NMPAS Archives: Artist Bios
Meet some of our performers from previous seasons:
Lyric Tenor Ryan Allais, hailed as “an outstanding soloist” with “a masterful singing voice” (Taos News), has captivated audiences throughout the Southwestern United States and Europe. Allais returned to Santa Fe Opera in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera in 2015 and made his professional debut as a chorister in the company’s new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio in 2014. Allais has worked with such world-renowned musicians as Maestro Harry Bicket, stage director Stephen Wadsworth, Tim Albery, and mezzo-soprano, Kirstin Chavez.
Allais is the guest conductor of the Taos Community Chorus (2014-16) and Minister of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Taos (2014-16). He is the head band and choir director in the Taos Municipal School District (2012-16), a singer and soloist with the New Mexico Bach Society (2014-16), and an administrator for the Taos Opera Institute (TOI: 2014-16).
Prior to accepting the role in administration at TOI, Allais attended the opera summer program as an apprentice, one of twenty-eight promising singers from around the country (2013). Scenes he was involved in there include: “Ich bin die Erste Sängerin” from Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and the sextet from Lucia Di Lammermoor. He spent summer 2012 as understudy for the tenor role in Bach’s Mass in B Minor with New Mexico State University at San Paolo entro le Mura in Rome, Italy. His other roles include: Eisenstein in Doña Ana Lyric Opera’s production of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (2012), Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro (2011), a chorus soldier in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore (2010), and took part in various opera scenes, including “Dio che nell’alma infondere” from Verdi’s Don Carlo.
Sarah Brauer, Mezzo Soprano, enjoys a rich and varied career of opera, oratorio, choral and recital performance. Sarah earned her Master of Music degree from Rice University after completing her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California, magna cum laude. Ever a champion of early music, she has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival, Houston Bach Society, New Mexico Bach Society, Aspen Music Festival, Astoria Music Festival and the Salem Chamber Orchestra. Recent operatic performances include Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with the New Mexico Philharmonic, Szymanowski’s King Roger at Santa Fe Opera, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Santa Fe Symphony, Ramiro in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Mélisande in scenes from Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande, Olga in Weill’sStreet Scene, and Eustazio in Handel’s Rinaldo. Sarah also realized the role of Margaret Truman in the world premier performance of Primiani’sTruman Project for OPERA America. Recent concert engagements include mezzo soprano soloist for the concert-drama Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín with the University of New Mexico, created and conducted by Murry Sidlin, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificatwith the New Mexico Philharmonic, Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Santa Fe Symphony, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Conspirare, Handel’sMessiah, Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Durufle’s Requiem with members of Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Santa Fe Pro Musica, and Monteverdi’sVespers of 1610 and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Sarah has recorded three discs with professional chamber choir, Conspirare, including the Grammy-winning Sacred Spirit of Russia with world-renowned classical label, Harmonia Mundi.
Nancy Bock Brzezinski, organ, piano and harpsichord. A native of central Florida, Nancy Bock Brzezinski studied at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg, Germany, with Heinz Wunderlich, earning the Diplom (D) and Konzertexamen (KE) with special honors in organ performance. She has performed with the Hamburg Symphony and has concertized extensively in Germany and the United States, including recitals at Washington National Cathedral and Riverside Church in New York. She taught piano, organ, German and music courses at Florida Southern College. She has performed with the Bach Festival of Central Florida. She has served as Choirmaster/Organist in numerous churches in Florida and Wisconsin. She was Associate Chapel Musician at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, and has been the summer Petertide Term Chapel Organist for the seminary. She enjoys serving as substitute Organist/Choirmaster for numerous churches in the Santa Fe area. She is an accompanist for the Santa Fe High School choral program. Since 2013 she is the accompanist for the New Mexico Bach Society and Coro de Cámara.
Ellen Chavez de Leitner has performed with many orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as soloist. In Austria she was a member of the Albertschweizerhaus Chamber Orchestra, Jeunesse Wien, Huebner’s Kursalon Orchestra, the Innsbruck Symphony Orchestra, and the Graz Philarmonic. In New Mexico, she has played with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Taos Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, and numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles. She was featured in the inaugural season of the Abiquiui Chamber Music Festival, performing violin/piano sonatas and works for unaccompanied violin. Her performances as soloist have included many works written for her by Catalonian composer Father Jose Maria Blanch, “Canticos de Fe”, which was released in 2006. Her other CD, “Duo Guadalupe, Music for Violin and Guitar”, was produced with guitarist Roberto Capocchi, with whom she has performed since January 2000. Ellen now performs often with two of her daughters, Cecilia Leitner, soprano, and Genevieve Leitner, guitar, as The Leitner Trio. She is currently a member of the San Juan Symphony, and on the substitute list for the Santa Fe Opera. In 2008 Ellen founded “Enchantment Chamber Music” presenting chamber music featuring musicians of high artistic caliber performing two to five concerts per year in northern New Mexico. Her mission is to help keep chamber music alive and thriving here throughout the year. Ellen studied at Saint John’s College, the Conservatory of Vienna, the University of New Mexico, the College of Santa Fe, the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin, the Albuquerque Baroque Festival, and with her most influential mentor, Renata Armani Mencik Skoberne. Ellen is a sixteenth generation New Mexican, was born in Embudo, raised in Los Alamos, and lives in the home of her mother’s ancestors, Chimayo, where she and her Austrian husband Hans raised their six children.
