Praised by The Washington Post for having “a lustrous voice supple enough for the delicate innuendos and intimate inflections of the solo song, yet also capable of projecting the dramatic vigor necessary for the opera house,” soprano Meri Siirala has performed in France, Norway, Switzerland, and Canada as well as in Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Corcoran, the Embassy Series, Norwegian Embassy, and several times at the Finnish Embassy. Meri made her operatic debut as Queen of the Night in a highly acclaimed production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Pori Opera Company, Finland. Her repertoire encompasses styles from baroque music to contemporary, from opera to art song and musical theater. She also collaborates with and performs works by several contemporary composers, including Kaija Saariaho and Olli Kortekangas. She has performed for Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America, Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Meri graduated with a Masters in Music, receiving the highest grade from the Opera Department of the Sibelius Academy. She has been awarded several awards and grants by various organizations, including the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Pro Musica Foundation, and Arts Promotion Center, Finland.
Elise Christina Jenkins, mezzo-soprano, recently received her master’s degree in Vocal Performance from George Mason University. She has performed various roles with Mason Opera Theater, including Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Maman in L'enfant et les sortilèges. Ms. Jenkins has participated in the JMU’s German Opera Experience in Freiberg, Amalfi Coastal Arts Festival: Vocal and Opera Program in Mairoi, Italy, and Bethesda Summer Music Festival. Elise returned to Italy in 2016 performing Madre Maria in Francis Poulenc’s I Dialoghi delle Carmelitane for La Musica Lirica’s International Music Festival in Novafeltria. She was a 2012-2013 Vocal Apprentice with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. As a frequent performer with Opera NOVA, Elise has performed Monisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Tisbe in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and in various outreach programs and recitals. Last fall, she was Suzuki in Loudoun Lyric Opera’s adaptation of Puccini’s tragic opera, The Tragedy of Madame Butterfly. She regularly cantors at Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Old Town Alexandria, VA and is a private student under Mr. Russell Penney.
Soprano Madeline Huss is a recent graduate of the Peabody Institue, earning her master’s degree in vocal performance and music theory pedagogy, and she will pursue a graduate performance diploma in vocal performance this fall. Her opera performances in the past year include the title role of Thomas Whitman’s Sukey in the Dark with Peabody Opera, Miss Titmouse in Edwin Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos with LPOI, and the cover role of Adina in the Peabody Opera production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. Most recently, she performed in Peabody Opera’s scenes production of Bernstein and Friends, as well as in an opera outreach program that she created with colleague Rachel Sandler called "Where in the World is Opera?" Madeline has been a vocalist in six world premieres, including an opera scene, art song, and chamber ensembles, and she was the soprano soloist in Peabody’s performance of Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem in 2016. She was a studio artist at Little Patuxent Opera Institute (LPOI) in Columbia, Maryland in the summer of 2017, a vocalist for New Music on the Point in Leicester, Vermont in June 2016, and a studio artist at SongFest in Los Angeles in June 2015. A graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, she studied with Dr. Anne Jennifer Nash. She currently studies with Ah Hong.
Soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick has been active in oratorio, concerts, choral music, and opera in the United States and Europe. She was a member of the House Chorus at the Nationaltheater Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany for five years, where she performed in over 50 different productions. She has also performed with Ithaca Opera, Long Beach Opera, Pacific Chorale, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Theater of Lucca, Opera Piccola of San Antonio, Alamo City Ballet, San Antonio Chamber Choir, the Princeton Festival, the Dallas Choral Festival, the Virginia Chorale, Richmond Ballet, and the Oregon Bach Festival. An advocate of American music, Ms. Piazza-Pick has premiered works by many American composers, including three premieres for the Composers Alliance of San Antonio’s spring concert, featuring the poetry of San Antonio’s poet laureate, Camen Tafolla. Ms. Piazza-Pick is the winner of Hawaii Public Radio’s art song contest, the George Cortes Award for Classical Singing by the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and was a finalist for the American Prize in the women’s art song division. She has been an adjunct instructor at Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, Our Lady of the Lake University, Virginia State University, and the University of Richmond. Currently a D.M.A. student at the University of Maryland, College Park, Ms. Piazza-Pick earned her M.M. in Voice performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and her B.M. in Music Education and Voice Performance from Ithaca College.
