: studying the music of the Esan people in southern Nigeria, the Akambe people in the Machakos region of Kenya, and South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda. His field research has resulted in two chamber works, two symphonic works, transcriptions, and academic lectures. Grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Tangemen Sacred Music Center, Wheaton College, and Pew Research Grant (Union University) have supported his work.
He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati, where he also studied music theory. He completed a bachelor’s degree in composition and music history from Asbury College. He had additional studies in film scoring from New York University through the Buddy Baker Film Scoring Program. A significant part of his music education growing up was through The Salvation Army church, where he regularly received free music lessons. Inspired by that charity, Okpebholo is passionate about volunteering his musical talents to underserved communities. Currently, he is Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music (IL), having also taught at Union University (TN), Northern Kentucky University, and CCM.
He lives in Wheaton, IL, a suburb of Chicago, with his wife, violist Dorthy, and his daughters, Eva and Corinne.
Bass-baritone Steele Fitzwater is a recent master’s degree graduate and a current performer diploma candidate at the IU Jacob’s School of Music. As a performer, he has recently been seen on stage in a diverse range of roles such as the title character in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Don Bartolo in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Achilla in Handel’s Giulio Cesare. A strong proponent for the importance of art song, Steele has a particular interest in compositions centered around the 1980s and ’90s AIDS crisis and LGBTQ+ topics and voices.
Duncan Holzell is a music writer and producer, currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Voice Performance and Arts Management at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Peter Volpe. In August 2020, he published a book called Voices of Tomorrows Songs, a vision statement for American opera according to young professionals in the field. His writings have been featured on Opera Innovation, Backseat Mafia, Indie Shuffle, Twisted Spruce, The Indiana Daily Student, and WIUX, where he hosts a weekly music program. He serves as the Artistic Director for New Voices Opera, as well as the Vice President of Event Planning and Promotion for the Interdisciplinary Network of Students in Music. Duncan has produced several virtual music events, including New Voices Opera’s Fall Exhibition; What’s Going On, a panel discussing merging music and activism; and A Light of Hope: A Virtual Recital Fundraiser. As a performer, he has appeared with IUOT as Guccio in Gianni Schicchi, and the upcoming production of La Boheme as Benoît/Alcindoro.
Madison Schindele (she/her) is a Brooklyn based musicologist and soprano pursing her PhD in Musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her PhD research thus far has centered the lieder of Alma Mahler, Sprechstimme, and Cultural Disability Studies in Music. Madison is also pursing a certificate in Women and Gender studies while at the Graduate Center and will soon embark on further research relating to gender and disability studies in art song and opera. In completing her Master of Arts in Historical Musicology at Goldsmiths, University of London, Madison’s dissertation “Why Winter Came for Women” explored the exclusion of women from the performance tradition of Schubert’s Winterreise. A portion of her dissertation was published in the 100th issue of The Schubertian and featured on the “Insights” portion of Iain C. Phillips’ winterrise.online. When not in the library, Madison sings soprano in the contemporary music ensemble Cantori New York, performing new and neglected choral works (now over Zoom!).
Cloe Gentile Reyes
Cloe Gentile Reyes is a PhD Candidate in Musicology. Her research focuses on issues of sexism and anti-Blackness in U.S. Latinx and Puerto Rican music throughout the 20th-century. She is particularly interested in the fluidity between genres of the bolero, salsa, rap, and reggaeton, and evolving representations of women and whiteness.
Ricky Ian Gordon
Ricky Ian Gordon (b. 1956 in Oceanside, NY) studied piano, composition and acting, at Carnegie Mellon University. After moving to New York City, he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Nadine Sierra, Stephanie Blythe, Denyce Graves, Judy Collins, Kelli O’Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Nicole Cabell, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, Betty Buckley, and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, among many others. Ricky Ian Gordon’s most recent premieres include:
Ellen West (2019, libretto by Frank Bidart, commissioned and premiered by Opera Saratoga and Beth Morrison Projects for Prototype 2020) an opera based on a case study by a Dr. Ludwig Binswanger, about a woman in a Swiss hospital with an eating disorder, which The Wall Street Journal described as a “Riveting one-act opera,” and Opera News called “a fine haunting score by the chameleonic Ricky Ian Gordon.”
