Our Faculty come from all corners of the world, and bring with them years of experience and expertise. UBC Voice Faculty, and industry professionals make this Workshop unique, and open the students up to a wider range of new contacts and influences.
UBC Head of Voice and Opera
Nancy Hermiston’s operatic career has taken her throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Her New York début took place in Carnegie Hall with Marilyn Horne and Mario Bernardi. Her European début led to a permanent engagement with the prestigious Nürnberg Opera. She has held numerous appointments as voice teacher, and as stage director at the Meistersinger Konservatorium, Nürnberg, and the University of Toronto Opera and Performance Divisions. She was appointed to the U.B.C. faculty in 1995 as Coordinator of the Voice and Opera Division.
In 2008, Professor Hermiston was the recipient of the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts and in the 2009/2010 academic year received a Killam Teaching Prize. Professor Hermiston has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her achievements as an opera singer, stage director and educator.
Director of UBC Summer Vocal Workshop, UBC Voice Faculty, Soprano
Canadian soprano Rhoslyn Jones is quickly becoming an important presence on both the Concert and Operatic stages of the world. Described as a “superb singer and artistic presence,” Ms. Jones’ voice is “luscious, and her soul opens forthrightly and generously to the audience.”
Hailed as “The delicious diva” by the 24 Hours New Vancouver, Ms. Jones captivated the audience with her “unforgettably powerful voice” in her very first production of Le Nozze di Figaro. As the Countess, Rhoslyn Jones imparted “a grace and dignity that prevent[ed] her from descending into the mould of the stereotypical wronged woman, and [allowed] her to become a relatable individual for a modern audience. Jones is a joy to watch and reason alone to see the show.”
Ms. Jones began the 2010-2011 season covering the role of Roxane opposite Placido Domingo’s Cyrano de Bergerac at the San Francisco Opera. Also this season, she will debut the role of Mimi in a new production ofLa Boheme at the Pacific Opera Victoria.
The 2009-2010 season found Ms. Jones making her role debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro withVancouver Opera and a return to Arizona Opera as Musetta in La Boheme. A busy concert singer as well, Rhoslyn sang Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, was the soprano soloist in a concert of arias and duets with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and sang Morgen: A ballet set to a collection of Richard Strauss songs for soprano and orchestra with the New York City Ballet.
In recent seasons, Ms. Jones has appeared as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Santa Barbara, Musetta in La Boheme with Pittsburgh Opera, Tatyana inEugene Onegin with Vancouver Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the Chicago Opera Theater and the title role of Susannah with Arizona Opera. Ms. Jones also created the starring role of Julia Dent Grant in Phillip Glass’s world premiere of Appomattox with the San Francisco Opera opposite Dwayne Croft and Andrew Shore. She has also recently appeared with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Anchorage Symphony. In addition to being the Director of the University of British Columbia Summer Vocal Workshop, she is on Faculty at the University of British Columbia in the Vocal Department, and on Faculty at Sonoma State University in California. She is also the founder and director of the new Bay Area Vocal Academy in San Francisco.
Originally from Aldergrove, B.C., Ms. Jones completed her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of British Columbia and her Diploma in Opera Performance at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She also attended the distinguished Summer Festival at Ravinia in 2008 and was a 2004 and 2005 participant in Merola, which led to her selection as an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera from 2006-2007. She currently resides in San Francisco with her husband.
J. Patrick Raftery
UBC Voice Faculty
J. Patrick Raftery’s professional debut was in 1979 when he sang Schaunard in La Bohemesharing the stage with Luciano Pavarotti. After his years at The Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard School of Music, Mr. Raftery joined the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and C.A.M.I. artists when his career soared and took him to the major opera houses of the world, his debut was at the Metropolitan Opera with Mirella Freni in Manon Lescaut. In less than a decade he became one of America’s most prominent baritones.
In August 1992, Mr. Raftery gave his first performances as a tenor, at New York’s Avery Fischer Hall in concert performances of Lucio Silla. The 1992/93 season included Erik inDer Fliegende Hollander, Florestan in Fidelio and Max in Jonny Spielt auf, all with the Opera of Leipzig. Immediately, the same company invited him to participate in their 300 year anniversary celebration by singing Grigori/Demitri in the acclaimed production of Boris Godunov by Oscar winning director Istvan Szabo.
Mr. Raftery’s debut at La Scala came in the 1993/94 season’s opening production of Spontini’s La Vestale conducted by Riccardo Muti and recorded live for Sony Classical. That same season Mr. Raftery debuted in quick succession the roles of Parsifal, Samson and Siegmund. The latter in the Frankfurt Opera’s critically acclaimed Ring of Herbert Werneke conducted by Sylvain Cambreling.
Mr. Raftery participated in The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden’s world premier of Alexander Goehr’s opera Arianna, Siegmund in Seattle’s Ring , Erik in a new Der Fliegende Hollander for the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), Andrei Kovanski in Kovanschina for The Hamburg State Opera and the world premier of Salammbo for The Paris Opera.
Mr. Raftery has been Tristan for the Operas of Meiningen, Nancy and The Croatian National Theater of Zagreb. The 2004/2005 season found Mr. Raftery’s role debut as Othello for the opera of Syracuse and a filming of his Siegmund for a DVD of Wagner’s Ring for the Opera of Liege.
