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Lehrer Vocal Institute

Opera & Song / Star-Powered Artistry

Ready for a life-changing summer?

The Lehrer Vocal Institute is the leading source to develop artists of impact and prepare them for a 21st century career in opera, art song, chamber music, and more. World-class teaching artists collaborate with and mentor participants to prepare them for performances — from a fully-staged opera and contemporary music performances to competitions and public masterclasses. Abundant training and dynamic opportunities support both the on and off-stage experience.

27 vocal institute fellows & 9 studio artists enrolled per summer

Alum Tivoli Treloar shares her fellow experience.

Training & Performance Opportunities

Bizet's Carmen

Fully staged production conducted by Daniela Candillari and directed by Ken Cazan.

Marilyn Horne Song Competition

Prizes include a $5,000 cash award per winner.

Lessons, Coachings & Public Masterclasses

Study one-on-one with pedagogues from our world-class teaching artist roster.

Chamber & Contemporary Music

Participate in vocal chamber music, contemporary repertoire, and in recital.

Song & Creative Projects

Present a curated program of song led by Lawrence Brownlee and an innovative, semi-staged project with director Mary Birnbaum.

Industry Day

Singers and pianists will be heard by and receive critical feedback from prominent artist managers and casting directors.

Directing Fellowship

Prepare for a career as a stage director. Work as the Assistant Director of Carmen, on Opera Scenes and a Creative Project, and more.

Studio Artists

Up to 8 additional singers and 1 pianist will be invited for a 3-week residency. Sing in the opera chorus, a Festival performance, lessons, coachings, and more.

Additional Opportunities including opera scenes, movement class, career chats, & so much more…

Wellness Program

Resources include exercise, Alexander Technique, counseling, and performance medicine

Community Engagement

Each fellow is matched with community members for social events and more

Innovation Institute

Offering seminars & entrepreneurial competitions

Vocal Institute Teaching Artists

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Sasha Cooke

co-director, Vocal Institute

ABOUT
Alumni
2002
Distinction
The Pat Toppel Artist in Residence
Residency
Festival weeks 4-7

Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” by the New York Times and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” by Opera News. Sasha has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Gran Teatre del Liceu, among others, and with over 80 symphony orchestras worldwide frequently in the works of Mahler. This season marks Sasha’s appointment at the Music Academy as Co-Director of the Lehrer Vocal Institute.

Sasha Cooke opened the 2022-23 season with a return to Houston Grand Opera in her role debut as Thirza in the company’s new production of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers conducted by Patrick Summers. On the concert stage, she performs throughout the U.S. and abroad: in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Wiener Konzerthaus, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Houston Symphony conducted by Juraj Valčuha, Michael Tilson Thomas’ Meditations on Rilke with the New York Philharmonic conducted by the composer, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra alongside Gemma New and Mozart’s Requiem with the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Klaus Mäkelä and later with Nashville Symphony. She debuts with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano and the Utah Symphony in Mendelssohn’s Elijah which she later performs with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of Alan Gilbert. She makes returns to Chicago Symphony for works by Vivaldi, to Philadephia Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah and to Kansas City Symphony for Hindemith’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Special collaborations on the recital stage include Jake Heggie’s Intonations: Songs for the Violins of Hope with Music of Remembrance; recitals with guitarist Jason Vieaux at San Francisco Performances and Round Top Festival; and a recital at Kaufman Music Center, alongside pianist Kirill.

Last season marked the release of Sasha Cooke’s new CD on Pentatone, entitled how do I find you, now nominated for the 65th GRAMMY Awards that will be held in February 2023 as Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. The recording, which features 17 newly written songs by Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Jimmy Lopez, and others, is intended as a tribute to both the struggles and hopes of artists that have been wrought by the pandemic. The album can be listened to on all streaming platforms.

As a dedicated recitalist, Sasha was presented by Young Concert Artists in her widely acclaimed New York and Washington debuts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and the Kennedy Center. She has also appeared in recital at Alice Tully Hall, The Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y. Her recordings can be found on the Hyperion, BIS, Chandos, Pentatone, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels. Most recently she appears on recordings including Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer on Pentatone, Michael Tilson Thomas’ Meditations on Rilke with the San Francisco Symphony with won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium, L’enfance du Christ with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony on Chandos, Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs on Pentatone which won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra on BIS and Sasha Cooke LIVE a collection of her performances from the Music@Menlo chamber music festival released on their label.

A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha also attended the Music Academy, the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs. She has given masterclasses throughout the United States, Australia and Canada. Sasha lives near Houston, Texas with daughters Evelyn and Julia, and husband baritone Kelly Markgraf.

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John Churchwell

co-director, Vocal Institute

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 0-8

One of the leading collaborative pianists of his generation, John Churchwell enjoys a career on the concert stage as well as in the nation’s leading opera houses.

In August 2011, John was named Head of Music for San Francisco Opera. Previously, he was an assistant conductor for both the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera for 14 years. He has assisted on more than 140 productions and has collaborated with some of the world’s leading conductors including James Levine, Nello Santi, Nicola Luisotti, James Conlon, Donald Runnicles, Sir Charles Mackerras, Marco Armiliato, Fabio Luisi, and Eun Sun Kim. John Churchwell has been a Music Academy teaching artist since 2000.

