Mitchell Piper, Founding Executive Director – Mitchell Piper has had an extensive career in the music industry ranging from performing artist, to music producer, artist manager, and business executive. As the Executive Director of Music Academy International Mitchell oversees the Trentino Music Festival, the leading Young Artist Training & Performance Program in Europe, and Piper Artists Management, one of the preeminent artist management firms in the world today. As the director of Piper Artists, he provides world-wide representation to a select group of classical singers, conductors, and stage directors that are regularly engaged by international opera, and concert halls including; the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Scala, Berlin Staatsoper, National Opera de Paris, Grand Théâtre de Genèva, San Francisco Opera, Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall.
As a singer, Mitchell made his professional debut as Tamino with the Connecticut Opera in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the age of 26. He has appeared in leading roles in Carmen, Faust, Manon, Samson & Delilah, Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Freischütz, Fidelio, Turandot, Don Carlos, I Pagliacci, and Salome in both the US and Europe. A strong aspirant of modern opera, he had the privilege to sing the role of Sam in Susannah in several productions with composer Carlisle Floyd. He performed extensively in concert with such noted conductors as Robert Shaw, Yehudi Menuhin, Robert Wagner, John Aldis, Maurice Peress, and Michael Palmer with the Kansas City Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic. New York appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, under the baton of Sir Yehudi Menuhin at Avery Fisher Hall, Mozart’s Missa Brevis, in association with the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center, Beethoven’s Misa Solemnis, and Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Robert Shaw.
His far-reaching accomplishments have positively influenced the careers of young performers for over two decades, both in the US, Central Europe, and Asia. He has presented master classes and workshops for young artist development programs at the Washington National Opera, Virginia Opera, Connecticut Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, New York University, Montclair State University, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, and The Hartt School. Young professionals from the programs he developed for Music Academy International have gone on to perform in regional opera houses in the US and Europe, at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway and West End London. They have placed in the finals of the McCalister Awards, Loren L. Zachary Competition, Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards, and have participated in Young Artist Programs with the Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan, Chautauqua Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.
Mitchell received his BM from Kansas State University, his MM from Wichita State University, an AD in opera performance from The Hartt School, and did post graduate work at Indiana University, where he studied with such legendary artists as Margaret Harshaw, James King and Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. He was a fellowship recipient from the State of Baaden Würtenberg, where he studied German language and culture at Universität Heidelberg. He holds a Certificate from the Goethe Institut in Prien, Germany.
Robin Blauers, Artistic Director – Robin Blauers’ productions have been featured on CBS and on National Public Television. Past productions for Music Academy International include the European Premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women at the Stadsschouwburg in Bruges, Belgium, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Poulenc’s Dialogues Des Carmelites, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and The Turn of the Screw.
Robin served as a Professor in Opera and Resident Stage Director at The Hartt School, teaching classes in acting and scene study to both graduate and undergraduate opera students. For the Hartt Opera Theater she directed productions of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Mark Adamo’s Little Women, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, and Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, as well as numerous opera scenes programs. At Hartt she was the founder and producing stage director for The Company, a music and theater training program for children ages 12-17. During this time, she produced and staged over thirty musical theatre productions.
After graduating with an advanced degree in Opera Performance, Robin spent two years as Resident Soprano with Connecticut Opera. She began her career as a singer and was featured in such roles as Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Gilda in Rigoletto, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffman and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte. Concert work included countrywide concert tours of Sweden and the United States as winner of the Jenny Lind Competition. Ms. Blauers appeared in recital for the Ambassador at the American Embassy in Stockholm, as well as on Swedish National Radio and Television. She was engaged as resident soprano with the Consortium Felicianum Orchestra for a two-year period of multi-city tours in Germany and France. An enthusiastic crossover artist, Ms. Blauers has appeared in numerous musical theater productions including Gigi opposite actor John O’Hurley.
J. David Jackson, Music Director/Conductor – Maestro Jackson made his conducting debut in Brussels’ Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie with Don Pasquale, and has since won acclaim in Europe and America with his “first-rate” conducting” (Boston Globe), “impressive command” (Opera News), “surging quality forged by the maestro” and his “love for this sublime music” (Moscow Kultura) and a “triumph, the unquestioned highlight of the season” (Denver Post).
