SHERRY OVERHOLT: Dr. Sherry Overholt received her performance degrees from the University of Miami and subsequently at Yale University, studying under noted soprano Phyllis Curtin. In addition to teaching at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College since 1995, she has taught at The Hartt School and, most recently, joined the faculties of New York University and Queens College. Her private students have gone on to sing with the Santa Fe, Sarasota, Chautauqua, and Chicago Lyric opera companies as apprentices and young artists, as well as with opera houses in Germany. An active performer, Dr. Overholt has sung with Glimmerglass, Kentucky, Sarasota, Virginia, Toledo, Augusta, Memphis, and Indianapolis opera companies. Her roles include Violetta, Marzelline, Zerlina, Musetta, and Gilda, in addition to the light opera roles of Kathie in “The Student Prince,” Mabel in “Pirates of Penzance,” and Josephine in “H.M.S. Pinafore.” She sang the title role in the world premiere of Frank Lewin’s “Burning Bright,” which drew international acclaim. On the concert stage, Dr. Overholt is a solo artist with Columbia Artist’s Community Concerts Series. Singing in joint operatic recital with Lee Velta, baritone, they have performed more than 300 concerts throughout the United States and Europe. Dr. Overholt sang with the Baltimore Symphony for five seasons, the Portland Symphony and the Philadelphia Virtuosi Orchestra. Her first operatic recording for Albany records was released in January 2002.
CONNIE BARNETT: Connie Barnett,, Personal Consultant and Career Coach (Barnett Associates) and former manager at Columbia Artists Management Inc. (C.A.M.I.) has managed many young stars and highly established singers. Currently she serves as personal coach/consultant and liaison to management and helps market young, emerging artists. Connie has written numerous articles about singers, management and promoting yourself without management, among others. She has conducted master classes for singers for many years. She has presented masterclasses at Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Intermezzo and the Hartt School of Music. Ms. Barnett has been affiliated with the Washington Wagner Society and served as a judge as well as advisory Board for the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition for Singers. Besides her one-on-one coachings that answer artists' needs, she offers Power Auditions, empowering the artists to make auditions like performances; Radiant Audition Technique, with director James Marvel; Coaching at its Best with conductor/coach William Hicks; Fireside Chats about Management (classes preparing for manager auditions); and the newest class, "PLACEMATTING," a fun class to help with time management to allow for your most creative projects.
KEN BENSON: a former Vice-President at Columbia Artists Management, started his career in advertising, working with Doyle, Dane & Bernbach. In 1977, however, he decided to channel his strong interest in vocal repertoire and career development into the formation of his own artists' management with Eddie Lew. After nine years, he joined CAMI in 1986, where he headed his own division, and represents such artists as Marcello Giordani, Harolyn Blackwell, Anthony Dean Griffey, Rodney Gilfry, Aprile Millo, Kurt Ollmann, and Stanford Olsen. In past seasons, he has given classes at Indiana University, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University School of Music, Hart School of Music, and as part of the Susan Ormont Audition Project. In addition, he is a frequent guest on the Texaco - Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast's Opera Quiz.
DEBORAH BIRNBAUM: Deborah Birnbaum is an internationally established teacher and performer. Her expertise in breath technique originates from her own private vocal studies with renowned soprano, Montserrat Caballé. Widely sought after as a teacher/clinician, Ms. Birnbaum has a unique ability to help singers assimilate the mechanics of bel canto breath support while working within the context of their vocal technique. Recent master classes include the Metropolitan Opera (National Council Auditions), San Francisco Opera Center (Adler Fellowship and Merola Program), Houston Grand Opera Studio, The Juilliard School of Music, Glimmerglass Opera, Mannes College of Music, Florida Grand Opera, Rice University, Hartt School of Music, Westminster Choir College Rider University, University of Miami, Portland Opera, Tel Aviv’s International Vocal Arts Institute and China’s Beijing Conservatory. Ms. Birnbaum is a committed teacher whose private studio includes singers from the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Covent Garden, Chicago Lyric Opera and other regional American and European opera companies and apprentice programs.