A champion of American music, John was involved in the world premieres of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. In recent seasons, he has prepared the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier, as well as the Philip Glass opera Appomattox, the Stewart Wallace/Amy Tan collaboration The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne, as well as the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West by John Adams, all for San Francisco Opera. From 2005-2008 John was the official accompanist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.

This summer saw John appear in recitals with Renée Fleming, Sasha Cooke, and Susanna Phillips. He has partnered with some of today’s most sought-after vocalists including Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Diana Damrau, Larry Brownlee, Lisette Oropesa, Isabel Leonard, Frederica von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, and Carol Vaness. Recent appearances include San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis, California with tenor Michael Fabiano and the Hollywood Bowl for Prairie Home Companion with soprano Ellie Dehn. In addition to song recitals, John is an active chamber musician and has appeared regularly with members of the Metropolitan and San Francisco’s Opera Orchestras.

A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, John studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and Tufts University where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano and a Bachelor of Arts in French, respectively. He continued his studies at the University of Minnesota where he earned a Master of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Accompanying. John studied song literature at the Banff Centre for the Arts and remains the only pianist to be invited for three summers as a Tanglewood Fellow. He is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program.

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Mary Birnbaum

creative project director

ABOUT

Mary Birnbaum, whose stage direction of opera and theatre New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini called “viscerally overwhelming” (Rape of Lucretia at Juilliard) and “genuinely insightful…vibrant” (The Classical Style at Carnegie Hall), works both internationally, from Taiwan (Otello) to Central America (L’elisir d’amore and La bohème at the National Theatre of Costa Rica and Querido Arte in Guatemala), Australia and Israel, and across the U.S. (Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Opera Columbus, Virginia Arts Festival (Kept), Ojai Festival, Boston Baroque).

Birnbaum’s 2020-21 season included productions of Das Rheingold at Virginia Opera, L’Orfeo (Rossi) at The Juilliard School, In a Grove (Cerrone/Fleischmann) at Pittsburgh Opera, and The Sound of Music at the Virginia Arts Festival. Her production of La bohème opened the season at the Santa Fe Opera in 2019, the first new female-led production at the company since 1997.

Birnbaum’s production of Dido and Aeneas played Opera Holland Park in London and Opera de Versailles. In Opera Magazine, George Loomis wrote that Mary Birnbaum’s “thoughtful direction [of Eugene Onegin at Juilliard] was rich with imaginative touches” and the Houston Press termed her Hansel and Gretel a “stunner, perhaps the company’s most perfect realization. [The Company] has found a director of real quality in Mary Birnbaum.”

Currently Associate Director of the post-graduate Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program at Juilliard, Mary has taught acting for singers at Bard College and in the Lindemann Young Artists Program at the Metropolitan Opera. A graduate of Harvard College, Mary also trained professionally in physical theater at L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

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Lawrence Brownlee

Mosher guest artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival week 6

American-born tenor Lawrence Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world, and has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” (The New York Times), “one of the world’s leading bel canto stars” (The Guardian), and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR). Mr. Brownlee was named 2017 “Male Singer of the Year” by the International Opera Awards, and also serves as Artistic Advisor at Opera Philadelphia, helping the company to expand their repertoire, diversity efforts and community initiatives.

In the 22-23 season, Brownlee performed a program with Rossini expert Michael Spyres titled “Amici e Rivali” at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées in January 2023, in addition to the premiere of “Rising” featuring commissioned songs by composers Shawn Okpebholo, Damien Sneed, Joel Thompson, and others with texts drawn from Black writers of the Harlem Renaissance. He made his role debut as Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello as part of Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O22, and returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for the title role of Le comte Ory, and as Elvino in Bellini’s La Sonnambula at Teatro Real in Madrid. Brownlee also performed one of his signature Rossini roles as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Tamino in a new production of Die Zauberflöte.

In spring 2021, Brownlee joined The Juilliard School as a Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member. He serves as artistic advisor for Opera Philadelphia, where his responsibilities include increasing and expanding audience diversity, advocating for new works, and liaising with the General Director from the perspective of a performing artist. “As an artist, I think it is important that we are actively advocating for this beautiful art form we love so much,” said Brownlee, “ensuring that it will be alive and well for many years to come.” Mr. Brownlee also serves as an Ambassador for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited, and is an Ambassador for Opera for Peace.

Mr. Brownlee has performed with nearly every major orchestra in the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, and the festivals of Salzburg and Baden Baden.

In addition, Mr. Brownlee has appeared on the stages of the top opera companies around the globe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, Royal Opera House - Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra national de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, and Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie. Broadcasts of his operas and concerts—including his 2014 Bastille Day performance in Paris, attended by the French President and Prime Minister—have been enjoyed by millions.

Mr. Brownlee’s album Allegro Io Son, received a Critic’s Choice from Opera News, among numerous other accolades, and followed his previous Grammy-nominated release on Delos Records, Virtuoso Rossini Arias, which prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to ask “is there a finer Rossini tenor than Lawrence Brownlee?” His opera and concert recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and Carmina Burana with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He also released a disc of African-American spirituals entitled Spiritual Sketches with pianist Damien Sneed.

