Handel’s Messiah Sing-In

Friday, December 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York The 52nd annual Handel’s Messiah Sing-In at Lincoln Center was created as a celebration of choral singing and is today New York City’s most popular Holiday Season Community Music Event.
The Sing-In audience-chorus includes 3,000 singers of all backgrounds who come from throughout New York City, the greater New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, across the United States and from countries around the world. It includes choral singers who sing in church and temple choirs, community choral organizations, high school, college and alumni choruses, and many vocal music lovers who want to spend this one special evening singing and being surrounded by thousands of voices, all singing Handel’s great choral masterpiece together.

The audience is the chorus! Rather than being seated in block SATB sections, the audience is seated “scrambled” so that attending choral groups and participating singers can sit with those whom they came with. Each participant brings a Messiah vocal score and sings along, filling the hall with a glorious tapestry of voices!

There are 17 distinguished choral conductors, each of whom, in turn, conducts one chorus accompanied by the Sing-In organist on the David Geffen Hall organ. (Almost every well-known choral conductor in the Greater New York Area and beyond either participates or has participated in the Chorale’s annual Sing-In.) There also are 4 splendid professional soloists singing some of the best-known solos and providing additional musical inspiration. Everett McCorvey, Artistic Director of the National Chorale and the Sing-In, is the host for the performance.

The Messiah Sing-In was conceived and developed in 1967 by Mr. Josman, the National Chorale's Board, and a group of New York City choral conductors, as a way to celebrate choral singing on a community-wide basis. Everyone agreed that the best way to achieve this was to invite the choral singing community to gather annually for one evening during the holiday season and sing a great choral work in a major concert hall under the shared leadership of a team of prominent choral conductors. The plan attracted the enthusiastic interest of New York’s choral community and the public, and the Messiah Sing-In was born! The first performance took place on Friday evening, December 13, 1967. It was an immediate success and has continued as a joyous, traditional choral community singing event every year since!

The National Chorale has also presented Handel’s Messiah Sing-In in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, Rochester, NY, Phoenix, Tulsa, Lawrence, WI, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Amphitheater and the Ocean Grove Auditorium, NJ.



George Frideric Handel:
A Brief Biography of the Man and the Early Days of Messiah



Beethoven thought Handel the greatest of all his predecessors; he once said, "I would bare my head and kneel at his grave."

Childhood
George Frideric Handel was born on a cold February day in 1685, deep in the heart of Germany. His father was a prominent and successful barber-surgeon for the local duke and had determined early on that young George would study civil law.

But George was drawn to things more artistic, especially more musical. He was intrigued by instruments, the sounds they could make and the feelings they could evoke. His practical father intervened and forbade him from taking part in what he called "musical nonsense."

That wasn't about to stop the determined little youngster. By some unknown means, George was able to get a small clavichord and smuggle it to a tiny room at the top of the house. Then, at night, while the rest of the family was asleep, George would silently creep up to the room and play music, ever so quietly, late into the night. It was there that Handel discovered the magic of music.

It came as a complete surprise to family and friends at church one day when the eight-year-old climbed up on the organ bench and began to play the postlude. Everyone was shocked, especially his father, who had no idea his son was so gifted. Even so, his father sternly reminded son that his destiny was for something more practical than music.

Eventually, Handel enrolled in law school according to his father's wishes, but the musical pull was too much. Soon, he left the confines of the classroom and headed out on the road. He traveled from city to city, learning what he could about each area's musical styles and gifts before he finally settled in London in 1711 at age 26. There his operas and oratorios gained wide acceptance and Handel became an established part of English music and society circles.

Difficult Times

By the 1730s, British audiences had grown tired of operas sung in German or Italian and preferred comedic performances in English. This was good for Handel, who struggled to keep his creditors away, and led him to push himself to the limit by composing four operas within the same year.

As a result, Handel suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right arm. The doctor who treated him said, “We may save the man—but the musician is lost forever. It seems to me that his brain has been permanently injured.”

But Handel refused to give up and surprised everyone when he miraculously recovered his strength and declared, “I have come back from Hades.”

Messiah and Its Legacy

In 1741, swimming in debt and out of favor as a composer, Handel received a libretto from Charles Jennens, a poet with whom he had worked previously. Using scripture references, the libretto detailed the life of Jesus Christ from His birth and ministry to His crucifixion and resurrection. On August 22, 56-year-old Handel sequestered himself in his London home and began to compose music to the biblical texts heralding the life of Jesus Christ. In just 23 days he completed a 260-page oratorio. He titled the massive work Messiah.

Handel told the sponsors of the premier performance of Messiah in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742, that the proceeds from the performance should be donated to prisoners, orphans and the sick. “I have myself been a very sick man, and am now cured,” he said. “I was prisoner and have been set free.”

The performance received rave reviews and exceeded expectations, raising 400 pounds and freeing 142 men from debtors’ prison. The charity sponsors, hoping to squeeze in additional paying patrons, had asked the ladies to refrain from wearing hoops under their skirts and encouraged men to leave their swords at home.

Although the work was well received in Dublin, it was not a success in London, where audiences grappled with a sacred work being staged in theaters. In 1749, it was another charity performance to assist with the completion of London Foundling Hospital for abandoned infants and children that began a series of concerts that once again brought Messiah to public audiences with renewed appreciation. Easter-time performances of Messiah continued each year at the Foundling Hospital until the 1770s, and Handel conducted or attended every one of them until his death in 1759.

Some 40 years after Messiah’s premiere, English musicologist Charles Burney wrote, “This great work has been heard in all parts of the kingdom with increasing reverence and delight; it has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, fostered the orphan and enriched succeeding managers of the oratorios, more than any single production in this or any other country.”

Meet our Guests:

Henri Chalet has been Director and Chief Choirmaster of the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris since 2014, after having served as Assistant Choirmaster to Lionel Sow.

Having graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris) in writing classes and the CNSM of Lyon in choral conducting, Henri Chalet conducted, from 2010 to 2017, the young Paris choir at the Superior Depatrment for Young Singers /CRR of Paris. He succeeded to Laurence Equilbey and Geoffroy Jourdain in this position, whose assistant he was.