The 2006/2007 season found Mr. Raftery reviving Othello for the Opera of Budapest, Sergei in the Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk and Siegmund for Oper Wiesbaden and Eisenstein for a new production of Die Fledermaus in Toulouse. Mr. Raftery joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Music as a voice instructor in the fall of 2007. Since joining the faculty at University of Toronto Mr. Raftery has sung for the Pacific Opera Victoria (William Marshall in Regina of Mark Blitzstein and Monsieur Taupe in Capriccio of Richard Strauss). In 2013 Mr. Raftery made his role and house debut with the Opera de Marseille as Aegisth in Richard Strauss‘ Elektra.
UBC Faculty Vocal Teacher
Lyric Baritone Dale Throness, a native of Grande Prairie, Alberta, received his early musical training in Winnipeg and subsequently obtained his Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of British Columbia. Post-graduate studies were undertaken at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the Britten Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh England. He has sung a number of operatic roles including the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni under director David Walsh, and Marcello in La Boheme with conductor Tyrone Patterson and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra for Viva Musica in Kelowna.
Recent Concert engagements include performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in their Tea and Trumpets series and a concert of Brahms’ lieder for their Brahms Festival, and performances of the Brahms and Faure Requiems. He has also sung Carmina Burana on a number of occasions, including a performance at the Orpheum Theatre under conductor Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In addition to his performing schedule, Mr. Throness is on the voice faculties of the University of British Columbia and Kwantlen College.
Guest Vocal Teacher
Jonathan Beyer is a baritone who has performed with several opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Petruzzelli, Oper Frankfurt, Pittsburgh Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florida Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera de Montreal, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Fort Worth Opera, Royal Opera of Oman, Chicago Lyric Opera, Hong Kong Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera Santa Barbara, Lyrique-en-mer, Opera Grand Rapids, Knoxville Opera, Anchorage Opera, The Chautauqua Institution, Tanglewood Music Center, Accademia Verdiana, and Teatro di Verdi. He performs a wide variety of repertoire including Marcello in LA BOHEME, Figaro in BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Malatesta in DON PASQUALE, Papageno in DIE ZAUBERFLOTE, Count Almaviva in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Escamillo in CARMEN and Richard Nixon in NIXON IN CHINA. He has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, American Symphony, Castleton Festival, Chatam Baroque, Lansing Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic and the Festival at Aix-en-Provence.
Mr. Beyer was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. He was the 1st Place Winner at the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists. He has also won the Geroge London Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, McCammon Competition, San Antonio Opera Competition, Irma M. Cooper Competition, Violetta DuPont Competition, Rochester’s Classical Idol, American Prize for Art Song and Opera, New Jersey Verismo Competition, Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Competition, Astral Artist Auditions, Philadelphia Career Advancement Award, The American Prize in both Operatic and Art Song Divisions, Pittsburgh Concert Society Auditions, SAI Competition, American Opera Society Competition, the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Competition, and the Bel Canto Foundation. He has also received awards from the Sullivan Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Jensen Foundation, Solti Foundation, Loren L. Zachary, Irene Dalis, Liederkranz, Charles Lynam Competitions, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, Orpheus Competition, National Opera Association, Anna Sosenko Foundation, Shreveport Singer of the Year, Mario Lanza Foundation, Paris Opera, Annapolis Opera, New Jersey Opera, Dresden Opera, NATS, Giulio Gari Foundation, Palm Beach Opera, Jose Iturbi, Liederkranz and Neue Stimmen competitions.
An avid recitalist, Mr. Beyer has performed in recital with Craig Rutenberg, Mikael Eliasen, Kristin Okerlund, Martin Katz and Brian Zeger. He has given recitals through the Vocal Arts Society, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Carnegie Hall Foundation, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chicago Cultural Center, Judith Raskin Foundation, Bertlesmann Foundation, Huntsville Chamber Music Guild, Pittsburgh Concert Society, Over the Rainbow Foundation, Astral Artists, the Ravinia Festival, Lorin Maazel’s Chateauville Foundation and the Marian Anderson Foundation. He has degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Pianist and Coach
Sarah Bowker began her musical studies in Harare, Zimbabwe and continued her studies in Ottawa and Vancouver. Her principal teachers have included Jane Coop, Sandra Webster and Sandra Cooke. The recipient of numerous awards and scholarships at local, provincial and national levels of competition, Ms. Bowker has also received scholarships to study at the Adamant School of Music in Vermont, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the University of British Columbia where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance. She has been broadcast on Vermont Public Radio and was featured on Capitol News in Georgetown, Guyana. During her time in Vancouver, Ms. Bowker performed frequently as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist, was the music director of multiple churches, and was also active as a piano and theory teacher. Currently residing in London, Ontario, Ms. Bowker continues her life as an active musician and teacher.
Based in Vancouver, Lyndsey began her dance training at the age of two. She has trained at places such as Goh Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Caulfield School of Dance, where she reached her RAD Advanced 2. Also active as a choreographer, her work was most recently seen in Play On Word’s Bonnie & Clyde, Odeum Theatre Society’s production of Mary Poppins, and can be seen again this summer in Fighting Chance Productions’ Heathers. Lyndsey also works with several high schools and community centres, most notably as Gleneagle Secondary School’s choreographer since 2010. A versatile performer, select credits include: Dance Captain/Cassandra in Cats (FCP), Female Swing/Ensemble for Hairspray (TUTS), and Follies Girl/Featured Tap Dancer in Crazy For You (Gateway Theatre), which won the 2015 Ovation Award for Outstanding Tap Ensemble. Translating her passion for performance into education, Lyndsey was the Assistant Choreographer for the Theatre Under the Stars Youth Summer Intensive, and applied there the same philosophy she applies to all her teaching: to instill a love of dance while building a solid foundation through technique and an understanding of the body.