Mr. Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums, and piano at his family’s church in Youngstown, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went onto win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Alongside his singing career, Brownlee is an avid salsa dancer and an accomplished photographer, specializing in artist portraits of his on-stage colleagues. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State football fan, Brownlee has sung the National Anthem at numerous NFL games. He is a champion for autism awareness through the organization Autism Speaks, and he is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc., a historically black fraternity committed to social action and empowerment.

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Daniela Candillari

principal opera conductor

ABOUT

Conductor Daniela Candillari continues to garner praise for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Recognized for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times) and “powerful and breathtaking performances” (Review STL), Candillari enters her second season as both Principal Conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Principal Opera Conductor at Music Academy.

In the 2022-23 season, Candillari conducts the New York Philharmonic and Yo-Yo Ma, American Composers Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street at Carnegie Hall, Orchestre Métropolitain Montreal, the Symphonic Orchestra of Slovenian National Theater in Maribor, Toledo Symphony, the world premiere of Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann’s Arkhipov at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin’s concert version of Lakmé, New Orleans Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera’s Gala concert version of Aida, and Music Academy’s La bohème.

Last season, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Aucoin’s Eurydice; led Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Detroit Opera; Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones at Lyric Opera of Chicago; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Carmen; the North American premiere of Caroline Shaw, Andrew Yee, and Asma Maroof’s Moby Dick; or The Whale at The Shed with members of the New York Philharmonic; Music Academy’s Eugene Onegin; the 2021 made-for-film world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera; and the 2022 film of Ana Sokolović’s Svadba with Boston Lyric Opera. As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Met Opera, and New York City Ballet Orchestras.

Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate from the Universität für Musik in Vienna; a MM from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; and a MM and Bachelor’s degree from the Universität für Musik in Graz.

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César Cañón

principal coach, studio artists

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 3-6

Equally devoted to instrumental chamber music as he is to art song and operatic repertoire, César Cañón alternates his activity as a pianist with vocal coaching, teaching and conducting. He has performed in his native Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Norway and across the United States. His concert appearances include the Kennedy Center, the Norwegian National Opera, Detroit Symphony, and San Francisco Opera’s Taube Atrium Theatre at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera. He has been a guest performer and lecturer at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Emory University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of Texas at Austin, Universidad Central de Colombia, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Cañón is an alum of the Aspen Opera Theatre Center and the Merola Opera Program. He has also been a vocal coach and repetiteur for the Ad Astra Music Festival; assistant conductor and pianist for Opera de Colombia, the Bogota philharmonic, Teatro Colón de Bogotá and Festival Amazonas de Opera in Manaus, Brazil. Cañón was an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera in 2018 and 2019. As a fellow, he was featured in the Schwabacher recital series, in which he performed Johannes Brahms’ Die Schöne Magelone alongside baritone Christian Pursell and soprano Felicia Moore. In the summer of 2019, he conducted Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera with Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy. While in San Francisco, Cañón worked with several Bay Area cultural institutions. He was music director for productions of Pocket Opera in their 2019 and 2020 seasons, pianist for the 2019 and 2022 James Toland Vocal Competition, and rehearsal pianist in selected projects with the San Francisco Symphony and Opera Parallèle. In 2021 he was awarded a Bayreuther Festspiele Stipendiat by the Wagner Society of Northern California, allowing him to attend the prestigious festival in Bayreuth. As a staff pianist, Coach and conductor for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he closely collaborated with mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade.

Cañón holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and a Master of Music and Doctorate in Collaborative Piano from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz. He is currently part of the music staff of the San Francisco Opera and the Norwegian National Opera, where he works as staff conductor, repetiteur and assistant chorus master.

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Ken Cazan

opera director

ABOUT

Ken Cazan has directed over 180 international productions of operas, musical theatre and plays. He is also a librettist for opera, and has written the book and lyrics for the musical Prodigy. He is currently collaborating on two other musicals with composers Billy Pace and Patrice Rushen. Most recently, he directed the musicals Carousel and The Light in the Piazza for the Central City Opera. In the spring of 2022, Cazan directed the world premiere of All the Truths We Cannot See for the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. He subsequently directed the American premiere as well, which was a collaboration between the Sibelius Academy and the USC Thornton School of Music.

He directed the world premiere of Thomas Morse’s opera Frau Schindler for the Gärtnerplatz Theatre in Munich, for which he also served as librettist along with Morse. Other world premieres include the Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed opera AS ONE for American Opera Projects and the BAM Festival in 2014, and the Lieberman/McClatchy collaboration, Miss Lonelyhearts which was commissioned by the Juilliard School for their 100th anniversary and was a co-production with the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the USC Thornton School of Music.

Cazan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University in 1979. Before that he attended Kent State University Stark County Campus from whom he has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Outside of opera, he has directed plays and musicals for various theatre companies across America and in Europe. In Norway, he directed West Side Story for the inauguration of the spectacular, new Kilden Theatre in Kristiansand. In Venice, Italy, he directed a production of the Gershwins’ Lady be Good for the venerated Teatro la Fenice which marked the first time an Italian opera-theatre company had created an original production of an American musical. He is also well known for directing musicals for opera companies, everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim. Additionally, Cazan conceived of and wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical titled Prodigy in collaboration with pop composer Billy Pace. Prodigy is the story of the professional life and death of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the great 1980s African-American fine artist. Combining hip-hop, pop, Latino music, and ballads, Prodigy received two successful staged readings with the Los Angeles Festival of New American Musicals.