Edmund Connolly, Baritone, was born in London and studied at Cambridge University and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London. For seven years he was a professor of Music Studies at the Guildhall School, and he currently holds the post of Assistant Organist-Choir Director at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque. Edmund has performed operatic roles in the UK and Europe, working with companies including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Garsington Opera and English Touring Opera and conductors including Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Mark Elder and David Parry. His work as an oratorio soloist has included collaborations with conductors Sir David Willcocks, David Hill, and Bob Chilcott and he has given recitals around the UK and in the US. Since 2012 he has been one half of the duo Air & Hammers with pianist and organist Maxine Thevenot. A former lay clerk of the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, Edmund is an experienced choral and consort singer, and has performed frequently with groups such as the BBC Singers, the Gabrieli Consort and English Voices. He maintains an increasingly busy voice studio in Albuquerque.
Joseph Cordova graduated from Cibola High School in Albuquerque, NM. He went to the University of New Mexico and studied Music Education and Biology. A tenor, he loves to sing all varieties of music. Singers like Pavarotti, Domingo and other great tenors have served as inspiration to him. Joseph Cordova started his career teaching elementary music at Puesta Del Sol in Rio Rancho. He has sung in the extra chorus with Santa Fe Opera in the production of Fidelio, is in the chorus and has done supporting roles with Opera Southwest. Currently, he serves as Music Director at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Rio Rancho, NM, and works for Fidelity as a Financial Adviser for retirement, health and insurance services. His current goal is to sing a lead role in an opera.
Monika Cosson, Mezzo Soprano, is a private voice instructor at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. She has performed and recorded with The Gregg Smith Singers, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. Her opera roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Loyola Opera, High Priestess in Aïda and Cronie #3 in The Ballad of Baby Doe with New Orleans Opera, Flora in La Traviata with Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Lisa in I due timidi with Santa Fe Opera, and La Badessa in Suor Angelica with Opera Southwest. Monika has also appeared as a soloist with Canticum Novum, The Santa Fe Men’s Camerata, and the Santa Fe Community Orchestra.
American pianist and coach Dr. Kristin Ditlow has appeared as a soloist, collaborative artist, coach, and conductor throughout the United States, Europe and China. Recent concert seasons have featured appearances at Hungary’s Zempleni Festival, the Beijing and Shanghai Conservatories, the National Theater in Kunming (Yunnan Province, China), Darmstadt’s Akademie für Tonkunst, and venues throughout central and northern Italy. The 2015-2016 will present her debut performances as a cover conductor with Opera Southwest and as music director for a world premiere (UnShakeable) with the Santa Fe Opera. As an opera and voice coach, Dr. Ditlow has served on the faculties and music staffs of the Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College, Opera Southwest, Ithaca College, Spoleto Festival USA, Opera Southwest, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Syracuse Opera, Finger Lakes Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Delaware Valley Opera Company, the Princeton Festival, Crescendo International Summer Institute, Si Parla, Si Canta, the CoOPERAtive program, and the Ameropa International Festival. Her facility for languages has led to advanced linguistic study in Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, as well as in the United States. She has over seventy complete operas in her repertoire. Dr. Ditlow’s passion for chamber music and entrepreneurial focus has led to her founding of two chamber ensembles, the Lukens Piano Trio (her current ensemble) and the Mühlenberg Piano Quartet. Dr. Ditlow is an alumna of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Westminster Choir College, and the Eastman School of Music.
Lisa Donald cellist, is an Albuquerque native with a life-long passion for music. As a young person, it was something she did almost without thinking. As a youngish older person she contemplates the ins and outs and guts and skin and bones and sweat of music, and sound and how all of those relate us to each other and ourselves and our hearts. A teacher of hers once said, “Never ignore an opportunity to make a beautiful gesture,” a concept which she as taken to heart in all of life. Each moment has potential to be beautiful in its own enriching, challenging, exquisite, frustrating, strengthening, releasing, powerful way, and she feels most honest when those moments for her are expressed through music. She teaches privately, plays with the NM Philharmonic and Santa Fe Symphonies, and has an active freelance career. You can find her on YouTube under the name “Cellista Lisa”.
Anne Eisfeller is the principal harpist of the New Mexico Philharmonic and Santa Fe Symphony, and instructor of harp at the University of New Mexico. Summers take her to Italy for the Assisi Festival, Colorado for Music in the Mountains, and Oklahoma to teach at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. In addition to being a longtime member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, she has performed with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, San Antonio Symphony, Opera Southwest; and the Britt, Coast, and Cascade Festivals in Oregon. She is an artist in residence with Arts in Medicine, an innovative integrated medicine program at University Hospital in Albuquerque.
