Mitchell Piper, Founding Executive Director & CEO – 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 Anselmi Artists Management, one of the preeminent artist management firms in the world today. As the director of Piper Anselmi, 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, Gianni Schicchi, La Boheme, La Traviata, Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Freischütz, Fidelio, Turandot, Don Carlos, The Merry Widow, 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, the title role in Vittorio Giannini’s Beauty and the Beast, and Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble In Tahiti. 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 the late 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, 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.
J. David Jackson, Music Director – 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).
He made his Metropolitan Opera conducting debut with the new Richard Jones production of Hansel and Gretel. Other conducting credits at the Metropolitan Opera include 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.
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. For 2018 she will direct Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and will return in 2019 for Little Women.
Ms. Blauers served as a Professor in Opera 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 full productions.
After graduating with an advanced degree in Opera Performance, Ms. Blauers 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 Entfuhrung 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 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.
Maddalena Deichmann, Director of 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 Artistic Administration bio)
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 (with period instruments), 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, a joint venture with Music Theater Group which he also conducted at Opera Philadephia, 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 (The Abduction of Europa), and Ernst Toch’s Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse.
As a recital accompanist, Neil Goren has collaborated with a number of opera’s leading singers, including Leontyne Price (as her exclusive musical collaborator), Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Haken Hagegard, Thomas Hampson, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Aprile Millo, Hermann Prey and others. He has been a member of the faculty of the graduate opera department of the Mannes College of Music since 1992. For 2018 Neal returns to Music Academy International to conduct the European Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Past productions for MAI include Die Zauberflöte.
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 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.
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 will return for the 2018 festival to direct 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.
Patrizia di Paolo, Stage Director – Patrizia Di Paolo has spent the past decade directing and producing opera in Italy and abroad. Her productions have been well received by the audience and critics alike and have been referred to as “Wonderfully innovative”, and “Breathtakingly beautiful”. In 2005 she became the Artistic Director of Musica a Palazzo in the Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto in Venice. For Musica a Palazzo she has directed Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and La Traviata, which the NY Times referred to as a “Striking Traviata”. Weltexpress wrote “…the passions and emotions bubbled throughout the theatre”, and Le Figaro referred to the production as “Transfigured by grace”.
She will direct Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for Music Academy International this season. Past MAI productions have included: Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. In 2013 she directed La Traviata at the Festival Fontanalirica, Rigoletto at the Teatro Comunale di Treviso, Così Fan Tutte at the Teatro di Vipiteno, and Rigoletto at the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara and Rigoletto at the Teatro di Silandro, and the Teatro di Vipiteno. In 2008 she directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Potsdam International Festival in Germany and in 2007 her production of La Traviata was presented at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton for the 41st Brighton International Festival in the United Kingdom. The production was warmly praised by audiences and critics and won the Brighton Argus press award for “best production of the Festival”. She has been artistic director of the opera production house “Dimensione lirica” since 2011.
Robin Blauers, Stage Director – (see Artistic Administration bio)
Ophelie Wolf, Stage Director – Ophelie was a revival director at Deutsche Oper Berlin at age 22 and was the first Opera Directing Fellow to be chosen two years in a row at the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, where she worked as Assistant Director and Stage Director and she was under the mentorship of Stage Director Stephen Wadsworth. She grew up in France and in Germany and she studied in Britain. While at King’s College London, she was cast in shows for the King’s Players and the Waistcoat Company and she directed for her own company, City Lights TC. After graduating as Associate of King’s College with a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, she started working as an Assistant Director in Opera. She has worked at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opernhaus Zürich, The Juilliard School in a Co-Production with the Metropolitan Opera, and The Santa Fe Opera, with directors including Graham Vick, Robert Carsen, Stephen Wadsworth and Francesca Zambello. Her directing credits include Lost Luggage (L’occasione fa il ladro – Glimmerglass Festival, NY) Die Zauberflöte for Music Academy International, Love’s Promise, an evening of scenes extracted from ten major operas for The Juilliard School, The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, The Nightingale, The Rose, De Profundis, and Hamlet all for City Lights TC, London, and Romeo and Juliet for Greenwood Theatre, London. Ophelie returns to MAI this summer to direct Hänsel und Gretel.