Pianist and Coach
Vancouver pianist and coach Tina Chang has appeared in many recitals throughout Canada and the United States. Currently on the music staff at Vancouver Opera as répétiteur and coach, she was most recently assistant conductor with the company’s production of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Past engagements include music directorship with Fear No Opera in Victoria, and as pianist and coach with the Atelier lyrique at the Opéra de Montréal. She has toured with the Vancouver Opera in Schools’ (VOIS) performances of Cinderella (La Cenerentola) and Jack Pine where she was pianist and music director while on the road. Teaching experiences include being a coach at the Opera Program at University of British Columbia and a faculty position at Dalhousie University where she coached students of various musical disciplines and taught 2nd year Keyboard Skills.
Engagements in the United States include a position as assistant coach to Glimmerglass Opera Festival’s productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Madama Butterfly in upstate New York. Tina has also served as coach and répétiteur at Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis for its production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. as well as the pianist and music director for the San Diego Opera Ensemble where she coached and performed with young professional singers from all over the United States. Past summer festival participation include a fellowship at the Aspen Opera Theatre Center of the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, SongFest and Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI). Tina has served as staff pianist at the Summer Vocal Academy for the Victoria Conservatory of Music, as well as the Interlochen Center for the Arts during their summer session, where she coached various operetta scenes, was rehearsal pianist for multiple choirs and ensemble pianist with the Interlochen Philharmonic.
Born in Taiwan, Tina immigrated to Vancouver, Canada with her family when she was nine. She completed her undergraduate degree in music at the University of British Columbia and from there, she went on to complete her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota. Her principal teachers include Timothy Lovelace, Kenneth Broadway and Alice Enns.
Guest Masterclass Teacher
Canadian singer, actress and voice actress Shannon Chan-Kent is no stranger to Vancouver audiences. She has been singing all of her life and has been working in the film, television and voice over industry for over ten years. Shannon made her debut at the Arts Club Theatre in 2012 as Sophie de Palma in MASTER CLASS and she returned this past season to play the role of Christmas Eve in AVENUE Q.
While working towards her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia, Shannon kept up her busy film, television and voice over career appearing as characters on many animated series such as Sabrina’s Secret Life, Misa Amane in Death Note, Chief inPucca,Grace Lum in Being Ian, and Larmina in Voltron Force. She also plays the character Silver Spoon and is the singing voice for Pinkie Pie in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Other voice credits include, Care Bears, Martha Speaks, Rekkit Rabbit, Dino Train and various Barbiemovies. Currently, Shannon is voicing the characters of Cherry Jam in Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures, The Bistkit Twins/Youngmee in The Littlest Petshopand is nominated for her work as Trixie in Disney XD’s new show Slugterra. Some of Shannon’s on-camera work includes CW’sThe Secret Circle, Life Unexpected, The Selection, Samurai Girl, CBC’s Dragon Boys, NICKELODEAN’s Spectacular! , The Troopand Sony Picture’s new film Kill For Me.She returns to the Arts Club next season in Saint Joan.
Guest Coach and Masterclass Teacher
Leslie Dala is Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Associate Conductor and Chorus Director for Vancouver Opera, and Music Director of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has worked at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Canadian Opera Company, the Santa Fe Opera and l’Opera National du Rhin and is a frequent guest conductor with the UBC Opera Ensemble, the COSI Program in Sulmona Italy, and Soundstreams Canada. This past season Leslie conducted Vancouver Opera’s world premiere production of Stickboy by Neil Weisensel and Shane Koyczan; The Magic Flute for Edmonton Opera; Madama Butterfly for Saskatoon Opera and Domenic Argento’s Postcards from Morocco for the University of Toronto
Opera Division. This season includes a concert in Toronto with soprano Adrianne Pieczonka featuring George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children; an 80th birthday gala concert celebrating iconic composer Steve Reich with the composer in attendance; the North American premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ opera Julie with Soundstreams and Canadian Stage Theatre; Carmina Burana, Messiah and St. Matthew Passion with the Vancouver Bach Choir; and Madama Butterfly with Vancouver Opera.
Guest speech-language pathologist
Shelagh has a Master of Science degree in Speech and Audiological Sciences from the University of British Columbia, an Honours BA in English and Drama from Queen’s University at Kingston, and two diplomas in Speech Arts, from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary, Alberta. She is also certified to administer the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program – a speech/voice treatment program specifically designed for people with Parkinson ’s disease.
For the past 25 years Shelagh has been in private practice, specializing in the care of the voice. She has lectured nationally and internationally, including seminars and workshops in locations as diverse as Singapore and Crete. She is also a frequent presenter in schools, universities, colleges and voice training programs throughout British Columbia. Shelagh is Clinical Associate Professor and clinical researcher in the School of Speech and Audiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She also provides speech and voice training to transsexual women through the Transgender Health Information Program of British Columbia.
Prior to establishing her own practice, Shelagh worked in hospitals with people who had suffered strokes, neurological disorders, brain injury and throat cancer. She developed the speech-language services program at Lions Gate Hospital and Burnaby General Hospital, and has worked in a number of other acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care settings.