Adam Cooley is a Baltimore based actor with theatre credits that include performances with Stillpointe Theatre, Iron Crow Theatre, Creative Alliance, and multiple one-man shows at Ottobar, Germano's, and Alchemy of Art. New York credits include Radio City Music Hall, Feinstein's at the Regency, Manhattan Children's Theater, Cindy Shurin Theater, and the Secret Theater. He has performed regionally at Signature Theater, Merry Go Round Playhouse, Central Piedmont Summer Theater, North Carolina Theater, Schoolhouse Theater, Studios of Key West, among others, as well as on the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Multiple TV/film credits include Wedding Crashers, Law and Order, Meet Dave, the local webseries Thespian, Basura: Long and Hard, and the upcoming Red Woods.
Erin has appeared on Broadway as Mrs. Nordstrom in the Tony nominated revival of A Little Night Music starring Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, where she also performed the roles of Anne and Charlotte. Erin made her Broadway debut with The Phantom of the Opera and performed the role of Christine Dae in the Broadway National Tour and the Las Vegas Phantom. Regional credits include Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (Gretna Theatre), Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (The New Harmony Theatre), Anne in A Little Night Music (Opera Cleveland), Guinevere in Camelot (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Maria in West Side Story, and the title role in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Erin was the soprano soloist with the Omaha Symphony in their "Christmas Spectacular" and was the soprano soloist in a world premiere presented by American Opera Projects at Zankel Hall. Erin has been a frequent soloist with members of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, appearing at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Symphony Space. Erin will be performing this summer as a soloist with The Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival.
David appeared as Monsieur Reyer in the Broadway National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera, where he toured most of the United States and much of Canada for nearly eight years. He also appeared as Gus in the Broadway National Tour of Cats, Webber in The Last Empress at Lincoln Center, and as Javert in Les Miserables at Northern Stage. In 2016 David starred as Nate in Newton’s Cradle with the New York Musical Festival directed by Tony award winning actress/director Victoria Clark. Film and TV credits include the Make-up Artist in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, Michael in Under Shelter, Oscar in Outside the Window, Rusty in King's Day Out and Michael and Sammy in the Mary Tyler Moore TV series, New York News. In addition to being an actor, David is also an accomplished painter, illustrator, writer and director. He produced, directed and edited the short film Dear Mr. Spielberg, which was screened at the Sundance Festival. His writing and directing skills have been showcased in multiple works performed at the West End Theatre in New York City. He currently writes a monthly column on fatherhood for Country Wisdom.
Amanda Williams is a rising lyric soprano in the DC metro area. Praised as a performer who "carries herself beautifully," "shows great promise" and possesses a "warm" and "consistent sweetness of tone and clarity of articulation," she excels in the lyric soprano repertory of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. She has made her mark in such roles as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte and Helena in Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also been featured as a soloist in masterworks such as Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Handel's Messiah, and Vivaldi's Gloria. She has had the privilege of performing with the Washington National Opera Chorus, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and Lyric Opera Baltimore. Ms. Williams holds a Bachelor of Music degree from West Chester University, as well as a Master of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory.
