BENOIT RENARD, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Born in Paris, France, Benoit Renard studied with Edouard Lindenberg and Sergiu Celibidache. He worked with Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg and Leonard Bernstein in Tanglewood after obtaining the “Villa Medicis Hors les Murs” award.
Mr. Renard was invited by Leif Segerstam to conduct the Finish Radio Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Radio of Vienna (ORF) and the Ludwigshafen orchestra in Germany.
After continuous success in Europe, he was assigned by the Ministry of Culture of France as assistant conductor to Jean Fournet at the National orchestra of Ile de France and as assistant conductor to Jean-Claude Casadesus at the National Orchestra of Lille.
In South America he was appointed main conductor of the San Juan Opera Orchestra in Argentina. He also conducted the National Orchestras of Santiago (Chile), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mendoza (Argentina) and Teatro Argentino de La Plata.
Mr. Renard has worked with some of the most famous contemporary composers, recording works of Mauricio Kagel, Jacques Lenot, Xavier Darasse, Nicolas Bacri and Michael Levinas.
Mr. Renard is one of the founders of the Operalia singing competition in collaboration with Friedrich Pfeffer and Placido Domingo. He conducted the National Orchestra of the Opera of Prague for the finals of the Placido Domingo Operalia Competition in 1993 at Palais Garnier, discovering Inva Mula, Nina Stemme, Kwangchul Youn and Jose Cura among other great young talented singers that are today's opera super stars.
ROGER MALOUF - conductor
Roger Malouf is an Assistant Conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, where he has worked on productions led by maestros Levine, Luisi, Gergiev, Rattle, Maazel, Domingo, Nézet-Séguin, Rudel, Armiliato, and Davis, among others. He is Co-Director of the Opera Workshop at Mannes College of Music Extension Division, and has served on the staff of New York City Opera and the Juilliard School. As a vocal coach, he is on the faculty of the Bel Canto Institute in Italy, and has taught at the International Vocal Institute in Croatia, the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Austria, and at Portland State University’s Deutsche Sommerschule amPazifik.
Mr. Malouf has served as an accompanist for the Belvedere Competition at the Wiener Kammeroper and for the Jugendfestspieltreffen at the Bayreuth Festival. He has given master classes in opera and art song at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has coached singers in the Young Artist Program at Opera New Jersey. Two innovative summer festivals in the state of New York have invited him to work with their singers: Respiro Opera NYC and RESONANZ in Albany. He is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Altamura/Caruso Vocal Competition.
As a conductor, Mr. Malouf has presented opera in concert performances with the West Side Opera (New York) since 1995. He has conducted for the Natchez Opera Festival, the Little Opera Theatre of New York, Brooklyn Repertory Opera, and for the concert series at Trinity Church on Wall Street. In addition to organizing and performing in recitals of the complete songs of Bellini and Verdi for Trinity Church, he has accompanied recitals at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and has played for master classes given by Martina Arroyo, Anna Moffo, Sherrill Milnes, and Gérard Souzay. Mr. Malouf studied with the distinguished musicians Aube Tzerko, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, David Garvey, and Brooks Smith in California, and with Dieter Weber and Noel Flores in Vienna.
MING KWONG, CONDUCTOR - VOCAL COACH
Pianist/Coach Ming Kwong is very active in the world of opera. In fall 2014, he played the NYC auditions for Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Glimmerglass Opera Young Artist Program, Portland Opera Young Artist Program and Aspen Opera Theater. In spring 2014, he joined the music staff at Portland Opera for their production of “Postcard from Morocco” by Dominic Argento. He is currently the coach-accompanist at Manhattan Opera Studio, music director of Manhattan Opera Repertory Ensemble (MORE Opera) and pianist for Opera Company Brooklyn. He is well-known for his ability to adjust tempo, give singers time to breathe and help them through a phrase in a totally unrehearsed situation. Ming is regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera Guild as well to accompany their master class series.
His past credits include an assistant coach position at Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Center (assisting Maestro James Levine on Don Giovanni), and an apprenticeship with Florida Grand Opera for their 2008-2009 season. He has been invited frequently to join summer programs as a faculty coach. They include the CoOPERAtive program in New Jersey, Opera on the Avalon in Newfoundland, Canada. He held a fellowship coach position at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and was a vocal pianist at the prestigious Music Academy of the West, where Marilyn Horne chairs the program. Mr. Kwong was the Music Director of the Undergraduate Opera Theater at Manhattan School of Music and has also worked with Maestro George Manahan on Cosi fan tutte.
