Faculty & Staff

Ryan Reithmeier

Ryan Reithmeier

Director

Teaches: Career Explorations, Bel Canto Singers, Opera Scenes, Pat and Mary Dirk Vocal Scholarship Program

ryan.reithmeier@ocsarts.net

Dr. Ryan Reithmeier completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal arts and opera at USC’s Thornton School of Music with highest honors receiving the Opera Award upon graduation. During his time at USC, he completed field work in music education, directing for the operatic stage, and arts leadership and entrepreneurship. He made his debut with the Thornton Opera as L’aumonier in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites and performed 13 songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn toward completion of his doctoral work. 

 

Regarded as a versatile performer, Dr. Reithmeier regularly performs with notable opera, operetta, and concert organizations throughout California. Highlights from recent seasons include numerous cantatas of J.S. Bach with St. John’s Cantata Vespers including 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 with the Oratorio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra at Azusa Pacific University, in addition to numerous productions of Handel’s Messiah. Recent 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. Dr. Reithmeier is also a competition judge, serving 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. Dr. Reithmeier serves on the Executive Board of NATS-LA, the nation’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing.

 

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Denean Dyson

Denean Dyson

Instructor

Jazz Vocals

denean.dyson@ocsarts.net

A free-spirited Mezzo-Soprano with a genuine passion for music, this Vegas-born Chanteuse is a true artist fervently driven to share the beauty and influence music holds.  Classically trained yet accomplished in many genres, her additional vocal capabilities in R&B, soul, and jazz allow her to deliver a beautifully artistic sound imbued with skill and emotion.  Ms. Dyson received her B.A in music from Cal State Fullerton’s School of Music. She has gained exposure entertaining audiences in live solo and ensemble performances for public, corporate, and private events in the United States and abroad, and with that creative devotion to the performing arts, she has also ventured into stage and musical theater, Opera, and Cabaret.

Ms. Dyson’s vocal agility is beyond compare and has earned her the privilege of sharing a stage with many talented artists such as jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison, and singer and actress Reba McEntire. She continues to showcase her vocal diversity throughout the world, and is often featured as a soloist in performances and recordings.  She is honored to have performed in ensembles for gifted conductors like Gustavo Dudamel, John Williams, Ludwig Wicki, John Alexander, Dr. Robert Istad, Keith Lockhart, and Carl St. Clair, in performances before large audiences in venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Staples Center, and many more.

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Sarah Gonzalez

Sarah Gonzalez

Choir Director

Teaches: Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Stella Voce, Men’s Chorus, Conducting Seminar

sarah.gonzalez@ocsarts.net

Sarah Gonzalez holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in choral music from the University of Southern California. In addition to her job in the Classical Voice Conservatory, she serves as the Director of Music at St. James' Episcopal Church in South Pasadena.  In her spare time, Mrs. Gonzalez sings with the Golden Bridge Chamber Ensemble and the de Angelis Vocal Ensemble, based in Orange County.

Frederic Hallas

Frederic Hallas

Instructor

Teaches: CV Beginning Musicianship, CV Theory I, CV Intro to Recording

frederic.hallas@ocsarts.net

Mr. Fredric Hallas is a well-rounded musician with many exploits in the fields of classical singing, keyboards, and percussion. He has been playing piano since age 7, and continues to expand and refine his repertoire every day.

Mr. Hallas began singing in choirs in middle school and sang non-stop throughout college. He acquired a large repertoire of solo and choral experience leading up to and during his time as a choral education major at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). During his time at CSUF, Fred performed under the baton of Maestro John Williams, Dudamel, and Mauceri. Mr. Hallas has traveled as far as South Carolina for choral festivals and currently serves as the tenor section lead at an Anglican Church in Costa Mesa.

Fred enjoys backpacking and the outdoors, runs a full private studio and occasionally coordinates student band ensembles covering popular music.

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Lisa Iwaki

Lisa Iwaki

Instructor

lisa.iwaki@ocsarts.net

Ms. Lisa Iwaki completed her Master's of Music in piano performance with honors at the Manhattan School of Music as a recipient of the Jay Rubinton Scholarship. Her teachers include Yoshie Akimoto, Ann Schein and Phillip Kawin. She is the grand prize winner of the Music Teachers’ Association of California State Convention Finals in the solo piano division, and finalist in the Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition. In addition, she has performed in various venues throughout the United States, Japan, and Europe, and continues to be active as a collaborative pianist in Southern California.

Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi

Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi

Instructor

Teaches: Theory IV, On Stage!, Opera Scenes, Historical Practice, Bel Canto Singers

izumi.kashiwagi@ocsarts.net

Izumi Kashiwagi has earned her masters and doctorate degrees in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from University of Southern California under the instruction of Kevin Fitz-Gerald. While at USC, Dr. Kashiwagi received a full-scholarship, Koldofsky fellowship, and teaching assistantship. She has been an active performer in the Los Angeles and Tokyo area, and has also been teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Vanguard University of Southern California and Cypress College. She recently joined as a faculty member at Orange County School of the Arts. In addition to teaching, Izumi has been working at the University of Southern California as a staff pianist of the studio of Ralph Kirshbaum.

Dr. Kashiwagi obtained a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis on piano performance from California State University of Long Beach in 2005. Dr. Kashiwagi studied with Edith Hirshtal, Junko Garret, and Craig Richey while at CSULB. She has attended many music festivals and schools, such as the Aspen Music School and Festival, where she has studied with Joseph Kalichstein and Rita Sloan in 2003 and 2004. She also attended The Quartet Program in Boulder, Colorado in summer 2009, where she performed with Charles Castleman, the violin professor at The Eastman School of Music. Dr. Kashiwagi has recently attended the Song Fest in Los Angeles in Summer 2014. The recipient of many scholarships and awards, she won the 2003-2004 concerto competition at CSULB by performing the third piano concerto by Prokofiev. In 2006 Dr. Kashiwagi performed in the Geijutsu Theatre Large Hall in Tokyo with her sister, as the Kashiwagi Sisters. She is also an experienced chamber musician and has performed with many renowned musicians. She has recently been acknowledged as Liszt scholar/Piano artist from Liszt international competition.

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Ani Keropian

Ani Keropian

Instructor

ani.keropian@ocsarts.net

Praised as one of the best pianists in the Mediterranean region in 2000, Ms. Ani Keropian is the first prize winner in the prestigious Boulogne-Billancourt Piano Competition in Paris. Her performances gained critical acclaim in the United States, Canada, Europe, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, and the Middle East.              

Ms.Keropian is a faculty member at Pierce College, where she teaches voice, and at Saddleback College, where she has also served as the head of piano department. She completed her Graduate Studies with Honors from Prestigious Music Faculty of McGill University, Canada, Conservatoire National Boulogne- Billancourt, France, The National Music Conservatory of Amman, Jordan and The Lebanese National Higher Conservatory, Lebanon and was awarded the prestigious Quebec Scholarship Grant.

Her collaboration with world renowned orchestras includes Montreal Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and Bulgarian Symphony with such conductors as Constantine Orbelian, Xavier Haag, Bruce Pullan, Bernard Lallement, and Bramwell Tovey. Her media appearances include CBC Radio Vancouver, CBC Radio Montreal, CH Global TV Montreal and Radio Monte Carlo, France, and Monaco.

Current and former students of Ms. Keropian are first prize winners in various piano competitions in the US, Canada, and Europe.       

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Lee Ann Leung

Lee Ann Leung

Instructor

Teaches: Piano Class

leeann.leung@ocsarts.net

Lee Ann Leung has an MFA in music performance and certificate in ethnomusicology from University of California, Irvine. She also taught Class Piano and was the staff pianist for the Chamber Singers and the University Choir. She performed in immersive concert events across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, as well as Comic-Con International and E3 to revive classical music as an art form to diverse audiences. 

Robert Norman

Robert Norman

Instructor

Teaches: Teaches Theory II, On Stage!, Opera Scenes, Career Explorations

Tenor Robert Norman has been hailed as “feisty and funny” (Opera News) and having a “truly lovely, Mozartean tenor” (San Francisco Classical Voice). In 2018, Mr. Norman made his Los Angeles Opera debut in Candide playing several roles including the King of El Dorado and Don Issachar. He is a fifth-place finisher in the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, and an L.A. District Winner in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions. He received his Masters in Music from CSU Northridge.

Mr. Norman is a current member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, with whom he has appeared as a tenor soloist in both Handel’s Messiah and Shawn Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a member of the LA Master Chorale, he had the privilege of singing with John Williams on the soundtrack for Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker.