Until 2011, he was artistic director of the Maîtrise de Saint-Christophe de Javel (Master of Saint-Christophe de Javel) with which he records, among other things, Duruflé's Requiem and Yves Castagnet's Psalms (creations). From 2011 to 2013, he was regularly called upon to prepare the Choir of the Orchestra of Paris.

The notoriety of these positions allows him to be a guest conductor in the most prestigious concert venues in France (Opéra-Comique, Bordeaux, Le Volcan du Havre...) and throughout Europe (Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Clare College in Cambridge, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Choir...).

With the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, he conducts or prepares for guest conductors great monuments of sacred music such as Monteverdi's Vespers of the Virgin Mary, Bach's Passion according to Saint Matthew, Haydn's Creation, Mozart's Requiem, Brahms' German Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Stravinsky's Mass, Thierry Escaich's Last Gospel, Philippe Hersant's Vespers...
He has collaborated with such great conductors as Leonardo García Alarcón, Sir Roger Norrington, David Reiland, John Nelson, Sofi Jeannin, Gustavo Dudamel...

He participates, with the young Paris choir, in prestigious recordings with Natalie Dessay, Karine Deshayes, Philippe Cassard, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and the National Orchestra of France, as well as with Sabine Devieilhe and the orchestra of The Ambassadors.

Organist by training, and a graduate of the CRR of Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt, he was also co-titular of the great organs of Notre-Dame de Versailles until 2014.
 
John J. Palatucci enjoys a career as a performing musician, conductor, clinician, an adjudicator and educator.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education, a Master of Arts degree in music performance from Montclair State College of New Jersey, and a Master of Education degree in educational leadership with all accompanying certificates from NJ EXCEL. He started singing at the age of eight in a family Christmas pageant.  His love affair with choral music began at the age of ten when he was selected for his hometown church's boy choir.

While a student at Montclair State College, Mr. Palatucci was active in choral, musical theater and opera projects under Kenneth Cooper, David Randolph, Dr. Jack Sacher, and Dr. Benjamin Wilkes. He has pursued further study with Dr. Anton Armstrong, R. David Higgs, and Audrey Turner.  For over thirty years he served as section leader, soloist and assistant conductor for the choirs of Grace Presbyterian Church in Montclair, New Jersey. He has appeared as soloist for area churches and community organizations, performing with such noted conductors as Henry Brant, Lucas Foss, Morton Gould, Skitch Henderson and Karel Husa. During the summer of 1977, he toured Europe as a soloist with the International Congress of Christian Musicians. In 1980, for the 75th Anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi Church in his hometown of Haskell, Mr. Palatucci organized a massed choral festival for which he received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II, returning to lead similar events in honor of the 50th anniversaries of D-Day and VE/VJ Days. He was honored by the Jaycees in 1982 with an "Outstanding Young Man of America" award.

A music educator since 1978, in 1983 Mr. Palatucci accepted the music department chairmanship of the Eastern Christian School Association of North Haledon. While teaching at Eastern Christian High School (ECHS), he developed a reputation as a builder of fine choral programs. He increased enrollment and upgraded the repertoire of the school's flagship ensemble, the Concert Choir, established a select chamber choir and, via mutual encouragement between he and his students, a Gospel ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary African American gospel music. The ECHS Concert Choir and Chamber Singers won five national level championships while consistently receiving Division I Superior ratings and, along with the Gospel Ensemble, received invitations to perform in Israel, at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and throughout the greater New York metropolitan area. Numerous members of his choirs were awarded places in regional, state, national and international honor ensembles. Many of these students have gone on to careers as professional musicians, music educators and school administrators while still others actively participate in local church and civic ensembles. After leaving EC in 1990, he assumed the directorship of choral and orchestral ensembles at Madison High School where his students again distinguished themselves at both the regional and state levels. From 1992 through 2018, he served the families of Livingston, NJ teaching instrumental, classroom and gifted and talented music. He has also served on the music department faculties of Caldwell College, Montclair State and William Paterson Universities, teaching applied music, brass pedagogy, and chamber music.

In addition to his work as a professional conductor, Mr. Palatucci has guest conducted the American Boy Choir, the All-North Jersey JHS Orchestra, the Peninsula Combined HS Band and the Central Jersey Intermediate School Band. In the spring of 2004, as guest conductor he led the Verona High School Concert Chorus to the North American Music Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia, winning another Division I Superior rating and best-in-show title. He serves as an adjudicator and clinician for the New Jersey Music Education Association, Good News Travel and The Offstage Group of NYC, among others. He has been heard over WQXR, WFME, and SIRIUS XM radio and recorded for Delos Records International, The Educational Testing Service, Koch Records, The Musical Heritage Society and The US Merchant Marine Academy.

Mr. Palatucci served on the executive committee for the 1991 Billy Graham Northern New Jersey Crusade where he was responsible for the recruiting and overseeing of a 3,000-voice choir. He served the Camp-of-the-Woods of Speculator, New York as 1993 music director.  From 1996 through 1998, he led the Ridgewood Singers Mixed Chorus.

Beginning in the fall of 1990, Mr. Palatucci became music director of the Orpheus Club Men’s Chorus (OCMC) of Ridgewood, New Jersey. During his tenure, he has striven to uphold and enhance the OCMC's proud history, tradition and reputation. These efforts include performing Johannes Brahms' Alto Rhapsody with the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Randall Thompson's The Testament of Freedom and Giuseppi Verdi's Hymn to the Nations with the Orchestra of Saint Peter-by-the-Sea, Howard Hanson's Song of Democracy, Ottorino Respighi's Laud to the Nativity, Aaron Copland's Old American Songs, the revised finale to Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser, David Avshalomov’s arrangement of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album with the Ridgewood Concert Band, now the NJ Wind Symphony, and Carmina Burana with the Summit Chorale as well as commissions of new music for male chorus which are dedicated to him and the OCMC.