Lachlan Glen, Vocal Coach – Australian pianist Lachlan Glen has served on the music staff of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Music Academy International, Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, International Vocal Arts Institute, Castleton Festival, and Chautauqua Institution and is a faculty member in the voice/opera department at Rutgers University. He regularly performs at venues including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. As a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, he has performed with various ensembles throughout Australia, Europe and the U.S. in works ranging from Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 in E-flat to David Gillingham’s Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Wind Orchestra. He has also been featured live on national television in Australia (“The Morning Show”) and is often heard on both local and national radio in Australia, Europe and the US. His album of American art song, entitled Stopping By (with tenor Kyle Bielfield), debuted at #5 on the iTunes New & Noteworthy Classical Charts and #24 on the Billboard Classical Music Chart, and was recently re-released on the Decca label.
With an avid interest in contemporary music, Mr. Glen has worked with several composers in the creation of new works, most recently including Ben Moore’s “Enemies” (Palm Beach Opera) and Alberto Caruso’s “The Master”, with libretto by Colm Tóibín. He also collaborates with Canadian pop singer Rufus Wainwright and co-edited the sheet music for Wainwright’s album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu for publication (Schott, 2012). Born in Sydney, Australia, an early interest in composition resulted in several national awards and the performance of his orchestral work Daintree Overture at the inaugural Aurora Contemporary Music Festival 2006 (Matthew Hindson, Artistic Director). Always an entrepreneur at heart, he founded a successful baking business at age 13 while simultaneously pursuing studies on the viola and performing as orchestral keyboardist and percussionist in Sydney. Lachlan is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program (’15), The Juilliard School (M.M. ’13) and Rutgers University (B.M., Mason Gross School of the Arts, ’11), and maintains a private vocal coaching studio in New York City.
Caren Levine, Vocal Coach – Caren Levine, Conductor and Pianist, has established a reputation as one of today’s most compelling artists. The San Francisco Chronicle described her as “a petite powerhouse, with technique to burn and unimpeachable musicianship. She is one of the finest musicians around, of the highest and most inspiring order.” An alumna of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera House as Assistant Conductor/Prompter since 2003. In 2012, she received a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for The Met Opera’s DVD of John Adams Doctor Atomic Live in HD, and received her second Grammy Award for The Met Opera’s DVD of Thomas Adès The Tempest Live in HD in 2014. She has assisted such renowned conductors as James Levine, Fabio Luisi, James Conlon, Marco Armiliato, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Charles Mackerras, Harry Bicket among many others. She has been heard as harpsichord continuo with the LA Philharmonic, Met Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Opera San Antonio and Vienna Philharmonic. An active performer, Levine has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent artists, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Marcello Giordani, Juan Diego Flóres, Lawrence Brownlee, Susanne Mentzer, Morris Robinson, and Barbara Bonney. Among her numerous recordings, a CD of her own jazz piano compositions entitled Flowers from a Secret Admirer was released in 1996. Highlights of her 2016-2017 season included the Metropolitan Opera production of L’Amour de Loin and Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème at the Charleston Opera Company, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Antonio, The Turn of the Screw, La Bohème, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Le Nozze di Figaro at The Miami Music Festival, where she served as Head of Music Staff and Conductor since 2014. Upcoming engagements include Metropolitan Opera productions of The Exterminating Angel, Die Zauberflöte, Elektra and Turandot, and Madama Butterfly with Vero Beach Opera. Caren Levine is a protégé of renowned pianist, Samuel Sanders, whom she worked with throughout her Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Master of Music and DMA at The Juilliard School.
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.