Ming is also very familiar with the Musical Theater repertoire. He has been the staff accompanist at NYU Tisch School of Drama since September 2013. He has also worked with YoungArts (National Endowment of the Arts) since January 2009.
Equally at home in operatic repertoire and recital, Ming Kwong made his Kennedy Center (D.C) debut with Metropolitan Opera Competition Grand Winner Lori Guilbeau. He was chosen to work with Martin Katz and Craig Rutenberg in the renowned Cleveland Art Songs Festival in 2010. Other credits include performing on the Stephanie Blythe master class at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Joey Reynolds show – WOR news talk radio 710HD in October 2009.
Mr. Kwong has been a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including First Prize in the Advanced Improvisation and Second Prize in the Advanced Bach Session in the 12th Hong Kong (Asia) Piano Open Competition. He also holds a Fellowship of Trinity College London (FTCL) in solo piano.
Ming Kwong holds a Masters degree in Piano Accompanying from Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones, and a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory.
KEITH CHAMBERS, PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR
Keith Chambers, Assistant Conductor at Dallas Opera, recently served as Assistant Conductor of New York City Opera and Director of the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program for Opera New Jersey. He is past faculty of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and the RESONANZ Festival and former Artistic Director of The Living Opera and Chorus Master/Music Director of Shreveport Opera. He has been praised by the Dallas Morning News for the “taut and carefully scaled playing” of his orchestra, and the Asheville Citizen-Times wrote that “it is easy to see why the conductor Keith Chambers is in demand.”
Highlights of the 2012-13 season included leading performances of Un giorno di regno for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and conducting the workshop premiere of The Turing Project for American Lyric Theater. During the 2011-12 season, he conducted The Poe Project for American Lyric Theater as part of Opera America's New Works Forum, made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Die Zauberflöte and conducted Felsenfeld's Nora, In The Great Outdoors for American Opera Projects at Lincoln Center. Mr. Chambers also conducted Tosca and Cavalleria rusticana for Martha Cardona Opera Theater.The 2010-11 season began with Ariadne auf Naxos at Toledo Opera and continued with leading a production of Gianni Schicchi for the Martha Cardona Opera Theater in New York City. For Opera Saratoga, he led a gala performance of Tosca. Mr. Chambers began the 2009-10 season with Falstaff at Toledo Opera and continued with Carmen at Opera New Jersey in February. Mr. Chambers began a regular association with Seattle Opera in March with a production of Ariadne auf Naxos and serving as guest faculty for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program. In 2008-09, Mr. Chambers conducted performances of Roméo et Juliette for Asheville Lyric Opera in October and continued with Rigoletto at Toledo Opera. He conducted The Station for the inaugural performances of Sugar Land Opera and concluded the season conducting Tosca for Amarillo Opera. He immediately began his tenure as Music Director for the Connecticut Opera Young Artist Program and as Director of the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program for Opera New Jersey. In 2009, Mr. Chambers established an Apprentice Coach program as part of the critically acclaimed festival at Opera New Jersey. An accomplished pianist, Mr. Chambers has appeared as concerto soloist with the Delaware Symphony, Clear Lake Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, and Houston and Miami with conductors including Erich Kunzel and Maurice Peress.
MICHAEL WITTENBURG, CONDUCTOR- VOCAL COACH
Hailed as a “real virtuoso” by the late Ruth Laredo, conductor and pianist Michael Shane Wittenburg is in his first season the Music Director and Conductor of the Hudson Valley Chorale, having previously served as assistant conductor and pianist since 2013. He has been an assistant conductor and vocal coach at opera companies in Nashville, Orlando, Sarasota, and New York, and is currently the organist at Christ Lutheran Church of Paramus, NJ. He made his professional opera conducting debut with Amore Opera where he serves as Chorus Master and resident conductor, and is a performing member of Ensemble Tremblay at the Mozart at Monteux festival in Hancock, ME as both pianist and violinist in orchestral, chamber, duo, and soloist roles. While an Assistant Professor of Music at Lee University where he was Music Director for both the Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre, he led performances ranging from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, to Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All. He was the interim Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has guest conducted the Ocala (FL) Symphony and the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (NJ). He has made solo appearances as pianist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Ocala Symphony. He has been a violinist and Principal Keyboardist with the Brevard (FL) Symphony Orchestra, and was Assistant Principal Second Violin and Keyboardist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. He has been a faculty member of the Heifetz International Music Institute as a collaborative pianist and sonata coach, and has appeared in collaborative recital with such artists as Metropolitan Opera soprano Stella Zambalis and concert violinist Livia Sohn.