In the spring of 2005 he led the OCMC in its Lincoln Center debut, performing at the Lincoln Center Library with the Palisades Virtuosi chamber ensemble. Through his efforts, the OCMC became a charter member of the New Jersey Choral Consortium (NJCC) in 2008 where he sat on the board of directors and served as vice president. In January 2009, he was honored by his colleagues at Montclair State University, being selected as speaker at the annual Dr. Jack Sacher Memorial Lecture. Also in 2009, during the OCMC’s centennial year, he led a Ridgewood community choral festival which culminated in a performance with orchestra and soloist Ron Levy of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. In 2011, his setting of Percy Grainger’s Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol was published by the International Percy Grainger Society. With Mr. Levy, he prepared the OCMC and its sister ensemble, the Ridgewood Choral, for a performance of the Beethoven Choral Fantasy with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Under the auspices of the NJCC, with the OCMC and the Rutgers University Glee Club, in 2012 he helped organize and oversee an inaugural state-wide men’s chorus workshop and concert at Rutgers University. A 2013 debut performance​ at Carnegie Recital Hall with members of the OCMC included the NYC premieres of Peter Findley’s “Ubi caritas” and Godfrey Schroth’s “Orpheus with his lute.” In December 2016, he made his Lincoln Center David Geffen Hall conducting debut at the 49th annual Messiah Sing-In sponsored by the National Chorale, returning for the event’s 50th and 51st anniversaries. In 2019, he will guest conduct at the 65th annual Ocean Grove Choir Festival on July 14th and, with the OCMC, appear in NYC at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral’s annual Christmas concert on December 19th.
 
James D. Wetzel is the Director of Music and Organist of the Parish of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where he directs the professional Schola Cantorum in over 70 services annually.  James served from 2010-2015 as the Organist and Choirmaster of midtown’s Church of Saint Agnes and from 2011-2016 was an adjunct lecturer in Hunter College’s music department.  Since 2010, he has also been the Assistant Conductor for the Greenwich Choral Society in Connecticut.  Additionally, he holds a post as Assisting Organist at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine where he formerly served as Organ Scholar under Bruce Neswick.

Mr. Wetzel is active as an organist and continuo player, having performed at the Berkshire Choral Festival and with the Collegiate Chorale, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Classical Orchestra, the National Chorale, and the Paul Winter Consort. He is the sub-dean and chairman of the program committee of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, a board member of the Catholic Artists Society, and a member of the New York Purgatorial Society and the Society for Catholic Liturgy.

Born in Pittsburgh, James earned a bachelor’s degree in organ performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Paul Jacobs and was the first person ever to graduate with a master’s degree and a professional studies certificate in choral conducting from Manhattan School of Music under Kent Tritle.  He also studied privately with Donald K. Fellows and Robert Page and spent a year reading Early Christianity and Apologetics at Columbia University.
 
Dr. Jennifer Pascual was appointed Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 2003, the first woman to hold this prestigious liturgical music position. Jennifer earned a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she studied with David Higgs. She holds a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music and received the Bachelor of Music Degrees in Piano and Organ Performance and Music Education from Jacksonville University in Florida. She has served as an organist and choir director in the Dioceses of St. Augustine, FL and Rochester, NY, and the Archdioceses of Newark, NJ and New York City, NY, and has served at three Roman Catholic Cathedrals. From 2007 to 2014, Dr. Pascual was professor and Director of Music at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York. She currently also serves as the Director of Music of the New York Archdiocesan Festival Chorale.

Dr. Pascual has been a member of and has served on the boards of several organizations pertaining to sacred music. She is a frequent recitalist, clinician and adjudicator at national conventions. She was a finalist in the Florida First Coast Piano Competition, participated in the Bach Aria Festival in New York, the International Bamboo Organ Festival in Manila, the Christmas International Festival in Moscow, the Semana Internacional de Órgano in Madrid, the Mariacki Festiwal Organowy in Krakow, the Międzynarodowego Festiwal Muzyki Organowej w Oliwie in Gdansk, the Terra Sancta Organ Festival in Israel and Palestine, and the Semaine de l’Orgue International Pipe Organ Festival in Lebanon. Dr. Pascual is a recipient of the Paderewski Medal and Theodore Presser and Paul Creston awards. Jennifer has performed as an organist and conductor in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain and the United States.

As the Director of Music of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dr. Pascual had the privilege of overseeing all of the liturgical music for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to New York in 2008 in addition to conducting music for the Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Yankee Stadium. She conducted the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir for President Bush at the White House for National Day of Prayer. In December 2008 Dr. Pascual was named a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, papal recognition of service to the Church. In September 2015, Dr. Pascual conducted both the New York Archdiocesan Festival Chorale and the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir and orchestra during the Mass at Madison Square Garden celebrated by Pope Francis in 2015. She also conducted the music for Papal Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Annually, Dr. Pascual participates as a conductor in the Handel Messiah Sing In at Lincoln Center.

With the broadcast of live Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on The Catholic Channel, SIRIUS/XM 129, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir which she conducts can be heard from 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. on Sundays from September to June. She also hosts a radio talk and music show called “Sounds from the Spires” broadcast on the same channel, Saturdays, 1:00am – 2:00am  and 11:00pm – 12:00am and Sundays, 6:00am – 7:00am and 8:00pm – 9:00pm (all Eastern times). Three of Dr. Pascual’s organ recordings and a St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir recording can be found at JAV Recordings.
www.jenniferpascual.com
 
Michael Spierman is the Founder and Director of The Bronx Opera Company and Music Director and Conductor of the Orchestra of the Bronx. Founded in 1967, the Bronx Opera has presented more than 50 opera productions to New Yorkers, including premieres of new works and standard repertory.  Performing on the stages of Lehman College in the Bronx and at Hunter College in Manhattan, New Yorkers have enjoyed many seasons of fine opera performances - always in English - by the company. During a season the company's performances always include one known and one rarely-performed opera. In addition to his opera conducting, Michael Spierman has also conducted the orchestras of Sinfonia Nacional des Bellas Artes in Mexico, the Burgos Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, and the Bryanston Festival in England.  A graduate of New York University, he was on the Music Faculty at Hunter College for 38 years, and is a former Chairman of the Music Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts.
 