Harolyn Blackwell, Voice Faculty – Soprano Harolyn Blackwell is recognized for her expressive and exuberant performances, with a career that has spanned opera, concert and recital stages around the world. Following college, the Washington, D.C., native began her career on Broadway in Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”. Shortly afterwards, she was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and her career path changed from the musical theatre to opera. Since then, she has performed with many of the major national and international opera companies, and at festivals around the world, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, Seattle Opera, Opera de Nice, Miami Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opera Orchestra of New York and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. She has appeared in several productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including Un Ballo in Maschera, Le Nozze di Figaro, Manon, Die Fledermaus, Werther and La Fille du Régiment. Ms. Blackwell starred as Cunegonde in the Broadway revival of Candide. An accomplished recitalist, she has performed in several acclaimed concert series, including London’s Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Morgan Library, The Library of Congress, The San Francisco Performances Series at the Herbst Hall , The Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber Series , The Vocal Arts Society of Washington and The Ambassador Foundation Performing Arts Series in Los Angeles. She has also appeared in a number of nationally televised concerts such as The Grammy Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Memorial Day and Fourth of July Concerts on PBS , Christmas in Washington and The PBS Live From The White House to name a few. Ms. Blackwell is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, one of which provided her with the opportunity to study in Italy with Renata Tebaldi and Carlo Bergonzi.
Ms. Blackwell is currently performing in A Tribute To Ella, a centennial celebration of Ella Fitzgerald with major orchestras across the US. She is on the voice faculty of New York University, and Columbia University.
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.
Lesley Craigie, Voice Faculty – Described as a voice “of grace and personal beauty” and “spellbinding” by “Opera” magazine Scottish soprano Lesley Craigie has performed extensively throughout the USA and her native UK. Lesley made a professional move to the U.S in 2003. Now based in New York, the soprano has performed with opera companies such as New Jersey Opera Theater, Washington Concert Opera, the Baltimore Opera, New York Bel Canto Opera Association, Opera Box (Wales), Boheme Opera NJ , Mercury Opera , The Center of Contemporary Opera and the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera both as a soloist and ensemble member. Roles include Tosca, Nedda (I Pagiacci), Violetta (La Traviata) Giulietta (Tales of Hoffmann) and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Polly Peachum (Three-Penny Opera) amongst others. Recordings include Barber’s ” A Hand of Bridge” with the Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop for the Naxos label.
In addition, Ms. Cragie is an accomplished recitalist. She has twice been invited to give recitals at Capitol Hill and personally invited to perform in concerts in Italy by the esteemed soprano, Elly Ameling, in Firenze . She has performed solo at the Chauatauqua Institute in their Richard Rogers concerts and was invited to sing her native Scots Songs for the first ever visit of the Scottish Prime Minister’s meeting with President Obama in 2009. In 2014, Lesley was honored to sing solo at the inaugural NY Military Tattoo with over 75 pipers from both sides of the Atlantic accompanying he and was invited back to perform at the same event this year with the NYPD Brass at the Armory in New York City.
Oratorio credits as a guest soloist include Elijah (With the Scottish Opera Orchestra) Messiah, Petite Messe Solenelle, Bach Magnificat, Brahms Requiem, Schubert Mass in G, Faure Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Carmina Burana and most recently Mozart’s Requiem in Greenwich CT.
Lesley holds degrees and scholarships from the Royal College of Music, London, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and coaches with esteemed soprano, Renata Scotto. In 2017 Lesley was delighted to join the team at Piper Anselmi Artsists Management as an Artists Manager, where she works along side her husband Filippo and Mitchell Piper.
Carol Ann Manzi, Voice Faculty – Carol Ann Manzi continues to enjoy a diverse and varied career on stage and in the studio. Manzi currently appears regularly in concert and recital with classical guitarist, Thomas Heck. She maintains a busy studio is in southern California and is on the faculty of Santa Barbara City College. Miss Manzi pioneered the first Festival celebrating the works of Pavel Wranitzky (1757-1808) in his hometown of Moravia, the Czech Republic in October 2015. That year, she was also guest soloist with the Willamette Master Chorus and Orchestra in a Concert for Life, performing music commissioned and composed for this event honoring cancer patients. Notable composers included Dave Metzger (Frozen), and John Peel. Earlier that year, she reprised her critically acclaimed soloist role in Theodorakis’s masterwork, The Canto General, with the Santa Barbara Master Chorale and orchestra. With that same chorus and orchestra, she was soloist in the Magnificats of Bach and Buxtehude.
