The Talent

Ryland Angel – Artistic Director

Born on St Cecilia’s day, Grammy nominated Ryland Angel has performed in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Gavin Bryars’ Doctor Ox’s Experiment and  Fairy Queen at ENO (and Barcelona), Gluck’s Orfeo(Koblenz), Amadigi (Karlsruhe), Venus and Adonis (Flanders Opera), Dido and Aeneas (OperaComique), Peri’s Euridice (Rouen), The Play of Daniel (Spoleto) and Ballet Comique de La Royne(Geneva). Recordings include music of Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Lorenzani, Peri, Handel, Monteverdi, Beaujoyeux, Purcell, Bach and Spears (EMI, Universal, Sony, K317, Koch, Virgin Classics etc) and film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete and the PBS TV special ‘Heavenly Voices’. Recent engagements include Doux Mensonges (Opera National de Paris),Radamisto (St. Louis), Agrippina (NYCO), Tolomeo (Muziektheater Transparant), Semele(Cologne), Rodelinda (Holland), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Florentine and Kansas Opera), Julius Caesar (Utah Opera, Boston Baroque and Opera Colorado),  Sant Alessio (Paris, London, New York), Ulysses (Toulouse),  and Messiah with Handel and Haydn Society, St Thomas church andMusica Sacra at Carnegie Hall. New and upcoming recordings include  “Sacred Seven – Chant”(Cosmos), “Freud und Lust” – Buxtehude/Bach solo cantatas (Deux-Elles), Rosenmuller solo cantatas with Artek and Vespers by Colonna (Houston Chamber choir).

Cady Huffman

Cady most recently starred in The Tony Award winning play THE NANCE on Broadway. She is perhaps best known for her Tony winning performance as “Ulla” in The Producers on Broadway. This led to her unforgettable recurring role on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm where she almost became Larry David’s 10th anniversary present. This success also brought her to the Food Network’s kitchen stadium where she judged for 10 consecutive seasons on Iron Chef America.
Cady’s other Broadway credits are her Tony-nominated performance as Ziegfeld’s Favorite in THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, the original production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, STEEL PIER, DAME EDNA: THE ROYAL TOUR, and Bob Fosse’s last original musical BIG DEAL. She has had several guest starring appearances on television, including The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI, Law & Order: Trial By Jury, Frasier and Mad About You. She even showed up on Daytime’s One Life To Live as the 2nd Dr. Paige Miller.
On the big screen Cady was most recently seen in John Wells’ The Company Men opposite Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper. Other films include John Turturro’s star studded musical film Romance & Cigarettes, Hero (with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia), The Nanny Diaries and starring roles in the indy films Molly’s Theory of Relativity, Dare, $20 Drinks, Billy’s Dad Is A fudgepacker, Space Marines and Throw the Hoolihan. She also produced and stars in film festival favorite Sunday on the Rocks which won 2nd Place Feature at the New Haven Film Festival.
Cady often lends her talents and resources to several charitable causes, including Creative Alternatives of New York, AIDS awareness, breast cancer research, women’s heart health and animal rights. As an advocate for the arts, she has traveled to Washington to speak to Senators and Congresspersons and has spoken on panels at Sundance Film Festival and Brown and Harvard Universities focusing on the arts and first amendment rights. She is passionate about keeping the arts in public schools and helping young people realize their potential.

Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Mezzo-Soprano.

Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek is a member of the world famous vocal quartet Anonymous 4, performing all over the world and recording many award winning CDs, including the Billboard chart-topping American Angels. She was also a featured soloist on the Grammy awarding winning album “Calling All Dawns”. In addition to her work with Anonymous 4 she also has a reputation as a versatile and accomplished soloist, performing music from Bach to Babbitt. Originally from Ireland, she has sung with many major opera companies and ensembles in Europe including Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Opera Factory London and Zurich, Ensemble Modern Frankfurt and Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris, specializing in new work. After winning a Green Card and moving to the US her solo work has included Bach cantatas with The Washington Bach Consort DC and Bach Sinfonia DC, and Bach and Handel arias at Carmel Bach Festival with Bruno Weill,  a program of English songs by Dowland and others with The Folger Consort at the National Cathedral DC. She is also a voice teacher. She has thriving studios in NYC and DC and is a member of the faculty at the annual choral workshop Musica Deo Sacra at the National Cathedral in DC.

Jesse Blumberg, Baritone.

