Mitchell Piper – Founding Executive Director/Master Teacher – Mitchell Piper has had an extensive career in the music industry ranging from performing artist, artist manager, and business executive. His far-reaching accomplishments have positively influenced the careers of young performers for over two decades 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, Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA), The Juilliard School, New York University, Montclair State University, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, and The Hartt School. In his positions as the Chairman of Graduate Opera at The Hartt School, and a member of the voice faculty for New York University, his students went 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, Operalia, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards, and have participated in Young Artist Programs with the Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Washington National Opera.
In 2006 he founded Piper Artists Management, one of the preeminent artist management firms in the world today. Mitchell together with his entire artistic team brings a passion for artistic excellence and provides a professional environment that responds to the needs and expectations of their clients, and the presenters that engage them. Piper Artists 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, and Carnegie Hall. His clients have included some of the leading artists in the opera and concert world including singers Simi Jo, Michèle Crider, Ginger Costa Jackson, Richard Leech, conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Marco Armiliato, J. David Jackson, and stage director Renata Scotto.
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, Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Freischütz, Fidelio, I Pagliacci, Susannah, and Salome in both the US and Europe. He performed extensively in concert including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall with conductor Yehudi Menuhin, and Mozart’s Missa Brevis, in association with the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center.
Robin Blauers Piper – Artistic Director/Stage 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 for the Graduate Opera Department at the Hartt School, where she taught classes in acting and scene study. For Hartt 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. She was the founder and producing stage director for The Company, a music and theater training program for children ages 12-17.
After graduating with an advanced degree in Opera Performance, Robin was the Resident Soprano with Connecticut Opera 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 performed extensively with the Consortium Felicianum Orchestra throughout 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 returns to the Metropolitan Opera this season to conduct Massenet’s Werther, and Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess. He 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).
Other conducting highlights at the Metropolitan include the new Richard Jones production of Hänsel und 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. 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 graduated with honours with a dissertation on Arts Management and Organization.
OPERA PERFORMANCE STUDIO
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.
Past seasons for MAI have included, Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, Turn of the Screw, Ariadne auf Naxos and Cendrillon. Past seasons includes Don Giovanni for Utah Opera, La Rondine with Opera San Jose, and Don Giovanni at Edmonton Opera. Maestro Larkin frequently conducts at leading music conservatories throughout the US including Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Oberlin, Acis and Galatea for Carnegie Mellon University, Cendrillon for Oberlin Opera Theater.
Neal Goren – Conductor – Conductor Neal Goren was the founder and Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera, which popularized and legitimized the formerly ignored genre of chamber opera, which has now attained respect equal to the pillars of the of the operatic repertoire. In its fifteen years of existence, Goren conducted all of Gotham’s 27 productions, which included the world premieres by Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters and Lembit Beecher’s I have no stories to tell you; and the U.S. stage premieres of works by Kaija Saariaho, Toshio Hosokowa, Bohuslav Martinu, and Xavier Montsalvatge. Gotham’s production often featured unexpected elements, such as site-specific presentations in locales thematically related to the operas, such as Cavalli’s Eliogabalo presented in the Box, a louche Manhattan night club; Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, presented in the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History; and Daniel Catan’s La hija de Rappaccini, presented in the Rose Garden of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Greystone Manor Gardens in Beverly Hills, CA. Other Gotham productions were staged by directors known for their work in other artistic genres, such as choreographers Mark Morris, Karole Armitage, David Parsons, and Luca Veggetti; Broadway directors Moisès Kaufman and Rebecca Taichman, and puppeteer Basil Twist. Other Gotham productions featured sets by internationally celebrated visual artists Georg Baselitz and Vera Lutter. Goren’s other conducting credits include Die Zauberflöte for New York City Opera and the Trentino Festival (Italy), Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly (European premiere) for Trentino Festival and for Opera Philadelphia; Transformations by Conrad Susa, for San Francisco Opera Center; Mila by Eli Marshall (world premiere) for Asia Society of Hong Kong; and Anaïs Nin and Odysseus’ Women by Louis Andriessen (U.S. premiere) for Center for Contemporary Opera.