Pamela Epple, Oboeist, is Director of Serenata of Santa Fe. Originally from the Midwest, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and received B.M. and M.M. degrees from the Juilliard School in 1977. While in New York, she maintained an active freelance career as a member of several prominent ensembles. She was a founding member of the Aspen Woodwind Quintet and the NY chamber music group, Tafelmusik. Ms. Epple also toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. and abroad. She has also performed at many festivals including Aspen, Monadnock, Angel Fire, and Yale-in-Norfolk. A resident of Santa Fe, she has played oboe and English horn with the Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and others. In the summer, she performs and teaches oboe and English horn at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, New Hampshire
Bill Epstein began his piano studies at age 8 in New Jersey with Adeline Gershenson and Vittoreo Versé. As a teenager, he moved to Chicago, where he continued his studies with Rudolf Ganz at Chicago Musical College. His college degree is from Harvard University, where he majored in music and studied chamber music performance with Leon Kirchner. Returning to Chicago after college, he began work as a collaborative pianist. This included playing for the Chicago Children’s Choir, the Esperanza School, and the University of Chicago’s Gilbert and Sullivan Company. He also played many recitals with violinist Francois D’Albert. In 2002 Bill moved to Santa Fe and has since continued to work as a collaborative pianist. He has been the pianist for Canticum Novum and the Santa Fe Community College Chorus. Currently, he plays for the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus, the Men’s Camerata, and the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble. In addition, he is the pianist for classes at the Santa Fe Waldorf School and for services at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church. For the past two summers, he has been the pianist for Santa Fe Flute Immersion, a week-long, in-depth masterclass for which Linda Marianiello is artistic director. Bill debuts with the New Mexico Bach Society for the 2014 Winter Solstice concerts.
Bart Feller is Principal Flute of the New Jersey Symphony, New York City Opera and Santa Fe Opera Orchestras. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bargemusic and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Feller has also performed and taught in Korea, New Zealand and Australia. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teachers included Julius Baker and John Krell; he has also worked extensively with Keith Underwood. Among the summer festivals he has participated in are the Marlboro Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, OK Mozart International Festival, Colorado College Chamber Music Festival, Napa Valley Chamber Music Festival, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. Mr. Feller is Professor of Flute at Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts, and teaches in the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School.
Tenor Scott Fitzgibbon has been performing in New Mexico for the last 22 years. He studied voice with the late Carolyn Coulter and with Sam Shepperson at the University of New Mexico. He has performed on stage with many choruses including the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. His most recent classical opportunities have been with Opera Southwest. Scott is glad to have another opportunity to return to his classical roots as a member of the New Mexico Bach Chorale. He would like to thank his family for their support throughout the years.
Sharee Gariety, Soprano, graduated with a BA in music from Brigham Young University. She is a piano and voice teacher, church choir director, and director/founder of Children’s Music Theater Summer Camp, currently in its 9th year. When she has time, she loves to take part in Music Theater. Favorite roles include Anna (King and I), Martha (Secret Garden), Shelby (Steel Magnolias), and Lucy (You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown). She has also sung the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiahin both New Mexico and California, and has sung as a soloist and ensemble for Quintessence: Choral Artists of the Southwest, and most recently, the New Mexico Bach Chorale.
Sammi Gilbert, NMPAS Intern, hails from a mix of Massachusetts and Colorado. She has a background in basic piano performance, and has trained classically in flute and clarinet studies, with influences from classical composers and musicians such as W. A. Mozart, Gustav Mahler, J.S. Bach, virtuoso flutist James Gallway, and mentors Dr. Michelle Stanley, Horace Alexander Young, and Melinda Russial. Find out more about Sammi and her work with NMPAS on our NMPAS blog.
Sally Guenther, Cello, received her Bachelors degree at Indiana University where she studied with Janos Starker and Masters degree at The Juilliard School of Music, studying with Harvey Shapiro. She also attended the Taos School of Music, Music Academy of the West and International Congress of Strings.
After engagements with several US orchestras, including with the Cincinnati, Fort Worth and Syracuse symphonies (as principal cellist), and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, she became solo cellist of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, a position she held for twenty years. Guenther was also active in Norway as a pedagogue teaching at the Grieg Academy of Music, and was a founding member of the contemporary chamber ensemble, BIT 20, an internationally recognized group which records and travels extensively in Europe and Asia.
Since moving full-time to New Mexico in 2006, Guenther devotes herself to chamber music, travelling widely in the Southwest area and participating in chamber music festivals in Santa Fe, Taos, Abiqiu, Los Alamos, and Brekenridge, Colorado. She is also devoted to teaching and has recently been appointed to the faculty of the new Santa Fe School for the Arts. In addition she has played with the New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica and Santa Fe Symphony, and New Mexico Bach Society orchestras.
Phillip Haozous (Chiricahua Apache) is the son of sculptor Allan Houser. Born in 1941 in Oklahoma, he has experienced a number of professions including enlisted soldier, radar specialist, and actor. He is an award winning artist, American Indian flutist and flute maker, jeweler, and sculptor. “Long ago, Haozous saw a bright artistic light, but it took a lifetime to realize it was not the sun reflecting off his father’s masterworks. This glow was inspiration calling him out from the shadows.” Haozous recalls, “Find your own path and follow it to the end.”
Seth Hartwell, Tenor, has performed with such groups as VocalEssence, New Mexico Philharmonic, NMPAS, Quintessence, Polyphony, St. John’s Bach Project, Santa Fe Pro Musica, the New Mexico Bach Chorale, and the Valparaiso University Chorale under the baton of world-renowned Bach scholar Helmuth Rilling. He has performed with Desert Chorale II, The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Southwest, and the Royal Norwegian Opera. Seth has a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of New Mexico and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Valparaiso University (Indiana). He maintains a private voice studio and is Music Director at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Albuquerque.
