Faculty & Staff



Director, Classical Voice Conservatory

Teaches: Senior Seminar, Bel Canto Singers, Opera Scenes


Dr. Ryan Reithmeier is a baritone, producer, and music educator, originally from Northcentral Montana. He earned music and education degrees at Concordia College, Moorhead in Minnesota, and California State University, Fullerton before completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal arts and opera at University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music with highest honors, receiving the Opera Award upon graduation and serving as a faculty teaching assistant. During his time at USC, Dr. Reithmeier completed field work in music education, directing for the operatic stage, and arts leadership and entrepreneurship. He also made his debut with the Thornton Opera as L'aumonier in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Since arriving at OCSA in 2017, Dr. Reithmeier has overseen, produced and directed numerous seasons of Classical Voice Conservatory opera productions, scenes programs, virtual projects, concert seasons and International tours, which have exposed hundreds of students to an education in the vocal arts, unmatched at the high school level. His private students have gained acceptance to study in leading vocal arts studios at USC, the San Francisco Conservatory, Chapman University, in addition to consistently earning high honors in adjudication and competitions. 

In celebration of OCSA's 35th Anniversary Dr. Reithmeier had the pleasure of leading 8 of OCSA's conservatories in Symphony of Dreams, a cross-disciplinary explorative gala concert of storytelling through opera, dance, and spoken word that celebrates the artist on a hero's journey and reimagines the dream of a life dedicated to the arts.

Regarded as a versatile performer, Dr. Reithmeier has distinguished himself with notable opera, operetta, and concert organizations throughout California. Highlights from recent seasons include Pacific Opera Project's critically-acclaimed post-pandemic production of Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, as well as serving as baritone soloist for the St. John’s Bach Cantata Vespers in Orange, Calif. Dr. Reithmeier has performed more than 25 baritone roles in opera, oratorio, musical theatre and operetta. Recent performances include Ich habe genug (BWV 82), Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen (Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11), as well as Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem and Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis the requiems of Duruflé and Faure, in addition to numerous productions of Handel’s Messiah. Other appearances with the Operetta Foundation, Opera a La Carte, Soka Performing Arts Center, and Kallisti Ensemble have been met with high acclaim. 

In addition, Dr. Reithmeier is a two-time winner of the Beverly Hills National Consortium Auditions, a winner of the NATS-LA Gwendolyn Roberts Auditions, and was a Western-Regional finalist in the NATS-AA competition and has given recitals throughout Southern California. Dr. Reithmeier is a sought-after competition judge, having served on the adjudication panel for the Los Angeles Music Center's Spotlight Awards, California Music Educators State Solo and Ensemble Festival, and National Association of Teachers of Singing Los Angeles Chapter Collegiate Auditions and Student Evaluation Program as well as regular invitations to adjudicate collegiate competitions and present master classes. Since 2016, Dr. Reithmeier has served on the Executive Board of NATS-LA, the nation’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing. Prior to coming to OCSA, Dr. Reithmeier served on the faculties of Azusa Pacific University and Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif.

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Advisory Committee

Ann Baltz

Ann Baltz

Educator, Director, Pianist, Founder of OperaWorks

Ann Baltz is recognized as one of the leading opera educators in America today. Inspired by her work with visionary Wesley Balk at the Merola Opera Program and as music director of his Minnesota Opera Institute, Baltz's revolutionary holistic approach to singer training became OperaWorks™, a vanguard of performer education which was the first of its kind to incorporate the cross-disciplinary education vital to singers. Founded in 1987, OperaWorks now boasts an impressive list of over 2,000 alumni worldwide, expanded pedagogical training for teachers and coaches, and documented success of Baltz's teaching methods in the International Journal of Music Education.

Ms. Baltz is sought after to teach residencies, master classes, and workshops nationwide. She is a frequent speaker at national conventions including National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association, and Classical Singer. As a steering committee member of OPERA America’s Singer Training Forum, she has served as a panelist for their national seminars Building a Career: Strategies for Success.

​She is a vocal advocate of musical improvisation as a tool for freeing musicians' innate musical and dramatic capabilities. As a collaborative pianist, Baltz continues to perform live improvised concerts and operas throughout the country. In 2015 she created OperaWorks’ Arts for Social Awareness Project (ASAP) to produce original, musically improvised opera/theater performance pieces that put a human face on social issues in society. She was nominated by the NAACP Theatre Awards as Best Music Director for ASAP’s first production, The Discord Altar, addressing homelessness, and she is the recipient of a Red Carpet Award from “Women In Theatre” recognizing her outstanding achievements in theater in Los Angeles.

​Her diverse professional background includes roles as assistant conductor, coach, and chorus master in productions with singers including Dame Joan Sutherland and James McCracken, and conductor Richard Bonynge. An accomplished collaborative pianist, Ms. Baltz played extensively on tour with Columbia Artist Concerts and Minnesota Opera. She studied at the San Francisco Opera where she received the Otto Guth Award for outstanding coach in the Merola Program.

Ms. Baltz currently maintains a private vocal coaching studio in Los Angeles.