Miss Manzi’s operatic performances have been praised by critics, most notably for her “long, legato lines, gorgeous, crystalline pianissimos, her expressivity and her highly believable interpretations.” Roles to her credit have included Cio Cio San, Mimi, Magda in La Rondine, Liu, Musetta, Gilda, Rosalinda, Leila in The Pearl Fishers, Vivetta in L’Arlesiana, Maria in Guglielmo Ratcliff by Mascagni, Fiora in L’Amore dei Tre Re, Violetta, Nedda, Fiordiligi, Tosca, Cendrillon at the Sarasota Opera, Lincoln Center, Connecticut Opera, Eugene Opera, The Banff, Tanglewood, Chautauqua Festivals, Opera Carolina, Greensboro, Abiliene and Santa Barbara Operas. She holds a Masters Degree in vocal performance from Yale and has been the recipient of numerous awards, prizes and scholarships for her vocal and scholarly work including, The MacAllister, Rosa Ponselle, Jenny Lind, and UNICO Foundations. Miss Manzi was a guest soloist at the World Conference on Breast Cancer in Nova Scotia, British Columbia.
Ashley Putnam, Voice Faculty – After winning first prize in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1973, internationally renowned soprano Ashley Putnam went on to a career which encompassed an extraordinary repertoire ranging from bel canto to the leading soprano roles of Mozart and Strauss that later became her signature. She performed to great acclaim in major opera houses all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Statsoper, Berlin Statsoper, Teatro Colon; the opera companies of Geneva, Zurich, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Glyndebourne, Nice, Lyon, Cologne, and the Netherlands; San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, and all of the important regional companies in the United States.
Her performances with major symphony orchestras included the New York Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Early in her career she was a celebrated interpreter of Italianate repertoire, performing La Traviata, Lucia di Lamermoor, La fille du régiment, Maria Stuarda, I Puritani, and La bohème worldwide. Later she was a sought after performer of the leading Mozart and Strauss soprano roles, heralded as her generation’s premier Arabella and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. She also gave memorable performances in contemporary operas, including the American premieres of Musgrave’s Mary Queen of Scots and Henze’s Das Verratene Meer, and specialized in Czech repertoire, performing Jenufa, Katya, Kabanova, and Rusalka around the world. She was invited to sing at the White House for Presidents Carter and Reagan. Her recordings include La bohème (Philips), Mary Queen of Scotsn (Moss), Arabella, Così fan tutte, La clemenza di Tito (all BBC videos), and Street Scene (German Television).
Currently on the voice faculty of Manhattan School of Music, Ashley Putnam also maintains a private studio in New York City. She previously served on the faculties of Eastman School of Music and DePaul University, as well as on the teaching staff of the Santa Fe Opera, the Lindemann Program at the Metropolitan Opera, and the Young Artist programs of Opera Colorado, Intermezzo, Seagle Music Colony, and Centro Studi Lirica. Her students perform in opera houses worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Berlin Deutsche Oper, Santa Fe Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, and have distinguished themselves as winners of prizes in the George London Foundation Awards Competition, the Liederkrantz Competition, the Manhattan School of Music Ades and Voice Concerto Competitions, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competitions.
Neil Rosenshein, Voice Faculty – The versatile American tenor Neil Rosenshein is known equally for his memorable stage portrayals and his thoughtful musicianship. He has captured critical and popular acclaim throughout the world in repertoire by composers from the Baroque to the 20th Century. Leading roles performed at the Metropolitan Opera include Alfredo in La Traviata, Alfred and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Léon in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, Don José in Carmen, the Prince in Rusalka and the title roles in Faust, Werther, and Peter Grimes. Other opera companies include Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Hamburg Opera, Netherlands Opera, La Scala, Australian Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Zurich, Geneva, and others.
