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Vocal Arts and Music Festival

Voice Faculty

Faculty members instruct singers on how to improve their vocal technique, style and interpretation, languages and diction, movement and acting, and role preparation.

Schedule Adminstrator


Veronika Arkhangel was born in Odessa, Ukraine, where she began studying piano at the age of 6. Upon moving to New York at the age of 9, she continued her studies in piano, later on playing the bassoon and studying voice with renowned voice teacher Shirlee Emmons. Although Veronika decided not to pursue a career in music performance, her love of the genre led her to major in Music Business at NYU and to embark on a career in Performing Arts Administration. While still studying at NYU, Veronika worked as a managerial assistant at Columbia Artists Management, handling contracts, travel, and visas for various high-profile clients. A few months after graduating from NYU, she was offered an entry-level job at the Metropolitan Opera, and a year later was promoted to the rehearsal department. She has just finished her seventh season at the Metropolitan Opera, now working as an Associate Rehearsal Administrator. Aside from her job at the Met, Veronika enjoys working on various projects involving Russian translation. She has recently translated the subtitles of a series of Russian operas for DVD release on the VAI label, including Sadko, Prince Igor, and Iolanta.

Voice Faculty


Born in Germany, Rainer Armbrust received his musical education from the State Academy in Karlsruhe. He continued his studies as pianist and conductor in Paris and Avignon and has taught at music schools in Karlsruhe and Manneheim, as well as in Villenueve-lez-Avignon, France, at the invitation of the French Association Acanthes. At the masterclasses of the International Handel Academy in Karlsruhe, he was the assistant to Konrad Hünteler, Marten Root, Louis Devos, and Jochen Kowalski. In 1989, Armbrust started his career as a conductor at the Staatsoper in Karlsruhe. Since 1993 he has been at the Würzburg Theater. In 1998 he made his debut in China leading an opera concert at the Century Theater in Beijing. Armbrust has worked for the opera houses of Kassel, Mainz, Trier, Ulm, and Dortmund, and has been invited to work as musical assistant for the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. He has been assistant conductor at the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv since 2005, where he is responsible for the preparation work in the German repertoire. He worked for the Teatro San Carlos in Lisbon, as well as for the Opera of Naples.


As a mezzo-soprano, Laura Brooks Rice has won acclaim on the opera and concert stage for her rich, warm voice, musicality, charm, and sensitive acting ability. Since 1985, she has been teaching at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she is Professor of Voice. In addition to private voice, Rice teaches courses in opera: The Singing Actor, Opera and Opera Auditions, Techniques and Preparation, and has also been the coordinator of the opera program. Rice has a private studio and is a vocal consultant to the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program, as well as the Domingo-Cafritz Program with the Washington Opera. Her private students are currently singing as regular principal artists at the Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Ft. Worth Opera, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Opera North, and Atlanta Opera, among others. Rice is on the steering committee for the Singer Training Council under the auspices of Opera America and is a member of the board of advisors of Astral Artistic Services as well as the Princeton Festival.  She has served as a judge on the panels of the National NATSAA competition and Astral Artistic Services annual auditions. She is also the co-director of one of Westminster’s newest programs, the CoOPERAtive, a three-week intensive opera training course. In a diverse repertoire, including Bach, Mahler, Elgar, and Brahms, Rice has appeared throughout the United States in concerts and recitals with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Bethlehem Bach Festival, and Boulder Bach Festival.  She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Wowkle in La Fanciulla del West in their 1992-93 season.  With the San Francisco Opera she sang such roles as Grimgerde in Die Walküre, Dorabella, Marcellina, Varvara in Katya Kabanova, and Suzuki.  Rice has recorded her widely performed recital, a program of all American music and American women poets. A CD of romantic German and French repertoire was released in spring 2000.