 

A specialist in the operatic character tenor repertoire, Mr. Norman has performed as Goro in Madama Butterfly (Opera San Jose, Dayton Opera, Salt Marsh Opera); Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio (Dayton Opera, Opera Orlando, Festival Opera, Salt Marsh Opera); Beppe in Pagliacci (Dayton Opera, Festival Opera); Pang in Turandot (Dayton Opera); and Caius in Falstaff (Opera San Jose). He also has a robust history in modern and American Opera having performed as Parris in The Crucible (Opera Santa Barbara); Nika Magadoff in The Consul (Dayton Opera); Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire (Opera Santa Barbara, Union Avenue Opera, Fresno Grand Opera); and Little Bat in Susannah (Festival Opera, Pasadena Opera). He performed in the U.S. Premiere of Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever with Long Beach Opera as one of the two Tritones, and his performance of Toby in Sweeney Todd with Fresno Grand Opera was hailed as having taken the audience to “emotional places that I don’t think a non-opera-singer could match” (Fresno Bee). www.robertnormantenor.com

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Tamara Paulino

Tamara Paulino

Instructor

Movement and Improvisation

tamara.paulino@ocsarts.net

Tamara studied voice at Carnegie Mellon University and earned her BFA in musical theater from the Boston Conservatory.  Her performing endeavors have taken her from many performances at the Three Little Bakers Dinner Theater in her home town of Delaware, to the national and international tours of Bye Bye Birdie, Nickelodeon’s Rugrats Live, and Dora the Explorer Live, both with unprecedented sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall.  She feels extremely blessed to have spent ten years performing on stages touring throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Philippines. She is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association, the union representing professional stage managers and actors.

Tamara is currently a musical theater educator, director, and choreographer at several studios in the area, including Yorba Linda Spotlight Theater Company, Riverside Children’s Theater, and Acting Academy for Kids.

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William Reeder

William Reeder

Instructor

william.reeder@ocsarts.net

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mr. William Reeder holds a Bachelor’s degree in choral music education from California State University, Fullerton with dual coursework in performance and music composition. Since 2016, he has been singing, composing, and conducting for the Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles (C3LA), a choral ensemble dedicated to the creation and performance of new choral works. The ensemble, which follows a collective format, has no singular leader; all members compose, conduct, and perform newly written works for each concert. Mr. Reeder’s collaborative multimedia composition, One Bodies, was selected to represent the ensemble at the 2021 N.E.O Voice Festival in Los Angeles.  He has also written original compositions and arrangements for Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano and the Newgate Orchestra. His style incorporates elements of the past, repurposed in new and inventive ways.

As a singer, Mr. Reeder has performed with many choirs including Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble, the Gesualdo Quintet, Tonality, the Golden Bridge, Laguna Beach Chamber Singers, the Cal Voce Singers, and the Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles. He’s been in backing choirs for diverse artists such as Andrea Bocelli, M83, A.R. Rahman, Juanes, and Biffy Clyro. He’s also had the opportunity to sing in ensembles under the direction of conductors such as Carl Saint Clair, Eugene Kohn, James Conlan, Suzi Digby, John Williams, and Eric Whitacre at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Mr. Reeder serves as the choir director for Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano.

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Heather Reithmeier

Heather Reithmeier

Instructor

Teaches: Class Voice, Piano/Vocal Collaboration, Pat and Mary Dirk Vocal Scholarship Program

heather.reithmeier@ocsarts.net

Soprano, Heather Reithmeier is a native of Fairmont, MN but has called Southern California home for the past 13 years.  She holds degrees from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (B.M. Music Education) and California State University, Fullerton (M.M. Vocal Performance).  She has performed with several Los Angeles opera companies portraying the roles of Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Tessa in The Gondoliers, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Lucy in The Telephone, and more. In 2010 she was awarded the NATS L.A. Young Artist of the Year and was featured as a soloist in the Pacific Symphony Rising Superstars concert. Ms. Reithmeier and her husband, baritone, Ryan Reithmeier, have been recurring soloists with the La Mirada Symphony for their annual POPS concerts and present collaborative recitals throughout the area. Currently, Heather is an adjunct professor of voice at Vanguard University.

She was a prestigious Stern Fellow at Songfest in 2010, won the Concerto Competition at Cal State Fullerton, and sang the Bachianias Brasilieras with the Cello Choir at Cal State Fullerton under the direction of Bongshin Ko.  She also has performed as a guest soloist with the Corona Symphony and the Opera San Luis Obispo’s Broadway by the Sea concert.

