ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, hails from Spokane, Washington. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence. In 2010 he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Hampson was made honorary professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, as well as being an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences.
Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. Hampson who was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs as well as recordings that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. Through the Hampsong Foundation which he founded in 2003 he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.
ABOUT THE STUDENTS
Michael Gracco is a baritone studying under the tutelage of Ruth Golden. Last year he performed with MSM's Junior Opera Theater as the title role in both Sweeney Todd and Falstaff, Curley in Oklahoma! and Rambaldo in La rondine. He also performed the title role of Don Giovanni under the baton of Ken Merrill for his opera repertoire ensemble. Michael reprised his role of Don Giovanni for The Metropolitan Opera Guild in a masterclass lead by Dona D. Vaughn. Michael recently became a finalist in The Metropolitan National Opera Council, Eastern division (2015) and has received the encouragement award (2013) for the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Connecticut division.
This year Michael performed the roles of Bertrand in The Dangerous Liaisons, Sid in Albert Herring, Don Fabrizio in The Leopard, and Le Marquis in Le roi l'a dit. Other previous performances include Il Conte in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, and Pandolfe in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Upcoming performances include L'horloge comtoise in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges.
Mezzo-soprano Emma Mansell is currently a second year Masters student at Manhattan School of Music, studying with soprano Ashley Putnam. Known for her captivating performances, passionate musicality, and arresting stage presence, Emma has performed in several oratorios and operatic roles, both classical and modern, including the lovable Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Noodin-Kwe in the Canadian opera Giiwedin, by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan, and, most recently, Nancy in Britten's Albert Herring. Other notable appearances include excerpts from Mark Adamo's Little Women, Mozart's Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito, Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jeffery Ryan's Ruth, and Glenn James' One Lump or Two? This spring, Emma will sing the role of La Tasse Chinoise in MSM's production of Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges.
New Zealand born tenor Oliver Sewell is a second-year Master’s degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music. Roles for 2015/16 include Benoit in Le roi l'a dit, Danceny in The Dangerous Liaisons, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Manhattan School of Music Opera Studio) and Ernesto in Don Pasquale (Crested Butte Music Festival, Colorado). Solo engagements include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Orpheus Choir of Wellington), Monteverdi’s Vespers and Mendelssohn's Elijah (Jubilate Singers), Britten's Cantata Misericordium, J.S Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium and Schumann's Der Rose Pilgerfahrt (Bach of Choir Wellington), Bach’s Mass in B Minor (Bach Musica New Zealand), Handel’sMessiah (Nelson & Napier Civic Choirs), Haydn’s Creation (Napier Civic Choir) and J.S. Bach’s St John Passion (Southern Sinfonia). Oliver gratefully acknowledges the support of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.
Soprano Janet Todd is a second year Masters student at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Maitland Peters. Previous credits include Gianni Schicchi (Lauretta) with Victorian Youth Opera, Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), Baroque Triple Bill – Coffee Cantata (Liesgen), VO Gala – Excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie) with Victorian Opera. Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira) with Oz Opera (regional tours). Die Zauberflöte (Pamina) for Opera Australia’s ‘Opera on the Beach’, Salieri’s The Chimney Sweep (Miss Hawk) with Pinchgut Opera, Sydney and Hercules (Iöle) with Canberra Choral Society. Janet has also performed many times as a soprano soloist for The Australian Ballet, and as a soloist for major choral works including Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St John Passion, Haydn’s Creation and Mozart’s Regina Coeli. In 2014, Janet was the soprano soloist for MSM’s performance of Mozart’s C Minor Mass and in fall 2015 she performed in MSM Opera Theatre's The Dangerous Liaisons as Cecile. Music theatre credits include Kismet (Marsinah), with The Production Company. In addition, Janet has won several awards including runner-up in the Herald Sun Aria, Opera Foundation Australia’s AIMS Sundell Study Award, the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust Award 2010, 2011 & 2012, and most recently, the Dame Heather Begg Memorial Award.
Baritone Young Kwang Yoo is a second-year Master’s student under the tutelage of Mark Oswald. Young Kwang was a 1st prize winner in the Osaka International Competition, Japan. Previous credits include the title role in Rigoletto with Seoul National University, La bohème (Marcello), Lakme (Frederic) and Luisa Miller (Miller) with Manhattan School of Music Opera Repertory Ensemble, The Telephone (Ben) with Te Art Ro Production and Madama Butterfly (Sharpless) with Martina Arroyo Foundation. The New York Times wrote for his role Sharpless “His solid baritone voice and stolid bearing suited Sharpless.” The Opera News said “He provided sturdy, empathetic presence and a fine-grained baritone.” Later this month he will appear in the role of Le Monstre in the MSM Opera Theater production of Persée et Andromède.
Tao Jiang, is a second year Master’s degree candidate in accompanying department at Manhattan School of Music, under the tutelage of Ken Merrill, and where he is a recipient of a Merit-based scholarship. Mr. Jiang has participated in accompanying seminar productions and performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Britten’s Albert Herring. As a coach he participated at La Lingua Della Lirica last summer in Italy, working with Glenn Morton, Ubaldo Fabbri, Donatella Dorsi, Daniele Tirilli, Donata D’ Annunzio Lombardi. Mr. Jiang has also played in master classes for Martin Katz, Diana Soviero, Thomas Hampson, Helmut Deutsch, Eric Owens, John Cheek, Lauren Flanigan and Craig Rutenberg.
American pianist Danny Zelibor's appearances are making him a pianist to watch on the international music scene. His current season includes recitals with Los Angeles Philharmonic principal cellist Robert DeMaine and Chicago Symphony cellist Brant Taylor, in addition to being a pianist for “Frontiers” — Fort Worth Opera’s festival of new works.
Mr. Zelibor’s recent debut CD for Toccata Classics, the first in a multi-volume set of the piano music of Alexandre Tansman, has received widespread praise from the top music publications including “Fanfare,” “MusicWeb International,” and "Gramophone". His continued exploration of this rich literature is setting him apart as a unique voice in the field of young American pianists.
A top prizewinner in the 2014 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, he is a graduate of Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas, where he studied with Tamas Ungar and Joseph Banowetz. He is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Collaborative Piano with Warren Jones at the Manhattan School of Music.
Pianist Andrew Sun is a sought-after collaborator and vocal coach. Currently on the coaching staff at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Sun was a fellow at Music Academy of the West in 2015, where he prepared La Cenerentola and scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor. He has also served as assistant conductor and rehearsal pianist for the dell'Arte Opera Ensemble and the NYU Steinhardt School. In 2012, he performed the radio broadcast premiere of the then newly-discovered Albumblatt by Johannes Brahms, for which he is cited in the Bärenreiter edition. Other performance highlights include vocal masterclasses with Marilyn Horne, Sir Thomas Allen, Stephanie Blythe, and Martin Katz. Mr. Sun holds bachelor's and master's degrees from New York University, where he was a student of Eduardus Halim. He currently studies with Warren Jones at Manhattan School of Music.
Collaborative pianist and coach Jonathan Gmeinder is a second-year Master’s candidate studying vocal accompanying under the tutelage of Warren Jones. He has participated in several lessons and master classes with renowned pedagogues and performers from across the nation, including Dale Duesing, Martin Katz, Craig Rutenberg, Robert McDonald, Thomas Hampson, and Gilbert Kalish. Jonathan is currently the rehearsal pianist for Manhattan School of Music’s AMTE musical review Defying Gravity and is looking forward to coaching La Boheme at Aspen Opera Theater this Summer.