Vocal coach and stage director Carlos Conde has performed of stages throughout the world, including the New Israeli Opera, Teatro Arriaga de Bilbao, Oper der Stadt Bonn, Teatro Comunale di Brescia, and the New York City Opera tours. Since 2004, he has stage-directed in Italy and in Tel Aviv. Some of his acclaimed productions are Rossini’s "La Cenerentola" and "Il Barbiere di Siviglia;" Mozart’s "Le Nozze di Figaro," "Così fan tutte," and "Don Giovanni;" Donizetti’s "L’Elisir d’amore;" and Puccini’s "La Bohème" and "La Rondine." Conde received a doctorate in music arts  from the State University of New York. Since 2008 he has been a faculty member of the Juilliard School pre-college division, and in 2011 he was appointed as voice professor at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.


Sharon Daniels is director of the Opera Institute at Boston University, where she has produced and directed mainstage and Fringe Festival productions for 23 years, as well as teaching studio voice and acting for singers.  She has served as stage director for Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, P.O.R.T., and Granite State Opera. Previously, Daniels enjoyed a 25-year singing career, with a debut at San Francisco Opera and as principal soprano at New York City Opera and other American companies. Alongside standard roles such as Violetta, Manon, Musetta, Mimì, and Marguerite, highlights included Pat Nixon in Nixon in China; title roles in The Merry Widow, Floyd’s Susannah, Titus’s Rosina, and The Ballad of Baby Doe; Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men, Pauline L’Allemande in Black River, Rose in Street Scene; as well as Gilbert and Sullivan heroines and a Broadway run and PBS Great Performances production of The Most Happy Fella as Rosabella opposite Giorgio Tozzi. She has served the National Endowment for the Arts as an on-site evaluator, and as both a funding and composer review panelist for Opera-Music Theater-New American Works. She currently serves on Opera America’s Singer Training Forum and recently served as stage director for Jake Heggie’s Pieces of 9/11, with Heggie on the piano.


Joan Dornemann, Metropolitan Opera assistant conductor, is one of today's most highly respected opera coaches in the world. She is internationally known for her work with young artists as well as some of the world's most celebrated opera singers. Over the years she has collaborated with great artists, including Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Sherrill Milnes, Kiri Te Kanawa, Monstserrat Caballe, Beforah Voight, and Maestro James Levine. She has been associated with the Gran Liceo in Barcelona, the Spoleto Festival, the New York City Opera, Opera National de Paris, and the Kirov Opera. Dornemann received an Emmy Award for her contribution to the acclaimed first Live from the Met telecast of La Boheme. She is the author of Complete Preparation: A Guide to Auditioning for the Opera.


Mignon Dunn has sung the leading mezzo-soprano roles in the most important opera houses of the world. In Europe, she has sung at La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, London's Royal Opera at Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, the Hamburg Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the opera companies of Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. In South and Central America, she has performed at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Opera National in Chile, Mexico City's Bellas Artes, and the Opera of Puerto Rico. In Canada, she has performed with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and the Opera de Montreal. In the United States, she sang at the Chicago Lyric Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Opera Company of Boston, the Opera Theater of Detroit, and the New Orleans and Miami Operas. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she sang more than 650 performances over a span of more than 35 years. She is widely known as a professor of voice and has taught on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Brooklyn College, and for many years at the Manhattan School of Music.


Soprano Ruth Falcon has won wide acclaim in performances at the leading opera houses in Europe, including the Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera at Covent Garden, Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. In 1989 she made a spectacular Metropolitan Opera debut as the Kaiserin in the season premiere of Richard Strauss's Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Falcon has performed with many of the world's great conductors, including Christoph von Dohnanyi, Seiji Ozawa, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Marek Janowski, and Andrew Davis. She may also be heard in recordings such as Wagner's Ring with Janowski on Eurodisc, Die Walkure under Bernard Haitink, the final scene of Salome with Mark Elder and the London Philharmonic, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Yehudi Menuhin conducting the Royal Philharmonic. Falcon is also a voice teacher of international reputation. She has trained many of the younger star performers on the operatic stage, including Deborah Voigt, Margaret Jane Wray, and Sondra Radvanosky, and is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music. She also teaches apprentices in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and is in much demand around the world as a teacher of masterclasses.


