Justine Aronson, soprano and
J. J. Penna, piano
A recent graduate of Westminster Choir College, Detroit native Justine Aronson is at home performing concerts, oratorios, operas, and musicals. Favorite performances include Laurey Williams in Oklahoma with the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Yniold in Westminster Opera Theater's Pelléas et Mélisande, and chorus work at the Spoleto Festival USA. As a member of the prestigious Westminster Symphonic Choir, she has sung under the batons of Alan Gilbert, John Adams, Sir Roger Norrington, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Recent concert credits include Respighi's Laud to the Nativity, Haydn's Missa in Angustiis and Kleine Orgelmesse, Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Litanie Lauretane and M. Haydn's Missa Sancti Hieronymi. This season, Ms. Aronson will sing Monica in The Medium with Opera MODO of Princeton. She will also perform with Donald Nally's The Crossing. In addition, Ms. Aronson recently premiered The Sleepers, a new work by composer Philip Rice. Ms. Aronson has participated in the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program; the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria; and was recently a fellow with the Cooperative program of Princeton, New Jersey.
J.J. Penna has performed extensively with a variety of eminent singers, including Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Measha Brueggergosman, Amy Burton, William Burden, David Daniels, Denyce Graves, Ying Huang, Kevin McMillan, Susan Narucki, Roberta Peters, Florence Quivar and Andreas Scholl. He recently assisted soprano Renee Fleming in her preparation for several recitals and orchestral appearances. The 2009-10 season includes appearances in North and South America with Denyce Graves. Mr. Penna has held prestigious fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, Banff Center for the Arts, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, as well as the Merola Opera Program, where he won the Otto Guth Award as Outstanding Apprentice Coach. He received his training under Martin Katz, Margo Garrett and Diane Richardson. Devoted to the teaching of art song literature, he has been on the faculties of the Yale University School of Music, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Bowdoin Festival, Vancouver International Song Institute and the Steans Institute of the Ravinia Festival. He currently teaches at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and The Juilliard School.
Victoria Browers, soprano and
Liza Stepanova, piano
Victoria Browers, soprano begins the 2011-2012 season with song recitals in both Delaware and Oxford, OH. She is also be heard in music ranging from Schütz to Cipullo with the newly formed art song ensemble, Songfusion, as they perform concerts throughout New York City. She will be heard as Musetta in excerpts from La Boheme with St. Petersberg Opera in Florida in December, as well as join their Emerging Artist Program, where she covers Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro in the spring. This past summer Victoria was invited back to the SongFest Program in Malibu California as a Distinguised Alumna. She was heard in recital with pianist Liza Stepanova, in a performance forum with pianist Rodger Vignoles and in the world premiere of Stone Soup by Libby Larsen. She was also invited to back to the Wintergreen Music Festival to participate in the Lotte Lehmann Vocal Master Class series where she studied and performed the vocal music of Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia.
During the 2010-2011 season Victoria was a Young Artist at the Britten Pears Programme in Aldeburgh, UK and then joined Chelsea Opera in NYC where she sang the role of Younger Alyce in Glory Denied by Tom Cipullo. She sang the soprano solos in Elijah with the Garden State Philharmonic and the role of Parasha, in Stravinsky's Mavra, with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in NJ. She was also heard in concert with composer, Tom Cipullo singing many of his songs for an event with Urban Arias in Arlington, VA. Ms. Browers returned for her second summer as a Young Artist with the Natchez Festival of Music where she appeared as Jill Dunn in SHOT as part of their education tour. She also appeared in various opera scenes and covered the role of Musetta in La Boheme. She was one of four singers chosen to participate in the Lotte Lehmann Vocal Master Class series with the Wintergreen Mountain Music Festival in Wintergreen, VA. In Wintergreen, she was heard in a Viennese Pops Concert singing excerpts from Die Fledermaus and Don Giovanni, a chamber music concert featuring the works of Schoenberg and Zeisl and a Schubertiade.
In 2010, Victoria was a National Finalist in the NATS Artist Award Competition where she was awarded the Berton Coffin Award for her performance in the finals. She was awarded an encouragement award from the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. Victoria was also a semi-finalist in the Joy in Singing Competition and the New York Oratorio Society Soloist Competition. In past years, Victoria has been awarded an honorable mention prize in the Kennett Square Symphony Orchestra Competition, and was a finalist in the Orpheus National Competition, the Long Island Masterworks Competition, the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Competition and the Lotte Lehmann Cybersing Competition.
An avid scholar and performer of art song as well as new music, Ms. Browers has participated in the SongFest Program in Malibu, CA numerous times where she has worked with such artists as Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Rudolf Jansen, Rosemary Hyler, Paul Sperry, Amy Burton, Lisa Saffer, Randolph Bowman, and William Sharp. She has also collaborated with composers Tom Cipullo, Lori Laitman, and John Musto.