Jesse Blumberg is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages.  His recent engagements include Niobe, Regina di Tebe at Boston Early Music Festival, Bernstein’s Mass at Royal Festival Hall, and performances with New York Festival of Song.  He has performed roles at Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera, and made concert appearances with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Charlotte Symphony, Apollo’s Fire, and the Vail Valley Music Festival. Jesse has toured with the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Waverly Consort, and has performed recitals for the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Mirror Visions Ensemble.  His 2011-2012 season includes debuts with Anchorage Opera and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, and returns to American Bach Soloists, New York Festival of Song, and TENET/Green Mountain Project.  Jesse is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City.

Hai-Ting Chinn, Mezzo-Soprano.

American Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn performs in a wide range of styles and venues, from Purcell to Pierrot Lunaire, Cherubino to The King & I, J.S. Bach to P.D.Q. Bach. She has sung roles on the stages of New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Edinburgh Festival, the Verbier Festival, and London’s West End, and been heard with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Waverly Consort. Hai-Ting resides in New York City, where she works with maverick opera companies such as Opera Omnia, American Opera Projects, and Vertical Players Repertory, as well as ensembles including Rebel Baroque Orchestra, Proteus Ensemble, and the New York Virtuoso Singers. She originated the title role in The Wooster Group’s first opera, La Didone; was featured in Phillip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach; and has premiered works by Du Yun, Conrad Cummings, Stefan Weisman, Yoav Gal, and Matt Schickele.

Jeanette Olsson

Jeanette was born in Stockholm, Sweden, into a musical family. After her session work for Andreas Carlsson, Jeanette quickly found herself as one of Sweden’s most sought-after session singers. Jeanette has recorded, arranged, and produced backing vocals for almost every major international pop artist including Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Santana, LeAnn Rimes, Meatloaf, Jessica Simpson, Samantha Mumba, Christina Milian, Mya, Steps, Ronan Keating, Atomic Kitten, Gareth Gates, Will Young and many others. A writer since 2001, she signed her first publishing deal with Kobalt. She is now signed to BMG in Germany. In February 2010 Jeanette received her second US-visa and is now based in Los Angeles, California. After he move, Jeanette quickly started adding big names to her already extensive discography — Jennifer Lopez, Nikki Minaj, Nelly Furtado, Cher, Mary J Blige, Britney Spears (again), Paulina Rubio, American Idol’s Lauren Alaina and Haley Rainhart, and X-Factor winner Melanie Amaro. She has co-written and sung the title-track for Disney nature-movie “Pollen” released in France March 16th 2011. Together with some talented LA-singers, she has sung on the new Disney parade “Soundsational” that premiered May 26th 2011 at Disneyland California. For the last year Jeanette has became one of the regular backing-vocalists on the award-winning tv-show GLEE. Closing in on the end of season 3, she is singing and helping out with arranging and recording. In 2012 Jeanette’s voice can also be heard on movies like “The Lorax”, “Tom & Jerry” and “Rock of Ages”. She is a member of Timberville, a country/pop group that released its first record in April 2011.

Shari Alise Wilson, Soprano.

Soprano Shari Alise Wilson is among the new generation of singers specializing in early and modern music, demonstrating great versatility and stylistic sensitivity. Recent highlights include performances at the Houston Early Music Festival with La Donna Musicale, Bach’s Magnificat with American Bach Soloists, Handel’s Messiah with Austin based Ensemble VIII, David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and the NYC debut of Kile Smith’s Vespers with Piffaro and The Crossing Choir. An active ensemble singer, Ms. Wilson sings with Boston’s acclaimed Blue Heron, La Donna Musicale, Lorelei Ensemble,  Exsultemus, and Philadelphia based Crossing Choir under the direction of Donald Nally. She made her New York City solo debut in 2006 at Merkin Hall in a world premiere performance in Benjamin C.S. Boyle’s Cantata: To One in Paradise, and has travelled to the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy where her work brought collaborations with some of the world’s great artists, including Gian Carlo Menotti, Richard Hickox, Steven Mercurio, Carlos Saura, and Gunther Kramer. In the fall of 2012 she will join five-time Grammy- nominated ensemble Conspirare for the International  Polyfollia Choral Music Festival in Saint-Lo, as well as Miami-based ensemble Seraphic Fire for the opening of the new season. She can be heard on the newly released world premiere Blue Heron CD: Nicholas  Ludford: Missa Regnum mundi, Kile Smith’s Vespers with Piffaro and Crossing Choir and John Grecia’s album “13”.