Carlisle Floyd is one of the foremost composers and librettists of opera in the United States today. Born in 1926, Floyd earned B.M. and M.M. degrees in piano and composition at Syracuse University. From 1947 to 1976 he taught at Florida State University and then went to the University of Houston. In addition, he is co-founder with David Gockley of the Houston Opera Studio. Floyd’s operas are regularly performed in the United States and Europe. He first achieved national prominence with the New York premiere of his opera Susannah by the New York City Opera. In 1957 Susannah won the New York Music Critic’s Circle Award. Of Mice and Men (1969) is Floyd’s other most often performed work. In the 1998-99 season alone it was presented by New York City Opera, Utah Opera, San Diego Opera, and Cleveland Opera. Floyd’s operas Bilby’s Doll (1976) and Willie Stark (1981) were both commissioned and produced by the Houston Grand Opera, the latter in association with the Kennedy Center. A televised version of the world premiere production of Willie Stark opened WNET’s Great Performances series on the PBS network in September 1981. Floyd's latest opera, Cold Sassy Tree (2000), received its premiere at Houston Grand Opera in April 2000. Subsequently it has been performed by Austin Lyric Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Carolina, Opera Omaha, San Diego Opera, and Utah Opera.  The composer has also gained increasing attention for his non-operatic works. In 1993 his orchestral song cycle Citizen of Paradise (1984) had its New York premiere. Floyd also completed a large-scale work for chorus, bass-baritone soloist, and orchestra titled A Time to Dance (1993). Floyd has been the recipient of a number of honors and awards: a Guggenheim Fellowship (1956); the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award from the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce (1959); an honorary doctorate from Dickinson College (1983); and the National Opera Institute’s Award for Service to American Opera (1983), among others. He served on the Music Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1974 to 1980 and was the first chairman of the Opera/Musical Theater Panel. Floyd was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, and in 2004 was awarded the National Medal of Arts in a ceremony at the White House. In 2008, he was one of four honorees—and the only composer—to be included in the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors. In 2011, he was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for the state’s most accomplished native sons. 


Kayo Iwama, Head of Program for the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard Conservatory, has performed extensively with singers such as Christópheren Nomura, Lucy Shelton, and Dawn Upshaw throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, in venues such as the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Gardner Museum, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. In addition to her work at Bard, she is on the faculty and serves as coordinator of the vocal studies program at the Tanglewood Music Center. She was previously on the music staffs of the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has held teaching positions at the Hartt School of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory of Music. She earned a bachelor of music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a master of music at SUNY Stony Brook, where she studied with Gilbert Kalish as a Graduate Council Fellow. She also attended the Salzburg Music Festival, the Banff Music Center, the Music Academy of the West, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where she worked with such artists as Margo Garrett, Martin Isepp, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, and Erik Werba. Formerly a resident of Boston, she was featured numerous times on WGBH radio and was pianist and music director of the critically acclaimed Cantata Singers Chamber Series, programs devoted to rarely heard works of art song and vocal chamber music. Iwama can be heard on CD on the Well-Tempered label, with baritone Nomura in Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, and on two ISMM discs devoted to French mélodies and the songs of Schumann with tenor Ingul Ivan Oak.


Hemdi Kfir has been a member of the Metropolitan Opera for the past four seasons. She has been the language coach at the Israeli Opera for the Opera Studio, as well as for Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Il Trittico, Il Viaggio a Reims, Madama Butterfly, and Carmen. She holds bachelor’s degrees in linguistics and French from Tel Aviv University and master’s degrees in music and languages from New York University. She has received scholarships from the International Vocal Arts Institute, America Israel Cultural Foundation, Goethe Institute, and British Council’s BI ARTS program. Kfir taught at Brooklyn College and the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, and coached immigrant actors in all of Israel’s prominent theaters. She joined the International Vocal Arts Institute’s faculty in 1999, and has toured Japan, the United States, Italy, China, France, Puerto Rico, and Canada. She worked at La Fenice, Venice, and edited Nico Castel’s book of Handel operas. She has also made translations for titles, including Benvenuto Cellini, Le Coq d’Or (Gergiev’s Festival in the Red Sea), Dido & Aeneas for the Israeli Opera, Der Zwerg, Lost Childhood, L’Amico Fritz, La Rondine, and Pelléas et Melisande.