Ken Cazan is a full Professor, Resident Stage Director, and the Chair of Vocal Arts and Opera at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for whom he has worked since 2004. At USC, he has been awarded both “Excellence in Teaching” and “Excellence in Service” awards. He has taught masterclasses and acting for the Metropolitan Opera and Central City Opera Young Artist Programs, the Chautauqua Opera, and at Indiana University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and CalState University Long Beach. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Classical Division of the Orange County High School of the Arts.

In 2017, Cazan was inducted into the Grove Dictionary of Music. It was the first time in 25 years that the esteemed musical dictionary had been edited. The dictionary cited Ken Cazan as an expert in the works of Benjamin Britten and praised his skill in working with singer-actors on characters and relationships.

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Margo Garrett

teaching artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 5-8

Margo Garrett has enjoyed a long and respected career as an internationally performing collaborative pianist. Her relationships with many of the most noted singers and instrumentalists before the public today include long partnerships on the stage as well as in the recording studio with sopranos Kathleen Battle, Barbara Bonney, Elizabeth Futral, the late Judith Raskin, Lucy Shelton, and Dawn Upshaw.  With these and a number of leading instrumentalists and chamber music groups, including violinists Jaime Laredo, and Daniel Phillips, cellists Sharon Robinson, the late Stephen Kates, and clarinetist David Shifrin, Ms. Garrett has premiered over 35 works. Her recordings can be found on Albany, CRI, Delos, Deutsche Grammophon (1992 Grammy for Best Vocal Recital), Delos, Dorian, Musical Heritage Society, Nonesuch, Orion and Sony Classical. Her 2018 Delos release of the works of Ernest Bloch with violist Paul Neubauer, at this writing, is nominated for an International Classical Music Award.

A devoted teacher, Ms. Garrett co-directed the newly created Collaborative Piano Department at New England Conservatory from 1986 to 1992 while simultaneously heading the Collaborative Piano department at The Juilliard School from 1985 to 1991 at which time she became the first holder of the Ethel Alice Hitchcock Chair in Accompanying and Vocal Coaching at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music, the first privately endowed collaborative chair in the US. She returned, in 2000, to The Juilliard School where she remained until May, 2018. Ms. Garrett directed the Tanglewood Music Center vocal fellowship program for the last 6 of her 19 years there (1979-1997) and has now returned since 2016 to again teach in the TMC Vocal Program. Ms. Garrett was awarded the 1989 American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) Most Creative Programming Award for her curation of programs for the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival, where she was Co-Director with her mentor, Samuel Sanders, during her early Tanglewood years. From 1999 through 2006, Ms. Garrett served as Faculty Chair of The Steans Institute for Young Artist’s vocal programs at Chicago Symphony’s Ravinia Festival.

Ms. Garrett has held residencies at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany; at Vancouver International Song Institute; Taiwan Normal Teacher’s University; Soochou University in Suzhou, China; Music Academy of the West (2015); Internationale Meistersinger Akademie (IMA) in Neumarkt, Germany; presented a master class at Carnegie Hall/Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues…” in 2018, was a member of the jury of the 15th International Schumann Vocal Competition in Zwickau, Germany, repeatedly at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and Joy in Singing, both in New York, and at dozens of American schools of music.

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Manuel Gutierrez

teaching artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 2-3

The blood of Córdoba: Manuel was born in Montpellier, France, but in his veins, the blood flowing is that of Córdoba. Flamenco would enter his life the day he was born given that it has been a family tradition for years & a lifestyle. By the age of 8, Manuel would win his first flamenco dance award.

Profound and charismatic: On stage he demonstrates his tremendous rhythmic formations, vigorosity & sensible way of dancing. Manuel began his successful career in the best spanish tablaos such as, Casa Patas, Palacio del Flamenco & Cordobes. He continues to tour the most prestigious stages with artists such as Juan Carmona, Chispa Negra, Chicuelo, Esperanza Fernández, Duquende. He would also collaborate with Luis Winsberg, Qawwali Flamenco, Kevan Chemerani, Eric Fernández & Souad Masse. His love for music doesn’t end with dancing, Manuel’s other artistic talents include composing, singing & percussion.

Dancer, choreographer & instructor: Manuel’s lead performances never go unrecognized. His solo acts in spectacles such as “Romancero Gitano” & “Barrio Flamenco” are brilliant. He has contributed to the choreography of these & many other shows around the world both on stage & television. One work that he is most proud of is his first creation dedicated to his father “El Emigrante”, a moving tribute to Spanish immigrants in the post-war period. His work included a 5 year running piece “Flamenka”, with much success in both London & Paris, as both lead dancer & choreographer. Manuel has been privileged to teach in the best studios in Paris, including of having the honor to teach at L’Opéra de Paris. Manuel’s passion is infinity for the art that makes him a fearless artist.
The Telegraph in London called his work “Fiery.” Danse Magazine nicknamed him, “The Young Flamenco Prince.” Figarro Newspaper raved “The dance is strong, voluptuous, and spectacular... a profound type of Flamenco and incredibly explosive.”

Manuel also had the opportunity to be performing with LA Opera as principal and captain dancer on productions like, “Carmen”, “Barbier de Seville”, “El Gato Montes”.
Artistic Director: Manuel has contributed his time as Artistic Director for the charitable “The Global Gift Gala" which works alongside actress, producer and philanthropist Eva Longoria in benefit of Eva Longoria Foundation, Ricky Martin Foundation, Global Gift Foundation and many more.