A frequent conductor for the Metropolitan Opera, he will conduct Massenet’s Werther during the 2019-2020 season. Other highlights at the Metropolitan include the new Richard Jones production of Hansel and Gretel, Simon Boccanegra, starring Placido Domingo in the title role, and The Queen of Spades. He recently conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Gulbenkian Symphony in Lisbon, Cendrillon and Turn of the Screw with the Siena Summer Festival, and led concerts with the Slovenian National Orchestra. Recent seasons have also seen Mo. Jackson debut with War and Peace at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Faust at Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice, Weber’s Euryanthe at the Glyndebourne Festival, and Elektra at the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet. He has conducted Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Omaha, Le Jongleur de Notre Dame at the Central City Opera Festival, and L’Italiana in Algeri at the Wolf Trap Festival, in addition to engagements at the Palm Beach Opera and Théâtre de la Place in Liège, Belgium. He conducted Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Kentucky Opera. At the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, he conducted Così fan Tutte, Die Zauberflöte and The Love for Three Oranges on highly successful tours throughout Belgium and Germany. As Music Director of the Intermezzo Opera Festival, he also led the highly acclaimed European premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women.
Mo. Jackson was trained as a pianist and violinist before beginning his conducting career. He attended Amherst College and the Peabody Conservatory, studying with conducting legends Otto Werner Mueller, Franco Ferrara and Sixten Ehrling. In addition to his native English he speaks Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Russian.
Maddalena Deichmann, Director of Production and Artistic Administration – Maddalena’s management experience embraces all areas of live and filmed entertainment, from documentary films to commercials, opera to musicals, from theatre to concerts, between the US and Europe. As Director of Artistic Administration for Music Academy International Maddalena oversees the Italian operations of the Trentino Music Festival per Mezzano Romantica.
As Production and Stage Manager Maddalena has worked and toured with companies in the US, the UK and Europe, and favorite credits include Don Giovanni (Tanglewood Music Festival), Manon Lescaut (Royal Opera Covent Garden), Zanna, Don’t! (Off-Broadway), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (The Public Theatre, NYC), and the National Italian tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. The collaboration with MAI and its faculty is the development of the work Maddalena has with young artists and theatre professionals in schools and universities, and it gives her great joy and satisfaction to be a part of a young artist’s journey.
Maddalena studied at Yale University, where she was the first accepted Special Student in Theatre Management, received a degree in performance and production of Musical Theatre from the Bernstein School of Musical Theatre, and holds an MFA from the University of Bologna, where she obtained the highest marks with a dissertation on Arts Management and Organization.
OPERA PERFORMANCE STUDIO
David Jackson, Conductor – (see bio above)
Christopher Larkin, Conductor – Christopher Larkin has appeared as a guest conductor with many major opera companies throughout North America. His conducting credits include Washington National Opera (Samson et Dalila, I puritani), New York City Opera (Don Giovanni, La bohème), Santa Fe Opera (La Traviata), Houston Grand Opera (Tosca, Roméo et Juliette, Le nozze di Figaro), Cincinnati Opera (La fille du régiment), and Portland Opera (Il viaggio à Reims, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Turn of the Screw), among others.
This season he will return to Music Academy International to conduct Hänsel und Gretel. Past seasons for MAI have included, Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, and Cendrillon. Last season, Maestro Larkin led Acis and Galatea for Carnegie Mellon University, Cendrillon for Oberlin Opera Theater, and Don Giovanni for Utah Opera. The 2017-2018 season includes La rondine with Opera San Jose, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Oberlin, and Don Giovanni at Edmonton Opera.
Neal Goren, Conductor – Neal Goren is a frequent guest conductor active throughout North American, Europe, and Asia. Notable appearances include Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco for the Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA, New York City Opera conducting their revival of The Magic Flute, and with Opera de Nantes and Angers, France for The Turn of the Screw . He also attracted critical and popular notice for his performances of Krasa’s Brundibar for the City University of New York. This past summer, appeared with the San Francisco Opera conducting Conrad Susa’s Transformations for the Merola Opera Program. In October, he conducted Louis Andreissen’s Anais Nin and Odysseus’ Women for the Center for Contemporary Opera. The coming season includes a new opera to be presented in Hong Kong by the Asia Society.
As Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera, he conducted critically acclaimed productions of Haydn’s Il Mondo della Luna, Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione, Milhaud’s Les Malheurs d’Orphée, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Martinu’s Hlas lesa and Les Larmes du Couteau, Sutermeister’s Die schwarze Spinne, Handel’s Arianna in Creta, and Il Signor Bruschino for the company. He displayed his skill as an innovative programmer, leading productions of Astor Piazzola’s tango operetta Maria de Buenos Aires in coordination with the David Parsons Dance Company, a highly successful production of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters, plus productions of Il sogno di Scipione, Catan’s Rappacini’s Daughter, and Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, Hindemith’s Hin und zurück (There and Back), Milhaud’s L’enlèvement d’Europe, and Ernst Toch’s Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse.
He has been a member of the faculty of the graduate opera department of the Mannes College of Music since 1992.