Tim Ribchester – Conductor – 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 MAI in 2017. Past productions for MAI include Giulio Cesare, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Dido And Aeneas, and 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 for Wagner’s Das Rheingold, and made his debut with the Vidin Sinfonietta, Bulgaria. Past productions include Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Gidon Saks’s staging for Opera on Tap Berlin at the Delphi Stummfilmkino; Eugene Onegin in North Carolina; 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.
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, and the European Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. David is currently on the faculty of Texas Christian University and is the past head of the Young Artist Program for Ft. Worth Opera.
Patrizia di Paolo – Stage Director – Stage director Patrizia di Paolo studied piano at the Conservatorio di Musica di Cagliari and viola at the Conservatorio di Musica di Firenze. She has performed as first viola and soloist in the European Community Chamber orchestra, the Rai Orchestra in Milan, the Toscanini Orchestra in Parma, Bologna City Theatre and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. In 2005 she oversaw the direction of all the grand operas presented in Venice by “Musica a Palazzo” in Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto. In her innovative and well received productions, each act of the opera is presented in a different room of the Palazzo. The intimacy of the setting allows for a high level of interaction between the singers, the instrumentalists and the audience, offering spectators the experience of living the opera from the inside. In 2007 her production of “La Traviata” was presented at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton for the 41st Brighton International Festival (UK). The production was warmly praised by audiences and critics and won the Brighton Argus press award for best production of the Festival. In 2008 she directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Potsdam International Festival (Germany). Patrizia has been artistic director of the opera production house “Dimensione lirica” since 2011. Since 2011 she has directed the following productions: Rigoletto at the Teatro di Silandro (2011); Rigoletto at the Teatro di Vipiteno (2011); Così Fan Tutte at the Teatro di Vipiteno (2012); Rigoletto at the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara (2012); La Traviata at the Festival Fontanalirica (2013); Rigoletto at the Teatro Comunale di Treviso (2013), La traviata (Palais Vivienne, Paris 2019), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Suoni delle Dolomiti Festival 2019).. She has directed many productions for Music Academy International in Trentino: Cunning little Vixen, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Le nozze di Figaro, L’Enfant et les Sortilège.
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 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 programs – 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.
Alexandra Naumenko – Vocal Coach – Alexandra Naumenko is a highly sought-after artist and opera collaborator who enjoys an exciting career as a pianist and vocal coach. She has served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera and has taught at festivals and summer programs including International Vocal Arts Institute, Miami Summer Music Festival, Opera Naples Academy, amongst others. A faculty member of the University of Miami Frost School of Music from 2014 to 2017, Ms. Naumenko’s students have been finalists and winners of major vocal competitions such as Metropolitan Opera National Finals, Belvedere Singing Competition, Queen Sonja International Music Competition, as well as members of young artist programs such as Santa Fe, Merola, Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, and Chicago Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center. A Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program graduate, Ms. Naumenko has worked under the baton of M. James Levine and accompanied for master classes and workshops led by artists such as Maestro Fabio Luisi, Sir Thomas Allen, Ramon Vargas, Gerald Finley, Carol Vaness, Renata Scotto, Dame Kir Te Kanawa, and many others ers, and was the head coach for the 2008 Bolshoi’s production of Eugene Onegin that opened the season at the Opera Garnier de Paris. Widely acclaimed recitalist, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Israel and Japan. Ms. Naumenko holds degrees from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance.
Jeanne Michèle Charbonnet – Master Teacher, Voice – 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.
Luba Podgayskaya – Vocal Coach – Luba is a Russian pianist and harpsichordist, working and living in the Netherlands since 2008. She is repetiteur and staff pianist in several opera houses and Conservatories (KC, CvA) and performs in recitals as solo and collaborative pianist. Luba obtained Master Degrees from Conservatorium van Amsterdam (2019), Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag (2014), and Saint-Petersburg State Conservatoire (2008) as a pianist, harpsichordist and repetiteur, and studied with Elena Seredinskaya, Jacques Ogg, Patrick Ayrton, David Kuijken, Nathalie Doucet and Jan-Paul Grijpink and Alan Fraser. In 2014 Luba won 1st Prize in the International Piano Competition “Resonances” (Paris, France). Luba has been part of projects and programs such as Grote Zangers, De Wereld Draait Door, Grachtenfestival, Rotterdam Operadagen, Music Academy International (MAI). Luba has worked with Opera Zuid, Opera2Day, Dutch National Opera Academy, Theater Transparant, McCray Operastudio and others.
FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA & CHAMBER MUSIC
Jaroslaw Lis – Director Chamber Music, Master Teacher (Violin) – 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.
Tobias Gossmann – Master Teacher (Violin) – Tobias Gossmann was born in Siegen, Germany. He received his professional training at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria, where he studied violin, piano, and orchestra conducting. This prestigious institution awarded him the Arts Diploma with Highest Honors. His professional career began as the leader and concertmaster of the Viennese chamber orchestra Maurice Ravel Ensemble. Later he held the position of associate concertmaster in the symphonic orchestra of the opera house in Barcelona, the Gran Teatre del Liceu for more than ten years. Since then he is acting as guest concertmaster in orchestras in Germany, Spain and Italy. Tobias has been guest with the Festival Orchestra of Canford in England, the Folkwang Chamber Orchestra Essen in Germany, the Radio FM Orchestra Sofia in Bulgaria, the Radio Orchestra Pilsen in the Czech Republic, the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in Romania, the Cadaqués Orchestra, the Oviedo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Extremadura and the Orchestra Córdoba in Spain, the Bottega Armonica and the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia in Italy, the Portuguese Philharmonic Orchestra and the Portuguese Philharmonic Academic Orchestra in Portugal among others. In his career Tobias has worked with the world’s leading conductors including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Bernhard Haitink, Sir Neville Marriner, Gianandrea Noseda, Peter Schneider in concerts, operas and recordings.
As a conductor, Tobias has led many orchestras, including the National Orchestra of Thailand. He toured a Japan with Super World Orchestra, and participated in recordings and TV productions for the International Music Festival Tokyo. He returned to Japan in 2009 and 2013 with Symphony Orchestra Camerata XXI and in 2017 and 2019 with Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia. With the same orchestra he will tour to China in 2020 and with the Portuguese Philharmonic Orchestra to Japan in 2021. From 2003 to 2016 Tobias was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra Camerata XXI in Tarragona, and in 2018 he was named Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of Alicante in Spain.
Paul Cortese – Master Teacher (Viola) – Paul Cortese graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with the famed violist Joseph dePasquale. Previously, under the tutelage of Stanley Nosal, Guillermo Perich, John Garvey, and Burton Fine, he pursued his studies at the University of Illinois and the New England Conservatory in Boston. While completing his studies, Paul performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony, and was offered the Principal Viola position in the Teatro alla Scala. In 1986 he became the leader of the viola section of the Gothenburg Symphony orchestra under their music director Neeme Järvi. He made his debut with orchestra in Alice Tully Hall in New York in 1991. Although he has been guest principal viola in over twenty European orchestras, Cortese dedicates an increasing amount of time to solo and chamber music playing; he has performed extensively in the US, Canada, and the European Union, collaborating with numerous chamber music groups such as the Kandinsky Trio, the Trio Arbós, Quatuor Diotima, and various string quartets, participating in international music festivals such as Tanglewood, Evian, Banff, Musicades of Lyon, Granada, Grand Teton, and many others. He has performed on numerous occasions with Context, a flexible chamber group of historically informed interpretation in the US. In Spain, he has been a member of the Beethoven Klavierquartett for two decades, and regularly performs with the Arts Quartet in Barcelona since the year 2005. Paul has recorded works by many composers, most notably the complete works of Paul Hindemith, in honor of his centenary, with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London on the ASV label, the only recording of its kind. Born in Wisconsin to Italian parents, Paul currently lives in Barcelona, Spain, where he is professor of viola and chamber music at the conservatory of the Liceo. He has been collaborating with the Baltic Youth Philharmonic for many years, the I. Culture Orchestra of Poland, and has taught masterclasses throughout Europe, the US, and South East Asia. Paul performs on several instruments, by Igino Sderci of Florence, 1972, Agustín Clemente, Madrid, 2006, Guillem Gecubi, 2005, of Barcelona, and Daniel Hoffman, USA, 2010. Paul has been a Larsen Strings Performing Artist since September 2019.