Currently residing in Los Angeles, Manuel is a very established prolific choreographer and Artistic director throughout the U.S., having created productions like, “KOMPAZ”, “FIVE” and recently “NAVIDAD FLAMENCA” a flamenco musical strorytelling of Christmas in Spain featuring Carmen Ledesma, Maria Juncal, Laura Santos, Jose Cortes, Andres Vadin And Diego Alvarez “El Negro”.
Manuel now leads “Flamenco District” a platform all about flamenco in the City of Angels.

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Kirill Kuzmin

teaching artist

ABOUT

Kirill Kuzmin is a Grammy-nominated collaborative pianist and vocal coach. He is currently Principal Coach at Houston Grand Opera. In the summer of 2023, he also joined Wolf Trap Opera and Aspen Music Festival.

Recital appearances included San Francisco Symphony and War Memorial Opera House, Opera America in New York, Balliol College in Oxford, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A Russian native, Mr. Kuzmin spent three years with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. While in Moscow, he also served as pianist and coach for a number of operatic undertakings by the acclaimed Moscow Philharmonic.

Mr. Kuzmin holds degrees in piano performance from the Moscow Conservatory and in collaborative piano from the Moscow Conservatory and the University of Michigan, where he studied with renowned collaborative pianist Martin Katz.

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William Long

conductor (L'Enfant), assistant conductor & chorusmaster (Carmen)

ABOUT

London-based conductor William Long continues to showcase his “masterful command of challenging, multi-stylistic works” (Opera News) with some of the world’s premier musical institutions. Recent highlights include his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra at The Barbican, conducting Washington National Opera’s production of Carmen and the world premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones with Opera Theater Saint Louis and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

This upcoming season, Long returns to The Metropolitan Opera to cover Terence Blanchard’s Champion, San Francisco Opera for the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra and concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra & Chorus, and Washington National Opera for La bohème. Long will also continue his relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra as a Cover Conductor where he has assisted in a wide variety of programs since 2020, working with Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, and John Wilson. He also continues his posts at the prestigious Music Academy in Santa Barbara, California.

Long’s previous work has included appearances as Cover Conductor at the Kennedy Center for productions of Eugene Onegin, Candide, and the world premieres of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up and Terence Blanchard’s Champion. A native of California, he has worked extensively with San Francisco Opera as Assistant Conductor on productions of Arabella, Hänsel und Gretel, Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and with Los Angeles Opera as Cover Conductor for Gordon Getty’s Usher House and The Canterville Ghost.

From 2013-2018 Long served as Assistant Conductor at San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, where he prepared productions of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and At the Statue of Venus, Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness, and Philip Glass’ Les enfants terribles, among other projects.

Long holds a B.A. in Piano Performance and an M.A. in Conducting from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied with Maria Ezerova and Nicole Paiement. He also studied with Harold Farberman at the Conductor’s Institute at Bard College and Vance George at Westminster Choir College.

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Mario Antonio Marra

teaching artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 1-2
Alumni
2013, 2014

Sought after pianist, coach, and conductor, Mario Antonio Marra currently serves as the Head of Music at Minnesota Opera where he also stewards the development of the company's Resident Artists. He has served on the music staff at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and Oper Frankfurt among others. Recent conducting credits include Minnesota Opera’s production of Don Giovanni and Season Preview Gala. Passionate in his work nurturing and coaching the next generation of singers, Mario has served on the faculties of numerous summer training programs including the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco where he returns for his third summer in 2024.

An active recitalist, he has recently performed with many of today's most sought after singers including Željko Lučić, Eric Owens, Quinn Kelsey, Ramón Vargas, and Stephanie Blythe. He has been presented at prestigious venues internationally, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, Oper Frankfurt, and the Civic Opera House in Chicago.

Lauded by the legendary Marilyn Horne for his "superb technique," Marra was a winner of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition at Music Academy where he was a fellow in 2023 and 2014, along with the critically acclaimed young baritone John Brancy. He is a graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center young artist program at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His mentors and teachers include Norma Verrilli, Marilyn Nonken, and Warren Jones.

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William McGraw

teaching artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 5-7

William McGraw, baritone, retired from CCM in May of 2021 after a 35-year tenure as Professor of Voice. McGraw studied voice with the renowned Wagnerian soprano Margaret Harshaw and began his professional singing career under the care of the inestimable Boris Goldovsky. McGraw’s operatic roles include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La bohéme, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Germont in La Traviata, Konrad Nachtigall in Die Meistersinger, Marco in Gianni Schicchi, and John Proctor in The Crucible. McGraw has performed with opera companies including Boston Opera (with the late Sarah Caldwell), Goldovsky Opera on Tour, Greater Miami Opera (now Florida Grand Opera), Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Maracaibo, Venezuela Opera, Shreveport Opera, and Kentucky Opera.