Pianist Andrew Stewart grew up in California and has been based in Baltimore since 2000. Much in demand as a soloist and collaborative artist, he has worked with countless singers and instrumentalists; premiered works by composers including Garth Baxter, Hollis Thoms and John Belkot; and performed with a great many organizations, among them the Bach Society of Baltimore, OperaBelle, the Atlantic Guitar Quartet, Assisi Performing Arts in Italy, and most recently the Choirs of Goucher College and the Annapolis Chorale. He is featured on the album Katherine Keem Sings Songs and Arias by Garth Baxter, released in 2014 on Centaur Records, as well as Ask the Moon, due for release in early 2018. Mr. Stewart has been associated with the Lyric Opera of Baltimore for well over a decade, giving upwards of seventy performances a year as part of its education component and teaching on the faculty of the Lyric Opera Camp. He is also the creator of several shows including "Opera Games," a much-requested interactive program about the basics of opera, and has appeared on Maryland Public Television in the short film "Opera Magica" which he produced with educator Evon Hewitt, Jr. Additionally he maintains a busy schedule as a theatrical musical director, having led more than forty productions since 2006. Mr. Stewart studied with Charles Asche at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and with Marian Hahn at the Peabody Conservatory. Other teachers include Marie Brown Curea and Sharon Mann. He lives in Lutherville, Maryland with his family.
Soprano Rachel Sitomer has performed with opera companies across the mid-Atlantic region, including Opera Company of Brooklyn, Repertory Opera Theatre of Washington, Baltimore/Washington Repertory Opera Company, Riverbend Opera in McLean, VA, and Opera AACC in Arnold, MD. She made her New York City debut in the role of Monica in Chelsea Opera’s production of The Medium, a role which she “sang and act[ed] with beautiful subtlety.” Other notable roles include Gilda in Rigoletto, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Papagena and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Dedicated to bringing the joy of opera to a wider population, Ms. Sitomer is a frequent performer with the D.C. Metro chapter of Opera on Tap, performing opera and musical theater repertoire in restaurants and bars in Washington, D.C. She has also participated in opera outreach performances with The Opera Company of Brooklyn, as Papagena in The Magic Flute and with Opera AACC as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Sitomer holds a B.A. in music (voice and violin) from Bucknell University (magna cum laude) and she maintains a violin and voice studio, teaching students ranging in age from six to adult. She is the music director at Ascension Catholic Church in Bowie, MD, a cantor at St. Andrew by the Bay Roman Catholic Church in Annapolis, MD, and the mother of two adorable boys.
David Drosinos received his diploma from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied clarinet with Loren Kitt, principal clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra. He won the Sidney Jensen Memorial Award for outstanding clarinet performance and has been guest artist at the Greek Embassy in Washington and the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The Washington Post praised him for “playing with an unusually smooth and agile touch.” Of his Finzi Clarinet Concerto, the Baltimore Sun noted, “He played the idyllic score with technical security, tonal warmth and exceptionally eloquent phrasing.” David was the principal clarinetist and soloist with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra on their tour to Russia, and a featured soloist with the Concert Artists of Baltimore. His Greek Band Zephyros was a featured act at the International Clarinet Association in Washington, DC. Mr. Drosinos resides in Cockeysville, Maryland, and he teaches at Shepherd University, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and Peabody Preparatory.
Praised for his bold, no-compromise manner of playing as well as his sensitivity in ensemble settings, Andrew Kwon’s virtuosity and charismatic stage presence have captivated audiences throughout the world. Born into a musical family, Andrew first began his studies on the violin in Korea with his father, who was a choir and orchestra director. In the past few years, Andrew has performed solo, chamber, and orchestral works in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (New York), the U.S. Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium (Washington, DC), the Music Center at Strathmore (Washington, DC), the Maison symphonique (Montreal), Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore), and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, as well as its Eisenhower Theatre and the Millenium Stage (Washington, DC). He has performed as a soloist with the Pacific Philharmonic, Columbia Orchestra, the Landon Symphonette, youth orchestras in both Maryland and California, and as an orchestral musician with the Alexandria, York, Lancaster, and Mid-Atlantic Symphonies, as well as the Concert Artists of Baltimore and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. As an orchestral musician, he has held concertmaster and principal positions in various ensembles including the Pacific Philharmonic, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique d’Orford, the Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute Orchestra, and the Peabody Concert Orchestra. Andrew is playing on a violin labeled “1854 Raffaele & Antonio Gagliano” (Naples) and a W.E. Hill and Sons bow (London), on loan from the Peabody Institute Instrument Collection.