David Gately, Stage Director – Stage director David Gately is known for his vivid story-telling and his lively and clever productions. A recent staging of his “Wild West” Don Paquale with San Diego Opera was called “fresh, amusing and energetic,” while his direction of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Manitoba Opera was praised for his use of “nuance and creative physical comedy, resulting in a superb production brimming with energy.” Widely sought after across North America and beyond, highlights of recent seasons include his direction of L’Elisir d’Amore with Dallas Opera, Madama Butterfly with Seattle Opera, La Boheme with Florida Grand Opera, Die Zauberflote with Cincinnati Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Glimmerglass Opera, Falstaff with Opera Omaha, Rigoletto with Utah Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, Aida with Vancouver Opera, Orfeo ed Euridice with Boston Baroque, and Lysistrata with Fort Worth Opera. For Music Academy International David has directed Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, Cendrillon, Giulio Cesare, Turn of the Screw, Cendrillon, and the European Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. David is currently on the faculty of Texas Christian University and is the head of the Young Artist Program for Ft. Worth Opera.
Alan E. Hicks, Stage Director – Stage director Alan E. Hicks has spent the past two decades in professional opera and theatre. Turning his attention to direction following stints as a professional singer and teacher, his work has been described as “powerful and deeply moving,” “imaginatively directed,” “absolutely brilliant,” “gorgeous,” and “real magic.” He has directed productions for organizations throughout the United States and in Europe including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Miami Music Festival, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, Shenandoah Conservatory, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Iowa, and the University of Houston. Alan has also served on the directing and production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Michigan Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, and Tulsa Opera. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Emerging Artist Program at Green Mountain Opera Festival, a position he held until the company’s closing in 2015. Recent engagements includeAll is calm: the Christmas truce of 1914for San Diego Opera, Flightfor San Diego State University, Ariadne auf Naxosfor Minnesota Opera, L’elisir d’amorefor Opera Santa Barbara, L’amico Fritzand L’italiana in Algerifor the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, Albert Herringand Die Zauberflötefor Shenandoah University, and Albert Herringand The turn of the screwfor the Miami Music Festival. In addition to his work with such venerable operatic performers as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Silvia McNair, Frederica von Stade, and Thomas Hampson as well as rising stars Erin Morley, Kate Lindsey, Hannah Hipp, Brian Jagde, Amber Wagner, and Nadine Sierra, Alan has assisted renowned opera directors Michael Cavanagh, Chris Alexander, Linda Brovsky, Jay Lesenger, Peter Kazaras and Broadway veterans Susan Strohman and Sam Buntrock. A native of Mississippi, Alan holds degrees in Music Education, Vocal Performance, and Opera Directing from Mississippi State University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin (respectively). Alan is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and currently serves as Director of Opera Theatre at San Diego State University and Resident Stage Director at San Diego Opera.
Peter Nilsson, Vocal Coach – Born in Chicago, Peter Nilsson attended the University of Illinois, where he studied accompanying under John Wustman and voice under Dodi Protero and Mark Elyn. Peter Nilsson began as repetiteur with the Illinois Opera Center and Bowen Park Opera, and later worked at the Lyric Opera Center for Young American Artists and as accompanist for the Chicago Symphony Chorus, where he worked under Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin and Sir Georg Solti. As repetiteur for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he worked with, among others, Dale Duesing, Susan Graham, Susan Dunn, Marquita Lister, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, John Tomlinson, and Tatiana Troyanos.
In 1992 Peter Nilsson moved to Holland, where he is Head of Musical Studies at the Dutch National Opera Academy (Den Haag/Amsterdam) and is a regular guest with the Broadcast Choir and at the Netherlands Opera, where he has worked closely with such conductors as Yves Abel, Marc Albrecht, Daniele Callegari, Paolo Carignani, Riccardo Frizza, Hartmut Haenchen, Ingo Metzmacher, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Julian Reynolds Carlo Rizzi, en Mark Wigglesworth. Peter Nilsson is also active as accompanist for vocal master-classes, having participated in classes from, among others, Roberta Alexander, Elly Ameling, Diane Forlano, Hartmut Haenchen, Jard van Nes, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Charlotte Margiono, Nelly Miricioiu, Barbara Pearson, and both series of Masterclasses given by Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh.
Jane Robinson, Vocal Coach – Jane Robinson is Head of Vocal Coaching and Development at English National Opera, London. She has been engaged over the last nine seasons to run both of ENO’s training programmes – the Harewood Artists and Opera Works. In the UK she has coached for Glyndebourne Festival, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North and The City of Birmingham Opera. She has also taught at the Royal College of Music, The Royal Academy, The Royal Scottish Academy and the Birmingham Conservatoire. In Europe she has worked on the Music Staff of the opera house of Brussels, Palermo, Lyon and Nancy. She has coached on the training courses at the Vienna Sommerakademie, Lenk Sommerakademie, L’Opera de Paris,L’Abbaye de Royaumont and L’Atelier Lyrique de Lyon. She has prepared recordings with several artists for Sony Classical.