Professor McGraw has had the good fortune of sharing the solo stage with internationally acclaimed artists soprano Deborah Voigt, tenor Ben Heppner, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe at Cincinnati’s May Festival, under the baton of maestro James Conlon. In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Professor McGraw taught at the CCM Spoleto Music Festival in Spoleto, Italy. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, Professor McGraw taught at Opera On The Avalon under the direction of Cheryl Hickman in St. John’s, Newfoundland. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Professor McGraw teaches in the wonderfully unique art song festival, SongFest, which features influential living composers of song as well as high visibility coaches of art song and is the creation of Rosemary Hyler Ritter. In May of 2024, Mr. McGraw will join the faculty of Fellowship of the Song founded by Samuel Martin in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Professor McGraw was a CCM faculty member from 1986-2021, and many of his former students have gone on to successful careers in the performing arts. Additionally, his current and former students have performed in the major opera houses of Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Paris, Mannheim, Freiburg, Salzburg, San Francisco, Houston, Indianapolis, Santa Fe, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cincinnati. Students have also performed in numerous young artist programs such as those of Cincinnati Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Des Moines, Central City, Chautauqua, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass, Houston Grand Opera, Merola, Music Academy with Marilyn Horne, Florida Grand, and Chicago Lyric Opera. Professor McGraw is proud to have students teaching in leading universities and colleges in the United States.

Professor McGraw has been named Omicron Delta Kappa Man of Merit by Baylor University in recognition of outstanding accomplishments.

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Patricia Kristof Moy

diction coach

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 1-2

Patricia Kristof Moy was born and raised in Paris, France, and educated in Romance Languages and Literatures at Princeton University and New York University. Based in San Francisco, she has been the French Language and Diction Coach of the San Francisco Opera and a member of the Merola Opera Program faculty since the early 1980s. She has also coached productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Parallèle, and a number of regional companies in the United States. She teaches privately in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Patricia maintains a parallel career as an arts administrator and concert presenter, and in this capacity, has served as Assistant Company Administrator of the San Francisco Opera, Administrator of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Executive Director & Producer of the Stern Grove Midsummer Music Festival, and since 2005, Executive/Artistic Director of Music at Kohl Mansion, an international chamber concert series, and music education program in San Mateo County, California.

Moy has coached French, Spanish, Hungarian, and Italian diction for singers. She loves working with young artists and is especially interested in exploring relationships between text, story, character, style, historical context, and music.

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Nils Neubert

diction coach

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 5-7

Tenor Nils Neubert was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, and maintains careers as a performer, coach, educator, scholar, and administrator in the United States and abroad. He is a sought-after interpreter of song, oratorio, opera, and chamber music, and has appeared as a soloist and small ensemble singer throughout North America and Europe.

Nils Neubert teaches German diction and repertoire at the Manhattan School of Music (since 2015) and The Juilliard School (since 2013) and has served frequently as language coach at the Music Academy since 2016. He joined the Glimmerglass Festival and the Wolf Trap Opera Company in that same capacity during 2020 and 2022, respectively, as well as the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera in 2022, where he also began teaching for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 2023. Previously, he taught at the Mannes School of Music (2014–2022), William Paterson University (2010–2016), Kaufman Music Center, and the Music Conservatory of Westchester, as well as the Summit Music Festival and Potomac Vocal Institute (USA), the International Academy of Music (Italy), and the Puigcerdà and Burgos International Music Festivals (Spain). He has done German and Latin language preparation for soloists, opera and choral ensembles, conductors, actors, and record producers/engineers, and has led master classes, workshops, and residencies across the United States, as well as in Europe and Canada. In 2023, he helped prepare performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Musica Sacra and the New York Philharmonic.

Publications as author or contributor include chapters, articles, translations, reviews, liner notes, and educational sound materials in the fields of musicology, music education, language diction, voice pedagogy, musical performance/interpretation/analysis, and exile studies with Bärenreiter, Brill, Henle, Nimbus Records, Oxford University Press, Rowman & Littlefield, the Journal of Singing, the Papers of the International Concertina AssociationMusic Education Research, and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal. His dissertation on the song composer Max Kowalski (1882–1956) was nominated for the Barry S. Brook Award. He can be heard on Voices in the Wilderness: Music of the Ephrata Cloister (Christopher Dylan Herbert [dir./prod.], Bright Shiny Things, 2020).

As of the 2023–24 academic year, Nils Neubert holds a full-time appointment in Vocal Arts at the Manhattan School of Music. He is also the current president of NATS-NYC (2022–2024) and has served on the University Faculty Senate at the New School (2017–2020).

Nils Neubert holds degrees from The Juilliard School (BM), Teachers College, Columbia University (MA), and the CUNY Graduate Center (DMA). He also trained at the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum, Bel Canto at Caramoor, the Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci, the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the FernUniversität Hagen, and the Harvard Extension School, and is an alumnus of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. He is a student of Dr. Robert C. White, Jr., and resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yuri Kim.

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Nino Sanikidze

teaching artist

ABOUT
Distinction
The Barbara and Ray Robins Chair in Vocal Piano, in memory of Ray Robins
Alumni
2001, 2002
Residency
Festival weeks 2-5

Georgian pianist Nino Sanikidze has held the position of a Head Coach for the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera since the program’s inception in 2006. In addition, she works closely with LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon as a pianist and a prompter for mainstage productions.

Outside of LA Opera, she has been engaged with such companies as Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Royal Opera House Muscat, Teatro Municipal di Santiago, Washington National Opera, Bard Summerscape, Cleveland Opera, and Wichita Grand Opera. A frequent collaborator with the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, her notable concert appearances include a recital with tenor Marcelo Alvarez and a recital with mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca. In addition she has performed in a recital with world-renown guitarist Angel Romero at Palm Springs Life Festival.