Guillaume Paoletti – Master Teacher (Cello) – Guillaume Paoletti was born in the United States in 1968. He began his musical education at the CRR in Boulogne and was subsequently admitted to the CNSM in Paris, where he was unanimously awarded the first prize for cello and chamber music.He perfected his technique during two stays in the United States, under the guidance of Aldo Parisot at Yale University and Janos Starker at Indiana University. He has played under the direction of Bernard Haitink, Carlos Maria Guilini and Mstislav Rostropovitch. He has been a faculty member of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris since 1996 and was principal cello with the Chamber Orchestra of Paris from 1998 to 2016.
As a member of the Bartholdy Trio, he has been extremely active (150 concerts of chamber music), winning four major international prizes (including the ARD in Munich), and collaborated with several grand masters, including Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma and, Menahem Pressler. He is a past member of the Arpeggione Quartet, and the Hoboken Trio’s cellist, alongside Jérôme Granjon on piano and Saskia Lethiec on violin. He has performed as a soloist on many occasions (Beethoven’s Triple concerto, Brahms Double concerto, Saint-Saëns and Elgar Concertos) at prestigious venues in Saint-Petersburg, Berlin and Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées under the direction of John Nelson), and at the Colmar Festival.
His discography includes many recordings with the Chamber Orchestra of Paris (OCP) — two records dedicated to the work of Schubert, including the famous Trout Quintet, a solo recording of Fauré’s Elégie with the OCP and a recording of work by Smetana and Dvorak with the Hoboken Piano Trio.
Valentina Ciardelli – Master Teacher (Double Bass) – Valentina was born in Pietrasanta (Lucca – Italy), to a German mother and Italian father. Graduated with Honors from the “Istituto Musicale L. Boccherini” in Lucca in 2014, Valentina then gained her Master of Performance (Honors) at the Royal College of Music in 2016, and continued further studies under the guidance of Leon Bosch an Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where she was awarded a scholarships from Trinity College London and the Leverhulme Trust, and the Trinity Laban’s Carne Trust Junior Fellowship. Valentina focused also on composition, graduating with honors in 2014. Currently, Valentina lives in London and is a faculty member with Leon’s Bosch class at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and young artist of Talent Unlimited. Valentina was awarded a scholarship from the Animando Association in Italy for researching the music of Giacomo Puccini’s ancestors, and her work has been published by the Japanese Press Da Vinci. Valentina has debuted her first solo album, Music from the Sphinx, in 2019 with a brand new repertoire, most of it developed during the year with the Trinity Laban Junior Fellowship. Valentina’s work is focused on expanding solo repertoire for double bass, composing new virtuoso pieces, transcribing part of Frank Zappa’s Repertoire, and debuting composition written for her by many contemporary composers. Valentina also has wide Jazz experience and has played in important Jazz Festival such as Dusseldorf Jazz Marathon, Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, Tuscia Jazz, Umbria Jazz Clinics, etc. She participated to final selections in competition such as Best Double Bass at Tuscia Jazz, Electric Bass and the Nicola Tiberio Award. She plays a 2014 Scipioni Bass made in Mantua.
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.
Nanci Belmont – Master Teacher (Basoon) – Bassoonist Nanci Belmont, praised as “outstanding” by the New York Classical Review, is a dynamic musician enjoying a diverse career as a performer, educator, and arts advocate. Recognized for her artistry as a soloist, Nanci is the Second Prize winner of the 2016 Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Competition of the International Double Reed Society. She has appeared as a concerto soloist in New York City on multiple occasions, including performances of the Strauss Duett Concertino for Clarinet and Bassoon and the Gubaidulina Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings. Chamber music is an integral part of Nanci’s career; she enjoys programming and performing on concert series in New York and beyond. From 2012-2014 she was the bassoonist with Ensemble Connect – a Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute. A proponent of the music of our time, she is a member of The City of Tomorrow, a wind quintet dedicated to the performance and expansion of contemporary repertoire. In other contemporary chamber music ventures, Nanci has collaborated with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble. As an orchestral musician, Nanci has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and New York City Ballet. Memorable international experiences include performances of Peter Grimes in the United Kingdom for the Benjamin Britten Centennial and a European tour with Ensemble InterContemporain in collaboration with the Lucerne Festival. Nanci is passionate about creating meaningful and relevant musical experiences for all audiences. She works as a Teaching Artist with the Bridge Arts Ensemble, and has taken part in numerous performances in community venues and public schools as a fellow of Ensemble Connect. In her roles as performer and educator, Nanci is driven by the desire to cultivate curious, lifelong learners in music. Nanci serves on faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, Molloy College in Long Island, NY, and the Special Music School in New York City. Originally from Florida, Nanci holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University and a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. She completed her doctoral studies at Stony Brook University, where she studied with Frank Morelli.