Tim Ribchester, Vocal Coach – Acclaimed for his “passionate commitment to the composer and score…perfected technique [and] a personal aesthetic vision,” Maestro Tim Ribchester is emerging internationally as an inspiring, versatile musical leader and collaborator. His recent conducting appearances include a triumphant production of Rinaldo for Music Academy International in 2017. Past productions for MAI include Giulio Cesare, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Dido And Aeneas. He will return to MAI this summer for Handel’s Alcina. Other recent engagements include concerts and recordings in Boston of Joseph Summer’s chamber opera The Tenor’s Suite and his forthcoming CD Summer’s Distillation. In the 2016-17 season he returned to North Carolina Opera (Assistant Conductor, Das Rheingold), made his debut with the Vidin Sinfonietta, Bulgaria, and appeared as guest vocal coach and pianist at the Indemini Festival, Switzerland. 2015-16 included Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Gidon Saks’s staging for Opera on Tap Berlin at the Delphi Stummfilmkino; Eugene Onegin (Assistant Conductor) in North Carolina; two concerts with the Bacau Philharmonic (Romania).,
A highly accomplished collaborative pianist, Maestro Ribchester has been fortunate to have assisted world-class maestri including J. David Jackson, Christofer Macatsoris, Timothy Myers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jacques Lacombe, Christopher Larkin, and Steven White. Stage directors with whom he has collaborated regularly include Tito Capobianco, Dorothy Danner, David Gately, Inga Levant, James Marvel, Nic Muni, Detlef Soelter, and Marc Verzatt. His recital collaborators have included Julianne Baird, Ian Bostridge, William Burden, Paquito D’Rivera, Ricardo Morales, and Leonardo Suarez Paz. Maestro Ribchester trained at Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, London, La Schola Cantorum, Paris, and the Advanced Conducting Academy in Bacau, Romania, in addition to conducting master-classes with several distinguished pedagogues in the United States.
Jeanne Michèle Charbonnet, Voice Faculty – Dramatic soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet has established herself as a leading force in the German and contemporary repertoires. Having begun her singing Italian and ‘spinto’ Russian roles, she has naturally progressed into the more dramatic German soprano – and more recently ‘Zwischenfach’ – repertoire. Her intense stage presence has been widely praised by critics, with the New York Times proclaiming her a ‘spine-chillingly powerful’ performer. Recent performances include the title role of Ariane et Barbe-bleue for Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg. Recent engagements include Herodias for the Deutsche Oper Berlin in a new production conducted by Maestro Runnicles, and she will repeat the role for the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg.
Recent highlights include the release as the title role in Strauss’ Elektra with the London Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Valery Gergiev; the title role of Ariane et Barbe-bleue in Barcelona and Dijon; Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle for Nantes, Angers, and Paris; Leonore in Fidelio at the Teatro San Carlo; Katerina Izmailova in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for the Florence May Festival and Teatro Municipal Santiago; Goneril in King Lear for Frankfurt, Elektra for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Edinburgh International Festival, and LSO under Maestro Valery Gergiev; and Cassandre in Les Troyens for Opéra National de Paris. Charbonnet has appeared at major opera houses including the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Opéra National de Paris; Teatro Real, Madrid; Oper Frankfurt; Opéra National de Bordeaux; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Teatro Comunale di Firenze; Teatro La Fenice; and Bregenz Festival. Her major roles include Ortrud in Lohengrin, which she has sung for both Frankfurt and Dallas Opera, Kundry in Parsifal, Venus in Tannhäuser for Geneva and Toulouse, Sieglinde in Die Walküre, and Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen, both for the Opéra National du Rhin.
Mitchell Piper, Voice Faculty/Master Teacher/Artist Management – (see bio above)
FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA/CHAMBER MUSIC/COLLABORATIVE PIANO STUDIO
David Jackson, Conductor – (see bio above)
Jarek Lis, Director Chamber Music – Jaroslaw Lis received his M.A. summa cum laude from the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland, and was a recipient of the prestigious Polish Ministry of Culture scholarship. As a youngest member of the Sinfonia Varsovia he has worked with Yehudi Menuhin, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Emannuel Krivine, as well as recorded for Denon and Aperto labels. He received an Artist Diploma and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music. He has studied with Jan Jakuc, Wojciech Malinski, Zofia Kuberska, Julia Jakimowicz, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Syoko Aki, and the Tokyo String Quartet, and was a scholarship student of Nathan Milstein (Zurich, Switzerland). He has been a member of the Assai and Essex Quartets, receiving Second Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition with the Assai Quartet. He recorded on Roesch Records with Assai Quartet and Ahmad Jamal. He has been on the faculty of the Madeline Island Music Camp, the Palisade Arts Festival, Friends of Music Camp in South Korea and is a former director of the Music Adventure Camp at Tenuta di Spannocchia in Tuscany.