LOUIS BURKOT: is Opera North's Music Director and Principal Conductor from the company's inception, and was appointed Artistic Director in 1987. He has conducted 32 productions for the company. He served on the musical staff of Houston Grand Opera in 1987 and was an assistant conductor for the Central City (Colorado) Opera Festival in 1988. As musical director for four seasons of Opera New England, now the education/outreach arm of the Boston Lyric Opera, he has conducted numerous operas at sites throughout New England and New York. He has also conducted for Treasure Coast Opera, FL and the Abilene, TX Opera Association. As Glee Club Director and Voice Instructor at Dartmouth College, he has conducted major oratorios, operas, and ballets.
BILL CONNINGTON: is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. He is former Chairman of the Board of the American Center for the Alexander Technique and co-author of the book "The Alexander Technique", published by Harper Collins, with over 80,000 copies in print. Bill specializes in working with performers. He is a former faculty member of The Juilliard Opera Center, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The 92nd Street Y Dance Department, Alvin Ailey, and The Actors Studio Drama School at New School University. In addition to working privately with opera singers and students, Bill has collaborated with a number of coaches and singing teachers. He is a graduate of The American Center for the Alexander Technique, and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. www.createabalance.org
STEVEN CRAWFORD: has been on the roster of conductors for the Metropolitan Opera for eight seasons. He has also conducted for Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance. He has conducted in Portland OR, Cincinnati Opera, Illinois Opera Theatre, and Florida Grand Opera for five years. During that time he conducted fifteen different productions, working with such great artists as Sherill Milnes, Carol Neblett, Justino Diaz, and Barbara Daniels. He has also conducted for Chautauqua Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Nevada Opera and Opera Northeast. An excellent symphonic conductor and proponent of contemporary music, Maestro Crawford was engaged by the New York Philharmonic as cover conductor for Maestro Kurt Masur for the American premiere of Minoru Miki's Symphony for Two Worlds. During the '98 season, he made his New York City conducting debut in the NYC City premiere of A Chekov Trilogy by Richard Wargo. Maestro Crawford continues to have an active career in accompanying when his conducting schedule permits, most recently playing for the Wagner Society of New York's evening musicale in honor of Richard Wagner's birthday, accompanying mezzo Jane Dutton of the Metropolitan Opera, and basso Stephan Kirchgraber. He has in the past accompanied Justino Diaz and Pablo Elvira in Puerto Rico, Aprile Millo in Sao Paolo, Richard Cowan on Belle Île en Mer, and Ortrun Wenkel and Håkan Hagegåard in Miami.
ROSE MARIE CROUSE: soprano is a graduate of the Juilliard School and began her career singing the role of Magda in "La Rondine" with the Juilliard Opera Center. She was subsequently engaged by the San Francisco Opera to perform the role of Rosalinda in "Die Fledermaus" and Violetta in "La Traviata" The latter has become her trademark, performing with many regional american companies, as well as making her european debut in Lisbon at the Theatre de San Carlos in that role. Her other roles include Manon, Mimi & Musetta, Tosca , Lauretta, Hanna (The Merry Widow), as well as the bel-canto heroines, Adina, Rosina, and Norina. Ms. Guariglia has performed with Colorado Opera, Riverside Opera (Cal.),Opera Columbus, Treasure Coast (Fla.), Annapolis Opera and Toledo Opera among others. Rose Marie Crouse has shared her L.I. studio with her husband, tenor Michael Crouse, for the past 20 years. They have one daughter, Maria Michelle and reside in Freeport, N.Y.
JOHN DI COSTANZO: Maestro Di Costanzo’s triumphant début with La Bohème for Syracuse Opera earned him re-invitations over six seasons, which have included performances of Carmen, Otello, The Magic Flute and Rigoletto. He has performed with Toledo Opera, a position he held for six seasons, Opera Birmingham, Nashville Opera, Di Capo Opera, Brandenburg Opera and Liederkranz Opera. In addition to his conducting duties, Mr. Di Costanzo performs in recital and coaches Italian opera repertoire in his New York City studio, preparing internationally acclaimed singers for their roles. He has also accompanied world-renowned performers in rehearsal and played in master classes for Licia Albanese and Renata Scotto.