Curt Blood – Master Teacher (Clarinet) –Curt Blood is a graduate of New England Conservatory. He has been an active teacher and performer in the northeast since 1982, and has performed with many of the area’s finest ensembles. Mr. Blood has held the principal clarinet chair in the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) since 1982. With the HSO, he has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall. He has toured internationally, performing at the International Music Festival at Santander, Spain. He also serves as principal clarinetist with Buzzards Bay Musicfest in Marion, Massachusetts. Mr. Blood holds teaching positions at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. His past students have performed with ensembles around the country including the United States Coast Guard Band, the Albany Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Guglielmo Pellarin – Master Teacher (Horn) – Principal horn of the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Guglielmo Pellarin began to play the french horn at the age of seven and graduated first of his class under G. Arvati in the Conservatory “J. Tomadini” of Udine; he has studied with G. Corti, I. James, L. Seeman, M. Maskuniity, A. Corsini, L. Vignali, and attended masterclasses given by Slowind Woodwind Quintet and Bibiena Quintet at both Pirano Music School and Chigiana Academy in Siena.
Guglielmo plays with several orchestras, including Trieste’s Teatro Verdi Orchestra, the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala in Milano, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and the Orchestra Filarmonica Toscanini, under conductors such as A. Pappano, C. Abbado, J. E. Gardiner, D. Gatti, V. Gergiev, E. Inbal, D. Kytajenko, L. Maazel, K. Masur, D. Matheuz, Z. Metha, D. Oren, G. Pretre and S. Bichkov; Guglielmo has also an important soloist career, as well as an intense chamber music activity.
Founding member of the Italian Wonderbrass Quintet and of the Kalamos Wind Quintet, Guglielmo has obtained accolades in both Europe and North America. Guglielmo performed the World Premiere of
F. Perez Tedesco’s concert for horn and strings composed for him at the Festival “Suoni d’aria d’alta quota”. Together with Federico Lovato, Guglielmo Pellarin recorded the monograph “French Music for horn and piano”, which includes the first release of the sonata for french horn and piano by J. M. Damase.
Cindy Scaruffi-Klispie – Master Teacher (Trumpet) – A native Chicagoan, Cindy received a BM from Illinois State University and an MM from Northwestern University. In high school, Ms. Klispie was 1st chair in the Illinois All-State Orchestra and a student at the Interlochen Arts Camp where she played Principal Trumpet in the World Youth Symphony and Lead in the High School Jazz Ensemble. Cindy was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two years and was selected for the prestigious Tanglewood Fellowship program with the Boston Symphony for two summers. She was also a member of the Disney World All-American College Band in Orlando. Cindy has played with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Elgin Symphony, and many other ensembles in the USA. She was Principal Trumpet of the Southwest Florida Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra (formerly the Florida West Coast Symphony) and has played with the Monarch Brass Ensemble at conferences for the ITG and IWBC. Cindy was also Principal Trumpet of the Rome Opera Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, played for the RAI Orchestras in Napoli and Torino, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Currently, Ms. Klispie plays Principal Trumpet for Opera Naples, Gulfshore Opera, the Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota, The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (Florida), The Suncoast Brass (which she founded), the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, and with other groups in Florida.
Ms. Klispie has taught at Illinois Benedictine College, Florida Gulf Coast University, and currently at Florida SouthWestern State College (formerly Edison State College). She has written and published “Twenty Orchestral Studies for Trumpet.” Following in the footsteps of her many teachers, Cindy allows time to teach aspiring young musicians. Many of her students have been selected for the Florida All-State Ensembles and All-County Bands, consistently in the top chairs. Cindy is a member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, as an adjudicator, and the International Trumpet Guild.