Maria Christensen, Writer

Maria began singing and writing songs at the age of 9 after receiving a guitar from a family member as a gift and has continued to do so ever since. Originally from South Florida by way of Pittsburgh, PA, Her strong voice caught the ear of Grammy award winning producer Ric Wake, who produced such artists as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Taylor Dane and she  moved to New York to record with him. The result was her self titled album on Atlantic Records. At that time she co wrote with some of the most successful songwriters in New York and she honed her own skills as a songwriter and began to place songs with many successful artists. This lead to a publishing deal with “Notation Music Publishing” Later, Maria also found success as the former lead singer of the group 3rd Party on A&M Records (that charted two Billboard pop hits, “Can You Feel It”, which became an anthem that was played in many ballparks around the country, and “Love is Alive”). Her songs have been recorded by artists including Celine Dion, (“Just a Little Bit of Love” and “Christmas Eve”) both on which she also lent backing vocals, N’SYNC, (“The Only Gift”) and Jennifer Lopez for whom she penned and added her vocals to  the Top 5 Billboard charting single Waiting For Tonight.

Pedro d’Aquino, Pianist.

Pedro d’Aquino, a native of New York City, is Cantor of Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan’s theatre district, precentor and Music Director of the traditional Latin Mass community at the historic Church of the Holy Innocents in the Garment District, and Organist and Choir Director of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun of Short Hills, New Jersey, the largest and one of the oldest synagogues in the Garden State. Prior to his appointment at B’nai Jeshurun he served as Organist of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. A faculty member of the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, he serves as an accompanist/coach and instructor of music theory. A graduate of Stony Brook University, he studied organ with Meredith Elaine Baker and Anne Wilson, conducting with Marguerite Brooks, liturgy and sacred music at the Royal School of Church Music in England, and Gregorian Chant at the Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes. His vocal and instrumental compositions and arrangements have been premiered by One World Symphony, and the choirs of Temple Emanu-El, Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church, Virginia, and the Church of the Holy Family (United Nations) in New York City, and at Syracuse University. In 2009 he was made a Fellow and Choir Master of the American Guild of Organists and was awarded both the Choir Master Prize and the prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award.

Melanie Russell – Soprano

Soprano Melanie Russell has a passion for good music and good food, as any proud Louisiana native should! She has performed and recorded with premier vocal ensembles in the U.S., including Trinity Wall Street Choir, Yale Schola Cantorum, Seraphic Fire, and Conspirare. Solo engagements in opera, musical theater, and concert repertoire have taken her from her hometown of New Orleans (Die Fledermaus, The Buddy Holly Story, Mozart’s Requiem) to New York (Opera Omnia’s The Coronation of Poppea, Fauré’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall), and to Moscow where she covered roles in Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dido and Aeneas. She recently presented newly arranged mélodies by Hahn and Fauré with classical guitarist Simon Powis in NYC, and she looks forward to upcoming recitals with Musica Poetica London. Melanie holds degrees in vocal performance and a minor in French from Centenary College of Louisiana (Bachelor of Music), Loyola University New Orleans (Master of Music), and Yale University (Artist Diploma).

Michael W Murphy – Songwriter

Mike is a New York based Songwriter & Producer, specializing in lyric & melody. He works in a variety of song styles, including pop/rock, urban, country, dance, singer/songwriter, reggae, Broadway, classical crossover and children’s music. His versatility and lyrical skill grew from crafting pop rock and urban songs and jingles in NYC and pop country in Nashville. He credits this experience for making the ‘good enough is not good enough’ approach second nature. Mike feels especially fortunate to have worked with Will Smith. Chuck D, Baha Men, and the late great Clarence Clemons. This year, he created lyrics for opera great Angela Gheorghiu and many of the tracks on Ryland Angel’s recently released album Beloved One. You can hear Mike’s jingle work throughout the country in TV and Radio ad songs. Included in his client roster are Comcast, AT&,T, Guinness Stout, and more. His trophies include the $20,000 Gold Mercury Award. He is named in the American Museum of Radio and Television for his accomplishments as a writer and producer.