Gregory Hopkins was born and reared in Philadelphia, PA. He received his advanced education in voice from Temple University, and in opera from Curtis Institute of Music. Hopkins has won prizes in competitions including: The Verdi Prize in Busetto, Italy; Outstanding Tenor Award, Mantova, Italy; The Dealy Award and The Opera Index Grant.  
                                       
As a singer, pianist, organist, choral conductor, teacher and clinician, Hopkins has traveled throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and The Middle East, with recent performances including The Cervantes and Pitic Festivals (Mexico); Orvieto, Rome and Umbria Festivals (Italy); Vienne Festival (France) and Vitoria-Gasteiz Festival (Spain). Additional performances included Mozarteum (San Juan, Argentina); Teatro Mayor (Bogota, Columbia); Sodre (Montevideo, Uruguay); Pro Arte (Cordoba, Argentina). His Harlem Jubilee singers recently completed a tour of Chile with the Concepcion Symphony performing Porgy and Bess. He also conducted performances of Gershwin’s “Blue Monday”, Britten’s “The Burning Fiery Furnace” with Harlem Opera Theater and HL Freeman’s opera “Voodoo”. Earlier this year saw concerts in Argentina and Japan.   
                             
Recently Hopkins has been contracted to provide and prepare singers for Martina Arroyo’s “Prelude to a Performance” and Alvin Ailey’s “Revelation” Celebration at Lincoln Center. Hopkins has served The National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses as Director of Performance Ministries; The Hampton University Minister's Conference as Recital Co-Coordinator; and Gospel Music Workshop of America as Assistant Music Director to the Men's Department. He has been honored three times to prepare and present musicals for the National Baptist Convention, and was musical director for the NAACP's Centennial Celebration. At Arkansas Baptist College's EC Morris Institute and Ithaca College he has been Choral Clinician. For the Million Man March he was selected by Minister Farrakhan to sing immediately following the address.

Equally occupied as an educator, he has served on the faculties of: Community College of Philadelphia; Morgan State University; Westminster Choir College and NY Seminary of the East. Currently, he is Coordinator of Classical Voice and Operatic Activities at Howard University DC.

For more than 1/3rd of a century he has been Minister of Music for Harlem's Convent Avenue Baptist Church. He is also Artistic Director for Harlem Opera Theater, Music Director for the Harlem Jubilee Singers and Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir. He is a featured artist on more than 6 commercially released CD projects; one of which was nominated for a Grammy.
 
Dr. Hugh Ferguson Floyd is Professor of Music at Furman University, Coordinator of Choral Ensembles and Director of the renowned Furman Singers. In 2010, he was named Artistic Director for the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Choral and Vocal Studies which is co-sponsored by SUNY Fredonia and the New York State School Music Association and administered by the New York State Education Department.

In addition to his conducting career, Floyd studied acting at the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio and at the Stella Adler Studio in New York City. He also studied musical theater performance with VP Boyle, Jennifer Waldman and Barrett Foa (NCIS, LA) and regularly performs and serves as a narrator for symphony orchestra performances such as Carnival of the Animals and Walton’s Façade.

Over its fifty-plus year history, the Furman Singers has achieved a national and international reputation for choral excellence. Floyd is the first recipient of the Bingham L. Vick, Jr. and Judy S. Vick Professorship of Music. He has been a guest lecturer at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University.

Prior to his appointment at Furman, Dr. Floyd served as the Director of Choral Studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College. At Oberlin, Dr. Floyd conducted the Oberlin College Choir, the Oberlin College Singers, the Oberlin Musical Union, and, in rotation, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra. The Oberlin College Choir performed regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, sang for an American Choral Directors Association Convention and with the renowned Kronos Quartet. Dr. Floyd was also chorus master for the Oberlin Opera Theater.

Dr. Floyd frequently serves as a guest conductor and clinician and has conducted All-State choirs in Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina, as well as regional honors choirs around the country. He has been a choral clinician for Festival Disney at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida since its inception in 2005.

He served as Director of Choral Activities and voice instructor at the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and taught at the Interlochen Arts Academy. At home with orchestral conducting, he was chorus master for the Akron Symphony, conducting Messiah, Christmas Pops, and Carmina Burana. He was conducting assistant with the Charlotte (North Carolina) Symphony and director of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, chorus master for the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Symphony, and chorus master and conductor in residence at the Brevard Music Center. He has prepared choirs for such eminent conductors as Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Franz Welser Möst, and Robert Spano.
 
James John is Professor of Conducting at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY, where he directs the QC Vocal Ensemble and Choral Society, and heads the graduate program in choral conducting. Dr. John is also Artistic Director of the Manhattan-based vocal ensemble, Cerddorion, a select chamber choir dedicated to adventurous programs that span the breadth of the choral repertoire (www.cerddorion.org). Under his leadership the choral program at ACSM has become recognized as one of the finest collegiate choral programs in the region, with performances by Queens College choral ensembles at state and divisional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. John’s guest-conducting appearances include Brahms’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Tokyo Oratorio Society and Oratorio Sinfonica Japan, Avery Fisher Hall’s annual Messiah Sing-In, a concert of American choral music with the Virginia Chorale, and honor choirs throughout New York State. As a teacher and scholar, Dr. John has served as guest lecturer in conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, and has presented seminars on American choral music in Basel and Stockholm. He has given presentations at both divisional and national conferences of the ACDA, and is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States. His dissertation on Brahms won the Julius Herford Prize from the ACDA, and from 2011 to 2016 he served as editor of the scholarly journal American Choral Review, published biannually by Chorus America.  He has also served as a member of ACDA’s National Research and Publications Committee.

Dr. John received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music. His prior appointments include Director of Choral Activities at both Tufts University (Boston, MA) and Nassau Community College (Garden City, NY), as well as Conducting Fellow at Dartmouth College.
 
Maestro Jason Tramm serves as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor with the MidAtlantic Opera with whom he made his Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) debut in 2015. The program, entitled "A Prayer for Peace," featured works of Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, and Saygun. The second concert of this critically acclaimed series took place on October 27, 2017 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and featured works of Vasks, Schoenberg and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Metropolitan Opera baritone, Mark Delavan. He also serves as Music Director of Teatro Lirico D'Europa, a touring professional opera company. Upcoming tour repertoire for the 2018-19 season includes fully staged performances of Puccini's Tosca and Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia. Performances will take place in Florida, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Boston, Baltimore and South Carolina. He served as Artistic Director of the New Jersey State Opera from 2008 to 2012, where he collaborated with some of the finest voices in opera, including Samuel Ramey, Vladimir Galouzine, Angela Brown, Gregg Baker, and Paul Plishka. His 2009 HDTV broadcast with PBS affiliate NJN of "Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove," garnered an Emmy Award nomination.