A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Wittenburg’s training includes Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied with Fernando Laires and Alan Feinberg, and held a Fellowship in opera coaching, as well as a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His teachers include Henry Charles Smith, David Effron, Dr. Steven Bird, and, most recently, Michael Jinbo at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians, where he was awarded the Osher Scholar prize. He was the Mary Ragland Young Artist Pianist at Nashville Opera, where he directed 66 performances of the world premiere children’s opera, The Ugly Duckling.
WALKER LEWIS, STAGE DIRECTOR
WALKER LEWIS and his design team won the Tobin Director-Designer Showcase grant from Opera America for his concept for Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. His creative team's presentation at the Opera Conference in Vancouver was streamed live and watched by over 18,000 people worldwide.
Recent productions include Radamisto (MOS), The Threepenny Opera (Amarillo Opera),The Companion (American Opera Projects/American Modern Ensemble), Tamar da Timnaand Il Campanello (Garden State Opera), and La clemenza di Tito (dell'Arte Opera Ensemble) at Classic Stage Company in NYC.
The New York Times hailed the “inventive staging” of his recent production of Monteverdi’sIl Ballo delle Ingrate at (le) Poisson Rouge (Musica Nuova). The production was also featured in the New Yorker and was streamed live worldwide. Water Music (Vertical Player Repertory) featured condensations of the operas Tales of Hoffman,Il Tabarro, and A View from the Bridge, and was attended by over 900 people in Brooklyn Bridge Park. He has also collaborated with Pocket Opera, Concordia Conservatory, and Featherstone Center for the Arts. Upcoming work includes Weihnachts-Historie with Musica Nuova.
Mr. Lewis worked with Andrei Serban on Verdi’s Otello at the Paris Bastille Opera, featuring Renee Fleming and Alexander Antonenko.
Mr. Lewis is passionate about creating new and innovative operas, and has developed several recent new works with composers Nizan Leibovich, Robert Paterson, and Francesco Santelli. Past music theater world premieres include Gods and Goddesses (Matt Van Brink), Momo (Colin McGrath), Monsterland (Rami Vamos/Greg Pierce), and The Gooseflesh Niteclub Circus (Zach Layton).
Mr. Lewis is a regular contributor to the Indie Opera Podcast at indieopera.com. He has also directed and taught in France, Hungary, Russia, and Japan. Training: The Lecoq School; Columbia University, MFA.
Abdiel Vázquez, conductor - pianist
“One of the most prominent pianists in Mexico and a national treasure, to judge by his phenomenal technique” [Fanfare], ABDIEL VÁZQUEZ is the winner of the most important piano competitions in his home country, and he is also the winner of the First Prize in two competitions open to instrumentalists and singers from all over the world: The World Competition and New York's Shining Stars Debut Series.
His style at the piano has being described as “authoritative” and at the podium as “emphatic and passionate”, which has made him an audience favorite wherever he performs.
Some of his most recent engagements include concerts at Guildhall in London, the Chicago Cultural Center, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Simón Bolívar Hall in Caracas, and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. With the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela he presented the world premiere and South American premiere of "The Sun Pyramid", piano concerto by Juan Pablo Contreras written for Mr. Vázquez himself.Mr. Vázquez has performed with all the major orchestras in his home country as soloist and most recently as a guest conductor. He is one of few pianists worldwide that frequently plays and conducts from the piano – and he was the first Mexican to do so with Beethoven’s Concertos, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ponce’s Concerto.
In 2013 Mr. Vázquez presented a recital with arrangements of Wagner and Verdi operas at the prestigious International Cervantino Festival, which was considered by the critics “one of the best and most attractive recitals ever presented in the festival's history”. This program was recorded and released by the British label Piano Classics with the title “Love & Death” [PCL 0101]. The album has been hailed by the press as “one of the most entertaining recitals in memory” and described by piano guru David Dubal as “fascinating… all first class playing.”