THOMAS GOODHEART: Baritone Thomas Goodheart has performed more than 20 leading roles with opera companies throughout the United States, including the New York City Opera National Touring Company, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and Tri-Cities Opera Company. His leading roles include Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly,” Escamillo in “Carmen,” Germont in “La Traviata,” Marcello in “La Bohème,” and Enrico in “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Concert credits include Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Mr. Goodheart has won awards and prizes from many organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Bel-Canto Opera Foundation, the Joy in Singing Competition, and the Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera. Mr. Goodheart received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in voice performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
GERRY HECHT: is a pianist/coach who has worked extensively with singers in the art song and operatic repertoire and in duo performances with instrumentalists. He has performed in Italy, Boston, Washington, D.C. and throughout the New Jersey and New York area. Recordings to his credit include the CD The Complete Songs of Charles Ives with mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart on the Albany Records label. Gerard Hecht developed an interest in opera while singing in the children's chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. Inspired by his experiences there, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University, and a Master of Music in Vocal Accompanying from the Manhattan School of Music. In 2000, he was promoted to full-time status as Professor of Music and General Education at SUNY Purchase, the youngest professor on faculty. Mr. Hecht designed and launched the humanities curriculum for Purchase College, consisting of courses in Western Culture, designed specifically for students in the performing arts. In addition to the humanities curriculum, Mr. Hecht also teaches Solfege and musicianship skills, serves as accompanist for the brass department, and performs frequently on campus. Mr. Hecht also serves on the Extension Division Faculty of the Mannes College of Music and the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School.
JOAN KRUEGER: was named “2004 Coach of the Year” by Classical Singer magazine. She has accompanied such artists as Cecilia Bartoli, Sumi Jo, and Vinson Cole through her association with New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and was seen on A&E’s Breakfast With The Arts, accompanying soprano Carol Vaness. Ms. Krueger has performed collaborative recitals in Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The United Nations, Weill Recital Hall, the Donnell Library, and numerous other venues in the New York City area where she maintains an active coaching studio. She has been an Assistant Conductor for the Sarasota Opera, Music Director for NYU’s Opera Workshop, and on the faculty of the Intermezzo Opera Festival. Ms. Krueger is the pianist for many prestigious vocal competitions including the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, and the Chester Ludgin Verdi Baritone Competition. She was recently a judge for the Classical Singer Vocal Competition. Ms. Krueger is on the faculty of Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance, and the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute. She has been a guest artist at many U.S. Universities and Conservatories. Currently on the faculty of SUNY Purchase, Ms. Krueger teaches French and Italian Diction, Operatic Styles and coaches. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Michigan State University and her Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.
ARTHUR J. LEVY: is a graduate Manhattan School of Music and has had additional studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is on the faculty of Mannes College of Music and has also taught at the State University of New York at Purchase and at the opera house in Stuttgart, Germany. He works with singers who appear in all the major opera houses of the world, as well as a number of Tony award–winning musical theater performers. He has also taught for the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program and has been invited to give master classes throughout the United States. He has appeared as tenor soloist in both opera and oratorio.
DAVID LEIBOWITZ: is the Music Director/Conductor and founder of the award-winning New York Repertory Orchestra, which has international acclaim for work on the concert, opera, and ballet stage.
Recently appointed as Orchestra Director at the City College of New York, Mr. Leibowitz also holds the post of Principal Conductor with the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra (NY); on the staff of the International Opera Institute at the Maud Powell Music Festival (IL) and was on the conducting staff of the Rome Festival Opera (Italy), leading opera, ballet, and concert performances. Throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe he has directed such ensembles as the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra (NY), Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria), the Orchester Pro Arte (Vienna), the Masterplayers Orchestra (Switzerland), the Orquestra Sinfonico de la Ciudad de Mexico, the Bach Festival Orchestra (Princeton, NJ), and the Brooklyn Opera and Dance Theater. Critics hailed his performances with the Pleven Philharmonic as "passionate and exciting." Mr. Leibowitz received his Master of Arts degree in Performance Practice, Summa Cum Laude, from the City University of New York´s Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College. His main studies were in performance, musicology, and composition. He was awarded a teaching fellowship and was named a Presidential Scholar of the University. He has continued his conducting studies with, among others, Herbert Blomstedt, Carlo Maria Giulini, and Jacques-Louis Monod.