He is currently a Principal second violin of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He is a chamber music coordinator as well as conductor of the chamber orchestra of Music Academy International in Trentino, Italy. He teaches at Trinity College, Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts, and The Hartt School.
Nicholas Duchamp, Master Teacher (Flute) – Nicolas Duchamp is an internationally acclaimed performer and teacher, in the tradition of the Paris Conservatory French school of flute playing, of which Philippe Gaubert was among the most famous. Born in Bordeaux France, ( as were G. Barrere and P.Taffanel ) he received directly the tradition of the French flute playing from his teachers in his native city. He has served for many years as principal flutist for the National Opera Comique in Paris and toured extensively in his native France as well as Europe, Japan and North America.
With his ‘’warm tone, distinctive charm and creative poetic eloquence”, he has performed as soloist with many of France’s leading chamber music ensembles and orchestras, including Paris Opera Bastille, Nice Opera, Strasbourg National Opera, Lamoureux Orchestra, Metz Orchestra and the Bordeaux National Opera, with conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Georges Prêtre, Myung-Whun Chung, Philip Walsh, Brian Schembri, Yutaka Sado, Laurent Petit Girard, and Philipp Morehead.
Nicolas has performed internationally in solo recitals, chamber music ensembles and as orchestra soloist in prestigious concert halls including Salle Pleyel, Cité des Arts, Salle Gaveau and Salle Cortot in Paris, Claude Champagne Hall in Montreal, the Zitadelle Spandau in Berlin, Olympia Hall in Munich, Spivey Hall in Atlanta and Weill Recital Hall in New York.
Duchamp’s active international career takes him regularly throughout Europe, North America and to Japan. He has been featured in numerous international festivals, including the Belle Ile Festival, Radio France Broadcast Festival, Sarlat Festival, Saint-Yriex , Festival in France, Switzerland’s Crans-Montana Festival, the American Music Festival,Corsica` s Festival du Vent and the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. Duchamp created the concert and film homage, GAUBERT VIVANT! which he presented in a US tour including Carnegie Hall in New York, and Spivey Hall in Atlanta where he recorded an historic performance on the famous Gaubert flute Louis Lot N° 1986 for American public Radio’s “Performance Today” for over 5 million listeners. This personal connection makes Duchamp a unique representative of the French flute school in the flute word. Several international flute magazines favorably reviewed Mr. Duchamp and his performances: Flute talk (USA), Traversiere Magazine (France), Flute (UK), NY Flute Club News Letter.
Evan Ocheret, Master Teacher (Oboe) – Evan Ocheret is originally from New York and currently resides in Philadelphia. He attended Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University, and The Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with the principal oboist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Cynthia DeAlmeida, and principal and second oboists of the Philadelphia Orchestra Richard Woodhams and Jonathan Blumenfeld.
He currently performs all along the the East Coast with groups including Opera Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Knights Chamber Orchestra, The Richmond Symphony and the South Florida Symphony Orchestra. This is his second year as faculty at Music Academy International.
MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE STUDIO
Jason DeBord, Conductor – Jason DeBord is a proud faculty member of the Department of Musical Theatre at The University of Michigan, which he joined in 2014. Previously, he was resident music supervisor for both the Broadway and World Tour productions of Once – The Musical, and cast the production of the show in Seoul, South Korea. His Broadway credits also include Shrek, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Rock of Ages, Legally Blonde, All Shook Up, and Rent, among others. With a career of over 25 years in musical theatre, he has worked on productions at noted regional theaters across the country and been involved in the developmental productions of numerous new works. Most recently, he created new dance arrangements for the revised version of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon at the 5th Avenue theatre in Seattle and Ordway theatre in St Paul. Jason returns as the Music Director for the 2018 festival. Past MAI productions have included Chicago and Nine.
Linda Goodrich, Stage Director – Linda is an accomplished director and choreographer whose directing credits include Bat Boy, and Smokey Joe’s Café for Theatreworks where she earned Award for Excellence in Direction and Choreography; Seussical! for Music Theatre of Wichita; Jesus Christ Superstar, Side Show, Oklahoma, and Cabartet at the University of Michigan. Choreographic credits include world premieres of Henry Krieger’s and Bill Russell’s Everything’s Ducky, and the revised Good News! Tours include: Cabaret — Europe, Singin’ In The Rain — U.S. and Japan, Blue’s Clues Live, and Dora The Explorer — U.S., including Radio City Music Hall. Regional Theatre: Company with Carol Burnett — Long Beach CLO, Strike Up The Bank — Goodspeed Opera House, Singin’ In The Rain and Annie — Paper Mill Playhouse. Other Theatres: Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, North Shore Music Theatre, and TUTS. Past productions for MAI include Chicago & Cabaret.