Christine Keightley, Alto, began her musical career in Baltimore, MD, where she studied piano for many years. She and her husband moved to Santa Fe in 1982 where Chris sang with the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble and the Chorus of Santa Fe. They then moved to California for twenty years, where Chris sang with the Los Robles Master Chorale in Thousand Oaks and Cuesta Master Chorale in San Luis Obispo. They moved back to Santa Fe in 2006 where Chris sang with the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble, Canticum Novum, and the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus. She is very happy to be a member of the New Mexico Bach Chorale.
Jenna Kloeppel, sings her first season this year with the New Mexico Bach Chorale. Also a participant in the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, for whom she was a recent soloist in Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus, she has sung previously in New Mexico with Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, the Cathedral Choir of St. John; in Washington, D.C., with Foundry United Methodist Church Choir and various groups at George Washington University; and in Prague, Czech Republic at the Prague Conservatory of Music. Jenna has performed a range of repertoire from Early Music, to Czech folk songs, to French Cabaret. With two M.A. degrees in Museum Studies and Art History from Georgetown University and UNM, Jenna currently holds a position at the Santa Fe Art Auction (Gerald Peters Gallery), where she works primarily with classical western art.
Kenneth Knight, Bass-baritone, a native of Texas, received his B.A. degree in music theory from Yale University, where he sang in the Yale Glee Club and the Whiffenpoofs. After graduate study in voice, musicology, and conducting at the Manhattan School of Music, he toured for several seasons with the Norman Luboff Choir. He has also sung with the Roger Wagner Chorale, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Don Ellis Band, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, American Bach Soloists, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorus. In 1987 he was chosen to be the principal cantor for papal masses at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Dodger Stadium during the visit of Pope John Paul II. In California he was director of music for eight years at St. Clare’s Catholic Church in Santa Clarita and for five years at Petaluma United Methodist Church. He is also the founding director of the Sonoma County Men’s Chorus. Now a resident of Santa Fe, Mr. Knight is the founding director of the Canticum Novum Chorus & Orchestra, and has also directed the Zia Singers and the Santa Fe Men’s Camerata.
Nancy Laupheimer, founded the Taos Chamber Music Group in 1993 and serves as its Artistic and Executive Director. She has played flute, alto flute and piccolo with the Santa Fe Symphony, Musica de Camera Orchestra, Santa Fe Festival Ballet, Desert Chorale, New Mexico Music Festival, Serenata of Santa Fe, Music from Angel Fire, the Dorian Wind Quintet, and the American and Helios String Quartets. Other chamber music collaborations have included concerts on the Dolores and Green Rivers with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2004 Laupheimer played for the Foundation for Modern Music’s Music of Today Series in Houston where her composition BitterSweet was given its Texas premiere. In addition, she taught a masterclass for flute students at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Active as a music educator, flute teacher and composer as well as performer, Laupheimer has participated in the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival’s Educational Outreach Program. She holds BA and MM degrees from Vassar College and Boston University’s School of Music, and received fellowships to the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals.
1st prize, Greensboro Music Teachers Assoc. Young Artists Competition, 2007
1st prize, Columbus State University Guitar Competition, junior div., 2003
1st prize, Deborah Beene Memorial Competition, 2003
2nd prize, Ozelia Vassar Memorial Competition, 2007
Genevieve has performed in various ensembles with voice, flute, English horn, violin, harpsichord and other instruments. She regularly teaches guitar master classes and lessons to students of all ages. In addition to performance and instruction, her musical work includes collaboration on theatre and film music. She enjoys playing repertoire from a wide range of time periods and countries. Genevieve was born in Chimayó, New Mexico to a musical and artistic family. She has performed in master classes for Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, Carlos Pérez, Scott Tenant, Jason Vieaux, and others. Genevieve received her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied with Gerald Klickstein.
Susan Levitin is a native of Chicago and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music with the Performer’s Certificate in Flute. Her teachers were Joseph Mariano, Ralph Johnson and William Kincaid. As soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra, she toured twenty-seven European countries, the Soviet Union, and the Near East. She was also a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago for twenty-seven years. A founding member of The Chicago Ensemble, she also appears regularly on live broadcasts of Chicago’s Fine Arts Radio Station WFMT. Among her solo recital credits are several programs for the Dame Myra Hess series. Her two CDs with pianist Gerald Rizzer, La flute lumineuse and 20th Century Duos for Flute & Piano, feature works by French and American composers. For twenty-seven years, Susan Levitin has been an artist faculty member of The Sherwood Conservatory of Music of Columbia College. She has also taught on the faculties of The Eastman School of Music, the American Conservatory, Chicago State University, and Roosevelt University. Susan Levitin directs the Sherwood Summer Flute Institute, co-directs the Sherwood Summer Chamber Music Institute, and is a founder of The Festival of Flutes. She is a contributor to FLUTE TALK Magazine and has given workshops at National Flute Association conventions. The Chicago Flute Club invited her to speak at their Pedagogy Day. Many of Susan Levitin’s students have won prizes at competitions. She has students in major symphony orchestra positions, many of whom have attended the foremost music conservatories in America. Susan Levitin is a Powell Recording Studio Artist.