Sun He – Master Teacher (Trombone) – As a Performer, Sun He has played with numerous ensembles around the world, including China National Symphony Orchestra, Hang Zhou Philharmonic, Guang Zhou Symphony, Oak Park Symphony, the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Logos Symphony, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Roosevelt University Symphony Orchestra, Roosevelt University Wind Ensemble, Lakefront Low Brass Quartet, and others. He also toured Asia with Lakefront Low Brass Quartet in 2012 holding masterclasses while touring. He frequently performs solo recitals in both Asia and North America, often performing new music by living composers. As a Brass Instrument Instructor, he currently serves as guest lecture at Northwestern University of Nationalities in China and operates a private teaching studio. Sun He served as a faculty member at the first annual Wrobleski Low Brass Camp in August 2015 in Beijing, China. A graduate of Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts and Temple University, Sun He has studied with Jay Friedman, Charlie Vernon, Reed Capshaw, Blair Bollinger, Matthew Vaughn and Nitzan Haroz among others. As a brass instrument technologist, he designs, builds, and repairs brass instruments and has served musicians from the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Beijing Symphony, China National Symphony and other major orchestras and music institution.
Dimitri Fiorin – Master Teacher (Percussion) – Currently first timpanist with La Fenice Orchestra in Venice, Dimitri is an honor graduate from Udine Conservatory and has been percussion faculty in several iItalian conservatories. Between 1994 and 2000 Dimitri has achieved first place at the auditions for Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Arena di Verona, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Orchestra Sinfonica Regionale del Lazio, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia. He was selected for the prestigious Orchestra Giovanile Italiana (OGI) with which he toured extensively throughout the world under the baton of internationally renowned conductors, and in 1994 he was the only Italian musician selected for the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. Dimitri has played as first timpanist and/or percussionist with the La Scala Orchestra in Milan, the San Carlo Theatre Orchestra in Naples, the Opera Theatre Orchestra in Rome, Haydn Orchestra in Bolzan, Filarmonia Veneta in Treviso, Chamber Orchestra in Padua, Chamber Orchestra in Mantua and Akademia Ars Miicae in Klagenfurt. He has collaborated with the Arena di Verona, the (Italian State Television) Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI (in both Turin and Milan), the Orchestra Sinfonica di San Remo and the Orchestra Regionale del Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Among others, Dimitri has played under the baton of conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Valery Gergiev, Salvatore Accardo, Chung Myung-whun, Eliau Inbal, and has toured throughout Europe with the ensemble guided by Maurizio Dini Ciacci performing works by Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio and other contemporary composers.
Yaniv M. Cohen – Artist in Residence (Viola) – Yaniv M. Cohen has attended the Wintergreen Chamber Music Festival, the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, performed in the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, participated in the acclaimed Eastern Music Festival, and the Hot Springs Music Festival, as both Apprentice and Associate. He has performed with the Broadway Cast of Evita during their national tour, and performed with the National Moravian Society across Germany and the Czech Republic. Yaniv has held positions at the Endless Mountain Music Festival and also worked as Director for the NorCal Music Festival. This is his fourth season with Music Academy International, where he works with chamber music and viola participants. Yaniv has performed with Johnny Mathis, Sting, Adam Levine, Josh Groban, Kansas, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Mannheim Steamroller, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli, Yes, Alan Parsons Project, Jackie Evancho, Cirque Musica, Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, Nelly, Forte, Video Games Live, the Irish Tenors, the Little River Band, Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses, Hansen, and others. He also maintains an active performance schedule with several Florida orchestras and has performed with The Bach Festival of Winter Park, The Punta Gorda Symphony Orchestra, The Villages Philharmonic, Florida Lakes Symphony, Space Coast Symphony, Brevard Symphony, the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra, Space Coast Pops, the Craig Turley Orchestra, The Orlando Philharmonic, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, the Venice Symphony, NSCO, FMO, and several others. He performed with Symphony of the Americas, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Nu Deco Ensemble, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Paducah Symphony in Kentucky, the Orchestra Filarmonica di Benevento in Italy, the Lancaster Symphony, and the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, as well as the Bay Atlantic Symphony in New Jersey.
Christine Mello – Artist in Residence (Cello) – Christine is a cellist and educator passionate about bringing the power and beauty of classical music to wider and more diverse audiences. A graduate of Temple University (studio) Curtis Institute of Music, Mello studied with luminaries Orlando Cole (“Art of the Bow” and founding member, The Curtis Quartet) and Metta Watts (New School of Music).