The House Without A Christmas Tree (2017, libretto by Royce Vavrek, commissioned and premiered by Houston Grand Opera) a holiday opera for young audiences that The Wall Street Journal describes as “a charming, family-friendly piece,” “Houston Grand Opera offers a charming, family-friendly piece, in an alternative performance space, that manages to be heartwarming without being sappy … Mr. Gordon’s score employs accessible, Coplandesque tonality, which has its apex in Addie’s arias … they capture a young girl’s imagination and optimism….The text is clearly set, and well crafted ensembles vary the texture as do bigger choruses.”– Wall Street Journal
“Not only does this opera have to find its place among the “Nutcrackers,” “Christmas Carols” and “Messiahs,” as a world premiere, it also has to bid for a permanent spot in the operatic canon. Gordon’s melodic, tonal score makes a strong bid for that spot, falling easily on the ears, often bringing to mind the late operas of Richard Strauss in its naturalistic setting of Vavrek’s dialogue to melodically compelling music. The pleasing score, congenial vocal demands and modest scale of “The House Without a Christmas Tree” give it a good shot at achieving staying power, attractive to professional opera companies of all sizes and to conservatories and universities. It was warmly received by the opening-night audience, some granting it a standing ovation.” – Houston Chronicle
The Grapes of Wrath (2017 two-act version commissioned and premiered by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, consequently done in Detroit, and Aspen (summer 2020); “This is a great American opera to stand alongside earlier evocations of specifically American periods and subjects by George Gershwin, Carlisle Floyd, Robert Ward, John Adams and others.”- Chicago Tribune
A highly prolific composer, Ricky Ian Gordon’s catalog also includes:
Morning Star (2015, libretto by William Hoffman, premiered by the Cincinnati Opera and later, OnSite Opera in New York City)
about Jewish immigrants in New York’s Lower East Side in the beginning of the 20th century; “Chicago-born opera “Morning Star” shines powerfully”- Chicago Tribune
27 (2014, libretto by Royce Vavrek, premiered at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, consequently done in New York, City, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Detroit, Las Vegas, Bozeman, Montana,) about Gertrude Stein’s salons at 27 rue de Fleurus;
“A Hit is a Hit is a Hit”- Opera Today
A Coffin In Egypt (2014, libretto by Leonard Foglia, premiered by the Houston Grand Opera, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and Opera Philadelphia) a haunting tale of memory and murder, racism and recrimination; “A Coffin in Egypt” is a splendid opera of spite.”- Los Angeles Times
Rappahannock County (2011, libretto by Mark Campbell, commissioned by Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia Opera and University of Texas in Austin, premiered at the Harrison Opera House) inspired by diaries, letters, and personal accounts from the 1860s during The Civil War; “Rappahannock County” is a work of great economy, but immense emotional breadth — and depth.”– Opera Today
Sycamore Trees (2010, libretto by composer, Signature Theater, Helen Hayes Award) a musical about suburban secrets and family differences; “If “Sycamore Trees” were simply an autobiographical tribute to Gordon’s past, it would have limited force, but it’s aimed at the American dream itself, which gives it broader emotional resonance. With his ability to put old ideas about love, unity, and community into new post- modern musical settings, full of unconventional tunes and harmonies, Gordon ultimately achieves in “Sycamore Trees” a fresh and stimulating tribute to the thing he seems to cherish most: family — his, yours, everyone’s. ” – Washington Examiner; “Ricky Ian Gordon’s deeply personal, strikingly impressionistic new musical,”- Washington Post
The Grapes of Wrath (2007 and 2010, libretto by Michael Korie, 2007 premiere by the Minnesota Opera, Utah Opera, Alaska Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera, and in 2010 The American Symphony Orchestra and The Collegiate Chorale in New York’s Carnegie Hall, with Jane Fonda, narrating); “As far as I was concerned — and this is a minority opinion — the nearly four-hour opera was too short. Had Gordon and Korie been allowed to follow their original bliss and create a two-night or more American “Ring” cycle, I would have gladly returned for more.”- Los Angeles Times