Mr. Vázquez made his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico at Bellas Artes Palace performing Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto with only 21 years of age, and since then his engagements in festivals, concerts, competitions, and opera companies have taken him to Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. In 2009 Mr. Vázquez founded Juventud Sinfónica de Monterrey - Monterrey's Symphonic Youth - an orchestra comprised of the most outstanding musicians from his hometown. Since then his career has expanded into orchestral and opera conducting.
Mr. Vázquez counts as his mentors the world-renowned pianists James Tocco and Oxana Yablonskaya, and internationally acclaimed conductor Enrique Diemecke, artistic director of the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in New York City, where he belongs to the faculty of vocal coaches at Manhattan School of Music and he is also the founder and director of the music school Little Chopins. Abdiel Vázquez is a YAMAHA artist.
After studying art and music she graduated with a thesis on musical theatre direction at the Milan University of Studies. She studied film direction and began working in the production departments of major Italian movie companies. In those years she shot her first shorts. Since 2002 she has been assistant director in opera productions in prestigious national and international festivals and opera houses. In recent years she held the position of Director and Stage Manager in prestigious Opera Houses in Europe. Her debut as an opera director was in 2006 at the Teatro delle Erbe in Milan with the "Così fan tutte" by W. A. Mozart. In 2009, at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan she directed "Ferrovia Soprelevata" by Dino Buzzati and Luciano Chailly, an Italian experimental musical comedy from the 60s. The following year she worked on "Poème électronique" by Edgard Varèse and Le Corbusier, devising, in collaboration with Walter Prati, the multimedia event "Music is all around you". In the 2013 summer she became a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York City. In December 2013 she was invited at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre Directors Lab in St. Petersburg, to direct The Idiot by F. Dostoievsky. Furthermore she taught at the Marangoni Institute of Fashion and Design in Milan. In the Manhattan Opera Studio, she has assisted Walker Lewis in Le Nozze di Figaro (2015) and she was in charge of the direction of The Magic Flute (Carnegie Hall) and Hansel und Gretel (MOS Summer Festival 2016).
REGGE ALLAN BRUCE, STAGE DIRECTOR - ASSISTANT
As an actor he has been featured On Broadway (Paul Simon’s “The Capeman" and the workshop for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”; Played numerous productions at Off-Broadway, Regional and International houses, featured roles in Daytime Television, Film and National commercials. The Manhattan Opera Studios Winter 2015 production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at Carnagie Hall was Regge’s first venture into the world of professional Opera serving as company Acting Coach and Assistant to Director Lisa Nava. Transitioning into life as an off stage professional, Regge’s most recent work in the Professional Theatre has been as an 2015 SDCF Observer/Assistant Director with 59 E. 59th Off-Broadway production of “Desire” adapted from a book of short stories by Tennessee Williams by various renowned and noteworthy playwrights (John Guare, Beth Henley, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, Elizabeth Egloff and David Grimm with Director, Michael Wilson) as well as the workshop of said ”Desire” at Powerhouse Theatre (Vassar); He served as the Assistant Director of 59 E. 59th Production of Zoey Martinson’s “Ndebele’s Funeral” (Director Awoye Timpo); Assistant Director of Nikkole Salter’s “Carnaval”(Director Awoye Timpo) and of Keith Josef Adkins “Last Saint on Sugar Hill” (Director, Seret Scott) Off Broadway at the National Black Theatre, Harlem, N.Y. As aWriter/Assistant Director his most recent work includes a developmental workshop staging of “7 Doors (The Journey Within)” an original play with music developmental work staged Brooklyn Academy of Music Fisher Hall; Writer/Director/Composer of an original play with music developmental workshop staging of “Children of War” at the Pillsbury House in Minneapolis, MN. Regge is the recipient of numerous Fellowships/Professional memberships and Awards: Stage Directors Choreographers Observership (2014); Lincoln Center Directors Lab (member of classes 2012 & 2013); North Country Institute for Writers of Color Creative Writing Award (2010); CCNY Black Studies Program Creative Writing Workshop (2008); National Book Foundation Creative Writing Workshop Bennington College Vermont (2005); Lee Strasberg Institute, N.Y. full Acting and Directing Scholarship; Wiest-Baron Institute, N.Y. full On Camera Acting Scholarship. In addition, Regge has a long-standing relationship with the Harlem International Film Festival serving in the capacity of Creative Artistic Associate. Regge has worked for years as an Acting Coach among his clients are Karine Plantadit: Tony Award Nominated Actress “Come Fly With Me”; Bokeem Woodbine 2016 Primetime Emmy and a 2016 Critics Choice Award Nominations Outstanding Supporting Actor Award “Fargo”, 2016 Outstanding Supporting Award Black Reel Award Winner “Fargo”, 2015 Black Reel Award Winner “Fargo”, 2015 Outstanding Supporting Actor Nomination “The Fright Night Files”, 2001 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama series Nomination “City of Angels; Senate Ashenafi NAACP image Award Nominee for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series “General Hospital”.