Soprano, voice teacher, and co-head of voice at the Faculty of Music of l'Université de Montréal, Rosemarie Landry has sung on all the major Canadian stages, either in recital, concert, or opera. She was a guest artist of major orchestras and of numerous opera and chamber music festivals throughout the world and toured extensively with pianist Dalton Baldwin in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The renowned critic Paul Hume of the Washington Post wrote, “She is, quite simply, one of the great artists of today, in the direct tradition of Mary Garden, Maggie Teyte and Denise Duval.  I had not supposed I would be lucky enough to hear a soprano of this calibre singing French music again in my lifetime.” Landry studied with Bernard Diamant, Pierre Bernac, Gérard Souzay, and Margaret Harshaw. Winning first prize at the coveted CBC Young Artists Competition early on in her career, Landry went on to win numerous other prizes and scholarships, and was awarded many honorary doctorates. She has given master classes in such places as Le Conservatoire supérieur de musique de Paris, the conservatories of Beijing, Tokyo, Reykjavik, Cracow, and Bogotá, and at the Juilliard School in New York. She also gives master classes in many Canadian universities and opera companies, and teaches in vocal art summer schools and venues, such as Le Centre d'Arts, Oxford, the Vancouver International Song Institute, and the Canadian Vocal Art Institute. For years, Landry has been actively involved as artistic advisor or member of the board of directors with many of the major cultural and musical organizations in Canada. She is a member of the Order of Canada, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, and Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléïade.


Liora Maurer, born in Tel Aviv, joined the Metropolitan Opera as an assistant conductor during the 2008-2009 season. She has prepared numerous productions at the Met, notably Satyagraha by Philip Glass, which will be soon released on DVD, and new productions of L’Elisir d’amore and Rigoletto, both televised all over the world in HD. Next season at the Met she will prepare the American premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, among other productions. Prior to joining the Met, Maurer was an assistant conductor at New York City Opera, beginning with the 1997-98 season. She was the recitative accompanist for several productions, including Don Giovanni in 2010. Opera Magazine’s review stated: “Liora Maurer furnished fine harpsichord continuo,” and The New Yorker praised her playing and “witty adornments.” Maurer has also worked with Seattle Opera, Wolf Trap Festival Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, the New Israeli Opera, and Spoleto Festival USA.  Last summer she was invited by Elite Art UNESCO to participate in an Opera Festival in Sibiu, Romania, as a vocal coach, alongside Rockwell Blake. She will be returning to the festival this summer. Maurer is a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv and the Manhattan School of Music, and received a merit scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.


Five-time Grammy nominee and three-time Grammy winner Sherrill Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi baritone of his time. He has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world: the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, Berlin's Deutsche Oper, the Paris Opera, the famed Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Liceu in Barcelona, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Salzburg Festival, the Hamburg Opera, and Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. He has also appeared with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the opera companies of Pittsburgh, San Diego, Miami, and Denver, among others in the United States. At the Metropolitan Opera, where he sang more than 650 performances over a 32-year span, he has been honored with 16 new productions, seven opening nights, and 10 national telecasts. Milnes has led masterclasses at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He has done more extensive teaching at the Yale University School of Music; Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Northern Royal College of Music in Manchester, England; the Vocal Arts Institutes in Tel Aviv, Montreal, and Puerto Rico; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. Milnes is a distinguished professor of music emeritus at Northwestern University and now teaches masterclasses and workshops internationally. He is the artist director of the V.O.I.C. Experience Foundation and serves as artistic advisor of Opera Tampa, the resident opera company of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.