“Gordon, who first made his name in the theatre and as a composer of Broadway-style songs, fills his score with beautifully turned genre pieces, often harking back to American popular music of the twenties and thirties: Gershwin-esque song-and-dance numbers, a few sweetly soaring love songs in the manner of Jerome Kern, banjo- twanging ballads, saxed-up jazz choruses, even a barbershop quartet. You couldn’t ask for a more comfortably appointed evening of vintage musical Americana. Yet, with a slyness worthy of Weill, Gordon wields his hummable tunes to critical effect…”- The New Yorker
Green Sneakers (2008, libretto by the composer, premiered by the Miami String Quartet and Jesse Blumberg at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Pittsburgh Opera, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Birmingham Opera and Lincoln Center, for the Great American Songbook Series) a theatrical song cycle for Baritone, String Quartet, and Empty Chair;
“Gordon Creates Masterpiece with “Green Sneakers”- Opera Today
“Green Sneakers” is a significant contribution to the culture sprung from the AIDS
crisis. In its forthright honesty and passion it could be compared to the film “Longtime Companion” (1990), which brought home the emergency with a similar immediacy and eloquence. It heals while it hurts.”- New York Times
Orpheus and Euridice (2005, for Lincoln Center’s Great Performances Series, Rose Theater, OBIE Award); “Both Gordon’s text and music are couched in an accessible idiom of disarming lyrical directness, a cleverly disguised faux naïveté that always resolves dissonant situations with grace and a sure sense of dramatic effect—the mark of a born theater composer.”- New York Magazine
My Life with Albertine with playwright Richard Nelson (2003, Playwrights Horizons, AT&T Award); “The music swirls with regret, romance, and a sense of lost time.”- The New York Times
Night Flight To San Francisco (for Renee Fleming) and Antarctica (2000) Harper’s monologues from Tony Kushner’s Angels In America; Dream True (1999, Vineyard Theater, Richard Rodgers Award); States Of Independence (1992 for The American Music Theater Festival); The Tibetan Book of the Dead (1996 for Houston Grand Opera and Eastman School of Music); Only Heaven (1995 for Encompass Opera…an opera using poems by Langston Hughes as it’s libretto) Genius Child (a song cycle of ten songs using poems by Langston Hughes, commissioned by Harolyn Blackwell).
Upcoming projects include the opera Intimate Apparel with Playwright, Lynn Nottage, commissioned by New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Lincoln Center Theater premiering March 23rd, at The Lincoln Center Theater, Private Confessions with Playwright, Richard Nelson, commissioned by The Goodman Theater in Chicago, and an opera based on Giorgio Bassani’s novel, The Garden of the Finzi Continis with librettist Michael Korie, for New York City Opera and The Yiddish Theater.
Mr. Gordon has been a visiting professor at colleges and universities throughout the country including Yale, NYU, Northwestern, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Bennington, Vassar, Carnegie-Mellon, Elon, Michigan State, University of Michigan, Point Park (McGinnis Distinguished Lecturer), Texas Lutheran University, Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, Texas Christian University, and San Francisco Conservatory. He has been the featured Composer-in-Residence at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, The Van Cliburn Foundation, Voices of Change, Santa Fe Song Festival, Songfest at Pepperdine University, Chautauqua, Aspen Music Festival, and Ravinia.
Among his honors are an OBIE Award, the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie-Mellon University, A Shen Family Foundation Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, The Gilman and Gonzalez- Falla Theater Foundation Award, The Constance Klinsky Award, The National Endowment of the Arts, The American Music Center, and many awards from ASCAP, of which he is a member. Mr. Gordon’s works are published by Williamson Music, Carl Fischer Music, and Theodore Presser Company and available everywhere. His works are also widely recorded on various labels.