Dr. Min Jin, tenor, has delighted audiences with his concert and opera performances throughout Korea and the U.S. His virtuoso singing has taken him to many of the major concert halls throughout the Metropolitan area such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a recitalist, opera performer, as well as an oratorio soloist with choral societies. His opera performances include the leading tenor roles in La bohème, Rigoletto, Carmen, Otello, La Rondine, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roméo et Juliette, L’elisir d’amore, Manon, Werther, and several other roles with the New Jersey State Opera, Ann Arbor Opera, Aspen Opera, Rochester Mercury Opera, Dicapo Opera, NY Touring Opera, Academic Opera, Mannes Opera, Eastman Opera, PoHang Opera and Kwangju City Opera. As a soloist, he has performed with numerous regional orchestras on the East Coast and the Midwest. Concert credits include Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Requiem, Dubois’s The Seven Last Words of Christ, Mendelssohn’s St. Paul and Elijah, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Mass in C Major, and his Symphony No. 9, among others. Dr. Jin previously served as an Affiliate Professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Currently, Dr. Jin is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Towson University in Maryland.
Marika Suzuki, 21, began her violin studies at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. An aspiring chamber musician, Marika has worked with members of Quatuor Arthur LeBlanc, and the Dover, Ying, Borromeo, Emerson and St. Lawrence String Quartets and has studied chamber extensively with Michael Kannen, Maria Lambros and Gina Coletti at the Peabody Institute and Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Institute. Her ensemble, Quartet Brio, had the honor of performing Haydn’s “Sunrise” Quartet for the Chinese Delegation of the National University of Singapore and President of Johns Hopkins in 2015. Currently, Marika leads the Peabody String Sinfonia, a conductor-less chamber ensemble with a mission to spread the beauty of music in homeless shelters, recovery centers and other sensitive venues throughout the Baltimore area. Marika is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with Violaine Melançon.
Soprano Katherine Boyce (née Crowe) received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Towson University and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. During her graduate studies, she performed Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Laurie in Act III of Copland’s The Tender Land, and the Siren in the premiere of Dr. Phillip Collister's Pasticcio Furioso. She has also performed several roles at Annapolis Opera through Towson University's Opera in a Can program, singing the title role in Barab's Little Red Riding Hood, Despina in Mozart/Davies' The Three Little Pigs, and Pamina in a children's version of The Magic Flute. At Eastman, Katherine was a Howard Hanson Scholar and performed roles in multiple Eastman Opera Theatre productions, including Lehár’s "The Merry Widow," Poulenc’s "Les mamelles de Tirésias” and Kander’s “Cabaret.” As a member of Eastman’s elite Institute for Music Leadership’s Arts Leadership Certificate Program, she received a grant to intern at the Washington National Opera and was a Generation E-Student Scholarship Recipient. Katherine currently performs and teaches in the Baltimore/DC area, is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and continues her studies with Jennifer Casey Cabot.
Hailed for his “emotional sound” (DCMetro Theater Arts US and Beeld SA), South African cellist Jacques-Pierre Malan has performed across Europe, South Africa, and the United States. Malan appears annually as soloist with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa. As a member of the South African National Youth Orchestra, Malan toured in Germany, giving concerts at the Beethoven Haller in Bonn as well as at the Philharmonie Concert Hall in Berlin. He became a member of the “12 Celli Family” from Germany, touring regularly around Europe. In the Netherlands, Malan performed solo and chamber recitals at the Appeldoorn Music Festival and the Zuid Afrika Huis to represent South African Dutch history. Malan received a Graduate Performance diploma in Solo and Chamber Music and a Master of Music degree in Pedagogical and Performing Arts from the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician in Baltimore at the Peabody Conservatory, Walters Art Museum, Music of the Great Hall; in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Smithsonian of Natural History, National Press Club; and in New York at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Malan is currently employed under an O1 visa with “Chamber Encounters,” “Friends of Chamber Music Concert Series,” “The Embassy Concert Series,” and the “Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.”
