News From Our Founders

Career Bridges’ 15th Annual Gala May 9, 2017

Career Bridges is proud to announce their 15th annual gala held at the Essex House in New York City -15 years of helping young opera singers launch their careers! It will feature a concert introducing our 2017 Career Bridges Grant winners and surprise guests, a Gourmet dinner silent Auction and Cocktails.

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To print the R.S.V.P. card, click here.

Our distinguished Achievement Award Will be presented to Kent Tritle, a renowned musician in New York City and throughout the world; Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. He is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of Musica Sacra,; and Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York. In addition, Kent is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. Also an acclaimed organ virtuoso, Kent Tritle is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.

The Career Bridges Seraphim Award goes to the Children’s Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. The Children’s Chorus has delighted audiences for over 50 years and provides an essential, delightful contribution to Metropolitan Opera performances. The Award will be presented to the Children’s Chorus Music Director, Anthony Piccolo.

 A Tribute in Memoriam will be presented in memory of Daniel Ferro to Joy Ferro who is continuing his legacy and lifelong passion for vocal arts, passing on the torch of beautiful and healthy singing to the next generation.
Daniel was a Juilliard professor of voice for 35 years, and a vital member of the Career Bridges’ Panel of Experts.

To print the R.S.V.P. card, click here.



2014 Winners and Guests of Honor 


Bottom Row: From left, Nancy Rhodes, Lauren Flanigan, Camille Coppola, Will Crutchfield, Shana Alexander (2014 CB Winner) and Mara Waldman Middle Row: 2014 Career Bridges Winners, Nicole Greenidge, Ewa Plonka, Kristen Choi, Meghan Picerno, Blake Friedman, Career Bridges Winner Samantha Britt Third row, Career Bridges Winner Jorell Williams, 2014 Career Bridges winners, César Delgado, Christopher Yoon, Brian Mextorf, Joseph Lattanzi, guest Elise Brancheau. Photo: Joe Bly

The 2014 12 Annual Gala held at the Essex House in New York City was a tremendous success. Highlights of the evening were glorious singing from our 2014 winners and guest stars, a fabulous dinner and desert, an exotic Silent Auction and the presentation of our Distinguished Achievement Awards to Lauren Flanigan and Will Crutchfield. Three opera companies received our First Annual Opera Company Tribute Award: The Bronx Opera Company, Encompass New Opera Theatre and New Rochelle Opera.

The success of such an evening is due to so many people it is impossible to list them all in this space. We want to especially thank our Board of Directors for making it possible for us to continue helping young opera singers launch their careers.

And above all we must thank all the members of our audience for contributing to the success of this evening with their donations and applause. Their response to these wonderful singers was extremely gratifying and a confirmation to them of their abilities!


Lauren Flanigan and Will Crutchfield receive our Distinguished Achivement Award

Conductor and 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Eve Queler and 2014 Distinguished Award Winners Will Crutchfield and Lauren Flanigan  Photo: Rose Billings

Conductor and 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Eve Queler and 2014 Distinguished Award Winners Will Crutchfield and Lauren Flanigan
Photo: Rose Billings

Career bridges was thrilled to recognize and honor Lauren Flanigan and Will Crutchfield. What makes Lauren Flanigan so special is she is  a world-class operatic singer who embodies her characters with every fiber of her being,  and that she contributes to the growth of young operas singers  through her Music and Mentoring House in New York City. Lauren provides food, housing, master classes, performances and the advice that only she can give regarding what it takes to have a career.

Will Crutchfield, musical director of the Caramoor Music Festival, has provided America and the world wonderful examples of bel canto operas. His young artist program has given many young and highly talented opera singers the chance to work with the greatest artists in the world, to benefit from his classes and coachings, as well as the invaluable opportunity to perform.

Please visit our website for additional information about the accomplishments of these great contributors to opera.

At our gala, Bronx Opera, Encompass New Opera Theatre and New Rochelle Opera received Our First Annual Opera Company Tribute recognizing the contribution to their communities and especially the programs and opportunities they provide for talented young opera singers.

 Taconic Opera Gala

From left to right: a Taconic Opera Devil, Barbara Meister, Dan Montez, Founder of Taconic Opera, David Bender and a Taconic Opera Devil  Photo: Howard Copeland

From left to right: a Taconic Opera Devil, Barbara Meister, Dan Montez, Founder of Taconic Opera, David Bender and a Taconic Opera Devil
Photo: Howard Copeland

Barbara and David received a Dare Devil Award At the 2014 Gala of the Taconic Opera in White Plains. The award was in recognition of exceptional service to the arts for their 12 years as Founders and Artistic Directors of Career Bridges. Presenting the Award was the founder of Taconic Opera, Dan Montez, who said that what made Career Bridges unique was the three year mentoring program to fulfill the mission of helping young opera singers launch their careers.

Opera Diva Renata Scotto and Barbara Meister Bender Photo: Howard Copeland

Opera Diva Renata Scotto and Barbara Meister Bender
Photo: Howard Copeland

Celebrated Metropolitan Opera Soprano and Career Bridges 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner, Renata Scotto, also received a Dare Devil Award. Cited were her glorious years of singing and her mentoring of young opera singers through master classes throughout the world.







Glorious singing by fourteen young opera stars of today and tomorrow … honored guest performers from opera and theater … more than 250 supporters and friends – all contributed to the enthusiasm and success that marked our Eleventh Annual Gala Concert and Dinner, held May 14 in the elegantly decorated Grand Ballroom of JW Marriot Essex House.

Our season began with some 100 applicants, of which 35 became finalists. Of these, our Panel of Experts chose our fourteen winners, young singers showing enormous potential for an operatic career .