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Jessica Rivera

Jessica Rivera

Internationally-Acclaimed Soprano

Possessing a voice praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “effortless precision and tonal luster,” Grammy Award-winning soprano Jessica Rivera is one of the most creatively inspired vocal artists performing before the public today. The intelligence, dimension and spirituality with which she infuses her performances on great international concert and opera stages has garnered Ms. Rivera unique artistic collaborations with many of today’s most celebrated composers, including John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jonathan Leshnoff, Nico Muhly, and Paola Prestini, and has brought her together with such esteemed conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Markus Stenz, Bernard Haitink, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

During the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Rivera returns to the Aspen Music Festival for an evening of Spanish art songs with guitarist Sharon Isbin. She performs Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos in her debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, led by María Guinand. Additional orchestral engagements include Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Colorado Symphony and Brett Mitchell, Golijov’s She Was Here with the Milwaukee Symphony and Ken-David Masur, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection,” with the Grand Rapids Symphony and Marcelo Lehninger, and Frank’s Conquest Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero in a performance to be recorded live for future release on Naxos.  

A champion of new music, Ms. Rivera recently gave the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s The Right of Your Senses, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performed by the National Children’s Chorus and the American Youth Symphony conducted by Carlos Izcaray at Walt Disney Concert Hall. A major voice in the rich culture of Latin American music and composers, Ms. Rivera recently performed in Antonio Lysy’s beloved Te Amo Argentina with Arizona Friends of Chamber Music and partnered with pianist Mark Carver for a recital titled Homage to Victoria de los Angeles at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida. Recent seasons have seen Ms. Rivera premiere Gabriela Lena Frank’s Conquest Requiem with the Houston Symphony and Chorus conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and perform John Harbison’s Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus under Giancarlo Guerrero, recorded and released on the Naxos label in October 2018.

Ms. Rivera treasures her decade-long collaboration with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and was recently featured as soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar with the ASO and Chorus at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, she joined Spano for Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Fort Worth Symphony and for Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator in Atlanta and at the Kennedy Center’s 2017 SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras. Here she also sang Robert Spano’s Hölderlin Lieder, a song cycle written specifically for her and recorded on the ASO Media label.

Recent orchestral highlights include Gabriela Lena Frank’s La Centinela y la Paloma with the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra led by Federico Cortese, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Jerry Hou at the Grand Teton Music Festival, Mozart’s Requiemwith the Louisville Orchestra conducted by Teddy Abrams, Handel’s Messiah with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Søndergård, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Colombia’s Orquestra Filarmónica de Bogotá led by Juan Felipe Molano, the Mozart Requiem with the San Diego Symphony under the baton of Markus Stenz and with Roberto Abbado leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Brahms Requiem with the Kansas City Symphony, the Mozart orchestration of Handel’s Messiah with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra with Alexander Shelley, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Five Images After Sappho and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Colorado Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Karina Canellakis and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’s Orchesterlieder with Johannes Stert and the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa in Lisbon, and Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among many others. She joined in the celebrations of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial at the Celebrity Series of Boston’s What Makes It Great with Rob Kapilow and performed the role of Eileen in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town for her debut with the Seattle Symphony conducted by Ludovic Morlot.

Ms. Rivera has worked closely with John Adams throughout her career, and received international praise for the world premiere of A Flowering Tree, singing the role of Kumudha in a production directed by Peter Sellars at Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival. Under Adams’s baton, she has sung the role with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. She has also performed Kumudha in her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon and the Cincinnati Opera led by Joana Carneiro. Ms. Rivera made her European operatic debut as Kitty Oppenheimer in Sellars’s acclaimed production of Adams’s Doctor Atomic with the Netherlands Opera, a role that also served for her debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Finnish National Opera and Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its new production of Doctor Atomic under the direction of Alan Gilbert. Ms. Rivera has also performed Nixon Tapes with the Pittsburgh Symphony under John Adams’s direction, as well as his composition El Niño with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under David Robertson, San Francisco Symphony under John Adams, and at the Edinburgh International Festival with James Conlon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Rivera made her critically acclaimed Santa Fe Opera debut in the summer of 2005 as Nuria in the world premiere of the revised edition of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. She reprised the role for the 2007 Grammy Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, and bowed in the Peter Sellars staging at Lincoln Center and Opera Boston, as well as in performances at the Barbican Centre, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Cincinnati Opera, and the Ojai, Ravinia, and New Zealand International Arts Festivals. Performances of Margarita Xirgu in Ainadamar took place in the summer of 2007 at the Colorado Music Festival under the baton of Michael Christie and she reprised the part recently for the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Committed to the art of recital, Ms. Rivera has appeared in concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. She was deeply honored to receive a commission from Carnegie Hall for the World Premiere of Nico Muhly’s song cycle entitled The Adulteress, for her Weill Hall recital performance.

As a recording artist, Ms. Rivera’s extensive discography includes releases on the Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, Naxos, Telarc, Urtext, VIA Records, Opus Arte, CSO Resound, and ASO Media labels. Her third release for Urtext, an Homage to Victoria de los Angeles, is due for release in 2020.