The busy maestro is busy planning his 13th season as Director of Music, in Residence, of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in the summer months, where he leads the choral, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the historic 6,500-seat Great Auditorium. In addition to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival, a beloved event in its 64th year and attended by thousands, he has appeared on two National Public Radio broadcasts with organ virtuoso Gordon Turk and symphonic orchestra.    He also serves as Music Director of two acclaimed community choral societies, the Morris Choral Society (Morristown, NJ), with whom he begin his third season and he has just begun working with the Taghkanic Chorale (Yorktown Heights, NY) this season.  Maestro Tramm was also appointed as the Music Director/Conductor of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Ensemble, where he collaborates with noted director/choreographer, Gabriel Chajnik.   

An accomplished educator, he serves as Director of Choral Activities at Seton Hall University where he leads the University Chorus, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, and teaches voice and conducting. In 2017, Seton Hall University Awarded him the University Faculty Teacher of the Year. Educating and mentoring the next generation of musicians has always been a central part of Jason Tramm's career. He is also actively sought as a clinician and regularly presents lectures on a wide variety of musical topics.

Mr. Tramm holds degrees in music from the Crane School, the Hartt School, and a DMA in Conducting from Rutgers University, where he was the recipient of their prestigious Presidential Fellowship. In 2003, he joined the ranks of Metropolitan Opera Stars Renee Fleming and Stephanie Blythe when he was honored with the Rising Star Award from the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association.

A frequent guest conductor, he has led operatic and symphonic performances in Italy, Romania, Albania, and in Hungary, where he recorded an album of rarely heard French operatic arias with the Szeged Symphony.  He was Guest Conductor on the Narnia Festival (Narni, Italy) during the 2017 season.  Guest conducting/Masterclass  engagements for the 2018 season include the Adelphi Orchestra, the Long Island Concert Orchestra, The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, Light Opera of New Jersey, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
 
Elizabeth Guglielmo is the Director of Music for the New York City Department of Education.  In this role, Elizabeth shapes and oversees all aspects of music education in New York City public schools.  She provides music teachers and school leaders with music-specific professional learning and curriculum support and cultivates partnerships and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers with New York City's premier music-focused organizations.

For over two decades, Elizabeth has taught music and served as a school administrator in public and private schools across New York City. Elizabeth is a cum laude graduate of Yale University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music and graduated with Distinction in the Music Major.  Elizabeth also holds her Master of Music Education degree from Westminster Choir College.

She is a recipient of the Yale University Distinguished Music Educator Award, as well as, the Most Dedicated Educator Award from the Foundation for the Korean Language & Culture in the USA.
 
Joey Chancey is a Broadway Conductor, Music Director, and Independent Producer. 

Chancey is currently the Music Supervisor for Antonio Banderas’ inaugural production of A Chorus Line at Teatro del Soho in Malalgá, Spain in addition to the international tour beginning in South Africa of A Chorus Line of 2020.

Most recently, Joey served as Music Director and Arranger for a new commission at The Kennedy Center, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963. Chancey Music Directed Little Shop of Horrors starring Megan Hilty & Josh Radnor for Broadway Center Stage at the Kennedy Center. Other favorite credits include: Annie at the Hollywood Bowl, How to Succeed at the Kennedy Center, Elf: the musical  at Madison Square Garden.

In addition he was the Musical Director for Sweet Charity, Promises, Promises; Man of La Mancha , Peter Pan and The Music Man by the Transport Group, all with a star-studded cast of Broadway veterans, and three seasons as Artistic Director of the Pocono Mountains Music Festival. He was also the Associate Conductor on the Pre-Broadway tryout of Roman Holiday.

On Broadway, Joey was Assistant Conductor for the long-running dance musical, An American In Paris, and the highly anticipated Broadway revival of Gigi, starring Victoria Clark and Vanessa Hudgens.

Chancey played piano and conducted the Tony Award-winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie. In addition, he musical directed the national tours of La Cage Aux Folles, A Chorus Line, and The Wizard of Oz. He was also a pianist for recent tours of The Wedding Singer, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and White Christmas.

Internationally, he's conducted Direct From Broadway, a Symphonic Concert Tour of Australia featuring musical theater star Anthony Warlow and Tony Award-winner Faith Prince. The concert was accompanied by a thirty-two piece orchestra and played to sold out audiences across the country, including the Sydney Opera House. He has also conducted the International Company of A Chorus Line in Tokyo, Japan.

Some of Chancey’s favorite credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta; A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline starring Gail Bliss; and Smokey Joe’s Cafe at the Alhambra Theater. Chancey spent three seasons as the Artistic Director of the Pocono Mountains Music Festival where he founded the Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Camp. 

Chancey is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and holds a Bachelors of Music in Piano from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. He currently resides in NYC with his dog, Charlie.
 
Maestro Vagharshak Ohanyan was born in the former Soviet Union. In 2007 he performed in New York in a concert production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, singing Silvio. At the New York City Opera, he debuted as Sid in Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del West. In Match, he performed with the Bachanalia Orchestra at St.Peter’s Church. He recorded a CD with Carlos Luis Garcia of Puccini’s opera IlTabarro.

With the Armenian Philharmonic he sang Sharpless in Madame Butterfly. As a guest soloist, he appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, in a concert production of Rachmaninoff’s Francesca Da Rimini in January 2002 at Avery Fisher Hall.