Hosting this year’s Gala once again: Robert Sherman, host of WQXR’s The McGraw-Hill Companies’ Young Artists Showcase. Several Career Bridges past winners have appeared on his program.

The evening’s celebration began, most appropriately, with the orchestra, under the baton of musical director Ted Taylor, performing Verdi’s “Triumphal March,” from Aida. Following throughout the evening were performances by this year’s winners – solos, duets and Verdi’s Rigoletto Quartet with the quality of their singing confirmed by spirited applause from our Gala guests.

The evening also honored several individuals for their special contributions to the world of music. Receiving Career Bridges’ Distinguished Achievement Award was Theodore S. Chapin, President and Executive Director of the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization. The award recognized his career in musical theater as well as his role as a major administrative and creative force behind numerous award-winning Broadway and London theater productions, film and television works, and cast album recordings.

We were proud to present Career Bridges’ Young Artist Distinguished Achievement Award to our 2006 Career Bridges Winner , Met opera Star Angela Meade. In the few years since her professional debut, Angela has performed starring roles in many of the world’s leading opera houses and has won more than 50 competitions, including the Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera and the Richard Tucker Foundation Award. In addition to her impressive accomplishments as a singer,” Angela has aided many organizations that support young opera singers by personally attending. Further, as an artist with a magnificent voice, great technique, discipline, love of music, meticulous preparation, skill and determination – Angela is an inspiring example to today’s young opera singers.

The Gala provided the opportunity to honor a special champion of opera: Joseph Volpe, retired General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera. Presented with Career Bridges’ Lifetime Achievement Award, he was recognized for a distinguished career in which he transformed opera production as well as audiences’ access to the art through such innovations as The Met’s outreach to schools, televised live performances, introduction of the MET-titles, and its modernization of behind-the-scenes production technology.

The spirit of the evening glowed in the Gala’s finale, as guest Ron Raines, Emmy Award-winningBroadway and television star, was joined by the Career Bridges Winners i performing “The Impossible Dream,” from Man of La Mancha. The song’s lyrics reflected, not only the goal of our young singers, but also the continuing mission of Career Bridges, guided with warmth and professionalism by our Board of Directors, our Panel of Experts and our countless friends and supporters:

“This is my quest, To follow that star …


  Two of Our Featured Panel of Experts

Elinor Ross is an American opera singer; a dramatic soprano particularly associated with the Italian repertory.

Born in Tampa, Florida, she studied at the Syracuse University and later came to New York to study with William Herman, Stanley Sontag and Leo Resnick. She made her debut with the Cincinnati Opera in 1958 as Leonora in Il Trovatore opposite Jussi Björling, Giulietta Simionato and Ettore Bastianini.

She went on singing at the opera houses of Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Houston, Hartford, among others. In 1968 she appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York in the American premiere of Verdi’s Alzira and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1970 in the title role of Puccini’s Turandot.

Ross also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing at La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the opera houses of Bologna, Palermo, Florence, Verona, the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin State Opera, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, among others.

Her repertoire included roles such as Abigail, Lady Macbeth, Amelia, Leonora, Elisabetta, Aida, Gioconda, Santuzza, Maddalena, Tosca, Donna Anna, Medea and Norma.

Daniel Ferro was graduated from The Juilliard School and Columbia University. As a Fulbright Fellow, he studied in Europe at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome, and at the Mozarteum of Salzburg. Subsequently, Mr. Ferro performed opera and concert engagements throughout Europe. Upon returning to the United States, he chaired the voice department at Butler University and later at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1972, Mr. Ferro joined the vocal faculty of The Juilliard School and continued on the faculty until 2006 when he received the distinction of becoming vocal faculty emeritus. He continues his affiliation at Juilliard by presenting annual master classes. Mr. Ferro maintains a private studio and has worked with such international artists as Kathleen Battle, Barbara Hendricks, Evelyn Lear, Ruggero Raimondi, Régine Crespin, Anna Moffo, Neil Shicoff, Lucille Beer, Alan Titus, Neil Rosenshein, Richard Stilwell, Joann Grillo, Patricia Brooks, Thomas Stewart, Sándor Kónya, Ruth Welting, Berit Lindholm, Judith Raskin, Florence Quivar, Spiro Malas, Michael Devlin, Susanne Mentzer, Mayda Prado, Ning Liang, Kevin Short, Gail Dobish, Hei-Kyung Hong, Young OK Shin, Frederick Burchinal.

Mr. Ferro’s singers continue to distinguish themselves in opera houses worldwide and in major competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Licia Albanese-Puccini International Vocal Competition. In 2008, Robert Dean Smith, a student of Mr. Ferro’s at Julliard, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Tristan in a high profile performance of Tristan and Isolde.

Mr. Ferro also counts among his students many who have become successful teachers at leading conservatories and universities.

Mr. Ferro dedicates himself to sharing his knowledge at institutions throughout the world, including Conservatoire de Musique, Montréal; Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto; Rubin Academy , Jerusalem; Aspen Music Festival; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; The Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm, Sweden; Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies; Accademia Chigiana; Opéra de Paris; Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris; Fondation Royaumont of France; Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico; Holland Music Sessions; Yeong Pyong Festival, South Korea; Australian National Academy of Music; and San Francisco Opera Center.

Mr. Ferro also founded the Spoleto Vocal Institute. Mr. Ferro is Founder and Artistic Director of the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program which is celebrating it’s eighteenth year in Greve-in-Chianti, Italy.

In 1988, he was decorated by the French government with the title “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.” In 2001, he received the distinction of Honorary Citizen of Greve-in-Chianti. In 2002, Mr. Ferro received an Award of Appreciation from the Republic of Korea for his years of teaching and dedication.


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