Stephen Lewis, Baritone, is pleased to be performing with the New Mexico Bach Society! A native of Amarillo, Texas, Stephen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Theology at Dallas Christian College, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Texas Tech University. In addition to an extensive choral background, Stephen has also appeared in a number of music theater roles, most recently portraying Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man with Lubbock Moonlight Musicals. After four years in Lubbock, Stephen moved to the renaissance hill town of Asolo in northern Italy to study business. While abroad, he was pleased to perform in the Asolo Song Festival as a soloist and director of the festival choir. Upon completion of his MBA, Stephen then found his way to the gorgeous desert climate of New Mexico. Currently residing in Albuquerque, Stephen works for Premier Wealth Management Group. In addition to his duties there, he performs regularly with the Cathedral Choir of St. John’s Cathedral, the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, and Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. Stephen has been featured as a soloist with each of these ensembles, as well as with Canticum Novum.
Yasmeen Lookman, Mezzo-Soprano, received a Bachelor of Music degree with Vocal Performance emphasis at the University of New Mexico. She studied under the vocal coaching of Sam Shepperson and has performed many roles with the University of New Mexico Opera Theatre, most recently the role of Orlofsky in the spring 2015 performance of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. During summer 2014, she sang the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy. In spring 2015 she sang in the chorus of Puccini’s La Boheme with Opera Southwest. Yasmeen sang with many choirs while an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico and held several choral scholarships. She is a staff musician at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and also sings with the professional ensemble Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. She is delighted to take part in her first season with the New Mexico Bach Chorale.
Lori Lovato is currently clarinetist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, the Música de Cámara Orchestra, and artist-representative for Backun Musical Services, Ltd. She is also a founding member of the New Mexico Woodwind Quintet, and has appeared as soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s Music Under the Stars Series and as guest artist for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe New Music Ensemble, Albuquerque Chamber Soloists, Music at Angel Fire, Chamber Music Albuquerque, Chatter New Music Ensemble, Opera Southwest Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Monterrey, Mexico. Prior to her orchestral career, Lori was the Band & Orchestra Director at West Mesa and Cibola High Schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico for ten years.
Robert Marcus recently celebrated his 65th year of playing the clarinet. His initial studies took place in Los Angeles, where his teachers were Mitchell Lurie and Antonio Raimondi. He received additional training at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. Although his primary career was in medicine, Dr. Marcus has been an active musician throughout his adult life, in both orchestral and chamber music. His major orchestral affiliation was the Redwood Symphony on the San Francisco peninsula, with whom he appeared as soloist in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, the 2nd Concerto by Miguel del Aguila, “Gnarly Buttons” by John Adams, and “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind,” by Osvaldo Golijov. Dr. Marcus and his wife Ann retired to Santa Fe in 2009. Since moving to Santa Fe, he has given annual recitals at St. John’s College and has performed at the First Presbyterian Church TGIF series on several occasions. In October 2012 he appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Los Alamos Symphony. In 2015, he he again appeared as soloist with the Redwood Symphony, playing a transcription by Luciano Berio of the Brahms F minor clarinet sonata for clarinet and orchestra.
Hyda Maria is a native Santa Fean. She began playing Baroque recorders, piano and various percussion instruments at the age of six and later added American Indian flutes. She made a career of sharing Music Stories and dance. Her original stories are based in nature with universal themes incorporating primarily animal characters. She weaves music and dance to tell the stories, and spectators are often invited to join in. Hyda plays for museums, gallery openings, festivals, and private events, among other venues. She offers sacred dance for approved events, and is an Aztec dancer.
Lynn McGrath, Classical Guitarist, is being heralded as a phenom. Blending her passion for theatre, Spanish Language and Literature and guitar she has shared the poetry and music of “Platero y yo” with audiences on 4 continents as both guitarist and theatrical narrator, an unprecedented feat. Bringing the writings of Nobel laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez to life for audiences across the globe, from children in a Peruvian orphanage to guitar connoisseurs at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival, one critic wrote the following “…wonderful timing, poise, wit, and grace, while getting a full rich sound from her guitar. Anyone who loves either music or poetry would have been charmed, but those who appreciate both, not to mention stage presence and acting skills, were electrified by this tour-de-force of artistic multi-tasking. –“Richard M. Long, Editor, Soundboard. In the United States, she has played at such prominent venues as the Troy Savings Hall (Troy, NY), the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque), and the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles) in addition to performing in major cities across the US. Abroad she has been featured in festivals in Italy, Montenegro, Mexico, Peru, and Poland and has presented at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Oberlin Conservatory with lectures at the University of Veracruz and Mannes College. She has been a soloist with the Orchestra of Northern New York and has performed with the Albuquerque based professional choir Quintessence. After receiving degrees in Spanish Language and Literature as well as Education, she completed a music degree with Douglas Rubio at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (where she later taught as a full-time instructor for 4 years) and went on to earn a MM and DMA from the University of Southern California, studying with such luminaries as William Kanengiser, Pepe Romero, and James Smith. Presently an artist in residence in New Mexico, Lynn is performing extensively as a soloist and is a member of two ensembles: Presti and the Tantalus Guitar Quartet. She is a guitar instructor for Sandia Prep and the University of New Mexico’s Music Prep Program, teaches for Central New Mexico Community College and after 7 years as the Tour Director for the Guitar Foundation of America has transitioned into the role of Director of Regional Symposia. A highly sought after private teacher, her students have received full scholarships to prominent universities, have won national competitions, and have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top.”