Mello performs a range of musical styles on diverse stages in Europe and America; her orchestral experience includes performing as cellist in the Allentown Symphony, Williamsport Symphony, Lancaster Symphony and Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Jubilate Deo Orchestra, assistant principal cellist for the Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, and principal cellist for the Jersey Shore Pops. Classic and modern musical theater, large orchestral and chamber music ranging from Baroque to postmodern, Mello has been featured on albums by artists including Gemini Wolf, Mikronesia, and The A Sides, and has played venues throughout the East Coast of the United States and Western Europe for touring artists.
Emphasizing mindfulness, joy, and positivity, she’s taught elementary to university level in institutions and maintains a private studio in Philadelphia, PA. This year she’ll publish “Five Songs for Cello and Piano from Winterreise,” combining hermeneutics, semiotics, and transcription to further deepen the performance experience through narrative.
MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE STUDIO
Linda Goodrich – Stage Director/Choreographer – 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 Cabaret 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 – Music Director/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.
Jamie Rae Reed – Vocal Coach – Jamie is Assistant Professor of Practice of Musical Theatre at University of Arizona. An accomplished music director, pianist, arranger, orchestrator, and vocal coach, she holds a Bachelors of Music degree from Western Michigan University. Additional teaching credits include University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, and Oakland University. MD credits include Memphis, Mamma Mia, The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Received 2017 Wilde Award for Best Music Direction) Cabaret, Assassins, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Evita, Altar Boyz, Shrek, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Full Monty, Murder Ballad, Next To Normal, Rent, West Side Story, Last Five Years, and Lippa’s The Wild Party. University of Arizona Credits include Sister Act, Spring Awakening, Pippin, and The Light in the Piazza. National Tour credits: Wicked, Book of Mormon, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, and Fiddler on the Roof. Jamie also spent 6 years as a Music Director for Holland America Cruise Lines.
Paul Christman – Conductor/Music Director – Paul guest teaches annually for the Balletakademien (Göteborg, Sweden) and the Musikkeaterhøyskolen (Oslo, Norway). His additional residencies have included the Danish Academy of Musical Theatre, the Joop van den Ende Academy (Germany), and the Stage School (Germany). He has lectured at the Music in Gotham American Musical Theatre Conference (New York City), the Song, Stage and Screen Conference (Winchester and London), the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance Conference (Orlando and New York City), and Putting It Together: Teaching Musical Theatre in UK. A graduate of Arizona State University (Tempe) and Wright State University (Dayton), Paul has completed further acting training with the Michael Chekhov Association. HIs articles on the musical Pal Joey and composer Hugh Martin have been published in the journal Studies in Musical Theatre. He is also co-editor of The Songs of Hugh Martin: From Broadway to Hollywood and The West End (Hal Leonard). Paul has worked on shows across the United States from Maine to California, toured in Germani with Hair, and music directed the Toronto premiere of A Class Act. He conducted 24 productions for Music Theatre of Wichita from 1994 to 2004, and has served on the musical theatre faculty at Oklahoma University since 1999.
Priscilla Bagley – Master Teacher, Voice – 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.
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.
Carol Ann Manzi – Master Teacher, Voice – Carol Ann Manzi is a graduate of the Yale University. She has enjoyed an extensive performing career including such roles as, Mimi (La Bohème), Leila (The Pearl Fishers), Fiora (L’Amore dei Tre Re), Magda (La Rondine), Vivetta (L’Arlesiana), Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly), Musetta (La Bohème), Fiordiligi (Così Fan Tutte), Nedda (I Pagliacci), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus). In concert Miss Manzi has appreared at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, The Banff, Tanglewood, and Chautauqua Festivals. She has sung with leading symphony orchestras and chorales including the Hartford Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Santa Barbara Master Chorale, Hartford Chorale, Voices of Change, Voces Intimae,Willamette Master Chorus, in works including the Verdi Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. Miss Manzi also enjoys a successful teaching career. Her students have finished in the finals of leading competitions including the McAllister Foundation, Rosa Ponselle and Jenny Lind Competitions, the George London competition and the Guilio Gari Foundation.
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 training 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 in an invaluable member of the MAI artistic staff. She 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 renowned 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.
