Meet our Class of 2011. We are proud and delighted to be able to support and provide a “career bridge” for these talented young performers.
Martha Banks earned a M.M. in Opera Performance and a B.M. in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory. She received a B.A in French from Hood College, and studied in Strasbourg, France as one of their foreign exchange student. In February 2008, Miss Banks received the Links of Annapolis Study Award from Annapolis Opera’s Twentieth Vocal Competition. She has been involved with Seagle Music Colony for the past two years as a Young Artist. She debuted the role of Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordan’s new opera “Morning Star. Her future plan is to study abroad in Craz, Austria in the opera studio program of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS).
Dusica Bijelic, soprano, was born in Bosnia and later moved to Serbia. She started her musical education at the age of eight, playing piano and competing in youth singing competitions; she subsequently began to study acting and dance. She became thehost of a children’s show on a national television at the age of twelve, which she continued for five years. At the age of 21, she earned a master’s degree of voice in the class of Ljudmila Gross Popovic. She later studied with Gabriela Lechner and Michael Pinkerton in Vienna and with Renata Scotto at Santa Cecilia on a full scholarship.
Ms. Bijelicmade her debut at the Royal Theater in Spain singing the role of La ContessadiFolleville in Rossini’s // Viaggio a Reims. She sang the title role in Adelila by PietroGenerali in the Wildbad Rossini Festival. She has also performed in New York, Japan, Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Serbia.
Ms.Bijelic has spent the last four summers at the Daniel Ferro master class in Tuscany on a full scholarship. She has participated in Raul Gimenez’s master class on several occasions.
Always very interested in contemporary music, Ms. Bijelicis currently completing a Master of Music in Vocal Arts degree in the Bard College Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, where she works with Dawn Upshaw, Kayo Iwama and Lorraine Nubar.
David Blalock, a native of Burlington, NC, just recently finished singing Figa // Barb/ere di Siviglia as a second year graduate student in the Maryland Opera Sti. This summer, he will join the studio at Central City Opera, covering Morales in Carmen. David has won first prize in the NC District Metropolitan Opera Auditions Charles A. Lynam Competition, the Heafner/Williams Competition, and the Chariot Opera Guild Competition, as well as winning awards in the Sally and Tony Amato Competition, the Mario Lanza Competition, and the FAVA Grand Concours de Chant. Last Fall, he sang Riolobo in Florencia en elAmazonas with the Maryland Opera Studio. He spent summers as a young artist with Ash Lawn Opera and the Seagle Music Colony, singing roles in La Cenerentola, The Magic Flute, La Bohen and Brigadoon. David received his undergraduate degree from UNC Greensboro, performing roles in La Vida Breve, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and The Tender Land.
Genesis Ledezmine Brown just graduated from the the University of Nevada Las Vegas under with Luana DeVol as his voice teacher. Genesis achieved his undergraduate degrees in vocal performance and music education, he is also attending Capella University where he is working on his bachelors degree in psychology. Genesis just recently performed the role; The Imperial Commissioner from the opera, Madama Butterfly by; Giacomo Puccini under the direction of Dr. Courtney Crouse. He has previously performed principal roles with the UNLV opera theater under the direction of Christine Seize and Dawn Harris guest director from the university of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Roles performed were Colline from La Bohème, armered men from The Magic Flute, and Speaking of the temple from The Magic Flute . Genesis just recently traveled to New York where he represented the west coast in the Career Bridge foundation for opera singers and won as a first time competitor. He also had the honor of studying at the American Institution of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz Austria summer of 2007. He is a three time winner of the National association of teachers of Singers (NATS) 2007, 2008, 2011.
Justin D. Gonzalez, tenor, has been performing on professional stages for the past 11 years. He has performed with a variety of performers, organizations and orchestras including Rod Stewart, Steven Costello, Bryan Hymel, Mira Awad, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Singers, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and The Ocean City Pops. Some notable people he has sung for are Presidents Clinton and Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Marilyn Home, Barbara Dever, John Burrows and Prince Charles. Mr. Gonzalez has also performed in a number of stage productions including Daddy Warbucks (Annie), Beadle Bamford (Sweeney Todd), Adrian Tronic (The Song of Tomorrow) and Rolf (The Sound of Music). Justin has also performed in Europe as a soloist and can be found singing on Sundays at The Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE. He is also the Artist in Residence at Collingswood Bible Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, NJ.