Other recent performances include, soloist in the 50th Anniversary Gala for the Joy In Singing Organization at Merkin Hall and soprano soloist in BWV 106 with Christ United Methodist Church both in NYC. Soprano soloist in both Haydn's Creation and Handel's Messiah with the Tower Hill Oratorio Choir in New Jersey, soloist in Mozart's Vespere Solemn de Confessore with Christ United Methodist Church in NYC, and featured soloist in various concerts with the SongFest concert series in Malibu, California. Operatic appearances include Marzelline in Fidelio, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Gretel in Hänsel and Gretel, Norina in Don Pasquale, Cosette in Bohemios, Dew Fairy in Hänsel and Gretel, and Bastienne in Bastienne and Bastien. She has performed at notable festivals including the New Jersey Bach Festival, Sunoco Welcome America Festival, and in both the SongFest: Dialogues and Fin de siècle Lieder festivals at Westminster Choir College.
Ms. Browers received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College.
Pianist Liza Stepanova has performed extensively in Europe, recently embarking on a 15-concert tour through Germany and Austria. In the US, she has appeared in Weill and Zankel Recital Halls at Carnegie; Alice Tully Hall, Merkin and Steinway Halls in NYC; Kennedy Center and The Smithsonian in Washington; and live on WQXR New York and WFMT Chicago. Ms. Stepanova has twice been a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra led by James DePreist and Nicholas McGegan, and was invited to the Davos Festival in Switzerland, Salzburg Schlosskonzerte, Music@Menlo, and La Jolla SummerFest. Highlights of the 2010-11 season included a recital and master class at the University of Georgia, Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Sudwestdeutsche Philharmonie, and multimedia performances of Fanny Mendelssohn's hour-long piano cycle "Das Jahr". Winner of the Despy Karlas and Best Performance of American Work Prizes at the 2009 Liszt-Garrison competition, she received top prizes at the Juilliard Concerto, Five Towns, Susan Tajra, Steinway, and Ettlingen competitions, and, with Lysander Piano Trio, the Grand Prize at the 2011 Coleman, 1st Prize at the 2011 Arriaga, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 Fischoff chamber music competitions. Deeply committed to new music, Ms. Stepanova has performed with AXIOM, New Juilliard, and Mimesis ensembles, and worked with composers John Adams, Robert Beaser, John Harbison, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Tobias Picker, and Steve Reich. As a Lied accompanist, she studied with Wolfram Rieger, Margo Garrett and Brian Zeger, and was invited by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to perform in two of his month-long workshops and at the Hugo-Wolf-Tage Festival in Austria. Ms. Stepanova is a co-founder of SongFusion, a NY-based art song ensemble. She performed at the 2010 Cleveland Art Song Festival, the 2011 Castleton Festival, and was on the faculty at the 2011 SongFest at Pepperdine University. Ms. Stepanova studied at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin, and with Seymour Lipkin and Joseph Kalichstein at The Juilliard School, where she is now finishing her DMA and holds several teaching fellowships.
Janinah Burnett, soprano and|
Kevin Miller, piano
Janinah Burnett is a rising star whose talents have allowed her to grace the stages of Broadway, the Metropolitan opera, and many of those in between. An original cast member of Baz Luhrman's hit show La Bohème on Broadway as Mimì, other performances include, Bess in Cape Town Opera's production of Porgy and Bess at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Norina in Don Pasquale with Connecticut Opera, Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Columbus, Mimì in La Boheme with Arizona, Baltimore and Nashville Operas, Micaela with Michigan Opera Theater, and Margru in Amistad at the Spoleto festival in Charleston. She recently covered Musetta in La Bohème, Frasquita in Carmen, and Yvette in La Rondine at the Metropolitan opera and sang Leila in the Pearl Fishers with Syracuse Opera for which she became Artist of the Year at for the 2010-2011 season. Upcoming performances include Susanna in Baltimore Opera's production of Le Nozze de Figaro.
Kevin J. Miller, pianist, is a graduate of University of Michigan where he received his Artistic Diploma and Masters of Music degree in Collaborative Piano with the world renowned Martin Katz. A native of New York City, Mr. Miller completed his Bachelor of Music degree from Mannes College of Music. In July 2010, Mr. Miller collaborated in recital with countertenor David Daniels at the Glimmerglass Opera. In March 2010, Mr. Miller worked with Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall on Laura Karpman's production of Langston Hughes's Ask Your Mama. Mr. Miller made his international solo debut in recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands in June 2008. Mr. Miller's honors include full scholarships to the Aspen Summer Music Festival in 2006, Boston University Tanglewood Institute of Music in 2001 and 2002 and the Bart Pitman Piano Competition Prize.
Two of Mr. Miller's original compositions, Psalm 13 and Psalm 145, were premiered in February 2004 with the Mannes Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with a chorus under the direction of Chantell Wright. In 1997, at the age of thirteen, Mr. Miller was featured in the Lake George Opera Association's performance of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. That summer, the orchestra of Lake George performed a symphony composed by Mr. Miller. From 1993 -- 2002, he attended the Choir Academy of Harlem, the school of the Boys Choir of Harlem, Inc. During this time, Mr. Miller performed in Holland, Israel, Austria, Japan, and throughout the United States, occasionally serving as accompanist. He participated in symphonic works with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was an alto soloist in Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria.