Ryan Davy – Stage Manager Musical Theatre – Ryan trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and holds a degree in Production Technology and Management. His experience has taken him through venues in New York, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, London, and Edinburgh among others. Ryan has been with MAI since 2017, serving as SM for productions of Godspell, Cabaret, Sister Act, and Into the Woods. Other stage management related credits include 9 to 5, The Wizard of Oz, Once on This Island, Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto) Carmen (Opera Australia, Sydney) and Chess (Festival Theatre, Edinburgh). He also spent time at Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Opera, and served as a faculty stage manager for the Randolph College of the Arts in Toronto.
Andjela Bizimoska – Assistant Director, Opera – Andjela is a Macedonian-Italian opera and theatre stage director and stage manager based in Italy. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Music and Performing Arts and a Master’s Degree in Musicology at the University of Bologna, earned a Master’s Degree in Opera Stage Direction at the Verona Opera Academy, and completed the Master’s Course in Drama Direction at the Paolo Grassi Institute in Milan. Andjela is currently studying for a Master Degree in Scenography at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Catania. Andjela has directed Geminiani’s contemporary opera Cannetella (2015), a concert version of Carmen (2016), La serva padrona (2017), Alcina (2018), her own theatrical performance Il Cuore oltre l’ostacolo(2018), as well as Brancati-D’Urso’s four melologues Storie di donne (2019). In 2015 Andjela co-directed an Adriana Lecouvreur at the Macedonia Opera and Ballet House. As assistant director and stage manager Andjela worked in Italy, Cina, Hong Kong, Macedonia and Malta, with renowned directors such as D. Gately, E. Stinchelli, P.L. Pizzi, H. Brockhaus, D. Abbado, L. Valentino, G. Palumbo, L. Orfeo, R. Bonajuto, Natale De C, E. Castiglione, A. Triola, S. Panighini, F. Bellotto, C. Saletti, and many others. In 2016 Andjela won the first prize for staging in the contest Open Opera. Recently she reached the final selection at the contest Tragos with Il cuore oltre l’ostacolo, a text she wrote for the centenary of the end of the First World War. In June 2020 Andjela will complete a project in collaboration with the Music High School “G. Turrisi Colonna” in Catania, geared towards the staging of Donizetti’s Il Campanello.
Becky Fitzpatrick – Scheduler/Stage Manager Opera – Becky is a graduate from the University of British Columbia where she got a degree in Theatre Design and Production. She has been spending her summers with MAI since 2018 where she has stage managed for both the musical theatre and opera programs on Evita, Alcina and La Clemenza di Tito.
Other select stage management credits include Company (United Players, Vancouver), Apollo et Hyacinthus/Grabmusik (Classical Opera, London), Beauty and the Beast (Anton Benson Productions, UK Tour), and Late Company (Touchstone Theatre, Vancouver).
Ljupka Jakimovska – Stage Manager – Ljupka was born in the Republic of Macedonia and began her musical education at a young age, with a musical degree in flute under the mentorship of Zimbov Ilija. She then continued studying musicology in Skopje, and obtained her Bachelors’s degree in stage direction in the neighboring country of Bulgaria at the New Bulgarian University under Pavel Gerzhikov. While studying stage direction Ljupka hones her skills in stage management and assistant director in many productions, among which were Boris Godunov, Les Miserables, Sudbina za dvajca, Viva la mamma, and many more. Since 2012 Ljupka has worked on many productions at the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, both as stage manager and stage director. Among her stage management credits are Les contes d’Hoffmann, Faust. Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, La Boheme, Cavalleria Rusticana, Macbeth, Adriana Lecouvrer, The dragon’s Bride, Eugene Onegin, Turandot and more. She collaborated with many successful stage directors: Giancarlo del Monaco, Marco Spada, Dejan Projkovski, Mario de Carlo, Ursula Horner, Enrico Castiglione, Verena Stroiber etc. Ljupka made her debut as a writer 2017 with the children show Santa Claus workshop which was produced several successful times in the last two years; in 2018 Ljupka directed the premiere Goran Nacevski’s Between dreams and flights. Ljupka started her collaboration with MAI in 2017, working as a stage manager. She is currently part of the Macedonian representative team for Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in 2018 in Minsk and in 2019 in Gliwice Arena- Poland.