Julie-Anne Hamula has been praised for her “warm tone” “agile phrasing” and “considerable vocal energy” (Austin XL, Entertainment Review). Most recently, she sang Fiordiligi in Cosifan tutte with Tri-Cities Opera and was lauded for her “spinning top” and “impressive chest register” (Broome Arts Mirror Review). Also with Tri-Cities Opera, she has sung Adina in L ‘elisir d’amore, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. Ms. Hamula has sung the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah with The Butler Opera Center in Austin, TX, and Pamina (The Magic Flute), in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Austin, in which she was praised for her “technically sound, rich performance” (The Austin Chronicle). Other roles with the Butler Opera Center include the Governess in Turn of the Screw, and Lady Madeline in the American premiere of Debussy’s opera La Chute de la Maison Usher. She has also sung Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario and Ms. Wordsworth in Albert Herring in Princeton, NJ. With the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod, she sang the title role in Naughty Marietta and Adriana in Boys from Syracuse. This year, Ms. Hamula was a finalist in the Liederkranz Competition General Opera Division and the recipient of the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award at the Civic Morning Musicals Competition in Syracuse, NY. She has been a recipient of the Stuart and Jeanne Wilson Award, the Tri-Cities Opera Guild Award, and of the Herb Alpert Foundation Scholarship from the Society of Singers as well as being a finalist for the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Fielder Grant for Vocal Careers. This April, she will sing Antonia inLes Contes d’Hoffman with Tri-Cities Opera. Ms. Hamula attended Westminster Choir College for her B.M. in voice performance and completed her Master of Music at University of Texas’ Butler Opera Center.
Sara Heaton, Soprano has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Anthropology and Music, and a Master’s of Music from Boston University. She has been an apprentice artist at Central City Opera, and Opera North. Earlier this year Sarah had the leading role of Miranda in the United States Premiere in Death and Flowers, and will be Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe this summer..
Cabiria Jacobsen, mezzo-soprano, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She began singing and acting in at the Woodward Park School in Park Slope, and discovered opera as a young chorister with the New York City Opera Children’s Chorus. As a singer at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and subsequently as a student at Northwestern University, Cabiria continued to pursue both opera and theater, and took her love of both to Boston, where she co-founded OperaHub in 2007. In 2009, she entered the Resident Artist Training Program at Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY, where she has performed the roles of Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro, and Dorabella/Cos//an tutte on the mainstage, in addition to performances in their chamber opera series. In the summer of 2010, Cabiria covered the role of Siebel/Faust at Opera New Jersey, under the direction of Mark Flint. In the spring of 2011, she will sing the role of Nicklausse/Les contes d’Hoffman, conducted by John Mario Di Costanzo, and will return to the role of Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro as a Young Artist at Opera North in July and August.
Nicholas Masters, currently in his third season as a resi artist with the acclaimed Academy o Arts in Philadelphia, accomplished yc bass and is a National ( Finalist in the 2011 MONC awards, a finalist and recipient of encouragem< awards from the 2011 Opera Index a George London Foundation Awards.
His two consecutive seasons as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap he was featured as Bottom in A Midsu Night’s Dream, Tempo and Nettuno in // ritorno d’Ulisse in patriot, Benoit and Alcindoro in La boheme, ar recital entitled “Latin Days, American Nights” with Steven Blier. This season at the Academy of Vocal Art Nicholas will create the role of the Governor in the world premiere of Margaret Garwood’s The Scarlet L and will perform Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, as well as Count Waldner in Richard Strauss’ Arabt Nicholas joins the Caramoor Festival where he spends the summer singing Bill Bobstay in H.M.S. Pinafor Walter in Guillaume Tell. This past spring, Nicholas was a guest artist on the Wolf Trap Foundation’s Disc Series, where he performed Luciano in John Musto’s Bastianello and Chucho in William Bolcom’s Lucrez.