In March 2002, he performed songs by Rachmaninoff at Carnegie Hall. He sang a baritone solo in Durufle’s Requiem with the Plymouth choir and orchestra at Plymouth Church. In 1997-98, he performed at the Tchaikovsky Rediscoveries Festival at Bard College and at the Trinity Church. He also performed at Carnegie Hall with the Russian Chamber Chorus and was invited to participate Virtosi Moskow Conductor Vladimir Spivakov Moscow Cantata at Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood with the Russian American Youth Orchestra and Chorus of New York. In 2007 he became an ensemble member and vocal coach for the Hampton synagogue. One of his distinguished students is New York and Hampton Synagogue cantor Netanel Hershtik.

Other highlights include solo recitals with the Boston Chamber Orchestra and the Rhode Island Chorale. He was a soloist in Faure’s and Mozart’s Requiems with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia) in 1994-95. Mr. Ohanyan continues to perform internationally at many prestigious festivals and opera houses. As a member of the Artist in Residence Program of National Chorale he teaches advance voice and is a principal conductor of the elite choir at the Professional Performing Arts School New York City.

Ohanyan holds a Doctorate of Arts Ed. and a Master of Arts in vocal Performance from the Armenian State Conservatory and a certificate from the Julliard School.  He is a jury member of the Golden Voice International Vocal competition. In 1996, he became a union member of the American Guild of Musical Artists. Vagharshak is a Co-founder of the 2009 Youth Talent (AYT) Music Competition at Carnegie Hall. A month ago Mr. Ohanyan was awarded a Medal from the Government of Armenia as the highest award for education and dedication to the Arts. He also received a Professor Honoris Causa Degree from the International Academy of Education Yerevan Haybusak University.
 
Deborah Simpkin King, Ph.D., is a visionary choral conductor, new music advocate, and master teacher. She plays an active role in the vibrant Manhattan choral scene and serves the national and international music community through her guest conducting and body of published work.

Her leadership as a conductor is ongoing with not only her own choral ensembles, the semi-professional Ember of Schola Cantorum on Hudson and the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township (PCCT), but also within Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and other guest conducting appearances.

Schola is the parent organization of PROJECT : ENCORE™, an international advocacy initiative founded by Dr. King that promotes post-premiere performances of new music. Through PROJECT : ENCORE, she is at the leading edge of the new music industry, working with composers in finding post-premiere performances, and performing many premieres herself.

Supplementing her work in the not-for-profit and professional conducting arena, Dr. King frequently works as a professor and as a director of music within church programs. She has guided several university choral programs through times of transition, most recently serving as the Interim Director of Choral Activities at William Paterson University (WPU). Currently, Dr. King is the Music Director of the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township.

Dr. King is a frequent guest conductor. She was one of five conductors chosen to work with Simon Halsey in the 2016 premiere preparation and performance of David Lang’s new commission, ‘the public domain,’ calling for 1000 voices, in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. She served similarly in 2018’s Mostly Mozart Festival for the premiere by John Luther Adams of In the Name of the Earth.  She also recently guest conducted for the Tlaxcala Canta choral festival in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

As an ongoing columnist with ACDA’s The Choral Journal, and host of public radio’s Sounds Choral, Dr. King serves the music community worldwide. King is Chairman of the New York Choral Consortium (NYCC), the coordinator of the NJ-ACDA HS Choral Festival and a frequent presenter at professional conferences on choral consortia and new music.
 
Darryl Jordan, conductor/singer/songwriter, holds a B.S. and M.M. in Music Education from NYU and Boston University, respectively. He is currently pursuing his E.D.D. in Music Education from Teachers College. He has spent the better part of his career training multi-faceted young singers for a new generation as Director of Vocal Arts at the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts and now as a Choral/Vocal Director at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Armed with the desire to “develop singers for every stage,” he has spent the past twenty years conducting choirs and training singers in Maryland, D.C., and New York for everything from classical to jazz.

A former Assistant Conductor of the NYC All-City High School Chorus, he is an Adjunct Professor of Voice/ Conductor at Nyack College School of Music. His students have performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater, and a host of churches, community centers, and public events!  Most recently, he conducted the Nyack College Off-Broadway production of The Wizand regularly conducts the Nyack College Chorale at David Geffen Hall. Thanking God for his own musical gift, he seeks to empower the community through the gift of song as a baritone/tenor singer in and outside of the Tri-State area. Along with his music group FreeMind, he brings his own unique brand of neo-gospel-soul music to the world! They released their new album, TIME, this year. He is excited to again conduct in the year's National Chorale Messiah Sing-In!
 
Everett McCorvey is in his sixth season as the Artistic Director of the National Chorale.

Vocal Excellence is a hallmark of Dr. McCorvey’s work with professional choirs and with professional singers in concerts, masterclasses and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Asia, Poland and other countries.  Over a span of almost 30 years, Dr. McCorvey has engaged choirs and audiences in moving and dynamic experiences with his unique and committed interpretation of choral music of all genres.  Dr. McCorvey is a native of Montgomery, Alabama.  He received his degrees from the University of Alabama, including a Doctorate of Musical Arts.  He has performed in many cities and theatres around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, Aspen Music Festival, Radio City Music hall, Birmingham Opera Theater, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Italy, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England, as well as performances throughout Spain, the Czech and Slovac Republics, Austria, Japan, China, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Hungary, Mexico, Peru and France.

Dr. McCorvey is also the founder and Music Director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group of 24 professional singers performing spirituals and other compositions of African-American composers.  In its 22-year history, the group has presented over 400 concerts including 17 tours of the United States and 16 tours of Spain.  In February of 2017, US Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) presented a nation-wide special featuring the American Spiritual Ensemble.