Robert Meffe, Conductor – Robert Meffe, Head of the SDSU MFA Musical Theatre Program, spent twenty-two years in New York City as a professional conductor, music director, keyboardist, orchestrator, arranger and music copyist. His Broadway credits include: Associate Conductor of Little Women and the last six years of Les Misérables, keyboards for Evita (2012 revival), Newsies, The Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, and Bombay Dreams. National Tour credits include Music Director of Evita (2012 revival) and The Phantom of the Opera, Associate Conductor of Les Misérables, Little Women, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off-Broadway: Myths & Hymns, Violet, The Prince and the Pauper, Gutenberg! The Musical!, and music arrangements for Disenchanted. TV: Earth To America (TBS), Renee Fleming-Live at Lincoln Center (PBS). Las Vegas: Associate Conductor of Avenue Q, keyboards for Mamma Mia and Hairspray. Williamstown Theatre Festival: Ten Cents a Dance (directed by John Doyle). Paper Mill Playhouse: Peter Pan (Music Director), Forum, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Associate), A Wonderful Life, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (keyboards). San Diego credits include keyboards for Wicked and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (San Diego Civic Theatre), Bright Star and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe) and Far Away Places, a one-night cabaret show with Patti Lupone (Balboa Theatre).
A champion of new works, Mr. Meffe has music directed many workshops and reading of new musicals including Mister Doctor by B.D. Wong and Wayne Barker, We Foxes and Darling, both written by Ryan Scott Oliver, Quanah by Larry Gatlin, College: The Musical by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen, A Lasting Impression by Zoe Sarnak, Factory Girls by Sean Mahoney and Creighton Irons and I Capture the Castle by Cara Reichel and Peter Foley. Past productions for MAI include Evita, & Godspell.
Vince DeGeorge, Stage Director – Vince is on the faculty of UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as the Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage in Musical Theater and Opera. Vince has spent the last fifteen years researching and developing The Theatrical Awareness Practice, a somatic and experiential theater technique that trains the actor to live fully in their experiential mind/body. After graduation from the Musical Theater program at CCM, Vince performed as an actor and dancer in regional theaters across the country and was a company member of the New York based contemporary dance company dre.dance under Artistic Directors & Choreographers Taye Diggs & Andrew Palermo. In addition to numerous other works, in New York Vince directed New York City’s first fully staged production of The Exonerated (2011) to critical acclaim, and co-wrote and directed the award winning musical revue Nashville (2009 Nightlife, Bistro and MAC Awards). In 2014, as a part of the Blacksburg Virginia Summer Arts Festival, Vince was commissioned to design and build Life In The Trees – an art installation, purposed as both a gallery exhibition and the theatrical setting for two performance pieces, which he both adapted and directed.
Over the past five years, while on faculty at CCM, Vince has directed and choreographed 12 productions, each to critical acclaim – including 110 in the Shade, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Big River (choreographed by Patti James), Blood Brothers, Runaways (Know Theatre co-pro), The Cunning Little Vixen, Dear Superman (original adaptation/new work) and most recently, Seussical the Musical: Past productions for MAI include Godspell & Evita.
Kurt Robinson, Voice Faculty – Praised for his attention to, and modern interpretations of the time-honored Italian School of singing, Kurt Robinson is accomplished in helping professional and aspiring performing artists develop their voices for the Broadway stage and the commercial music industry. Highly skilled and an expert in mix technique, he provides specific, functional contemporary training which consistently bridges the technical and stylistic gaps between modern, pop and rock singing and the more traditional, classical approaches to singing.
Kurt’s clientele have enjoyed thriving lead performances in some of the hottest Broadway productions and national tours, including Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Pretty Woman, Choir Boy, Mean Girls, Waitress, Once On This Island, Sponge Bob, On Your Feet, American Psycho, Tuck Everlasting, Lazarus, Beautiful, Aladdin, Book of Mormon, Les Miserables, Evita, Gigi, Kinky Boots, After Midnight, Matilda, Motown, Murder Ballad, Bare, Rent, Godspell, Fela, A Christmas Story, Bonnie and Clyde, Newsies, Spider Man, American Idiot, Rock of Ages, The Addams Family Musical, Billy Elliot, In the Heights, Hair, Spring Awakening, The Color Purple, Hairspray, Wicked, The Lion King, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Phantom of the Opera, Dream Girls, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, The Producers, Chicago, Spamalot, the Radio City Rockettes, Lord of the Dance, and more.