Renée Motteler, Mezzo Soprano, is a Grammy® Award winning member of the Los Angeles Chamber Singers & Cappella, who received the award for Best Small Ensemble in 2006 for the album Padilla: Sun of Justice. She serves as the alto section leader at The Cathedral Church of St. John in Albuquerque and is also a member of Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. Renée received her Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies with a concentration in vocal performance from California State University, Long Beach, in 2006. Renée has performed all over the world with jazz choirs and as a soloist at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Ozone Jazz Festival, Neuchatel Jazz Festival, IAJE, Cuesta College Jazz Festival, and the Berkeley Jazz Festival, among others. In California, she was the cantor, alto section leader, and assistant conductor at St. Cyprian Catholic Church in Long Beach for 15 years. Renée has taught elementary through college age students subjects including vocal jazz, beginning music, choir, band, orchestra, and private voice lessons. Renée has appeared in television commercials, on the radio, and has worked in the studio recording demo tapes for composers of classical, show tunes, jazz, and rock music, as well as recording jingles used commercially.
Lina Ramos, Mezzo Soprano, a native New Mexican, is an arts educator, director, conductor, opera singer, and performer. She has served as an educator for over thirty years, including such remarkable experiences as teaching in inner city schools in Washington, DC, and rural schools in New Mexico. In service to the community, Ms. Ramos feels fortunate to have conducted and directed over twenty shows in the past six years for the musical theatre family, various churches, and private schools. In 2013, Ms. Ramos received the Best Music Director award from Albuquerque Little Theatre for her work on the production ofLes Miserables. Ms. Ramos also continues to teach drama, choir, and voice in numerous settings, such as her recent work with the Santa Fe Opera Alto Program. As an artist and singer Ms. Ramos continues to perform all genres of music, such as her recent appearance as Saraghina in the concert version of the musical Nine,and for such groups as the New Mexico Bach Society. She studied voice with Marilyn Tyler, graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a concentration in Voice. Also, Ms. Ramos studied over 10 years with the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Jean Kraft. Ms. Ramos is of Cuban and Mexican heritage and loves to dance salsa. Her other passions include cooking and songwriting.
John Rangel, guest artist for the 2014 Silent Auction and previous guest artist in recital in 2013 is a dynamic Composer and Jazz Pianist. He has been a professional musician for over twenty years. John grew up in a very musical family in New York City. He grew up listening to jazz and classical pianists; many of which were available to experience live in NYC. He loved the recordings of Stravinsky, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Maurice Ravel, Ray Charles, Erroll Garner, Teddy Wilson, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock. He listened live to many classical pianist at various concert venues in NYC. He also heard live Mary Lou Williams, Kenny Baron, Oscar Peterson, Richie Beirach, Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Towner, and others. He decided to become a musician and studied in Rochester NY at the Eastman School. He eventually migrated back to NYC where he studied with John Corigliano, Stanley Cowell, Richie Beirach, Joanne Brackeen, Phil Markowitz, and Frank Martori.
John Rangel’s versatility as a jazz pianist is most evident in his work with the following artists; Nat Adderly, Marcus Printup, Ira Sullivan, Bobby Shew, Sam Rivers, Ravi Coltrane, Pharaoh Saunders, Sonny Fortune, Zane Musa, Eric Person, Justin Ray, Ernie Watts, Sam Most, Azar Lawrence, Phil Ranelin, Scott Whitfield, George Bohannon, Al McKibbon, James Leary, Dr. Art Davis, Nedra Wheeler, Tony Dumas, Dwight Trible, Carmen Bradford, James Torme (son of Mel), Blay Amboley and His Afrikan Jazz Band, Tierney Sutton, Rosemary Clooney, Willie Jones III, Ndugu Chancellor, Sunship Theus, Sherman Ferguson, Ralph Penland, Smitty Smith, Joe La Barbera, Derf Reklaw, and Billy Higgins.
John now lives in Santa Fe New Mexico where he has recently relocated his music production studio. He a professor at Northern New Mexico College teaching piano and has started a program at Rio Grande School teaching music using Apple computers. He shared 2009 producer of the year credit from the New Mexico Music Awards last year with Luis Guerra. He has worked with many local musicians in the thriving New Mexico community of musicians.
Kathlene Ritch, Soprano, moved to New York City where she sang with such noted ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, and the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2001, she made her solo debut at Lincoln Center with the American Symphony Orchestra in Listz’s Dante’s Inferno. With that same ensemble, she recorded a live concert version of Die aegyptische Helena as Hermione opposite Deborah Voigt’s Helen.
In 2011, Kathlene moved to Santa Fe to be the accompanist for the Santa Fe High School Choral Department and the Director of the Royal School of Church Music at the Church of the Holy Faith. She also has her business, The Red-Headed Chef, but still finds time to sing with ensembles around the country including the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and the Grammy-nominated group Conspirare, with whom she is a featured soloist in their PBS special “Conspirare, a Company of Voices.”
Sam Shepperson tenor, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and currently a member of its voice faculty, and co-director of the Opera Theatre at UNM. Active in opera, oratorio, and art song, he has been a soloist with such groups as the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Orchestra of Santa Fe, the Colorado Opera Festival, Opera Southwest, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and performed numerous roles with the UNM Opera Theater as well as the role of Ben Budge in the Santa Fe Opera’s production of The Beggar’s Opera.