Gerald Martin Moore is a highly sought-after singing teacher and vocal consultant. He has worked closely with Renée Fleming for many years and has prepared for roles and recordings for many other leading artists, including Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Marie McLaughlin, Elina Garanca, and Sarah Connolly. He has worked in many opera houses around the world, such as Covent Garden, La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, San Francisco, and Opera de Bastille. He currently teaches singers in several young artist programs, including the Lindemann, Merola, and Santa Fe, and gives vocal master classes at Glyndebourne, Washington, the Canadian Opera Company, Atelier Lyrique Montreal, LA Opera, and Mannes College in New York City. An authority on vocal technique, Moore was honored with an hour-long special interview on BBC Radio 3’s Voices, which focused particularly on American singers and child stars. He also serves as a judge for vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions. In addition to voice teaching, Moore has assisted William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, preparing soloists for productions and recordings, and Sir Charles Mackerras at the Edinburgh Festival with IdomeneoLa Clemenza di Tito, and Maria Stuarda, as well as Rossini’s ZelmiraAdelaide di Borgogna, and La Donna del Lago.  As a specialist in ornamentation he has composed countless embellishments for leading singers, notably in his role as vocal consultant to Opera Rara and Decca. He also specializes in the French repertoire of Delibes, Thomas, Gounod, Meyerbeer, and Massenet. Moore is featured as a vocalist with soprano Rebecca Caine on Leading Ladies, an album of cabaret music. He is also a frequent recitalist, most notably with Fleming, and has performed before President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, the Prince of Wales, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, among other dignitaries. Future engagements include a recital tour of South America with Fleming, a series of master classes for Glyndebourne, and hostings of the Metropolitan Opera Quiz.


Co-founder and music director of the International Vocal Arts Institute, Maestro Paul Nadler has distinguished himself as one of the world's most respected symphonic and operatic conductors. He recently conducted Die Zauberfloete at the Metropolitan Opera; the Opera de Montreal's lead performances of Niccolò Puccini's Tosca; and at the Iasi and Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestras in Romania. Since his debut in 1989, he has led more than 60 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, conducting such stars as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. Maestro Nadler is music director and principal guest conductor of the Filarmonica de Stat Iasi (Romania). In recent seasons at the Met, he has led all-star casts of Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (Renee Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Ramon Vargas) and Charles-François Gounod's Romeo and Juliet (Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani). His schedule also included Richard Strauss's Salome in the newly formed Opera Cleveland's inaugural season, conducting concerts with the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the orchestras of Iasi, Craiova, and Bucharest (Romania), as well as debuting at the National Opera of Bucharest in Carmen and Don Giovanni. Other operatic credits include performances with Indianapolis Opera, Utah Opera, Calgary Opera, Florentine Opera, Minnesota Opera, Syracuse Opera, Orlando Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. Internationally, Maestro Nadler has conducted the Hong Kong Opera as well as engagements in Plovdiv, Varna, and Russe (Bulgaria). In December 2002, he conducted at the Kennedy Center Awards ceremony in honor of his colleague James Levine. In 1974, Maestro Nadler founded the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, where he remained as music director and conductor through 1983.


For over 20 years Beth Roberts has been a dedicated voice teacher and music educator. On the faculty of Mannes College, the New School for Music, since 1996, she has served as coordinator of the Vocal Department since 2001. Her voice studio at Mannes has produced principal artists in national and international venues, including San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, St. Louis Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala. Roberts’s students have been finalists and winners of major vocal competitions, such as the Metropolitan Opera National Finals, the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, the Gerda Lissner Competition, and the Joy of Singing Competition, as well as members of young artist programs such as Merola, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, and Chautauqua. Affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department, Roberts co-created a vocal pedagogy course and professional development outreach for Mannes students in the New York City public schools. Program graduates are now employed by the Metropolitan Opera Education Department, as teaching artists for New York City Opera, and as music teachers at the UN School, as well as other New York City public schools. A lyric soprano, Roberts has performed at Santa Fe Opera, Washington Opera, Carnegie Hall, and many other operatic and concert venues throughout the United States. She was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional winner and a Liederkranz Foundation competition winner. She received a bachelor of music education and vocal performance degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master of music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.