Shelagh’s connections to the scientific and artistic worlds of voice include:
- Registered member, College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia
- Member, BC Association of Speech-Language Pathologists
- Certified member, Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
- Certification in the administration of the LSVT program, a speech/voice training program specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease
- Member, National Association of Teachers of Singing
- Member, Voice and Speech Trainers Association
- Member, Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health
- Past Member, Standing Committee for Voice and Communication, World Professional Association for Transgender Health
- Member, Vancouver Bach Choir
- Service Provider, Transgender Health Information Program of BC
Hatha yoga instructor and lyric coloratura soprano Robin Eder-Warren has been a dedicated yoga practitioner for fifteen years, with experience in a range of styles, from hatha to Bikram to yin yoga. She received her Yoga Alliance hatha instructor certification from the acclaimed Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Mexico, and now teaches her challenging hatha class in gyms, clubhouses and private settings across the Lower Mainland. She was a featured hatha yoga teacher at the BC Yoga Conference in Penticton in 2013, and has appeared on screen as a youth yoga leader on CBC’s Sesame Park.
As a performer, Robin has sung on stages across the globe, from Germany to New York to Disneyworld. Last year’s appearances include Laurey in Oklahoma! with the Fraser Valley Stage; Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Burnaby Lyric Opera; Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Opera Mariposa, where she “stole the show” (The Voice) and was “priceless” (Opera Canada magazine); and Cunegonde in Bernstein’s Candide with DragonDiva Operatic Theatre, where she was “superb” (Hilary Clark, reviewer for Opera Canada). Some of her other recent roles include Mlle Silberklang (The Impresario), Musetta (La bohème), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Despina (Cosi fan tutte), Ida (Die Fledermaus), Young Heidi (Follies) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro). She is also an actor of stage and screen, director, and voice teacher, with both a private studio and group classes at the Minoru Cultural Centre in Richmond. This past year, she was honoured by the Richmond Review as a member of Richmond’s Top 30 Under 30 for her contributions to the operatic and yogic communities of that city, and modeled for the same newspaper’s Best of Richmond series of 2014.
Berlin-based soprano, Rachel Fenlon, is an artist on the rise. Quickly establishing herself in the operatic repertoire of Mozart, Handel, and Rossini; in the vast lied repertoire, from French and German to contemporary English works, and in demand as an oratorio soloist, Rachel enjoys a diverse and uniquely varied solo career.
Hailed by Opera Canada as “a young artist whose vocal skills should take her anywhere she wants to go”, Rachel’s recent career hilights on the operatic stage include Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), and Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) with Vancouver Opera; Nannetta (Falstaff) and Queen Guinevere (Camelot) with Pacific Opera Victoria; Lisa (Das Land des Lächelns) with the Vancouver Symphony, and Mimi (La Boheme) with Bard on the Beach Festival. As an oratorio soloist, Rachel’s recent projects include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle with Maestro Alberto Zedda, Handel’s Messiah with the Victoria and Vancouver Symphonies, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Brahms’ Requiem with the Vancouver Bach Choir, Bach’s Magnificat with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Bach’s Cantata 51 with Early Music Victoria, and Eriks Esenvald’s Passion and Ressurection with the Borealis String Quartet at the Chan Centre. A passionate recitalist, Rachel has performed countless recitals over the past few years. This season alone, Rachel performed her own arrangements of Richard Strauss’ lieder with the Gryphon Trio, Frescobaldi settings for soprano and theorbo with Montreal’s Michel Angers, Birtwistle’s “Nine Settings of Lorine Niedecker” with cellist Adrian Brendel, and a recital of Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliées at Pacific Opera Victoria’s Baumann Centre.
Guest Vocal Teacher
Canadian born mezzo-soprano Judith Forst has been highly acclaimed for her operatic and concert performances throughout North America and in Europe in many of the world’s most prestigious theaters which have included the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Netherlands Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington Opera, Vancouver Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera among many others.
Judith Forst began the 2009-2010 season with her return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Katya Kabanova. She also made her debut at Houston Grand Opera as Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw and returned in the spring as The Countess in Pique Dame. 2010-2011 engagements included the world premiere of Lillian Alling with Vancouver Opera as well as the world premiere of The Inventor for Calgary Opera. She was also heard as Herodias in Salome for L’ Opera de Montreal. 2011-2012 engagements included Salome at the Manitoba Opera, The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera and The Inventor at Vancouver Symphony. In the 2012-2013 season she returned to Vancouver Opera in Pirates of Penzance, to Canadian Opera Company in Dialogues des Carmelites among other engagements. Engagements for the 2013/2014 season include a return to the Metropolitan Opera in Two Boys.
During the 2008-2009 season Judith Forst appeared with as Mrs. Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Portland Opera, and returned to Vancouver Opera as Herodias in Salome. Other recent engagements for Ms Forst have included Salome at Dallas Opera and Vancouver Opera and the world premiere of Transit of Venus for Manitoba Opera. She has appeared in concert with the Vancouver Symphonyand at the Santa Fe Opera as Mme de la Haltiere in Massenet’s Cendrillon, in Vancouver in Jenufa and in the Calgary premiere of Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. She made her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Herodias during the 2006-2007 season, and also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as the Kostelnicka in Jenufa.
In 2006 she made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as the Kabinicha in Janacek’s Katya Kabanova. Recognized as one of Canada’s most distinguished artists, she has been honored with the Order of Canada.