For several years, Sam toured a production for the Santa Fe Opera outreach program. His opera resume includes such roles as Ferrando in Cosi fan tutti, Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seralgio, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Leo in Regina, Lindoro in Italian Girl in Algiers, Camille in the Merry Widow, Almaviva in the Barber of Seville, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Eisenstein in die Fledermaus, Dr. Caius in Falstaff and Little Bat in Susannah. His oratorio resume includes Judas in Judas Maccabaeus, Samson in Samson, tenor soloist in Carmina Burana, Florentino in Cantata Criolla, and standard repertoires such as Messiah, Elijah, The Seasons, Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Ninth. He has appeared under the baton of Margaret Hillis, Neal Stulberg, William Kirshke, John Crosby, Donald Neuen, Stewart Robertson, Michael Butterman, Guillermo Figueroa, Anthony Barrese, and Jorge Pérez-Gómez. In the summer of 1995, he made his international debut as tenor soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Symphony of the Americas. In 2012, he made his Lincoln Center debut in New York as tenor soloist in Rene Clausen’s Requiem.
Ruxandra Simionescu-Marquardt, Violinist, was born in Romanian and attended the ‘George Enescu’ School of Music and Conservatory of Music in Bucharest, where she was profoundly influenced by professors Stefan Gheorghiu and Modest Iftinchi. As a young musician, she won several prizes and medals in international competitions such as “Concertino” Prague (1981), Henri Wieniawski (1983), Tibor Varga (1985), All-Romania Prize (1981, 1982) and participated in the Yehudi Menuhin Competition. In 1986, she left communist Romania to participate in the Indianapolis Violin Competition, defecting to the US immediately afterward. She continued her studies at Indiana University with Joseph Gingold and at Syracuse University, where she joined the faculty from 1990 to 1998. In 1988, she became the youngest Associate Concertmaster in the US, a position she held for 13 years. She was also Principal Second Violin and Concertmaster (2008-2009) of the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida from 2002 to 2012 and appeared as guest Concertmaster of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the New Mexico Philharmonic (2013). She played under many noted conductors, including Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Fabio Mechetti, James DePriest, Raymond Leppard, and Andrew Litton.
In Ms. Simionescu-Marquardt’s solo performances include appearances with the Bucharest Philharmonic, the Bucharest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Gainesville Chamber Orchestra, Boston Virtuosi, Coastal Symphony of Georgia and the San Marco Chamber Society. As a chamber musician, she has participated in the Bayreuth Festival (1985), Skaneateles Music Festival (1991-2000), Eastern Music Festival (2002), and the Grand Tetons Festival (2003). Ms. Simionescu-Marquardt is a dedicated and highly prized violin teacher. She has maintained successful studios for the last 25 years and has prepared several young musicians for competitions and noted conservatories around the country. She is also highly sought after as a coach and clinician for musicians preparing for auditions in professional and youth orchestras. In 2012, she moved to the beautiful state of New Mexico and lives in Rio Rancho with her husband, Paul Marquardt, a composer and pianist. They are appear frequently as musical partners in numerous duo recitals and chamber music concerts.
Corey Sweeney, Oboist, earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 2010 from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently a candidate for a Master of Music degree in oboe performance at the University of New Mexico and will be graduating this year. Her interest in early music has led her to also study the two- keyed baroque oboe. A native of New England, Corey Sweeney was a winner of the University of Massachusetts Boston Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2016 and was one of the original members of the Me2/Boston Orchestra.
Mark Tatum, Double Bassist, is currently the Assistant Principal Double Bass with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and a section bassist with the Santa Fe Opera. He has a Bachelor of Music in performance from Arizona State University and a Masters of Music in Performance from the University of Arizona. At the University of New Mexico he teaches Double Bass and Jazz History. As a classical musician he has performed with Musicisti Americani in Rome, Italy and has also performed with many of the regional orchestras in the inner mountain west: Santa Fe Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with many of the festivals in west such as the Moab Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon, Flagstaff Festival of the Arts, in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Rocky Mountain Opera Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Four Corners Opera in Durango, Colorado.
Scott Temple, French Horn, has played with NMPAS for orchestra concerts since 2013. He began his career in Philadelphia, where he played with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Concerto Soloists, the Penn Contemporary Players, Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Delaware Symphony. In 1979 he and his wife, bassoonist Toni Lipton, moved to New York City. For the next thirty years, Scott Temple played with many of New York’s major ensembles, notably the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Joffrey Ballet and Paul Taylor Dance Company. A resident of New Mexico since 2008, he has performed with the Santa Fe and New Mexico Symphonies, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Canticum Novum, and the Santa Fe Concert Association.
Toni Lipton Temple has played with NMPAS for orchestra concerts and on the Chapel Series since 2011. She played bassoon and contrabassoon with the Metropolitan Opera from 1979 – 2008. She has participated in various orchestral and chamber music festivals over the years, including the Grand Teton Music Festival, North Country Chamber Players, and Met Chamber Ensemble. She has served as a faculty member of the Bel Canto Music Festival in Florence, Italy. Since moving to Santa Fe she has performed with the Santa Fe Concert Association Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, New Mexico Woodwind Quintet, Canticum Novum and Serenata. This summer she will be performing with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra in their production of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.