In his first two years at AVA, Nicholas performed Colline in La boheme, La Roche in Capriccio, Pistola in Falstaff, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lord Rochefort in Anna Bolena, and Oroveso in excerpts of Norma. Previously, he made his debut as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada. As a member of the Young American Artist Program at Glimmerglass Opera, he coverei role of Le Comte de Breville in the world premiere of The Greater Good by Stephen Hartke. With the OR Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Nicholas sang both Rambaldo in Puccini’s La rondine, and Drebedny Shostakovich’s Moskva Cheremushki. While pursuing his Master’s degree in the opera program at Yale University, he sang a variety of repertoire, including Baron Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle, Don Inigo G< in L'heure espagnole, Frank in Die Fledermaus, and Luka in The Bear.
Nicholas recently made his Italian debut with the Alba Music Festival as the bass soloist in Verdi’s Requit piece he had previously performed at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. He is a two-time recipient of a Car Development Grant from the Shouse Education Fund from the Wolf Trap Foundation, and an award win from the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Nicholas resides in Canaan, Connecticut and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he studies with William Stone.
Heather Phillips, soprano Holds a masters degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has been a young artist with the Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera and the Musica Festival of Lucca, Italy. Miss Phillips is an Apprentice Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and will spend the summer as a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. This fall she will sing Micaela In Carmen with the Kentucky Opera.
Mari-Yan Pringle is a graduate of the Eastman School of Mi Rochester, NY and Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. At Eastman, she earned a Master of Music De Voice Performance and Literature with both the prestigious Performer’s and Catherine Filene Shous Leadership Certificates. At Spelman College, she earned the Women of Excellence in Leadership C and recognition from the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society.
Ms. Pringle is a member of the cast of the 75th Anniversary National Tour of George Gershv and Bess, initially cast as the Strawberry Woman, her vocal and stage presence made her a “stand o a sultry atmosphere…” which ultimately led to delivering a what has been called a refreshingly and rendered.. .fierce Serena.” A regular with the American Spiritual Ensemble, Mari-Yan has been a F Artist with the Opera Company of Brooklyn, where she sang Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Mrs (Susannah). She has also performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman-Rochest and Eastman Philharmonic and has sung the roles of Mme. Lidoine (Dialogues of the Carmelites), I (Turn of the Screw-scene) and Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly-scene.) Her oratorio credits include Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Ludwig Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Handel’s Messiah. Mari-Yan is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She is a winner of the Metropolit National Council Auditions (Georgia District) and Encouragement Award (Southeastern Regional): Florida Grand Opera and Pittsburgh Opera Center; Winner, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Risi Competition; Winner, Friends of Eastman Opera Competition; Second Place, Washington Internati Competition; and Young Alumna/Rising Star Award from the New York Alumnae Chapter of the I Association of Spelman College.
Tyler Putnam, Bass, is a graduate of Dartmouth College where he trained as an actor and majored in music. In the summer of 2009, he sang comic musical theater roles at the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire. Roles included Kodaly in She Loves Me, Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes, and Franz Liebkind in Mel Brooks’ The Producers. He then moved to New York City where he began work in musical theater, professional choir singing, film acting, and opera. The following summer he sang the leading role of Macheath in The Threepenny Opera at The Princeton Festival in New Jersey and he sang chorus in Bard College’s SummerScape Festival. After returning to New York, Putnam narrowed his focus to opera, specifically bel canto opera, and began his studies with Randolph Mickelson. He has since received recognition from both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and The Gerda Lissner Foundation for his promise as a young singer.
David Williams, baritone, spent the 2009-10 season as a member of the opera studio at the Komische Oper in Berlin. While in residence, Mr. Williams performed the roles of Duro in the world premiere of Elizabeth Naske’s Die Rote Zora, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Farfarello in The Love of Three Oranges, and Herman and Schlemil in The Tales of Hoffman.