Judith Forst is now most identified with roles such as the Kostelnicka in Janacek’s Jenufa, Klytemnestra in Strauss’s Elektra, Herodias in Salome and Mme de Croissy in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, the Countess in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Augusta Tabor in Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, the Baroness in Barber’s Vanessa and the Witch in Hansel und Gretel. Prior to expanding into this repertoire, she had sung a repertoire of extraordinary versatility and one which encompassed virtually all styles and periods and which has extended into the soprano repertoire as well.
Judith Forst began her career at the Metropolitan Opera when, after her participation in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, General Manager Sir Rudolf Bing immediately offered her a contract with the company. Her first roles at the Metropolitan included Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino, Stephano in Romeo et Juliette and Siebel in Faust and she has returned to the Metropolitan regularly all through her career for roles such as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni under James Levine, Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Countess Adelaide in Arabella, and the Kabinicha in Katya Kabanova. After her firs seasons at the Metropolitan, Forst was soon heard at most of the operatic theaters in North America inroles such as Dorabella in Cosi Fan tutte, Rosina in Il Babiere di Siviglia, the title role in La Cenerentola, Adalgisa in Norma Charlotte in Werther, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and Bizet’s Carmen. She made her Seattle Opera debut as Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena and subsquently appeared in this role opposite Dame Joan Sutherland in San Francisco, Toronto, Detroit, Washington, DC and in New York where the concert was also televised as part of the “Live from Lincoln Center” series. Forst made her European debut in Paris in 1985 in a concert performance of Hoffmann and her Munich debut as Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino. She made her London debut in the spring of 1992 in the British premiere of Rossini’s Ermione and starred as the Composer in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos at the English National Opera in 1994.
Guest Vocal Teacher/Diction Coach
Also an accomplished pianist, Rachel has recently begun an exciting new avenue of exploring art song from the piano, and accompanying herself in recital. In June 2016, “Fenlon & Fenlon” previewed a self-curated cycle of Schubert songs titled “Liebesbotschaft” at Gallery 345 in Toronto, which she will tour Europe with next season; performing in London, Paris, Oslo, Berlin, and more. True to her diverse artistic nature, Rachel composes, and writes poetry frequently. This season, Fenlon was one of five composers selected for a 10-day composition workshop under mentors Marco Stroppa, Robert Aitken, and Juno Award-Winning Dinuk Wijerhatne. This June, she premiered compositions of hers set to award winning poet Sue Goyette’s collection“Ocean” in Nova Scotia, Canada. Fenlon has received awards from the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music for her compositions.
Rachel is an alumna of the Vancouver Opera Young Artists Program, the Toronto Summer Music Festival Fellows Programme, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, the Vancouver International Song Institute, the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, and the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia. Her vocal training began under Nancy Hermiston and Judith Forst, and she currently studies with renowned teacher Neil Semer.
Upcoming projects include a recital tour across Europe, the Crear Programme for singers in Scotland with Malcolm Martineau, Schubertiades and lieder projects, performances with the Victoria Symphony, and several composition projects and commissions. Discover more about Rachel at www.rachelfenlonsoprano.com.
Guest Vocal Teacher
American tenor Jason Ferrante earned his Master and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with legendary vocal pedagogue Beverley Peck Johnson and was the recipient of the Alice Tully Voice Scholarship. (1993-2000) Ferrante’s professional training included two Summers as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap where he twice received a Shouse Grant (2005, 2006), two Summers as an opera fellow at Tanglewood (2000, 2001) and three Summers as a member of the Aspen Opera Theater Center. (1996, 1998, 1999)
Praised by Opera News for “singing up a stylish storm” and for getting “the gold star for trills”, Ferrante has appeared in over 70 opera productions and in concert on five continents including performances at New York City Opera, Wolf Trap, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti, Wexford Festival. Tanglewood, Kennedy Center, Ravinia, Juilliard, Guangzhou Opera House,Boston Symphony Orchestra, Alice Tully Hall, Bard Festival, Florida Grand Opera, and with opera companies in Atlanta, Madison, Arizona, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Omaha, Orlando, Palm Beach, Eugene, Dayton, Annapolis, Syracuse, Birmingham, and Boston.
Ferrante has sung with some of the world’s leading conductors including Ozawa, Rudel, Conlon, Slatkin, Nelsons, Maazel, Zinman and Lord. He can be heard on recordings of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Chabrier’s Le Roi Malgré Lui with the American Symphony Orchestra. He has been heard on PBS, NPR, NHK in Japan, WNYC, WQXR and In 2002, he was a panelist on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz . Ferrante has written for the Juilliard Journal. He has taught and given masterclasses with schools and young artists programs around the U.S.
Ferrante’s students are singing around the world with opera companies including the Met, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Glimmerglass and Wolf Trap. They have been winners in competitions including Operalia, Met National Council, Zachary Foundation, Sullivan Awards, the George London Foundation and members of young artists programs and students at major conservatories and universities. This season, Ferrante is serving as vocal consultant and voice teacher at the Young Artists Programs at Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera and Florida Grand Opera. In 2015, he is a national panelist and guest master teacher for YoungArts. In addition to his active performing and teaching schedule, Ferrante maintains a limited number of private studio hours in Miami and New York City.