Recognized by The New York Times for her “rich sound, deep expressivity and uncanny sense of pitch,”mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley followed apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera of Chicago with a series of leading operatic roles from Anchorage to New York and was featured as a soloist with orchestras led by George Manahan, Raymond Leppard, Oliver Knussen, Robert Shaw, and Pierre Boulez. She has performed frequently with numerous Chicago ensembles, including Contempo, eighth blackbird, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and appeared to critical acclaim at Alice Tully Hall and Weill Hall with Pierre Boulez, as the soloist in Le Marteau Sans Maître. After leading the Composer Focus project at the DePaul University School of Music for six years and teaching voice at Concordia University and the graduate Art Song Seminar at North Park University, she joined the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia, teaching voice and graduate vocal pedagogy before joining the Jacobs School. She recently received the 2018 NATS Foundation Voice Pedagogy Award.
Andrew Goldman is visiting assistant professor of music in music theory at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
A music theorist and cognitive scientist, Goldman earned a Ph.D. from the Centre for Music and Science at the University of Cambridge in 2015. He was in the inaugural cohort of Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University and held a postdoctoral position with the Music, Cognition, and the Brain initiative at Western University before joining the faculty at IU.
Goldman’s research considers how scientific methods can be used to learn about musical perception and cognition in principle, and he also designs and conducts behavioral and neuroscientific experiments with musicians. His research has primarily focused on improvisation in music and dance, but he has also worked on projects concerning the perception of musical form, and embodiment in music.
His work has been published in both music and psychology journals and has been presented at national and international conferences, including the Society for Music Theory, International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, and American Psychological Association.
Also a pianist and composer, Goldman’s original musical, Science! The Musical, provides an alternate platform to explore the worlds of music and science. Songs include “The Interdisciplinary Rag,” “The Real World,” “Publish or Perish,” and more!
Lynn Helding serves as Coordinator of Vocology & Voice Pedagogy and studio voice teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music. She is the author of The Musician’s Mind: Teaching, Learning & Performance in the Age of Brain Science, the chapter “Brain” in Your Voice: An Inside View 3rd ed. by Scott McCoy, and an associate editor of the Journal of Singing. A devoted teacher, she was recognized as a “legendary figure in the field of voice pedagogy” by the Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, receiving their 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Helding created the “Mindful Voice” column in the Journal of Singing, authoring it from its debut in October 2009 to the final installment in October 2017, in order to advance her proposition that cognitive science must be considered the “Third Pillar of Voice Science” . Helding’s extensive research in the cognitive and neurosciences, with an emphasis on motor learning theory and “expertise studies” from social psychology, forms the foundation of both “Mindful Voice” and The Musician’s Mind.
Helding’s voice science honors include the 2005 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship, jointly awarded by the by the Voice Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Foundation to singers who have “demonstrated excellence in their profession as singing teachers, and have shown knowledge of voice science,” and election to chair the founding of the first non-profit vocology association PAVA, incorporated in 2014 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit association.
Helding’s stage credits include leading roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera, and Ohio Light Opera. Her passion for contemporary American song inspired her to commission new works and to refashion the traditional recital into theatrical performance pieces presented throughout the United States, Australia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Iceland where her performances were broadcast on Icelandic National Radio. Highlights in chamber music include Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, broadcast on Nashville Public Television, and Good Night, written for her and the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra by Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjornnson.
Helding studied voice at the University of Montana with Esther England, in Vienna, Austria with Kammersänger Otto Edelmann, and at Indiana University with Dale Moore, where she was the first singer ever accepted to pursue the prestigious Artist Diploma. She earned her master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University under the direction of Scott McCoy, and in the voice studio of Chris Arneson. She completed the Summer Vocology Institute directed by voice scientist Ingo Titze at the National Center for Voice and Speech, and periodically returns as guest SVI faculty. Previous to USC, she served twenty-two years as Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Performance Studies at Dickinson College. Please see www.lynnhelding.com for more information.