His varied repertoire has enabled him to enhance his opera career, as soloist with many of the world’s great orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Orquestra Gulbenkian, Bayerischer Rundfunk – Munich, Israel Philharmonic. His numerous recitals include venues such as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and Alice Tully Hall, among others.
Premieres include Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles (Metropolitan Opera), Dominick Argento’s Aspern Papers (Dallas Opera), and Bernstein’s Songfest. His collaborative conductors include Leonard Bernstein, Colin Davis, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Nicholas Harnoncourt, and Ricardo Muti, to name a few. Through this extensive career, Mr. Rosenshein has accumulated a wealth of artistic and technical experience, which he now shares with his students, many who now follow the path he set, singing with major companies throughout the world. He has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music since 1997. In addition to MSM, Mr. Rosenshein has taught at DePaul University and The Hartt School, and judges for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Filippo Anselmi, Artist Managment – Filippo is the Senior Artist Manager at Piper Anselmi Artists Management. From his early days as an Associate Manager at Columbia Artists Management, Filippo has been representing International talent for over 16 years in some of the most prestigious venues all over the world, including Teatro alla Scala, Opera de Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Tokyo National Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Teatro Colon, Santa Fe Opera, Berlin Deutsche Opera, Bayreische Staatsoper, Teatro dell’Opera, Opera di Firenze, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro San Carlo, Teatro Massimo, Rossini Opera Festival, Salzburg Festival, La Monnaie, Beijing, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Prior to becoming a manager, he directed opera in the US and Italy. As a playwright, he wrote and produced world premier plays in New York City as a co-founder of the Open Door Theatre.
Mitchell Piper, Master Teacher Artist Management – (see Artistic Administration bio)
Marishka Wierzbicki, Crossover Faculty – (see Musical Theatre Performance Studio for bio)
Jason DeBord, Crossover Faculty – (see Musical Theatre Performance Studio for bio)
Vince DeGeorge, Crossover Faculty – (see Musical Theatre Performance Studio for bio)
FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA/CHAMBER MUSIC/COLLABORATIVE PIANO STUDIO
David Jackson, Conductor – (see Artistic Administration bio)
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.
Caren Levine, Director Collaborative Piano – (see Opera Performance Studio bio)
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.
Joe Montelione, Master Teacher (Trumpet) – As an orchestral trumpeter, Joe has performed with the Florida Orchestra, Opera Tampa, Jacksonville Symphony, Coastal Symphony of Georgia, Ocala Symphony, Opera Memphis, Memphis Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Moscow State Radio Symphony, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Erie Symphony, Washington Symphony Orchestra, Jackson Symphony and the Carnegie Hall performance of the United Nations Orchestra.
As a commercial artist he has worked with Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Charlie Daniels, Amy Grant, Don Menza, Bob Mintzer, Ruben Studdard, Mandisa, Kim Choo-ja, Julie Andrews, Nathan Lane, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ian Fraser, Ed Strauss, Laura Bell Bundy, Lea Michelle, Bart Shatto, Steve Tewksbury, Eden Espinosa and many others. He is the music director for “Bartley in Concert” a jazz concert experience featuring singer Adam Bartley (star of the television show Longmire). Montelione can be heard on major-motion picture soundtracks to the “Post Grad Survival Guide”, “Live Evil”, “Unearthed” , the documentary “U-Street Sounds”, and the video game “Metropolis.”
He has been seen in the Broadway pits for the shows “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” starring Nathan Lane, “Victor/Victoria” starring Julie Andrews, “The King and I” starring Lou Diamond Phillips and “Big: The Musical” a musical adaptation of the 1988 Tom Hanks film. He spent many summers as music director of the CRT Orchestra, a high-energy show band that is in residence at the Creede Repertory Theatre.
Dr. Joseph Montelione is a national teaching artist providing masterclasses and performances throughout the United States. He has performed all over the world as a chamber musician and soloist, with recent solo engagements throughout China. He has been on the faculty of the University of Florida as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Trumpet and a member of the artist faculty for the National Trumpet Competition since 2007. Before arriving at the University of Florida, Montelione served as a teaching-artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a performing artist-educator for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the New England Music Camp and as the Director of Instrumental Performance at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.