Since 2008 she has been an official pianist for Placido Domingo’s World Opera Competition Operalia.  In this capacity she has performed on the illustrious stages of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Royal Opera House in London, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Grand Théâtre de Québec, among others.

Dr. Sanikidze serves on a judging panels of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Richard Tucker Music Foundations Study and Career Grant Auditions, Marcela Sembrich International Voice Competition, Classical Singer Convention, Music Center Spotlight Awards, and Center Stage Opera Competition. A sought-after clinician, she has been a principal guest coach for the USC Thornton School of Music and has conducted masterclasses at Chapman Conservatory, Opera Santa Barbara, University of Kansas, Songfest, Music Center Spotlight, and YoungArts Los Angeles.

Ms. Sanikidze is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is an alumna of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera, as well as the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Opera Center, Cleveland Art Song Festival, and SongFest. She has served on the faculty of prestigious Vocal Institute at the Music Academy of the West since 2014.

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Tamar Sanikidze

head of vocal piano

ABOUT
Alumni
2005, 2006, 2007
Residency
Festival weeks 0-8

“Technically nimble and supportive pianist” (New York Times), “Accompanist with wondrous tact and virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle), “Vigorous and versatile” (Washington Post) and “Extraordinarily sensitive collaborative synch throughout the evening” (VOICE Magazine) Tamara Sanikidze gave her first performance with the Georgian Symphony Orchestra at age eight and has since appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout the Republic of Georgia, Russia, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Since 2009, in capacity of an official pianist for Plácido Domingo’s annual World Opera Competition “Operalia” Dr. Sanikidze has performed in such renown opera houses as Hungarian State Opera house in Budapest, La Scala in Milano, Galina Vishnevskaya's Opera Centre in Moscow, Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Royal Opera house in London, Dorothy Chandler Auditorium in Los Angeles, Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, São Carlos in Lisbon, and National Theater in Prague.

As a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying she has performed regularly in the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s “The Song Continues…” and “On the Wings of Song”. Active Song Recitalist she has partnered with such luminaries as Thomas Hampson, Nino Machaidze, Isabel Leonard, Quinn Kelsey, Marjorie Owens, Elizabeth Futral, Nicole Cabell, Leah Crocetto, Nadine Sierra and Amanda Majeski in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and other prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. By the special invitation, she has traveled to Beijing, China to perform with Mo. Plácido Domingo and also has performed at the White House for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
In May 2019 Sanikidze joined the much acclaimed Camerata Pacifica ensemble for a concert tour throughout South California.

Between 2007- 2012 Ms. Sanikidze was a Young Artist Coach at the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera and an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, where she served as an Assistant Conductor and Coach for productions of Don Giovanni (Mo. Plácido Domingo), Rigoletto (Mo. Giovanni Reggioli), Hansel and Gretel (Mo. Steven Gathman), La Traviata (Mo. Plácido Domingo and Mo. Dan Ettinger), Carmen (Mo. Julius Rudel), Turandot(Mo. Keri-Lynn Wilson), Falstaff (Mo. Sebastian Lang-Lessing), La fanciulla del West (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), Aida (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), The Makropulos case (Mo. Jiří Bělohlávek), Die Walküre (Mo. Donald Runnicles), Carmen (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), and Xerxes (Mo. Patrick Summers).

Upon finishing the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program, Sanikidze joined the Music Staff at both San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera where she works closely with Mo. Plácido Domingo, Mo. James Conlon and Mo. Nicola Luisotti. In the capacity of a Pianist, Prompter, Coach and an Assistant Conductor she has prepared and performed a wide range of operatic repertoire, including Simon Boccanegra starring Plácido Domingo, Tosca, Der fliegende Holländer, La Cenerentola, Falstaff, Evgeny Onegin, Die Zauberflöte, Billy Budd, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Un ballo in maschera, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Aida, Turandot, Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Rusalka, and Manon Lescaut.

Ms. Sanikidze is a prize-winner of numerous national and international piano competitions. She has received top scholarships, including a personal scholarship from the former president of the Republic of Georgia Edward Schevardnadze. She has also received the Vocal Piano Fellowship Award from the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and participated in summer programs at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, SongFest, Cleveland Art Song Festival and Aspen Music Festival. She has made several recordings for the Excelsior label and her performances have been broadcast on NPR, as well as Georgian and Russian National Television and Radio.

Sought after for her coaching skills and extensive experience, Ms. Sanikidze has been invited to work with young singers at the Merola Opera Program, Wolf Trap Opera Center, and the Young Artist Programs both at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.

In 2015 Tamara joined faculty of Butler School of Music at University of Texas, Austin and Music Academy of the West.  In January 2019 Ms. Sanikidze became Director of Butler Opera Center.

Tamara Sanikidze holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Bill Schuman

teaching artist

ABOUT
Residency
Festival weeks 1-3

Bill Schuman is internationally celebrated as one of the world’s leading teachers of singing. His students represent some of the most important names in the music world.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Mr. Schuman began his vocal studies under B. Gibner King, the coach of such Met luminaries as Ezio Pinza and Margaret Harshaw. Following his studies with Margaret Woodward at Brigham Young University and with Rita Streich at the Conservatory of Music in Vienna, he became a protégé of the famed vocal pedagogue, Luisa Franceschi Verna, herself the teacher of Zinka Milanov, among others. He finished his studies in New York, studying Italian style and repertory with Rita Saponaro Patanè.