A Native of Brooklyn, New York, Tislam Swift has performed on a wide array of concert stages, theaters and opera houses. In 2007, Mr. Swift was a background vocalist for Elton John’s 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden. He was also a member of the 2013-2014 season of the Atlanta Opera chorus, under the direction of Maestro Walter Huff. In 2014, he participated in the Princeton Opera Festival’s production of Porgy and Bess. He has made Indiana University Opera Theater appearances in La Boheme, South Pacific, The Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus as Dr. Blind, as the Comic Marcellus Washburn in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man and as Scaramuccio in Strauss’ Ariadne Ariadne Auf Naxos. He is a frequent performer in Hamilton Bermuda where he has performed the tenor solo in John Stainer’s Crucifixion at St. Paul’s AME Church. As a Young Artist, he has spent a summer at the Utah Festival Opera Musical Theater performing in productions of Ragtime, Porgy and Bess and Peter Pan. Mr. Swift has been a World-Premier Artist with the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Morehouse College and a Masters of Music from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
David Sisco is a multi-hyphenate artist whose life work centers around exploring music, drama, writing, and teaching, finding great inspiration and commonalities in each. David received his BA in Vocal Performance and Composition Honors from Syracuse University, and a MM in Vocal Performance from Boston University School for the Arts.
A member of the esteemed BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop (Advanced), David is a passionate writer for the stage. He is the author of Here I Am: A Musical Personal Ad, for which he received the Alex Libby Award for Best Musical Performance at the 2002 Columbus National Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival. Other musicals include Variations on a Theme of You, Sopranos (featured at the 2002 NYC International Fringe Festival), and a one-act opera called The Catbird Seat. With collaborator Tom Gualtieri, David has written Falling to Earth, which received a five-week workshop at Syracuse University in January 2009 and was part of The Developmental Reading Series at the York Theatre the following Fall. Tom and David are the creators of the video series about equity in the theatre industry entitled “Draw the Circle Wide” and are working with book writer Michael Zam (“Feud”) on a musical adaptation of Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove. For more information about their collaboration, or to hear their work, please visit their website.
David is also a playwright. His first play, BAIT, premiered at the 2006 Columbus Theatre Festival, winning six awards including Best Comedy and Best of the Festival. Directed by Laura Josespher, starring Gualtieri and Sisco, the show has since been featured at the Inaugural Left Out Festival in New York. It extended three times after critical acclaim and sold out houses. BAIT was also part of the 2008 Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Theater Festival and has been featured entertainment on several Atlantis Cruises. BAIT was later developed into two one-act comedies called BAIT n’ SWISH. BAIT n’ SWISH ran at Stage Left in New York in the Fall of 2011 and extended into 2012 with rave reviews. For more information, click here.
Sisco is a prolific art song composer, receiving a stipend from the National Endowment for the Advancement of Arts to present a recital of his music at the prestigious Liederkranz Club in New York. A winner of the 2010 NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Composition Award, David’s songs have been heard at concerts produced by Friends & Enemies of New Music, Joy in Singing, Lyricfest, and Songfest, and in venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Additionally, he has written several commissions, including pieces for Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, Manhattan Girls Chorus, and Minnesota State University Moorhead Concert Choir.
As a singer, David feels at home as a recitalist, musical theater performer, and chorister. The Boston Herald praised his performance of the AIDS Quilt Song Book, saying he sang with “heart-breaking sincerity.” For over 12 years, David was a frequent soloist and member of the professional sanctuary choir at Marble Collegiate Church, recording three albums with the premier ensemble. He formed a cabaret duo with Alexandra Foucard called Comes Love. The duo regularly performed at Tin Pan Alley in Provincetown and were featured artists in the Inaugural International Cabaret Festival in New York. Every once in a while, you can catch David performing live on Facebook or see his performances on social media.