Christopher Herbert

Hailed by Opera News for his “exceptional” singing, Christopher Dylan Herbert has also received acclaim for his “smooth baritone voice”, his “consistently warm sound” and his “versatile dramatic abilities”. He recently won an encouragement award from the Sullivan Foundation and the French Consulate Award in the Gérard Souzay Competition. Performances last season included Henrik in A Little Night Music at Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Dover Beach at Lake George, Winterreise at the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Kindertotenlieder with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, and various recitals with pianist Thomas Bagwell. In previous seasons, Mr. Herbert performed Sid in Britten’s Albert Herring with Opera Vivente, Connie in Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Il prigioniero in Il piccolo Marat at Avery Fisher Hall. Mr. Herbert has also performed with the Boston Pops and at Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, and Central City Opera. He holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. He is the baritone in the critically acclaimed classical vocal male ensemble New York Polyphony, which is represented by Opus 3 Artists.

Matthew Trevino

“A former member of the San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola program, and recent recipient of the ‘Best Singer Award’ by the 2011 Austin Critics’ Table for his performance in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Matthew Treviño is proving to be one of today’s most sought-after young basses. Highlights for the current season include the role of Charles Song a reading of the new opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen by Huang Ruo presented for Opera America’s New Works Forum in NYC, Bass Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Saint Louis Symphony, Bass Soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the London Chamber Orchestra, and Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Colorado. Mr. Treviño was twice a member of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola program, performing Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, which later toured nationally with San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater. He is a graduate of Baylor University in Waco Texas and was a finalist in the Loren L Zachary Foundation Competition, Dallas Opera Guild Competition, Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition, Shreveport Opera’s Singer of the Year Competition, and the recipient of the Thomas Stewart Award for Vocal Excellence at Baylor University.”

Owen Mcintosh

Owen McIntosh is a masters recipient from the New England Conservatory of Music. Heralded by critics as “stylistically impeccable,” “he sings with vocal energy and rhythmic bite” and his “strong yet sweet tenor voice” produces the “clearest lines and most nuanced performances.” His most recent performances include title role in the Helios Early Opera production of David et Jonathas by Charpentier, Bach’s B Minor Mass with Tucson Chamber Artists, the Evangelist in Telemann’s Passion of St. Luke and St. John, Coprimario soloist in Opera Boston’s production of the Nose, and a Jordan Hall performance of Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor and Horn. Mr. McIntosh is also a member of various national music ensembles including including Blue Heron, Exsultemus, Emanuel Music, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Harvard Baroque, Tucson Chamber Artists and Seraphic Fire.

Michael Kelly

Winner of the Joy in Singing Competition and recipient of the Debut Artist Recital at NY’s Merkin Hall, baritone Michael Kelly is a busy recital and concert singer having performed all over the United States and Europe. This season, Michael made major symphony debuts with the Kansas City Symphony and The Cleveland Orchestra, and is featured on 3 soon to be released recordings with the Fireworks Ensemble of David del Tredici’s A Field Manual on the E1 label, Schubert’s Winterreise for Albany Records and a compilation of Benjamin Britten’s songs for GPR Records. He was recently heard in Charpentier’s Orphée with BEMF, with Mark Morris Dance Group in Four Saints in Three Acts at BAM and Socrate at the Mostly Mozart Festival, as Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and in recitals at New York’s Trinity Church and with SongFusion, a recital series of which he is co-founder. He has performed with the Zurich Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and has performed under the batons of William Christie, Michael Christie, Andreas Delfs, Jane Glover, Benton Hess, James Levine, Anne Manson, Nicholas McGegan, Steven Osgood, Stephen Stubbs, and Kent Tritle.

Douglas Williams

Douglas Williams, bass-baritone, made his European opera debut last season in Alessandro Scarlatti’s Tigrane at the Opéra de Nice. He is frequently recognized for his theatrical abilities in music. The New York Times has called him a “powerful singer” with “a superb sense of drama.” He has worked with the conductors Sir Neville Marriner, John Nelson, Helmut Rilling, Stephen Stubbs, Sir David Willcocks, and Christpher Warren-Green, and with the stage directors Guillaume Bernardi, Gilbert Blin, William Kentridge, and Mark Morris. In concert Douglas has appeared with the Houston Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, and the baroque orchestras Tafelmusik and Les Talens Lyriques in venues such as the Paris Salle Pleyel, the Frankfurt Alte Oper, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Washington National Cathedral. He has collaborated with the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen on the 2011 premiere of his work It Happens Like This at Tanglewood and the Guggenheim Museum. Douglas made his musical debut with the Mark Morris Dance Group in the 2012 revival of Four Saints in Three Acts at Brooklyn Academy of Music. He will join the company onstage next season in a new production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea in Berkeley and Boston.

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