JAMES MARVEL: is from New Orleans and received his B.A. in World Literature from Sarah Lawrence College and Oxford University, England. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from the International Actor Training Academy and conducted additional studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He has worked with the San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera East Texas, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Boston, Sacramento Opera, Syracuse Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, Shreveport Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Tampa, Asheville Lyric Opera, and Knoxville Opera.
International credits include work at the 5th International Theatre Festival in Budapest, Hungary; the Istropolitana Theatre Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia; the Viola Stage in Prague, Czech Republic; Teatr Wielki in Lodz, Poland; the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland; the Wadham Theatre and Burton-Taylor Theatre in Oxford, England. Theatre credits include repeat engagements with the Passage Theatre Company in New Jersey; Clarence Brown Theatre in Tennessee; Williamstown Theatre Festival; and the Inter-Act Theatre Company of Philadelphia. In addition to his work as an actor and director, James has also played violin in numerous orchestras; composed original music for professional theatre productions; danced in pieces choreographed by members of the Martha Graham company; and published works in a variety of international journals.
MAX MIDROIT: Max Midroit's career as a pianist has led him to perform at many of New York City's most important venues. He has also appeared at the Kennedy Center, as well as in Germany, the Netherlands, and his native France. Dr. Midroit has also performed for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, the American Repertory Ballet, for animation and silent films, and has recorded for CRI and for independent film. His versatility has been hailed by critics; the Denver Post noted his "ravishing tone" in a "scintillating" performance of Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto, described by NBC's Channel 4 as "on all accounts brilliant," and after his recent performance with the ARB, the New York Times commented that Mr. Midroit "played with ferocious speed and sweetness."Dr. Midroit holds degrees from the Juilliard School, Rice University and obtained a Ph.D. from New York University for his analysis of stratification and symmetry in Britten's music.
AUDREY SAINT GIL: Born in Toulouse, France, Audrey Saint-Gil attended the Conservatoire National de Musique de Toulouse where she was awarded three first prizes with distinction in piano, chamber music, and coach/accompanist. She continued her doctoral studies at the University of Toulouse and graduated in 2004 with a PhD in Music. Audrey worked with Le Théâtre de Castres in France. She has worked as a pianist and vocal coach for several famous French opera house such as the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (2005) and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (2006). In 2006, she began her international coaching career in the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria, with a production of Dukas' Barbe-Bleue under the direction of Bertrand de Billy. The same time she was appointed Vocal Coach of the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, starting her collaboration with the baritone Jean-Philippe Lafon during his master classes. In 2006, Ms. Saint-Gil was hired as a coach and pianist by the New York Opera Society for their first tour in France (Castres), presenting Puccini's La Bohème conducted by Lucy Arner. She worked as a French vocal coach at Detroit Opera House and is currently the official pianist of Diana Soviero's studio in New York.