For additional information about Ms. Rivera, please visit www.jessicarivera.com.

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Ken Cazan

Ken Cazan

Resident Stage Director, USC Thornton Opera

Ken Cazan has directed over 160 productions of operas, musical theater, and plays in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Most recently, he directed the world premiere of Thomas Morse’s opera Frau Schindler for the Gärtnerplatz Theatre in Munich for which he also served as librettist along with Morse. Other world premieres include the Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed opera As One for American Opera Projects and the BAM Festival in 2014, and the Lieberman/McClatchy collaboration, Miss Lonelyhearts which was commissioned by the Juilliard School for their 100th anniversary and was a co-production with the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the USC Thornton School of Music.

American premieres include Handel’s Agrippina (Ft. Worth Opera), Mozart’s Mitridate, Re Di Ponto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), and the first American opera house production of Britten’s Gloriana (Central City Opera). He directed La Boheme in collaboration with Leonard Bernstein in Rome, Italy. The semi-staged production was recorded and released internationally on Deutsche Grammaphon and released on video throughout Europe on RAI. His work has also been seen on American PBS, the CBC in Canada, and on major TV channels in various countries throughout Europe. He has directed frequently for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Santa Fe Opera, the Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, the Long Beach Opera, and the Central City Opera Company where he will be returning for his 17th summer in 2019 to direct Britten’s Billy Budd. He has received various Outstanding Director and Outstanding/Best Production awards.

Mr. Cazan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University in 1979. Before that he attended Kent State University Stark County Campus from whom he has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Outside of opera, he has directed plays and musicals for various theatre companies across America and in Europe. In Norway, he directed West Side Story for the inauguration of the spectacular, new Kilden Theatre in Kristiansand. In Venice, Italy, he directed a production of the Gershwin's Lady Be Good for the venerated Teatro la Fenice which marked the first time an Italian opera-theatre company had created an original production of an American musical. He is also well known for directing musicals for opera companies, everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim. Additionally, Mr. Cazan conceived of and wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical titled Prodigy in collaboration with pop composer Billy Pace. Prodigy is the story of the professional life and death of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the great 1980s African-American fine artist. Combining hip-hop, pop, Latino music, and ballads, Prodigy received two successful staged readings with the Los Angeles Festival of New American Musicals.

Ken Cazan is a full Professor, Resident Stage Director, and the Chair of Vocal Arts and Opera at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for whom he has worked since 2004. At USC, he has been awarded both “Excellence in Teaching” and “Excellence in Service” awards. He has taught masterclasses and acting for the Metropolitan Opera and Central City Opera Young Artist Programs, the Chautauqua Opera, and at Indiana University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Cal State University Long Beach. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Classical Division of Orange County High School of the Arts.

In 2017, Mr. Cazan was inducted into the Grove Dictionary of Music. It was the first time in 25 years that the esteemed musical dictionary had been edited. The dictionary cited Ken Cazan as an expert in the works of Benjamin Britten and praised his skill in working with singer-actors on characters and relationships.


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Jonathan Talberg

Jonathan Talberg

Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies, Bob Cole Conservatory

Recipient of the President’s Award from the California Music Educators Association honoring "extraordinary accomplishments in music education," Dr. Jonathan Talberg serves as Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory, where he is conductor of the international award-winning Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir. Recent career highlights include leading the Chamber Choir to first place awards at the Spittal International Choir Festival in 2017 and the "Choir of the World" competition in Wales in 2016. Additionally, he and the choir have performed with groups as diverse as the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony and the Rolling Stones.

A passionate advocate for choral music education, Dr. Talberg is regularly engaged to conduct honor choirs across the US, including numerous all-state choruses, and the National Association for Music Education conference choirs. His choirs from Long Beach State have performed in venues throughout Europe and Asia, including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, and the Great Hall of the People in China.

His professional experience includes appointments as Director of Music at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Bach Festival. He also served as Conducting Assistant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival and as principal choral conductor at Arrowbear Music Camp in Southern California. A past-president of the California Choral Directors Association, he also serves as an editor at Pavane Music Publishing, where a choral series dedicated to outstanding quality, collegiate-level music is published under his name.

Of the many hats he wears each day, the one he is most proud of is mentor to the next generation of choral musicians. Alumni of the Bob Cole Conservatory Choral Studies program are teaching at elementary, middle and high schools, churches, community colleges and four-year universities throughout the country. Scores of alumni are professional singers—in opera, musical theater, choirs, church music, jazz and pop. Recent Bob Cole Conservatory graduates are currently earning—or have finished—their doctorates in choral music at the University of Michigan, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa, and the University of Southern California.

Dr. Talberg received his BM in Choral Conducting from Chapman University, where he received the Outstanding Alumnus in the Arts award in 2014. He earned his MM and DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, and the May Festival Chorus. His conducting teachers include Roger Wagner, William Hall, Earl Rivers, John Leman and Elmer Thomas.

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