His formal education began at the Manhattan School of Music, continued at SUNY Fredonia, George Mason University and the University of Southern California. Previous trumpet teachers have included: Carl Sakofsky, Robert Sullivan, William Vacchiano, Dennis Edelbrock and Boyde Hood. Previous jazz teachers have included: Earl Carter, Dave Arnay and every album he ever heard.
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.
Guglielmo Pellarin, Master Teacher (Horn) – Principal horn of the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Guglielmo Pellarin was born in a family of musician where the oboist father and the pianist mother first taught him. He began to play the french horn at the age of seven and graduated as a pupil of Mr. G. Arvati in the Conservatory “J. Tomadini” in Udine with first-class honours; he attended masterclasses in Portogruaro, Ferrara, Fiesole and Pirano studying along with G. Corti, A. Corsini, R. Vlatkovic, I. James, M. Maskuniity, L. Seeman and then he was selected for the Italian Youth Orchestra. Besides many concerts with well renowned orchestras – such as Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Orchestra Mozart and Human Rights Orchestra – he is horn player of Quintetto di Fiati Italiano and Opter Ensemble, and in his solo and chamber music activity he frequently takes part in festivals and concert seasons, collaborating with A. Allegrini, A. Oliva, F. Di Rosa, A. Carbonare, A. Zucco, F. Lovato, D. Nordio, M. Devia, A. Lonquich, Trio di Parma, Ex Novo Ensemble and Rome Chamber Music Festival. Guglielmo Pellarin world premiered the concert for horn and strings composed which F. Perez Tedesco dedicated to him. Collaborating with Federico Lovato he recorded for the label Audite “French Music for horn and piano” – monography dedicated to french music for horn and piano – including the first release of the sonata for french horn and piano by J. M. Damase; playing trio with Federico and Francesco Lovato he is founding member of the Opter Ensemble, which beside all the usual trio repertoire plays arrangements by D. Zanettovich and F. Francescato of J. Brahms’ op.11 serenade and R. Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegels”, as well as trios that F. Schweiser and G Mirzayeva dedicated to them. From 2016 on the activity of Opter Ensemble is generously supported by CIDIM and CRUP through the project “Friuli in Musica”. He frequently helds masterclasses, and is teacher of “I fiati” at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and at Conservatorio C. Pollini in Padua. He is interested in math and cultivates his interest in this topic, and he graduated in math at Padua University.
Christopher Larkin, Conductor – (see Opera Performance Studio bio)
Neal Goren, Conductor – (see Opera Performance Studio bio)
Tim Ribchester, Conductor – (see Opera Performance Studio bio)
MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE STUDIO
Marishka Wierzbicki, Director Vocal Program & Curriculum – Marishka Wierzbicki is one of the leading experts in Broadway style and technique and has been passionately teaching and coaching voice in New York since 1989. A Liz Caplan Associate Teacher, her students have been featured as principals in numerous Broadway shows including Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Les Miserables, Pippin, Chicago, West Side Story, Next to Normal, Newsies, and Wicked, to name just a few. Several of her students have been nominated for the prestigious Tony Award. She also serves as vocal consultant on many Broadway shows. Faculty appointments include Pace University, The Hartt School, SVI at The Manhattan School of Music, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Center, CAP 21 at New York University, and the Intermezzo Festival in Brugge, Belgium and Siena, Italy. She received a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and a MM from The New England Conservatory of Music.
Jason DeBord, Music Director – 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. Linda directed Chicago for MAI in 2017 and will return for Cabaret for this summer’s festival.
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. Rob will return to Music Academy International for the 2018 festival to conduct Evita after a successful 2017 festival where he conducted 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: For the Music Academy International Vince directed the 2017 production of Godspell. He returns for the 2018 festival to direct Evita.
Harolyn Blackwell, Master Teacher – (see Opera Performance Studio for bio
Mitchell Piper, Artist Management – (see Opera Performance Studio bio)