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Hyejung Shin

Hyejung Shin

Instructor

hyejung.shin@ocsarts.net

Dr. HyeJung Shin, a native of Korea, is an active collaborative pianist, chamber musician and vocal coach. As a collaborative pianist, she has given numerous performances in Korea, the United States, Austria, Canada and Japan. She has worked extensively in recitals and masterclasses with renowned musicians, including Barbara Bonney, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Jake Heggie, John Musto, Linda Watson, Gabriele Lechner, Jennifer Ringo, Speranza Scappucci and Warren Johnson.

A passionate chamber musician, Dr. Shin performed and studied at the Aspen Music Festival as a recipient of the Lynette Gutner Memorial Fellowship under Professor Rita Sloan. She also appeared in many music festivals such as Song Fest (CA), Grandin Festival (OH), Brevard Music Festival (NC), Bay View Music Festival (MI) and the Vancouver International Song Institute (BC, Canada). In the summers of 2015 through 2018, she joined the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria as a repetitor. She also performed in the International Double Reed Society Conference, Tokyo in Japan in 2015. Dr. Shin was the pianist for the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton Chamber Singers, under the direction of Jo-Michael Scheibe, a former national president of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA).

Dr. Shin received a Master’s of Music degree in collaborative piano with a full scholarship under the instruction of Kenneth Griffiths from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in keyboard collaborative arts as a teaching assistant under Dr. Alan Smith at the Thornton School of Music at USC. She was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda by Eta Chapter of the National Music Honors Society in 2017, and is a recipient of the Gwendolyn and Adolph Koldofsky Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Keyboard Collaborative Arts Ensemble Award and the Keyboard Collaborative Arts Department Award at USC. She has served as a principal musician at the University of California Los Angeles, Herb Alpert School of Music and currently works at Concordia University, Irvine as a vocal and instrumental coach, collaborative pianist and director of the CUI Summer Chamber Music Academy.

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Alyssa Wills

Alyssa Wills

Instructor

alyssa.wills@ocsarts.net

Ms. Alyssa Wills, soprano, is the founder of The Sparrow Initiative, a performance group that uses the arts to raise awareness for the needs of the community, most recently producing A Woman’s Voice, a vocal recital to raise awareness for the problem of human trafficking in Orange County, CA. Her other community outreach work includes performances with the Skid Row-based choir Urban Voices Project, performances at local schools and hospitals as the group leader of "The Hollywood Trio" through the Gluck Fellowship program at USC, and fundraising concerts to benefit Syrian refugees, homeless shelters, and the Nepal earthquake survivors.

Ms. Wills’ concert work includes a self-created program of songs and letters of Emily Dickinson through Pasadena’s Boston Court Emerging Artist Recital Series; Bernstein in Concert with the Los Angeles-based Opera Buffs, Inc; Quartetto and Opera in the Park with the Palm Springs Opera Guild; the role of Micaëla in the Opera Buffs' gala fundraiser, Carmen in Concert, alongside Rod Gilfry, Charles Castronovo, and Kelley O'Connor; the role of Susan B. Anthony in Laura Karpman's Balls, presented in The Industry's First Take Concert; and the world premiere of Nimbus by Rand Steiger at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with The Industry; and the role of Marthe Marker in the USC premier concert reading of the new opera Frau Schindler by Thomas Morse and Ken Cazan. Past performances as a soloist include recitals at the Tanglewood Music Festival, concerts with the USC Concert Band, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the Bob Cole Conservatory

 

On the opera stage, Ms. Wills has been seen in the role of Mother in Lyric Opera of Orange County’s Hansel and Gretel; the role of Marcellina in a tour of Figaro's American Adventure with LA Opera's Outreach and Education Program; the role of Fiordiligi in LTD Opera's inaugural performance of Mozart's Così fan tutte; the role of Ariadne in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at the USC Thornton School of Music;; the role of Miss Crisp in Henze’s The English Cat and the role of Fortuna in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at USC; the role of Lady Billows in excerpts of Britten's Albert Herring with the TMC Orchestra as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center; the role of the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Bob Cole Opera Institute at California State University, Long Beach; as well as numerous opera scenes at the Aspen Music Festival.  

Ms. Wills was honored to be a District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition for two consecutive years. She was awarded third place in the NATS Gwendolyn Roberts Young Artist Competition, a Young Musicians Foundation Scholarship, and the Theodore Presser Scholarship in Music. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society. She holds an Master's of Music in vocal arts from USC and a Bachelor's of Music in vocal performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach.

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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 solemniswith 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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