Raised in the belief that every citizen in the country should find ways to give back to his or her community, city and country, Dr. McCorvey has been very active in his volunteer activities, working to keep the arts as a part of the civic conversation locally, regionally and nationally.  He is a frequent advisory panelist and on-site reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. and he has served on the Boards of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Opera Association and the Kentucky Arts Council.  Dr. McCorvey has recently been invited to serve as a jurist on the Opera For All Voices initiative established by San Francisco Opera and Santa Fe Opera. The panel will review new operatic works for the industry with the goal of bringing new audiences to opera

Dr. McCorvey has served on the faculties of the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York and the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria.   He holds an Endowed Chair in Opera Studies and Professor of Voice position at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

In September of 2010, Dr. McCorvey served as the Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Alltech 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Kentucky.  The Opening Ceremony was broadcasted on NBC Sports and was viewed by over 500 million people worldwide.  The Alltech 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games was the largest equestrian event to ever be held in the United States.   He is married to soprano Alicia Helm.   They have three children.  On working with the National Chorale, Dr. McCorvey says that “Celebrating the 52nd Anniversary of great choral singing with the National Chorale is indeed an honor and a privilege.  It is my fervent hope that we can continue to sing, share and experience the goodness of humanity through music and learn of each other better through sharing in the arts.”
Thomas Juneau, DMA proudly serves as Director of Choral Activities at Wagner College in New York City and is Music Director of Summit Chorale, now in its 110th season. As Minister of Music at Saint Joseph’s Church in Carteret, NJ, he regularly leads music at all liturgies and directs numerous adult and youth choirs. As a composer, his compositions for chorus are published by Walton Music, Alliance Music, Southern Music Company, Hal Leonard Corporation, and Carl Fischer Music Company.

A versatile conductor and composer, Thomas has conducted many major works, including Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Beethoven’s Mass in C, the Requiems of Mozart, Fauré, Duruflé, Brahms and most recently John Conahan’s Three Doors: A Requiem. As a composer, his compositions for chorus are published by Walton Music, Alliance Music, Southern Music Company, Hal Leonard Corporation, and Carl Fischer Music Company.
 
Kathryn Schneider is Musical Director & Conductor of the New York City Bar Chorus, a 100-voice ensemble whose leaders and members are all legal professionals. Since 1993, the chorus has served as goodwill ambassadors of the New York City Bar Association to bring the healing power of music to those who cannot easily access it, giving more than 300 concerts at venues serving seniors, the visually impaired, people living with cancer and AIDS, those in substance abuse rehabilitation, and more. The chorus has also appeared off-Broadway, on local and national television, in exchanges with other legal choruses, at American Bar Association conventions, and at the New York City Bar's landmark midtown Manhattan headquarters. 

Kathy studied choral conducting at Westminster Choir College and Teachers College, Columbia University (learning from, among others, Drs. James Jordan and Dino Anagnost).  She studied organ principally with Dr. George Stauffer at Columbia, and, while pursuing her law degree there, served as Assistant University Organist, performing frequently on the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Paul's Chapel. Kathy is delighted to be returning for a fourth time collaborating with Maestro McCorvey as a conductor at this wonderful holiday event. 
 
Hailed by the South Florida Classical for her “luminous tones” and “lush voice,” soprano Brittany Renee Robinson amazes audiences with her finesse and shimmering stage presence. In summer of 2019, Ms. Robinson travels to Turin, Italy to perform the role of Bess in Porgy & Bess at the Teatro Regio Torino, as well as at the Magnetic Opera Festival in Elba, Italy, followed by her debut in that same renowned work as a company member of The Metropolitan Opera. Later in the season she returns to Opera Orlando in her role debut as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and in 2020 appears with Opera San Jose as the Queen of the Night for their spring production of  Die Zauberflöte.

Previous engagements have included performances with Knoxville Opera in the role of Madame Herz and Nella in a double bill production of Mozart's Impresario and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, as well as Lucia in Knoxville’s touring production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Ms. Robinson was featured as a guest artist and model representing the designer Pyer Moss at the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Gala. After great success with her first concert series, Ms. Robinson traveled back to Minnesota to perform at the University of Minnesota’s Monday Guest Artist Recital Series at the Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall, and made her Lincoln Center debut at David Geffen Hall in New York City as the Soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah

Ms. Robinson’s international debuts have included performances at the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsches Theater München, The Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy, and Opera on the Avalon in Canada. National appearances have included performances with Out of Box Opera, The Handel Choir of Baltimore, Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Salt Marsh Opera, Piedmont Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Crested Butte Music Festival, Light Opera of New York, Sounds of South Dakota, and the Baltimore Municipal Opera. Additional career highlights include her debuts with the Florida Grand Opera as Musetta in La Bohème and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She has also performed the Queen of the Night (with the legendary Samuel Ramey as Sarastro) and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and as Lakmé with Opera Theatre of the Rockies where her performance was praised by The Gazette as "a performance which words can do no justice, her crystal clear yet sultry voice produced a sound and spirit that equals her sensual and artistic achievement." 

A frequent recitalist, Ms. Robinson has toured with the Siena Chamber Orchestra in Italy and across the United States. Concert engagements include her performance as a featured artist with the Wynton Marsalis’ U.S. Tour of the Abyssinian Mass with Chorale Le Chateau and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and appearances with the critically acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble. While in Miami, Ms. Robinson was a guest soloist in the Concert for a New Renaissance and worked closely with the world-renowned jazz flutist Nestor Torres and the Miami Youth Symphony. 

Ms. Robinson’s prestigious awards include, Senior Grand Prize Winner: Young Patronesses of the Opera, 3rd Place and Audience Favorite: Harlem Opera Theater Competition, 2nd Place and Scholarship Recipient: The Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition Award, Rosalind Jackson Memorial Award: Crested Butte Music Festival, The Miriam Goodman Award: Chautauqua Opera and Regional Finalist: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. 
 
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition’s New York District, Jessica Grigg was a Finalist in the  National Opera Association Competition, a finalist in the New York City NATS competition and a winner of the Operafest NH! Competition.