Alexander Technique Teacher
Mari Hahn is an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts and Masters of Music from the University of British Columbia, and her BM Performance degree from the University of Toronto. She also studied at the Scuola Musicale and privately in Milan, Italy. She was a two-time recipient of the prestigious Killam Fellowship at UBC, and founded a chamber opera company, Opera Breve, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
She remains active as versatile performer of opera, oratorio and art song. Recent performances as soloist include Gorecki’s Third Symphony with the Anchorage Civic Orchestra, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, and a special performance of Verdi’s Requiem called the “Defiant Requiem” under maestro Murry Sidlin.
As a music and stage director, she has served as the Chorus Master for the Anchorage Opera for three seasons, and stage directed La Cambiale di Matrimonio, Impresario and Mozart and Salieri. As the founder and director of the UAA Opera Ensemble, she has produced and directed 11 seasons of productions such as Le Nozze di Figaro, Viva Zarzuela, Kismet and Elixir of Love. Most recently, she created an Alaska Native adaptation of Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel entitled Aklaq and Nayak as part of the Anchorage Opera educational outreach program, touring to Nome and Unalakleet.
Dr. Hahn’s research involves combining somatic techniques and vocal pedagogy. As a vocal instructor, she teaches a variety of techniques and genres from classical to musical theater and CCM. She is the District Governor of NATS and has organized many workshops by leading pedagogues, such as Norman Spivey, Jeanne Lovetri, Lynn Helding, and Robert Edwin. A certified Alexander Technique practitioner, she recently presented on AT and Vocal Pedagogy at the NATS Regional Conference in Seattle and served as an adjudicator for the NATS Advanced Artist competition.
Pianist and Coach
Suzanne Klukas earned a Magister Artium, Master of Arts, in Piano Chamber Music from the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia. Ms. Klukas is the recipient of sgnificant awards including a grant for professional musicians from the Canada Council for the Arts for her work with Charles Spencer in Vienna and multiple scholarships from the Johann Strauss Foundation for her graduate studies in Austria. Formative in her artistry are her study stints in German Lied interpretation with world renowned artist Charles Spencer (recorded with Christa Ludwig, Thomas Quasthoff, Cecilia Bartoli, Gundula Janowitz, among others) who has mentored her in 2004, 2005 (Vienna), 2007 (Prague) as well as in master classes in 2003 (Gutenstein, Austria) and in 2007, 2008 (Husum, Germany). Principal teachers in Vancouver were Douglas Finch for solo piano and Rena Sharon for song interpretation. In Graz, Ms. Klukas studied with Kaete Wittlich of “die riehe” Vienna and Anja Lechner of the Rosamunde Quartet Muenchen. Further master class instruction was taken in Germany and Austria with Charles Spencer, Ulf Baestlein and French cellist Philippe Muller. Ms. Klukas has performed in Slovenian RTV orchestra, as well as the Slovenian Chamber Music Festival Glasbeni September.
Local activities have included adjudication for many years for UBC’s Strauss Foundation scholarship competition, appearances at the UBC Wednesday Noon Hours, the Kwantlen Faculty and Guest Artist Series, the Erato Ensemble St. Andrew’s Wesley Concerts, guest artist for the Canadian concert at the Vancouver International Song Institute, and faculty member at the UBC Summer Voice Workshop. Ms. Klukas teaches piano at Trinity Western University where she is faculty pianist in the voice, instrumental and choral divisions of the music department.
Dr. Lynne Morrow
Guest Teacher and Conductor
Dr. Lynne Morrow is the Music Director of Pacific Edge Voices. She and Pacific Edge Voices (then called Pacific Mozart Ensemble) received Grammy nominations in 2006 for the recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with Kent Nagano in Berlin. In 2010, the group’s long-time collaboration with Dave Brubeck (including many world premieres) led to the release of “Dave Brubeck: Songs of Praise” with Dorian Recordings. A second recording of Brubeck’s music, “Brubeck and American Poets,” was recorded in December 2011.
Lynne Morrow became Music Director of the Oakland Symphony Chorus in 2005. During her tenure, the scope of the chorus has expanded to include contemporary, international and neglected works along with traditional choral repertoire. She conducts the Chorus’ workshop performances of major works and a Spring Messiah, hosts summer choral outreach “Sing-Ins” and prepares the chorus for work with Oakland East Bay Symphony as well as regional community and youth orchestras with which Oakland Symphony Chorus collaborates, such as the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Young People’s Symphony Orchestra and California Symphony.
Lynne Morrow received a Grammy nomination for her work with the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, with whom she has also recorded two CD’s of Dave Brubeck’s choral music. Since 2001, she has directed the Voice and Opera/Music Theatre Programs at Sonoma State University. Morrow also gives lectures for the regional San Francisco Opera Guilds, most recently on the premiere of “Dolores Claiborne.” Dr. Morrow strives for a visceral connection to music, presenting works from every corner of the musical arts in fresh ways, to reach the widest possible audiences.
Lynne will lead the Oakland Symphony Chorus on a June 2015 tour to Vienna, Prague and Budapest, performing Mozart, Haydn and American music. In January 2012 she co-conducted Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus and Oakland Youth Orchestra in a sold-out performance of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”
In 2013, Lynne Morrow worked with Richard Harrell to create Heroes’ Voices, a multifaceted project that produces 6- to 8-week workshops where Veterans sing and create poetry and the spoken word. Heroes’ Voices also provides guitar lessons for Veterans, after which they can receive a free guitar. The programs are produced in Menlo Park and Yountville. A bluegrass jam session also occurs in Fremont.