Diana Soviero is one of the most recognized American opera singers of the 20th century. More than a vocalist, she was a singing actress who lived her roles intensely on the stage and became a compelling interpreter of the Verismo repertoire. She has performed in leading international opera houses including Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Théâtre national de l’Opéra de Paris, Opéra de Paris Bastille, Hamburg Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco Opera.  She is known for her interpretations of Giacomo Puccini’s heroines, including Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterly, Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème, Liu in Turandot, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and the title roles in Tosca, Manon Lescaut, and Suor Angelica. Her final stage appearance was as Mrs. Desrochers in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Baltimore Opera. Soviero recorded the definitive album Verismo with l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Montréal on Analekta Recordings. She is also included on the compilation of Telarc recordings, Divine Sopranos and Classics of the Silver Screen. Soviero now teaches young singers with the same passion that characterized her singing and acting career. She has taught many participants in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and frequently conducts masterclasses with prestigious companies and festivals such as Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Montreal Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Palm Beach Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Tampa, institutes and conservatories such as Academy of Vocal Arts and the Mannes School in Manhattan, as well as at universities across the country. She served as the director of the Young Artist Studio at Florida Grand Opera and has been an annual judge for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and the Richard Tucker Competition. In 2011, she was awarded the V.E.R.A (Voice Education Research Award) Award from The Voice Foundation and is now an official member of the board of directors.


Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina), as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her, including The Great Gatsby by Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award-winning opera, L’Amour de Loin, and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Saariaho;  Adams’ Nativity oratorio El Niño; and Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre. Upshaw’s 2012-13 season features an array of performances. With the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where she is an Artistic Partner, she reprises jazz composer Maria Schneider’s Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories. She re-creates the role of Simone Weil in La Passion de Simone with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Finnish Radio; appears with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Sibelius’s Luonnotar, under the baton of Thomas Adès; and sings music of Debussy with the London Symphony, conducted by John Adams. A dedicated recitalist, she appears with pianist Stephen Prutsman at the University of Texas at Austin and embarks on a tour of Hawaii with longtime collaborator Gilbert Kalish. She also performs with The Knights Chamber Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and with the Crash Ensemble at the Kennedy Center and at Carnegie Hall in music written for her by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. It says much about Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music.  She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Gorecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Le Nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne; and a dozen recital recordings. Her most recent releases are Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, the third in a series of acclaimed recordings of Golijov’s music, and Winter Morning Walks, songs by Maria Schneider. Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. 


French-Canadian vocal coach Claude Webster has been internationally sought after as a leading specialist in French repertoire. Since 2004, he has participated in the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Puerto Rico, Montreal, and Virginia. He has been the head coach at Montreal Opera’s young artist program, Atelier lyrique, since 1997. Webster’s diverse skills have resulted in his involvement at Montreal Opera in numerous capacities. He has been the pianist/répétiteur for over 50 productions and was appointed chorus master in 2007. He made his conducting debut in The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti in March 2011, with the Atelier lyrique. He is at ease in a vast range of repertoire, from Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, to Peter Grimes. In the French repertoire he has worked on Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, Faust, Werther, Les Pêcheurs de perles, and Les Dialogues des Carmélites, among many others. At Montreal Opera he has worked with many great artists, including Diana Soviero, Richard Margison, Manon Feubel, Stephen Costello, Aline Kutan, Karina Gauvin, Marc Hervieux, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Eduardo Müller, and Paul Nadler. Always looking for new ways to help singers, Webster has become a certified neuro-linguistic programming coach. He has also created a stress-management workshop for singers.


Maria Zouves is a product of the IVAI programs and is a soprano, arts administrator, producer, director, and leader in community development of opera. As an arts administrator, Zouves is the Executive Director of VOICExperience, a career and audience development program she founded with her husband, Sherrill Milnes. She has served as vice president/associate general director of Opera Tampa at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, producing opera for five seasons, founding the Apprentice Program, and creating a Vocal Arts Festival in conjunction with VOICExperience programs. As a Greek-American soprano, Zouves has sung leading roles with the Baltimore Opera, Memphis Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Orlando Opera, and the Florentine Opera. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1997 and completed her debut solo recording of Greek songs entitled With Flowers Crowned on the VAI AUDIO label. As an educator, Maria is on the faculty of the International Institute of Vocal Arts (IIVA). She has been visiting faculty at several institutions, including Northwestern University and Florida International University. Zouves has served as contributing editor with Classical Singer magazine through her series, "A Conversation with …," having interviewed the major singers of the world today. Her new projects include founding and developing the first annual Savannah VOICE Festival, which will bring opera, musical theater, and song to the Savannah area in August, beginning in 2013.

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