Anne Fuchs, soprano and
Graeme Burgan, piano
Praised for her versatility, soprano Anne Fuchs spent her childhood singing show tunes, folk songs, and opera arias with her father as he accompanied her on accordion and guitar. Her eclectic tastes in music have led her to a diverse career in the classical, crossover, and contemporary genres. Locally, Anne has most recently appeared as the featured soprano in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, as Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, as Maria in Bernstein's West Side Story with the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, and as Miss Silverpeal in the Queens Opera Association's touring production of The Impresario. She is a member of Philadelphia's premier new music ensemble, The Crossing, as well as New Jersey's touring soprano trio, The Three Divas. International credits include a televised production of Così fan tutte with the Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar, Germany, and a sound project entitled Notte Splendida Notte in Rome, Italy, as part of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy. Recognized in 2006 as a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Anne has been nurtured by Metropolitan Opera sopranos Gail Robinson and Sharon Sweet. She is an alumna of the University of Kentucky and Westminster Choir College and furthers her diverse vocal interests with crossover artist Mariann Cook and internationally acclaimed soprano Julianne Baird.
Graeme Burgan is a passionate and versatile pianist working within opera, chamber music, musical theatre, and jazz. He has performed in collaboration with artists Alan Held, Margaret Cusack, Timothy Bentch, Steven Condy, Robin Massie, Nick Parnell, and Samuel Hsu, and at events including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Bundaleer Forest Weekend, and Woodend Winter Arts Festival. Graeme has also appeared at the Melbourne Recital Center, the Resonate Concert Series at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Friday Musicale in Jacksonville, Florida.
As a répétiteur, Graeme has worked with the State Opera of South Australia, University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Westminster Opera Theater where he assisted Daniel Beckwith as chorus master. As a chorister, Graeme has performed with the Adelaide Chamber Singers, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Westminster Symphonic Choir, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, singing under the batons of Carl Crossin, Paul Hillier, Joe Miller, Arvo Volmer, Christoph Eschenbach and Ton Koopman. Graeme is a staff accompanist and vocal coach at Westminster Choir College where he accompanies for the voice studios of Sharon Sweet, Laura Brooks Rice, Sally Wolf, Scott McCoy, Amy Zorn, Carolann Page, Claudia Catania, Katherine Johnson and Nova Thomas.
He is also the director of music at Hilltown Baptist Church and the Hilltown Creative Arts Academy. Piano teachers include Samuel Hsu, James Correnti, Graham Williams, JJ Penna, Daniel Beckwith and Dalton Baldwin.
Laura Strickling, soprano and
Joy Schreier, piano
Laura Strickling has been hailed by The New York Times for her "flexible voice, crystalline diction and warm presence." In 2010-2011, she won the Vocal Arts Society Discovery Competition, Gretchen Hood Memorial Competition, Russell C. Wonderlic Competition, The American Prize in Opera competition, Baltimore Music Club Competition, and the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. She won second prize in the Liederkranz Art Song Competition, third prize in the NATS Artist Awards national competition, and was a finalist in the Washington International Competition and the Joy in Singing competition.
Ms. Strickling's operatic performances include Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Mirena (Mirena e Floro), Mimi (La Boheme), Dinorah (Dinorah), Elvira (L'Italiana in Algeri), Josephine (H.M.S. Pinafore), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Micaëla (Carmen), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte).
Her concert engagements include Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Beethoven's Mass in C, recitals at the American University of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, her Kennedy Center concert debut in Handel's Messiah, her Kennedy Center recital debut, and her Carnegie Hall debut. Ms. Strickling has been a recipient of the Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest at Pepperdine and has appeared as a Resident Artist with the Berkshire Opera.
Future engagements include Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Exsultate Jubilate with the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, D.C., a recital with composer Tom Cipullo at Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City, and her return to Carnegie Hall. A Chicago native, Ms. Strickling holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and from the Moody Bible Institute. She is an avid traveler and recently returned from living in Fez, Morocco, where she studied classical Arabic.
Described by Plácido Domingo as an "orchestra at the piano" and hailed as a pianist who "really has it all - fiery technique and a rich, warm tone," Joy Schreier has been praised by The Washington Post as a "responsive accompanist" and an "ideal support" at the piano. She is credited as "providing much of the evening's musical nuance," "so noteworthy that the room seemed to vibrate from her depth and skill," and "perfection itself...the dream accompanist that a singer hopes to find at some point in one's lifetime."
Schreier has been presented in recital at Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, the White House, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the Cosmos Club, Strathmore Hall, the Embassies of Austria, Russia, Poland, Anderson House on Embassy Row and recital halls throughout the country. Internationally, she has performed in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Currently the Keyboard Artist and Vocal Coach of the Cathedral Choral Society, Schreier has coached for the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and served as official pianist for both the Washington International Voice Competition and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Schreier received her Doctorate in Accompanying and Chamber Music in 2003 at the Eastman School of Music where she was the recipient of the Barbara Koeng Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying. Former teachers include Jean Barr, Ann Schein, and Laurence Morton.
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