Having been raised by two teachers, Sisco has a deep love of teaching. He has served on the faculties at Northeastern and Suffolk University, teaching voice and musical theater performance. He taught private voice at Marymount Manhattan College for over ten years. He currently is an adjunct professor at Wagner College. David also maintains an active private studio and has taught around the country and internationally. He was a keynote speaker for the 2018 ANATS (Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing) National Conference in Leura, Australia, and served on the faculty of Taipei Performing Arts Center’s Musical Theatre Workshop. In addition, David has been a guest teacher at Dean College, Five Towns College, SUNY New Paltz, ANATS Victoria, The Street Theatre (Canberra), Ingraham High School, West Genesee High School, and Reversal Children’s Theatre.
In 2012, David co-founded ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com, which he now runs with business partner Laura Josepher. The site is the largest database of contemporary musical theatre writers and songs, searchable by voice and song type. In 2016, they built an online sheet music platform, allowing subscribers to purchase full songs and audition cuts directly from the writers. Given that the site is a subscription model, writers receive 100% of their sheet music sale. ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com is the only company to do this. Out of the website, Laura have created other work, including a masterclass and workshop series on learning contemporary musical theatre, and a book entitled “Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions,” now in its second edition (available on Amazon).
David thanks his family and friends for their unwavering support and belief in him as he continues to expand his understanding and use of the gifts God gave him.
Darryl Taylor’s performances have been noted for their compelling artistry and authority. His is an international career highlighted by performances of art song, opera and oratorio. His repertoire extends from Bach to Britten, and beyond.
Recent performance highlights include singing the title role in Phillip Glass’Akhnaten for Long Beach Opera; L.A. Opera’s groundbreaking production of Dido and Aeneas; Pergolesi and Vivaldi Stabat Mater with Lyra Baroque Orchestra of St. Paul, Minnesota; performances with the Carmel Bach Festival; the Bach Collegium San Diego under Richard Egarr, and performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Havana, Cuba, and Shanghai, China.
Founder of the African American Art Song Alliance, his recordings on Naxos and Albany record labels have received lavish praise.Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams was a Number One Critic’s Choice for American Record Guide for the year 2001. Complete Solo Cantatas by Rosanna Scalfi Marcello (Naxos Records) was named a Critics Choice by Opera News Magazine.
Through Verismo Communications, Beth Stewart amplifies the authentic voices of women, queer folks, and people of color in classical music. Respected for her creativity and candor, Beth draws on her breadth of experience in the industry – as publicist, producer, and performer – which has fueled her deep empathy for those working onstage and behind the scenes.
Beth’s determination to inspire those around her has shaped Verismo as a classical music PR firm that creates space and opportunity in clients’ lives and operates with unswerving integrity. Verismo specializes in helping artists and arts organizations identify their distinctive brand voices, and works to infuse that genuine thread throughout each client’s presence, on- and off-line.
Beth’s work has propelled clients to glossy magazine covers, successful appearances on international networks including CNN, BBC World, SBS, and ABC, and features in top international print publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Times, Billboard, Opera News, BBC Music Magazine, and Gramophone. She has played an integral role in major promotional and award campaigns, cultivating rising artists and keeping the spotlight on established talents, with clients such as mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, conductors Eun Sun Kim and Lidiya Yankovskaya, Chicago Opera Theater and Against the Grain Records.
Her clients have won many of classical music’s most prestigious prizes, earning recognition from the Metropolitan Opera, Solti Foundation U.S., Richard Tucker Music Foundation, International Opera Awards, Juno Awards, Latin Grammy Awards, and BBC Music Magazine Awards.
Beth’s multi-pronged education – a BA from Johns Hopkins University in Latin American Studies; BM, MM, and GPD degrees from Peabody Conservatory in Voice Performance; and marketing and global business studies via the Eller MBA Programs at the University of Arizona – prepared her to thrive while juggling the demands of multiple constituents.