Mr. Williams received his Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School in 2009 where he performed the roles of the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Papageno in Die Zauberflote, Patrocles in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide, and Testo in Monteverdi’s // Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. He was also the baritone soloist in Bohuslav Martinu’s Field Mass with the Juilliard Dance Department, and a featured soloist in concert with the Juilliard Choral Union in Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Williams has also performed the roles of Figaro in Corigliano’s The ghosts of Versailles, Marcello in La Boheme, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, Morales in Carmen, and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly as a member of the Aspen Opera Theatre Center.
Mr. Williams received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. While in residence at UCLA he was a recipient of the Kent-Atwater Performance Scholarship and the Gluck Outreach Scholarship, and performed the roles of Don Profundo in // Viaggio a Reims, Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte, and the Bridegroom in Ian Krouse’s Lorca, Child of the Moon.
Additionally, Mr. Williams has performed as a featured vocalist in concerts with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, Los Angeles Opera Buffs, Palm Springs Opera Guild, the Welsh Choir of Southern California, the Pontnewydd male voice choir, the Kuwait Singers, and M.G.V. Harmonic. Mr. Williams was a winner of the Palms Springs Opera Guild annual vocal competition, and has been both an Eastern and Western Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was also a resident artist at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara in 2005, and the Aspen Opera Theatre Center from 2007-10. Mr. Williams has won prizes and scholarships from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Los Angeles Opera Buffs, the Palm Springs Opera Guild, and the Pasadena Opera guild.
Upcoming engagements include the role of Tancredi in Montiverdi’s 77 Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with JuilliArd415 in Alice Tully Hall, and the roles of Escamillo in Carmen, and the Theater Director in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias with Central City Opera.
Marta Wryk, mezzo-soprano, is a recitalist and opera singer who performs throughout the United States and in Europe. In New York City, she has appeared at Symphony Space, the Caramoor Music Festival, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and the DUMBO Arts Festival. She has performed at Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany and the International Festival Art-Connection in Rotterdam, and in Poland she has performed at the Forum of Baroque Music in Warsaw, the University Hall in Poznan, and at the Chopin Konfrontacje Festival in Antonin. While a student at the Manhattan School of Music, she performed the role of Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mirtillo in Handel’s 77 Pastor Fido and Third Lady in The Magic Flute. In summer of 2010, she covered Gondi in Maria di Rohan and Clotilde in Norma at the Bel Canto at the Caramoor Festival.
Ms. Wryk has been praised by Bruce-Michael Gelbert in Q on Stage for her “radiance [and her] clear sound and assured presence,” and by Roman Markowicz in the Polish Daily News for her “noble sound and natural stage presence.” Recently, Ms. Wryk won first prize at the International Voice Competition hi Gorizia, Italy. Ms. Wryk performed in Symphony Space in New York with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and in Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the pianist Kevin Kenner and the cellist William De Rosa.
She has appeared in the Music at the White Hall concert series at the invitation of the Henryk Wieniawski Music Society hi Poznan, Poland, and has performed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory at the invitation of Dr. James Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate. Other recent concert tours took her to Pordenone in Italy, Los Angles, San Diego, Miami and Toronto, where she performed arias from Carmen with the Toronto Sinfonietta.
In addition to musical performance, Ms. Wryk is a musicologist and writer. Her work has been published in Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s major daily newspaper, and in literature journals and magazines including Zeszyty Literackie and Arkusz. Her music journalism appears in Polish Daily News. She teaches classes about opera to gifted children through the Polish Children’s Fund’s Summer Workshop. She has received awards from the Prime Minister of Poland and the Ministry of Education, and scholarships from the Leszek Czarnecki Foundation, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Lions Club Polonia and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union. She was also awarded the Carolyn Marlow Vocal Scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music.
Ms Wryk holds a degree from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She studied at the College of Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities at Warsaw University, majoring in musicology under Michal Bristiger. She is a degree candidate in voice at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studies with Maitland Peters.
Future concert engagements include recitals at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, Paramount Theater hi Charlottesville, and hi Teatro Comunale in Ferrara, Italy. Ms. Wryk will join the Chautauqua Music Festival for this summer. She will have her professional debut in the role of Aglaonice in Philip Glass’ Orphee with the Virginia Opera, where Ms. Wryk will be a resident artist for the 2011/2012 season.