Cambria Records will soon release the first recording of the choral works of California composer, Elinor Remick Warren, featuring Dr. Morrow’s ensemble, Quanta Chorale. This disc will showcase exciting and challenging repertoire for mixed and women’s chorus.
Dr. Morrow also directs the Voice and Opera/Music Theatre programs at Sonoma State University and has been a frequent assistant conductor with Festival Opera. Her Quantum Opera Theatre co-presented (with Berkeley West Edge Opera) the premiere of “Caliban Dreams,” an operatic sequel to “The Tempest.” She’s a familiar figure in the Bay Area where she hosted the Stern Grove Music Festival for many years. Dr. Morrow attended Indiana University-Bloomington for graduate studies in Opera Coaching and Choral Conducting. She counts among her mentors and teachers, Michael Morgan, Richard Grant, Imre Pallo, Jan Harrington, Carmen Tellez, Brian Breeding and Robert Porco.
Dr. Morrow is on the Education Committee of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), most known for celebrating and honoring musical achievements through the Grammy awards. Dr. Morrow enjoys creating a visceral connection to music—presenting works from every corner of the musical arts in fresh ways to reach the widest possible audiences.
Soprano, Stephanie Nakagawa, has a voice that is “as clear as-a-bell and soaring.”
Stephanie has been a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and a member of their Opera on the Go program. She has won numerous awards including the Western Canada District – Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the BC Provincial Festival of the Performing Arts. Stephanie is the music director and conductor of Ensemble Etoile, a women’s chamber choir that will be touring the Okanagan this year. She also has a busy private voice studio and her students have won numerous awards at festivals and RCM exams.
Stephanie’s stage credits include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen), Gretel (Hansel & Gretel), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Amy (Little Women), Musetta (La Bohème), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring). She has sung with many ensembles including the Aspen Music Festival, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University Opera Theater, Bard on the Beach, UBC Opera, Westcoast Symphony, Oberlin in Italy, Prince George Symphony, and the North Bohemian Philharmonic (Czech Republic).
In concert, Stephanie has sung as a soloist in The Messiah with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Grand Mass in C with the AURA Chamber Choir and Vivace Chorale, Ginastera’sCantata para América Mágica at the Aspen Music Festival, Vancouver Opera’s Pacific Rim Concerts, Paul Chihara’s Amatsu Kaze with the IU New Music Ensemble, and Mozart’s Requiem with the IU Chamber Orchestra.
Stephanie was awarded the UBC Medal upon her B.Mus graduation and holds a Master’s degree from Indiana University. She also holds ARCT Performance Diplomas in both piano and voice and is the winner of the Voice Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Stephanie has also been awarded the UBC Wesbrook Scholar, Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship, BC Arts Council Award, Canada Millennium Scholarship, Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Laureate, and the BMO National Scholarship. Stephanie has studied under the tutelage of Nancy Hermiston, Carol Vaness, and Costanza Cuccaro, and is currently pursuing her doctorate at UBC.
Alison Nystrom, soprano, is a much sought after performer and teacher. As a singer, Ms. Nystrom is noted for her expressiveness and has performed across North America and Europe. Her opera credits include: Pamina in The Magic Flute, Diana in Orpheus in the Underworld, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and the Woodpecker and Innkeeper’s wife in The Cunning Little Vixen. In 2005, Ms. Nystrom was chosen from a national tour of auditions to be a part of the inaugural year of the Burton Lowell and Olive Kurth Young Artists Program with Pacific Opera Victoria. She has performed as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass.
After studying Kinesiology in her undergraduate degree, Ms. Nystrom earned a Master of Music in Opera at the University of British Columbia where she won the Johann Strauss Foundation Award. This allowed her to travel to Salzburg, Austria and study at the Mozarteum. She also holds an A.R.C.T. in Singing Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Ms. Nystrom was a NATS Intern at the University of North Carolina where she performed and taught. She has travelled to Husum, Germany to sing in a Meisterkurs für Liedgestaltung. For the last several summers, Ms. Nystrom has taught at the UBC Summer Vocal Workshop.
With an entertainment career spanning over 20 years and a BFA in theatre, Rick has created, developed, produced, written and performed in feature films, short films, TV, theatre and multi- media content currently in various stages of development, production and distribution. He was selected for the National Screen Institute (NSI) Totally Television Program, awarded Telefilm Canada support and has sold his feature film and short films to The Movie Network, Super- Channel, OUTtv, Air Canada amongst other additional online platforms.
Rick currently teaches at VFS, but has also coached and instructed over 100 professional writ- ers and actors in both Vancouver and Los Angeles, produced and directed local Jessie Award winning and nominated theatre productions, garnered Gemini and Leo Award nods and a win for his on-screen work as an actor and also thrived on building a vast network of relationships with top-notched talent across Asia and North America.