Her trademark drive and infectious energy have been instrumental in the launch of Turn The Spotlight, a non-profit foundation created to identify, nurture, and empower leaders – and in turn, to illuminate the path to a more equitable future in the arts. Under Beth’s leadership, Turn The Spotlight offers mentorship by and for exceptional women, people of color, and members of other equity-seeking groups, with a particular interest in supporting artists who are using their talents and skills to strengthen their communities and pursue social justice.
In increasing demand as a speaker, Beth has shared her vision for the industry in recent sessions at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Bard College, Carnegie Mellon University, Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors, National Association of Teachers of Singing Fall Workshop, Opera America Conference 2019, Opera America Marketing & PR Forum, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, SphinxConnect, Sphinx LEAD, University of Michigan’s Arts Leadership Forum, Young Concert Artists, and the Women in Classical Music Symposium presented by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Beth lives in Chicago with her husband Louis and their three mischievous cats who – he assures her – will one day be best friends.
26-year-old tenor Spencer Lawrence Boyd is from the small town of Canal Fulton, OH. He’s had an exciting launch into his singing career, Boyd has sung leading opera roles including Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Don José (Peter Brook’s adaptation: La tragedie de Carmen), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), and Vincent (Gounod’s Mireille), among others. Other highlights have included Henrik Egerman (A Little Night Music) with Broadway conductor Andy Einhorn, the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with the Louisville Orchestra conducted by Teddy Abrams, and a number of fulfilling oratorio, recital, and concert performances. Spencer has performed several excerpts from other leading roles such as Il duca di Mantua (Rigoletto), Faust (Faust), Des Grieux (Manon), and Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress) across the United States and is awaiting the next challenge. Other favorite moments have included Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) and Nika Magadoff (Menotti’s The Consul).
Summer of 2020, Boyd was scheduled to return to Aspen Music Festival for a third consecutive summer to cover the role of Tamino and sing First Armored Knight in Die Zauberflöte with the newly titled ‘Aspen Opera Theater and Vocal Arts Program’ co-directed by Renée Fleming and Patrick Summers. This, among other potential engagements, was cancelled. The tenor is looking forward to the coming performance seasons and a time when we can all return to experiencing live theater.
TanTan Wang – is a recent graduate of Yale University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computing and the Arts. He has worked both as designer and developer, and is interested in drawing on both disciplines to shape new digital experiences. TanTan’s most recent work was his senior thesis Liquid Dreams, where he explored the intersection between digital and physical materiality with abstract light and projection. He looks forward to exploring more of these avenues in upcoming projects. ➞ tantanwang.com
Marika Yasuda is currently a Doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music’s Collaborative Piano program under the mentorship of Kevin Murphy and Anne Epperson. As a soloist, she has received top prizes at competitions including the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition, Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, Julia Crane International Piano Competition, and was named a winner of the 2015 Oberlin Conservatory Concerto Competition. Ms. Yasuda maintains an active schedule collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists during the year. Recent engagements include recitals and orchestral concerts at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Bennett Gordon Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall with ensembles such as the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and eighth blackbird. This past summer, Ms. Yasuda worked as an apprentice pianist for the vocal program at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. She has previously held fellowships at Tanglewood Music Center, SongFest, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Gijon International Piano Festival. 2018/2019 has brought diverse performance and coaching experiences such as Music Director/Vocal Coach at Finger Lakes Opera, the world premier of Michael Gandolfi’s In America (2018) with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, a coproduction of Mason Bates’ opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at the Indiana University Opera Theater with Santa Fe, Seattle, and San Francisco Operas, and concerts at the Boulanger Initiative’s Woco Launch Fest in Washington D.C. 2019/2020 includes serving as coach accompanist for Indiana University Opera Theater’s upcoming production of Gianni Schicchi. Ms. Yasuda holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompaniment from Oberlin Conservatory (2015), and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Jacobs School of Music (2017).