He has coached recording artists for the Republic Records, Columbia Artists, Jive, Def Jam, Epic, Atlantic, and Nickelodeon labels. Kurt’s pop/rock/RB clients have toured internationally, received international radio airplay, and have ranked among the Top 20 Billboard charts.
Kurt maintains his private studio in New York City (est.2000) and works regularly with performers across the United States, in L.A., South America, Europe, and Japan. He is a voice professor in the music theater program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and formerly Elon University, specializing in contemporary commercial singing. He taught at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City for 8 years, during which time he served as music director and vocal supervisor for SMASH choreographer Josh Bergasse.
Kurt is a headlining vocal coach for CESD Talent Agency. He teaches master workshops for university and conservatory programs across the country and for the Jikei Group Music Conservatories in Tokyo, Japan. He holds a Master’s in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. https://www.full-voice.com https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeabxCcrFUbNZh3Yh5AWQxA
Priscilla Bagley, Voice Faculty – Priscilla has over 20 years of voice teaching/coaching experience and 30 years of performing internationally in opera, musical theatre, concertizing with orchestras, and in cabarets. She made her Lincoln Center solo debut in July 2016. Priscilla is an internationally renown voice teacher with clientele including Grammy winners,Tony winners/nominees and Metropolitan Opera National Council winners. She has been vocal coach/arranger for the title character in Universal Pictures “Jem and the Holograms” (2015), leads on London’s West End, Broadway and national tours. Her client’s television appearances include America’s Got Talent (1st runner up), American Idol (semi-finalist), Drop Dead Diva, Grey’s Anatomy, and Disney’s “Austin and Ally”, and 3 seasons of ABC’s “Nashville”. Priscilla has also worked in the recording industry since 1998, having the honor of encouraging the inclusion of global music and the melding of diverse musical styles. Priscilla believes that artists lead the way in exemplifying that the celebration and inclusion of our differences only makes us stronger and more beautiful. Priscilla is equally comfortable coaching opera arias, art songs, musical theatre pieces, jazz standards or pop songs of any genre or decade. Her language diction proficiency includes Latin, Italian, French, German and a touch of Czech. Priscilla is a member of The Voice Foundation, Opera America, Manhattan Assoc of Cabaret, NATS and SAI. She has worked with multi-disciplinary Voice Care Teams (ENT, SLP, SVS) for the curative and preventive care of elite professional voices.
Jacob Thomas Carr, Voice Faculty/Vocal Coach – Jacobis a NY based voice teacher, coach, MD, pianist, performer, composer. He has over a decade of teaching experience with all ages, established private voice studios in Houston and NYC, and is former voice faculty at Sam Houston State University. Clients recently on Broadway: Dear Evan Hanson, Amelie, Vanities, Cats, Violet, Tuck Everlasting, M. Butterfly as well as National Tours: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Elf, Mrs. Poppers Penguins. MD/vocal coaching credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (feat. Tony Award Winner Ben Vereen), Bernarda Alba (dir. Dell Howlett), Spring Awakening (dir. Greg Graham), and the NYC concert premiere of Whistle Down the Wind. Keys I: Cirque Musica: Wonderfland (sup. James Olmstead). He is a proud graduate of The Esper Studio where he studied with the late Bill Esper. Bachelors of Music in Theory/Composition from SHSU, additional studies at Shenandoah Conservatory in Somatic Voicework The Lovetri Method, NY Vocal Coaching’s Teacher certification, Linklater Voicework, The Alexander Technique, and Lloyd Williamson Technique. Had another life where he trained horses bareback! Puts butter in everything. Especially coffee.
Christian Ciuca, Conductor A French Romanian maestro Christian Ciuca began playing the violin at the age of 6 at the Lycée George Enescu in Bucharest. He continued his graduate studies in Romania, and then in Germany where he obtained the First Prize in Chamber Music in Berlin. At the same time he studied choral and orchestral conducting, and directed at the age of 21 Mozart’s Requiem and Puccini’s Missa di Gloria in 1988 in Berlin. After having been the concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rostock, he worked with renowned conductors such as Menuhin, Jordan, and Maazel in many symphony orchestras. But he didn’t stop his career as a violinist. After the Ensemble Vocal Crescendo in 1994, he created the Jubilate Choir in 1996, which he has directed for nearly 20 years. In 1998, he founded the Ensemble Instrumental de Paris, a multi-dimensioned orchestra. With his ensemble, he has raised the importance of the pan flute to that of other grand classic instruments, by recording with Cornel Pana to great success the CD “The Pan Flute and the Grand Classics”. This program led him to tour the United States, Canada, Japan,Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Morocco…He collaborates with great artists such as Charlotte Rampling, Brigitte Fossey and Patrick Poivre d’Arvor as part of a series of major concerts for humanitarian purposes at the Royal Chapel of Val de Grace and at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. He has been invited regularly to conduct the galas of the Cadre Noir de Saumur in France and abroad, including conducting the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra in Budapest in front of an audience of over 10,000. The HD DVD “At the Heart of the Cadre Noir”revealed to the public this amazing show…
His first passion for symphonic vocal music naturally leads him to devote himself the oratorio repertoire, for which he has become a specialist in France. He has conducted in particular Haendel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Bach’s Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio, Hayden’s Creation, Mozart’s Great Mass in C and Requiem, Brahms, Fauré, Verdi, Durufle, Mendelssohn’s Psalms and Elias, Puccini’s Missa di Gloria, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle and Stabat Mater, Verdi’s opera choruses, Poulenc’s Gloria…In September 2017 he was acclaimed with Missa in ut of Mozart and Olga Peretyatko at George Enescu Festival ,one of the biggest Music Festival in the world .