Jane Thorngren has appeared extensively as a soprano in leading operatic roles and on concert stages throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America and Asia. Principal soprano with the Theater der Landeshaptstadt Mainz, Germany, for three years, she also appeared with many North American opera companies including Minnesota, Fort Worth, Palm Beach, Portland, Baltimore, Florentine, Columbus, Detroit, Knoxville, Calgary, and Edmonton. She has been heard in two Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts with New York City Opera, in the title role of The Merry Widow and as Musetta in the Emmy-winning La Bohème. Her extensive oratorio experience includes appearances with the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Seattle, Phoenix, Savannah, Toronto, Ottawa, Hartford and Denver, the chamber orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Stamford, as well as orchestras in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Hong Kong, and Armenia. She was the featured soprano for many seasons at the Festival de Musique Saint-Barthélemy in the French West Indies in opera and concert works. Art song recitals in Paris, Mainz, New York, Seattle, California, Iowa, Colorado, Florida and Montana have been her recent focus. She has recorded a collection of art songs on her own CD, This and My Heart.
Maxine Thévenot, born in Saskatchewan, Canada, is Founding and Artistic Director of Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico; Artistic Director of the Sangre de Cristo Chorale in Santa Fe; Director of the University of New Mexico women’s choir, Las Cantantes; is, with Edmund Connolly, one half of the duo Air & Hammers; and holds the position of Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of six women in the USA to hold such a position. Maxine holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan (Bachelor of Music) and the Manhattan School of Music (Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts), where she was twice recipient of the Bronson Ragan Award for “most outstanding organist”. She is also an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and an Honorary Fellow of the National College of Music, London, UK. Dr. Thévenot maintains a distinguished international career as an organ recitalist having performed in many of the world’s most prestigious churches and concert halls and has recorded 11 choral and organ CDs for RavenCD. She is often a visiting lecturer at universities, most recently having lectured at Cuneo Conservatory, Italy. Maxine has also contributed as a writer and photographer to several international publications.
Andreas Tischhauser, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Managing Director, first joined the organization in 1997 as a singer under founding director Lawrence Bandfield. Having moved to the Southwest that same year to serve on the faculty at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, he enjoyed an active performing career in New Mexico and Colorado. During his time in the Four Corners area, Andreas held a position as Professor of Music at Fort Lewis College teaching Flute, Voice, Non-Western Music, and Music Technology. While teaching at the college, he also held principal flute positions in the San Juan and Santa Fe Symphonies. After a temporary departure from the area in 2008, Andreas was lured back to the Southwest in 2010 to assist in the restructuring of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and, four months later, was promoted to the position of Managing Director. Dr. Tischhauser received his education from Wichita State University, the University of Colorado, the Cincinnati Conservatory, and Florida State University. Andreas was selected as a finalist in The Myrna Brown International Competition for professional flutists in 2005. His flute teachers include Brad Garner and Charles Delaney.
Violinist Vivian Waters graduated with honors from the New School of Music in Philadelphia where she was a student and teaching assistant of Jascha Brodsky. She continued post-graduate studies at the Juilliard School of Music and Mannes College of Music in New York, studying with Oscar Shumsky, Joseph Fuchs and Raphael Bronstein. She is a former member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Musica Aeterna Chamber Orchestra of New York, the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Vivian began her professional chamber music career in New York as violinist with the New York Contemporary String Quartet and as a performing member of the New York Chamber Soloists. After moving to Canada in 1973, she became first violinist of the Pro Nova String Quartet and a founding member of the Deep Cove Chamber Soloists in Vancouver, B.C. In1992 Vivian Waters moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she became first violinist of both the Toronto Arts Trio and the Chrysalis Piano Quartet. Vivian has been a faculty member of the New School of Music, Chair of the String Department of the Bloomingdale House of Music in NYC, Chair of the String Department of Capilano University in North Vancouver, and Chair of the String Department of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. Since relocating to Santa Fe in 2012 she has coached chamber music for the New Mexico School of the Arts and performed numerous chamber music concerts. Vivian is author of, “The Violin: A New Approach for Adults” and also teaches privately and online at ViolinSync.com.
Sarah Weiler, Mezzo-Soprano and member of the New Mexico Bach Chorale since 2012, has been a soloist and choral member of the Desert Chorale, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, Canticum Novum, and has performed many solo works with the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, including the role of the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, the alto solos in Vivaldi’s Gloria, and selections from Beethoven’s Mass in C. Sarah is also a member of the theatre company Santa Fe Rep and most recently portrayed Catherine in their 2011 musical production of Pippin. Sarah also recently performed in the Wise Fool and Santa Fe Performing Arts’ production of Love and Emma Goldman: A Rock Opera, which premiered in Santa Fe in May 2012. Sarah is also a certified white-belt Nia instructor and teaches classes at StudioNia Santa Fe. Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that combines the dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts. She received an MBA in Arts Administration from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
Denise Wernly Alsina, Mezzo-Soprano, is an Albuquerque native who made her German debut with the Oper Leipzig in their production of The Canterville Ghost, in 2015. She has since appeared with Opera Southwest in their recent Bless Me, Ultima and will sing the title role of Maria in their upcoming Maria de Buenos Aires in February 2019. Denise was an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera in 2014 and previously covered Zerlina with Opera Southwest in their production of Don Giovanni. Previous seasons have seen Denise Wernly Alsina as Anna Gomez in The Consul, Gianetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, and as a soloist in Gershwin’s Catfish Row with Symphonic Band at Northwestern University. She holds her Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University.