Calista Small fosters innovation in the arts by creating opportunities for artists to work outside of their chosen mediums and collaborate in interdisciplinary teams. Trained as an actor, she has performed with The Neo-Futurist Theater, Redmoon Theater, and Filament Theater in Chicago as well as Richard Schechner of East Coast Artists in New York. She is a co-founder of The Merchant St. Gallery for Artists with Autism, a non-profit studio space in Kankakee, IL, and is the former director and creator of Play On!, a summer theater program for ESL students in Chicago. She holds a B.A in Humanities from Yale University, where she received the Susan J. Smith Arts Prize for outstanding contribution to the arts. ➞ calistasmall.com
Charlotte McCurdy is an award-winning interdisciplinary designer and researcher who works at the intersection of technology, futuring, and existential threats. Her work on carbon-negative materials, “After Ancient Sunlight,” debuted as part of “Nature — The Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.” Fast Company selected it as the winner in the Experimental category in the 2019 Innovation by Design Awards and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Wallpaper, Dezeen, NowThis, Buzzfeed, and beyond. Based in New York City, McCurdy is a partner of the One X One initiative with the support of Swarovski, the UN Office for Partnerships and the Slow Factory Foundation; a member of the New Museum’s cultural incubator, NEW INC with the support of Science Sandbox; and a member of Alternative Thinkers, a collective of change-making designers. She is a 2019 PopTech Fellow and a co-founder of cofutures, a platform for futurist creatives focused on directly impacting the world around them. She is a visiting professor at the Rhode Island School of Design where she previously served as the inaugural Global Security Fellow with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. She holds a Master of Industrial Design from RISD, and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs from Yale University. ➞ charlottemccurdy.com
Erika Switzer is an accomplished collaborative pianist who performs regularly in major concert settings around the world, including at New York’s Weill Hall (Carnegie), Geffen Hall, Frick Collection, and Bargemusic, at the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Spoleto Festival (Charleston, SC). Her performances have been called “precise and lucid” by the New York Times, and Renaud Machart of Le Monde described her as “one of the best collaborative pianists I have ever heard; her sound is deep, her interpretation intelligent, refined, and captivating.”
From 2000-2007, Switzer performed and studied in Germany, an experience that profoundly inspired and shaped her work. During that time, she appeared at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and in the Munich Winners & Masters series and won numerous awards, including best pianist prizes at the Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf, and Wigmore Hall International Song Competitions.
Switzer has long been a leader in envisioning and promoting the future of art song performance. In 2009, in collaboration with soprano Martha Guth, she founded the organization Sparks & Wiry Cries, which commissions new works, presents the songSLAM festival in New York City, and publishes The Art Song Magazine. She is also devoted to new music, and has recently premiered new compositions in the 5 Boroughs Music Festival Songbook II; at the Brooklyn Art Song Society; and at Vancouver’s Music on Main.
Switzer collaborates with a range of top singers, including Hai-Ting Chinn and Martha Guth, among others. A frequent collaborator is baritone Tyler Duncan, and as a duo, Switzer and Duncan have performed in major concert halls and music festivals around the world. She is also an active teacher, serving on the music faculty at Bard College and the Vocal Arts Program of the Bard Conservatory of Music. Switzer holds a doctorate from The Juilliard School, and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Brazilian-American soprano Sophia Hunt is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the Hirsig Family Fellowship and studies with Carol Vaness. This season, Sophia sings Vitellia in MERCY, a film by the Curtis Opera Theatre based on Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. She also performs as the title role in a scene from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, as part of Curtis’s virtual opera scenes program, Opera OnDemand.
Sophia recently made her Opera Philadelphia debut, performing a program of songs entirely by female composers in the Curtis in Concert recital series as part of Festival O19. She is passionate about recital work and has frequently collaborated with pianists Mikael Eliasen and Grant Loehnig in song programs as part of the Curtis Student Recital Series and Curtis on Tour. She has sung in recitals and art song master classes through SongFest, the Art Song Preservation Society of New York, and the Highlands Chapel Series in Seattle, WA. Her recent song performances include George Crumb’s Apparition and Three Early Songs, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Copland’s 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson, and various Brazilian art songs.