Since beginning his teaching career, Mr. Schuman’s success has been completely unique in the opera world. His operatic students are not only major stars in the great opera houses around the world, but they have won an unprecedented number of international vocal competitions and awards. For four years in a row, his students were honored with the Richard Tucker Award, America’s most prestigious award for opera singers. Three of his students were also consecutively bestowed the Beverly Sills Award.

Over the years, Mr. Schuman has also maintained his work with non-classical singers, where his students have included some of the biggest stars from the Broadway, film, TV and popular music worlds and have included numerous Tony, Grammy and Emmy award winners and Academy Award nominees.

Mr. Schuman has been associated with the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Program, the Curtis Institute of Music and was personally invited by Placido Domingo to be one of the inaugural teachers at the Washington Opera Young Artist Program. Since 1989, Mr. Schuman has been on the faculty of the Academy  of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where he has exclusively based his academic career.

Mr. Schuman is in demand worldwide for master classes and lectures. He has been featured in numerous articles and books on the art of singing and has been the subject of articles in various publications including Opera News and the Wall Street Journal. In 2008, Mr. Schuman was honored by the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, becoming the youngest voice teacher to ever receive their coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

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Maureen Zoltek

teaching artist

ABOUT
Alumni
2010, 2012
Residency
Festival weeks 5-8

Collaborative pianist Maureen Zoltek enjoys a diverse career working with leading vocalists, instrumentalists, orchestras, and opera companies across the United States.

Dr. Zoltek currently serves as the Music Director of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. She was previouly an assistant conductor, vocal coach, and orchestral keyboardist on the staff of San Francisco Opera and as a member of the Vocal Institute Faculty at the Music Academy of the West. Her 2020-21 scheduled engagements (pre-Covid cancellations) included a return to San Francisco Opera for productions of ErnaniRigolettoThe Handmaid’s Tale, and Der Zwerg, to Opera Omaha for Eugene Onegin, and to the Music Academy of the West for Ellen Reid’s Odysseus Cycle and Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles. An active proponent of new music, she recently served on the music staff for the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, and John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, as well as the west coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

Dr. Zoltek is a graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and has collaborated with the Lyric Opera of Chicago on several productions, including La clemenza di TitoToscaIdomeneo, and the world premiere workshop of Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz’s Bel Canto. At the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis she served as music staff, pre-concert lecturer, and keyboardist for Puccini’s La rondine, as well as a coach for Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. Dr. Zoltek has also been an assistant conductor at Canadian Opera Company (Elektra) and Opera Omaha (Les enfants terribles, Die Enfürung aus dem Serail).

As an orchestral keyboardist, Dr. Zoltek has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with major conductors including Boulez, Salonen, Conlon, Dudamel, Gilbert, and Gergiev, in addition to premiering works by composers-in-residence of the CSO Augusta Read Thomas and Marc Anthony Turnage. She has appeared with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Chicago’s Latino Music Festival, and at the 2010 Fischoff Competition, in which she was a semi-finalist.

Dr. Zoltek attended both the Aspen Music Festival and School (2009) and Music Academy of the West (2010, 2012). During her second summer as a fellow at the Music Academy, she won first prize in the pianist division of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Her association with Marilyn Horne also includes participation in the legendary mezzo-soprano’s series “The Song Continues” (2011, 2012), with performances and masterclasses held through Carnegie Hall’s “Marilyn Horne Legacy” program. Among the other star performers with whom Zoltek has recently collaborated are mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, soprano Patricia Racette, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and Welsh singer-songwriter Katherine Jenkins. Ms. Zoltek is also featured alongside mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in Nicole Miller’s new commission and installation, “To the Stars,” a multi-sensory work that weaves together film, sound, and laser light at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Phyllis Wattis Theater.

Dr. Zoltek completed her D.M.A. degree at the Manhattan School of Music, and holds a master’s degree in piano performance and musicology from Roosevelt University in addition to a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from DePaul University. Her teachers include Mary Sauer and Warren Jones. When she is not in rehearsal, Zoltek enjoys true crime podcasts, baking various and sundry desserts, and going out and about with her standard poodle and travel companion, Henry.

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Application Form, Audition Process & Repertoire Requirements

October 15, 2023: applications now closed

Pre-Screening Round followed by Invitation-Only Live Final Round

Visit the Application Link for detailed audition repertoire requirements.

VOICE and VOCAL PIANO AUDITIONS
Prescreening Round results released in early-November. Once advanced to the Final Round, applicants will select their audition time on one of the following days. Schedule is first come, first served:

LIVE FINAL ROUND

HOUSTON, TX:

  • Nov 16-18
    • Nov 16 voice only
    • Nov 17 voice & vocal piano
    • Nov 18 voice & vocal piano

NEW YORK CITY, NY:

  • Dec 6-8

DIRECTING FELLOW SELECTION PROCESS
Pre-screening Round followed by Invitation-Only Virtual Interview Round. Prescreening Round results released by early-November. Final Round Interviews will take place in late November (dates TBD).

The Music Academy does not require proof of COVID vaccination.

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