This spring, Jessica debuts with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and she recently joined maestro James Meader with DCINY at Carnegie Hall for a concert of Dan Forrest's Jubilate Deo.  She made her debut with Salt Marsh Opera in Gianni Schicchi and with DCINY in Vivaldi's Gloria. Jessica toured the role of Isabella in Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of D. Catan’s, Rappaccini’s Daughter, returned to Teatro Grattacielo in Siberia, and was the alto soloist in Opera Naples’ semi-staged production of Mendelssohn’s Elijah

In past seasons Jessica performed the role of Carmen with Julius Rudel and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of French Opera. This followed her debut with Opera Illinois as Maddalena in their production of Rigoletto and her debut with Teatro Grattacielo as Anna in Alfano’s Risurezzione at Alice Tully Hall.  Jessica’s first Suzuki was with the Little Opera Company of New Jersey following a recital for the Middlebury Performing Arts Series.  She has appeared as Maddalena in Rigoletto with the Lyric Orchestra of New Jersey, New Jersey Verismo Opera and with Opera Theatre of Connecticut.  With Opera North, Stephen Fox conducted Jessica as Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, as part of a Russian Romantics Concert Series and she sang the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Edith in The Pirates of Penzance. She has also performed Count Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Opera Theatre of Connecticut and Dorabella in Anchorage Opera’s Così fan tutte. She has enjoyed performances with the Little Opera Theatre of New York, Cape Cod Opera as Carmen in a series of concerts, the title role in Orfeo with Five Words in a Line, and concerts with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra Concert Series in Boston and with Opera Providence in Rhode Island.   She also recorded Dag Gabrielsen’s opera All Three Acts of a Sad Play for New York City Opera’s VOX 2011 Festival.  Jessica was the mezzo soloist in Mozart’s C minor Mass with the Mohawk Choral Society and has performed the Mozart Requiem with the Washington Bach Consort and J. Reilly Lewis and with Camerata New York.   She was a guest artist in St. Louis’ “Sheldon Hall Gala” featuring Frederica von Stade.

As a performer interested in contemporary compositions, Jessica was the lead in Steven Paulus’ opera Summer in its New York City Premiere with the Center for Contemporary Opera and joined CCO again as Signora Angiolieri in Francis Thorne and J.D. McClatchy’s opera, Mario and the Magician.  Jessica performed with Five Words in a Line in a concert of music by composers Charles Fussell and Stefan Weisman in NYC’s Greenwich House Music Hall and, at the request of the composer, recorded Stephen Aprahamian’s new opera, The Fountain of Youth.  She was asked by composer Jorge Martin to record his song cycle “Of Fathers and Sons” and to premiere his song cycle “A Cuban in Vermont” at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.  Jessica will be Dr. von Zahnd on Dag Gabrielsen’s recording and film of his new opera The Physicists based on Dürrenmatt’s play by the same name.
 
Praised for the distinctive warmth of his voice, clear diction, and exceptional musicianship,
American baritone Keith Harris is captivating audiences in his performances on both operatic and concert stages. This season, Mr. Harris performs the role of Miller in Better Gods Concert with Little Opera Theater of NY, performs as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Helena Symphony, Schaunard in La bohéme with Opera Carolina and Toledo Opera, sings at a fundraising event with Annapolis Opera, Carmina Burana with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and joins The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Werther. Last season, he reprised the role of Albert in Werther for his début with The Israeli Opera and performed the role of Marcello in La Boheme with Opera Tampa. He also performed Carmina Burana with the Kirkland Choral Society and in concert with the Bel Canto Festival.

Highlights of his North American engagements include productions of The Merry Widow, Faust, Werther, and Lulu with The Metropolitan Opera; the role of Valentin in Faust with Toledo Opera and Annapolis Opera; the creation of the role of Sir Plume in the world première of The Rape of the Lock at New York Opera Fest; Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera Tampa; Albert in Werther with Mobile Opera; and the roles of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Dandini in La Cenerentola with Bar Harbor Music Festival, where he subsequently returned for a Tea Concert and pops concert for their 50th Anniversary.

He has appeared with the Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Holders Festival in Barbados, Nevada Opera, Opera of East Texas, El Paso Opera, and Skagit Opera. Noted roles in Mr. Harris’ repertoire also include Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Athanaël in Thaïs. No stranger to musical theatre, Mr. Harris performed as Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, Pirate Bras Pique in Naughty Marietta, and The Music Man with Baltimore Actors’ Theatre. Internationally, he performed the role of Journalist in Lulu at Teatro Comunale di Bologna and often performs many roles with The Festival lyrique international de Belle-Île en Mer in France, including Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Iago in Otello, Ford in Falstaff, and, most recently, Tonio in Pagliacci.

A seasoned concert artist, Mr. Harris has performed with numerous esteemed symphonies throughout North America. Since his début at Carnegie Hall for the world première of David N. Child’s Requiem, Mr. Harris repeatedly finds himself on the stage of the esteemed venue for performances of great works such as Hayes’s Te Deum, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Rutter’s Mass of the Children. With New Jersey Choral Society, he sang Fauré’s Reqiuem, and with both New Jersey Choral Society and Connecticut Choral Society he sang Haydn’s Heiligmesse and Ed Lojeski’s Psalms of Passover. Other highlights of his concert career include the roles of Morales and Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Pacific Symphony; the baritone solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with New Haven Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, and National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall; Karsa’s Brudibar with Phoenix Symphony; Händel’s Messiah with East Texas Symphony Orchestra; Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax with Dessoff Choirs under the baton of James Bagwell; Argento’s Andrée Expedition with Emerson Series in Wisconsin with pianist Kenneth Bozeman; Carmina Burana with Savannah Philharmonic, Lancaster Symphony, Riverside Choral Society at Alice Tully Hall, and National Chorale at Lincoln Center; Stephen Paulus’ So Hallow’d Is the Time with Greenwich Choral Society; and the world première of Morning Has Broken arranged by Bob Chilcott.

A vocal competition winner, his numerous honors and awards include first prize in the Seattle Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, “Young Artist of the Year” with Opera Longview Vocal Competition in Texas, the Ellen Faull Gordon Northwest Vocal Competition, and the Ladies Musical Club Competition in Seattle. He holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Lawrence University in Wisconsin.
 
Tenor, Albert Rudolph Lee’s performances have been described as “vocally sumptuous,” “musically distinctive” and even “acrobatically agile.” Having appeared with Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and the Caramoor International Music Festival, Dr. Lee’s recent performances include the tenor solo in Bruckner Te Deum with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, a performance of George Walker’s Lilac’s for Tenor and Orchestra for the opening concert of the African American Art Song Alliance 20th Anniversary Conference, and performances with Cincinnati Opera. In his eighth year on the voice faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Lee’s most recent activities include the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Jackson Symphony, an appearance with Opera Las Vegas in a tribute concert to African American Opera Legends, a feature role in the world premiere of Douglas Buchanan’s opera Bessie and Ma, and appearances with the British classical crossover quartet Vox Fortura.