Award-winning conductor and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Hong is in high demand as a chamber and orchestral violinist, collaborative pianist, educator, and guest conductor throughout the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. region. Joshua has made concerto appearances on piano and violin with, among others, the New West Symphony and Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, and currently serves as Music Director of the innovative Occasional Symphony and Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. His performances have been described as “supple, buoyant . . . sensitively conducted” (Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun). Joshua recently obtained a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied under the tutelage of Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. He also holds a degree in violin performance from the Juilliard School. Joshua is a founding member of the Atlas Quartet, winners of the Peabody Institute’s Yale Gordon Chamber Fellowship and semi-finalists in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Mezzo-soprano Christianne Rushton has delighted audiences with her engaging presence and versatility on both the operatic and concert stages. Dr. Rushton is a first prize winner of the Canadian National Music Festival, a prize winner at the prestigious Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, a two-time grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Performing Arts, and a winner of the Canada Council’s Bernard Diamant Prize in Voice. In recital, she has been a guest artist for the Royal Society of Canada, toured with Debut Atlantic, performed at the Indian River Festival, recorded with the Canadian Chamber Choir, sung with Baltimore Musicales and debuted at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Highlights of Christianne’s numerous operatic roles have included Orpheus in Orpheus ed Euridice (Opera Nova Scotia), the title role in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (Juilliard Opera Center), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera North), and Filotete in the North American premiere and Italian revival (Spoleto) of Handel’s Oreste (Juilliard Opera Center). Christianne is Associate Professor at Acadia University where she is head of vocal studies and Director of the School of Music. She is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center at The Juilliard School and completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook. She recently received an Emerging Leader Award, from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) for her innovation and success teaching voice. Dr. Rushton is President of two arts organizations on the East Coast; President of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces chapter of NATS, and the President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Provincial Music Festivals. As well as being active as an adjudicator, pedagogue, workshop clinician and performer across the country, she is a proud mom to two very busy boys, nine and six.
Known for his expressive voice of “liquid gold” and the “stage presence of a lion” Peruvian native José Sacin is considered one of the leading South American baritones of our time. He has performed and collaborated with the foremost figures of the opera and music world today including a nationally televised performance for Pope Benedict XVI alongside Placido Domingo at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC; with Gregory Buchalter of the Metropolitan Opera; the Chilean soprano Veronica Villaroel; American soprano Alessandra Marc, Enrique Ricci and Will Crutchfield. He performed the world premiere of selected passages from the newly discovered version of Verdi's La Forza del Destino with Philip Gossett at the Caramoor International Festival. He has worked with the Washington National Opera, Opera de Lima, Opera Delaware, Baltimore Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, Caramoor Opera Festival, Opera North, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Mediterranean Opera Studio, Maryland Opera Society, In Series, Opera New Hampshire, Opera NOVA, among others. Main roles include the title roles of Rigoletto, Macbeth, Gianni Schicchi and Don Giovanni, Germont (La Traviata), Tonio (Pagliacci), Alfio (Cavalleria), Figaro (Barber of Seville), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Rodrigo (Don Carlo). Sacin has extensive appearances in Spanish Zarzuelas like El Barberillo de Lavapies, Los Gavilanes, Luisa Fernanda, La Tabernera del Puerto, El Duo de la Africana and Bohemios.
Described by the Washington Post as “imposing and promising,” tenor Patrick Cook is earning praise for his performances across the country in venues including The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Cook recently debuted with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop in a production of Bernstein’s Candide. He has performed with opera companies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region including Annapolis Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Washington Concert Opera, and Washington National Opera. Cook appears regularly as a concert soloist performing with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Philharmonic, The Washington Chorus and the DC Wagner Society. A 2011 and 2010 DC District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he can be heard on the American Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots as Bois-Rosé. Cook holds advanced degrees from the University of Maryland, Bard Conservatory, and The Juilliard School. Cook teaches voice at Towson University and Northern Virginia Community College.