Christian Ciuca was chosen in November 2018 to open “La Saison France-Romania” in Paris at the head of his orchestra and Madrigal Choir, very successful concert, in the presence of two Presidents of France and Romania. Since 2002 he has been the artistic director of “Musiques au Pic Blanc – Sing&Fit” (courses, concerts, masterclasses) at the Alpe d’Huez, France, as well as Essaouira – Marocco and Venice – Italy
Séverine Busnel – Sports coach specialized for singersDancer, Choreographer – Passionate dancer, sportswoman, overflowing with vitality, Séverine Busnel is a graduate of state of jazz dance and fitness trades. For a few years, in addition to teaching for adults and children, she was a competitor and trainer. Today, a dancer and sports teacher, she runs an important and dynamic sports club in France (Versailles aera) … where she has the talent of transforming a simple workout into a real pleasure! Solar charisma, listening and exigency, energy to break … She devotes herself passionately to singers to make them work corporally consistent with the discipline necessary for singing : body alignment, relaxation and muscle tone, postures, endurance, through sessions carefully prepared : pilates, stretching, reinforcement, zumba, rhythm, memorization, pre-concert coaching…
Diana Duri, Events Coordinator – Diana has been a professional in Performing Arts Education for over a decade; she has worked with students of all ages and levels of experience, encompassing a great variety of genres and styles of performance, and embracing a variety of roles, such as teacher, stage manager, stage director, and production coordinator. With a strong background in communications, Diana has been the press officer for several institutions, including Music Academy International. Her collaboration with MAI continues since 2013, and she has become one of the pillars of the Trentino Music Festival every summer. Diana studied at the prestigious Universitá Cattolica in Italy, as well as in London and New Zealand.
Michele Trotter – Technical Director – Michele discovered his love for theatre and theatre education after a career as a photographer, which brought him around the world, including Africa and the Middle East. Once he found theatre, though, Michele knew that was his calling, and he spent years traning to become a theatre educator. Michele has developed an interest in the relationship between theatre, dance and other performing arts, and he has held courses for children and young adults, coordinating important projects that brought him as far as Uganda. He has developed a multifaceted approach to the performing arts, as a teacher, a performer, a stage director, a lighting designer and a technical and production director. After further training and collaborations with companies and artists such as Odin Teatret (Eugenio Barba), Stefano Benni, and others, Michele has come back to his native Primiero and opened a performing arts school with his partner, where they teach dance, theatre and circus arts. He has been collaborating with MAI since 2015 and he is an invaluable asset as our technical director.
Elena Sueri – Costume & Props Coordinator – Elena has earned her degree in set design from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna and has studied costume design at the Verona Accademia per l´Opera Italiana. Elena also spent some time as a trainee at the renowed Nicolao Atelier, gaining invaluable experience. She has worked as set, costume and props designer and coordinator with many Italian and international artists; among her favorite credits the television show Lo Zecchino d´Oro, the Biografilm Festival of 2015, Elisir d´Amore with the Senzaspine Orchestra in Bologna. Since 2016 she is Costumes and Props Coordinator with Music Academy International.
Ylenia Fornari – Orchestra Manager and Chamber Music Coordinator – Ylenia has worked in production and coordination of live events for over 20 years. She has been in charge of the Production Office at the Fondazione Arena di Verona for several years, and in this role she collaborated with amazing international artistis, such as Franco Zeffirelli, Daniel Harding, Hugo de Ana, Graham Vick and more. With a strong background in musical studies, Ylenia has covered various positions in the music theatre field. Her collaboration with MAI started in 2018. Ylenia earned her Master degree in Musicology of Italian Opera from the University of Cremona and studied modern and baroque flute at the Verona conservatory.