BENJAMIN SPIERMAN: Stage Director. Recently, he directed Hansel and Gretel for the Bronx Opera. 2012 has also seen him direct Cendrillon with Opera at Rutgers in New Jersey and the New York professional premiere of Vaughan Williams’s The Poisoned Kiss with Bronx Opera (for which he also rewrote the original dialogue). In a busy 2010-11 season, he directed and translated the NYC staged premiere of the Mahler/Weber Die drei Pintos (Bronx Opera) and directed The Pirates of Penzance (Imperial Symphony Orchestra, FL); Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost (Amarillo Opera, TX); Dialogues of the Carmelites (Resonanz Festival, NY); The Tales of Hoffmann and Die Fledermaus (Opera in the Heights, TX); Ariadne auf Naxos (dell’Arte Opera, NYC) and returned to Bronx Opera to direct Auber’s Fra Diavolo. Other work includes Henry Mollicone’s The Face on the Barroom Floor (Central City Opera); Floyd’s Susannah (Boheme Opera New Jersey); Falstaff and Pagliacci (Amarillo Opera); Don Giovanni and Turandot (Dayton Opera, OH); Madama Butterfly, The Merry Widow, Le nozze di Figaro and La fille du regiment (Indianapolis Opera); Carmen, Tosca and L’elisir d’amore (Imperial Symphony); Dido and Aeneas/Trial by Jury at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (CT) and The Consul, Boccaccio and The Magic Flute (Bronx Opera). In his days as an assistant and stage manager, he worked with the opera companies of Central City, Indianapolis, Mobile, Mississippi, New Jersey, Palm Beach, Saint Louis and Virginia, and with Light Opera Oklahoma. Also active as a performer, his roles have included Reverend Hale in The Crucible; Frank and Falke (Die Fledermaus); Ko-Ko (The Mikado), Jack Point and Wilfred Shadbolt (The Yeomen of the Guard); Dr. Craven (The Secret Garden); File (110° in the Shade) and both Dr. Malatesta and the title role in Don Pasquale. Last summer, in a combination of all of his areas of work, he directed, translated and appeared in The Impresario with the Washington Square Music Festival and directed and sang Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale with the North Shore Music Festival (Long Island). Other directing work in 2012 includes his debut with the Buck Hill-Sky Top Festival in the Pocanos, with La traviata, and returns to Rutgers for Purcell’s The Tempest and North Shore for The Barber of Seville.
VALERIE M. TRUJILLO: has experience in song literature and opera as an accompanist, coach, and teacher of master classes. Currently Co-Director of the Young American Artists Program at Glimmerglass Opera, she has been associated with many opera companies including Connecticut Opera, Shreveport Opera, Mississippi Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theatre at Wildwood, Augusta Opera, Ohio Light Opera and Opera in the Ozarks. Ms. Trujillo has served artist / faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Lake Placid Institute, and Intermezzo Program for Young Artists as well as the academic faculty at the Hartt School, Middle Tennessee State University, Yale University and Central Connecticut State University. She recently made her Weill Recital Hall debut and her work can be heard on the Chandos label release of The Mines of Sulphur (Bennett) and with fellow FSU faculty member Deborah Bish on the Mark Records label. A native of Santa Fe, N.M., she received her musical training from Eastern New Mexico University and the University of Illinois, where she studied with John Wustman. She taught at Florida State University from 1990-1996 and rejoined the faculty in 2002.
WILLIE ANTHONY WATERS: Appointed General and Artistic Director of Connecticut Opera, Hartford in 1999, Maestro Willie Anthony Waters has conducted numerous noteworthy productions and events for the company, including the Arena production of Aïda in 1991, Otello in 1997, Porgy and Bess in 1998, A Capitol Concert in Bushnell Park during the summer of 2000, and Denyce Graves in Concert (which opened the company's 60th anniversary season in the fall of 2001). Maestro Waters has been a guest conductor for the Arizona Opera, Australian Opera, Cologne Opera (Germany), Edmonton Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Ebony Opera, Manitoba Opera (Winnipeg), Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Carolina, Opera Colorado, L'Opéra de Montréal, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Orlando Opera, San Francisco Opera, Vancouver Opera, Kentucky Opera, and the opera companies of Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban, in South Africa. Among his orchestral engagements are performances with the Florida Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra (Munich), Essen Philharmonic (Germany), Brucknerhaus Orchester (Linz, Austria) and Indianapolis Symphony. Maestro Waters also serves as Artistic Advisor and Conductor of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, where he has conducted Otello, Tosca, Suor Angelica and Highway One, USA (William Grant Still), The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, and La Bohème, set during the Harlem renaissance of the 1920's. In 2002 Maestro Waters made his New York City Opera debut conducting Rigoletto, and in 2003 to conduct Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men. Maestro Waters hosts a monthly radio program on Beethoven Radio, Through the Opera Glasses, and is a regular guest on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz during the renowned Metropolitan Opera live broadcasts. He conducted a 25th anniversary debut at Connecticut Opera, a Connecticut Opera live broadcast and Aïda for Boston Lyric Opera's Opera on the Common.