Pianist and Coach
Carol Wong enjoys a flourishing career following recent performances at Carnegie’s Zankel and Weill Halls, the Wednesday at One Series at Alice Tully Hall (New York), the Kennedy Center, the Kreeger Museum (Washington, DC), the California Center for the Arts (San Diego), the Krannert Center (Illinois), the Pro Arte Musical (Puerto Rico), the Gardner Museum (Boston) and live broadcasts on WXQR in NYC, K-Mozart in Los Angeles and on NPR’s Performance Today. Highlights from the previous seasons included California’s Herbst Theater (San Francisco), the Lobero Theatre (Santa Barbara), the Annenberg Theater (Palm Springs), the Kravis Center (West Palm Beach) and a special performance for the U.S. Members of Congress under the auspices of Sony Music in Puerto Rico. In the summer of 2009, Ms. Wong taught Masterclasses at Orvieta Musica, a music festival in Italy. She was also invited to perform and teach for an underserved community in Hilo, Hawaii. The following October, Carol was personally invited by Marilyn Horne to perform in a tour celebrating the famed mezzo-soprano’s 75th Birthday. The tour included stops in Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. The summer of 2008 was eventful for Carol – in August, Ms. Wong was awarded the Sing for Hope Grant, an organization that maintains a roster of world-class artists who donate time and talent to the humanitarian causes that inspire them. Carol produced the concert “Songs of Words Left Unsaid,” which was hosted by renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and featured Metropolitan Opera performers such as soprano Susanna Philips mezzo Isabel Leonard, tenor Joseph Kaiser and baritone Luca Pisaroni. In July 2008, Ms. Wong was one of the only 50 people invited to the Arctic Expedition for Climate Action, sponsored by National Geographic, and made into a documentary. Guest included President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn, Ted Turner, Madeline Albright, Chevy Chase, Google founder Larry Page. Her 2008 tout also included concerts in Leipzig, Germany, Oslo, Norway, Istanbul, Turkey and Lima, Peru. Ms. Wong is frequently invited to prestigious music festivals such as the Ravinia Festival where she gave the premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Here and Gone” (2005), the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Banff Festival, the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the Britten-Pears Festival in England, and the Beaux Arts Festival in Fontainebleau, France, where she won a distinction award in Piano. A committed teacher, Carol is a senior examiner at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and taught at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ms. Wong is also the winner of many awards including the 2005 Juilliard Honors Recital, the 2005 Canadian Aldeburgh Foundation Award, and the 2004 Irene Diamond Award. In 2003, Ms. Wong won the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award Competition and was also chosen as the first pianist to receive the Laureate Award from the Music Academy of the West. Ms. Wong was also a frequent winner of the Canadian competition circuit, including the Canadian Music Competition in Montreal. Ms. Wong grew up in Vancouver, British Columbis and made her concerto debut at age 11 with the Vancouver Philharmonic. She earned her Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University under the tutelage of Menahem Pressler. Ms. Wong was granted her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance from Rutgers University, and she completed her Artist Diploma at the prestigious Juilliard School.
Pianist and Coach
Geneviene Wong Jen-Pei graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly known as Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), Scotland with First Class Honours in 1999 and received the “Rhona Reid Scholarship” to pursue the MMus (Performance) in Piano Accompaniment with Jean Hutchison. Upon completion of the Masters, she was awarded the “Broadwood Junior Fellowship for Piano Accompaniment” at the RSAMD.
She is a keen chamber musician and won several prizes whilst at the RSAMD, including the “John D Miles Lieder Prize” (with Nozomi Yamada), “British Reserve Insurance Prize for Early Music”, “Ian D Watt Prize for String and Piano Duo”, and “Alex Menzies Memorial Fund for Piano Accompaniment”. She also participated in many solo and accompaniment masterclasses with, among others, Dennis Lee, Malcolm Martineau, Dmitri Alexeev, Bernard D’Ascoli, John Streets, Roger Vignoles and the King’s Consort.
In Glasgow, she accompanied the Glasgow Youth Choir and the Glasgow Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, performing in various venues throughout Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic and was actively involved in the community music scene in Britain as a member of the ‘Scottish Council for Music in Hospitals’ and the ‘Live Music Now!’ scheme, an outreach programme founded by the late Lord Yehudi Menuhin. She has also accompanied various instrumentalists and singers in recitals throughout Britain, Thailand, Brunei and Malaysia including the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival and represented the RSAMD in the Europe Day concert series organized by the European Parliament.
She taught piano and piano accompaniment in several universities in Malaysia and free-lanced as an accompanist. She also dabbles in choral arrangements and has had her arrangements performed by several local choirs, including the Young KL Singers, the KL Children’s Choir and the Dithyrambic Choir as well as international choirs such as the Trinity Choir from Australia. She has performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra on several occasions playing piano, celesta and synthesizer.
From 2007 to 2013, she was the programme coordinator for the Pro-Musica Workshop in Malaysia and the Winter Journey Workshop in Thailand (a weeklong workshop and series of masterclasses held annually for young professional singers and accompanists conducted by teachers from the Flanders Opera Studio in Belgium).
She moved to Canada in 2013 and is currently based in Langley, BC Canada and works with the Vancouver City Singers and the Stella Maris Concert Choir. She also freelances as an accompanist for and maintains a private piano studio.
Past Faculty have included:
- Christopher Atwood – Diction Coach
- Gordon Bintner – Guest Masterclass Teacher
- Nicola Davies – Pianist and Coach
- Richard Epp – Guest Coach/Conductor
- Rachel Fenlon – Pianist and Coach
- Gordon Gerrard – Guest Coach/Conductor
- Melanie Krueger – Vocal Teacher
- Heidi Melton – Guest Teacher
- Simone Osborne – Director, Teacher, and Administrator
- Perry Price – Vocal Teacher
- Heather Thomson-Price
- Todd Wedge – Guest Teacher