Andres Rodríguez - Guest Strategic Advisor (Ibáñez Atkinson Foundation)
Mr. Rodríguez-Spoerer has developed his professional career focused on the management of organizations specialized in classical music, opera and music education.
He is currently the Music Manager of Ibáñez Atkinson Foundation and member of the Beethoven’s Foundation Board of Directors in Chile. He has also worked in different music organizations, both in Chile and abroad, in operational areas such as marketing, production, education and management. Throughout his career he has been supporting emergent young talent, guiding and helping them grow in the professional world.
As a guest advisor Mr. Rodriguez-Spoerer is an active part of MOS staff, both by bringing and recruiting the best new talent from South America and helping all the selected singers in master classes and one on one feedback sessions. He is also part of the standard jury committees for Competition selections organized by MOS and our partners.
Mr. Rodríguez-Spoerer holds a bachelor's degree in Music and Opera, and a Master's Degree in Business Administration.
LUCAS BARKLEY, VOCAL COACH
Lucas Barkley is a pianist and coach who recently relocated to the New York City area from Pittsburgh, where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music and a pianist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also an accompanist and coach for CO-OPERA, a co-production of Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the world premieres of five one-act operas by student composers, and accompanist and répétiteur for the inaugural production (Verdi’s Macbeth) of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. As a song accompanist, Lucas devised and accompanied two all-Schubert recitals (Nacht und Träume in 2013 and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial) as well as a graduate recital featuring works of Schubert, Poulenc and Brahms. With tenor Daniel Arnaldos in 2014 he presented Spain is Different: Spanish Songs and Arias and Sehnsucht (structured around settings of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt) at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2013 and 2014 he studied at the Vancouver International Song Institute, coaching with (among others) Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Cameron Stowe and Arlene Shrut. Recently he has been a pianist with Brooklyn Opera, performing Strauss’s Elektra and Verdi’s Nabucco (with Die Fledermaus, Rigoletto and Das Rheingold upcoming in 2016) as well as an active freelancer. Lucas holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with a minor in English literature from Duquesne University and a master’s in collaborative piano from Carnegie Mellon.
CARLOS TAGLE, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Carlos Tagle has been the Artistic Director of the Manhattan Opera Studio since 2013. He has directed the Opera Studio with the objective of making it a hard work intensive artistic experience and a connection to the professional world, succeeding in doing so, as under his direction the Summer Program of MOS was established as one of the most prestigious in the world and a reference of the New York opera scene.
When asked about the formula for putting together a program like this, he responds: The secret is to have high quality ingredients. Thus under his guidance the Manhattan Opera Studio has been constantly looking for the most talented and influential opera professionals in New York City, never sacrificing its principles for temporary fashion.
Mr. Tagle has established strategic alliances with other prestigious organizations overseas such as The Paris Opera Competition and the Fundacion Ibanez-Atkinson, participating as an active jury in international competitions and being a valuable advisor for them.
The MOS has produced more than 30 operas during his Artistic Direction and has become an ever improving organization.
AGENT - LOMBARDO ASSOCIATES
Mr. Ehlers is one of the top agents for opera singers in New York City. His company represents world class singers such as Rod Gilfry, Daniela Dessi, Vladimir Chernov and Fabio Armiliato among others. Lewis Ehlers is a big supporter of young talent. He will be part of the 2017 MOS Summer Festival giving artistic and professional advice to our artists.