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 new talents such as Inva Mula, Nina Stemme, Kwangchul Youn and Jose Cura who became some of 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 has conducted over 100 performances of 40 different operas for companies including The Dallas Opera, Amarillo Opera, Shreveport Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, First Coast Opera, American Lyric Theater, Manhattan Opera Studio, Moores Opera Center, The Living Opera, Martha Cardona Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, and American Opera Projects. He has served as Cover and/or Assistant Conductor for over 40 different operas and has assisted noted conductors Emmanuel Villaume, Patrick Summers, Willie Anthony Waters, and Riccardo Frizza, among others. He is currently the Principal Guest Conductor of Manhattan Opera Studio and the Founder & Artistic Director of New Amsterdam Opera.
A strong relationship with The Dallas Opera has provided Mr. Chambers with the opportunity to conduct The Dallas Opera Family Concerts and student performances of The Elixir of Love. He recently led Un giorno di regno for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and has conducted for Amarillo Opera (Tosca), Manhattan Opera Studio (Radamisto, Hänsel & Gretel, Le nozze di Figaro), American Opera Projects (Nora, in the Great Outdoors), Martha Cardona Opera (Tosca, Gianni Schicchi, Cavalleria rusticana), Sugar Land Opera (The Impresario, The Station), New York Lyric Opera (Cendrillon, Le nozze di Figaro, Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Hansel & Gretel), Opera in the Ozarks (Don Giovanni, L’elisir d’amore), and Halifax Summer Opera (Giulio Cesare). For Asheville Lyric Opera, he has conducted performances of Man of La Mancha and Roméo et Juliette, of which the Asheville Citizen-Times wrote that “it is easy to see why the conductor Keith Chambers is in demand.”
Upcoming performances include South Pacific for Indianapolis Opera, Die Zauberflöte for Manhattan Opera Studio, both Song from the Uproar and Hamlet for Opera Ithaca, and La Favorita for New Amsterdam Opera. Mr. Chambers will also be engaged as a Guest Coach for the Young Artist Program of Florida Grand Opera and joins the prestigious faculty of the CoOPERATIVE Program at Westminster Choir College.
Most recently, he conducted Werther for Martha Cardona Opera at Merkin Hall, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Die Zauberflöte and has appeared with Crested Butte Music Festival (Rigoletto), Toledo Opera (Cavalleria rusticana, Rigoletto, Falstaff, Ariadne auf Naxos), Opera Saratoga (Gala performance of Tosca), Seattle Opera YAP (Ariadne auf Naxos),Permian Basin Opera, and Connecticut Opera.
For New Amsterdam Opera, he has conducted the inaugural performance of the company with Beethoven's Fidelio. Mr. Chambers conducted Verdi's La forza del destino, of which Parterre.com wrote "Keith Chambers, the company’s director, is also its conductor...the intensity of the overture proved contagious and the ensembles held together nicely. His choices of snips to make to keep the running time below four hours escaped the vigilance of all but the pedantic; the result flowed most impressively. His taste in scores to revive and singers to perform them is exceptional. With the loss of OONY, he fills a niche. I hope word spreads of his success and that other such occasions result."
Mr. Chambers has served as Chorus Master for over 30 productions, including Opera New Jersey (La traviata, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Cenerentola, The Merry Widow, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Mikado, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Il trovatore, H.M.S. Pinafore, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, Faust), Opera Saratoga (L’elisir d’amore, Die Zauberflöte), Moores Opera Center (Casanova’s Homecoming, L’Italiana in Algeri, La bohème, Der Freischütz, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Katya Kabanova), Opera in the Ozarks (L’elisir d’amore, Die Fledermaus, Die Zauberflöte) & Shreveport Opera (Madama Butterfly, Carousel, Carmen).
He maintains a strong musical presence as a conductor and coach in New York City, including extensive experience with new music and living composers. For American Lyric Theater, he conducted the workshop premiere of The Turing Project and The Poe Project, the latter in conjunction with Opera America's New Works Forum. He has also served as Music Director & Pianist for premieres of new operas at Symphony Space in New York City as part of American Lyric Theater's Adam and Eve project. For American Opera Projects, he conducted Nora, In The Great Outdoors at Lincoln Center and debuted with the PROTOTYPE Festival for Gregory Spears’ Paul’s Case.
Mr. Chambers is a former Assistant Conductor of New York City Opera, The Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, and Toledo Opera. He has served as faculty of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, and the RESONANZ Festival and is the previous Artistic Director of The Living Opera, Principal Conductor and Casting Consultant for New York Lyric Opera, and Chorus Master of Shreveport Opera. He has also adjudicated orchestras for New York Sounds of Spring International Music Festival at Carnegie Hall.
An accomplished pianist, Mr. Chambers has appeared as concerto soloist with the Delaware Symphony, Clear Lake Symphony, and Naples Philharmonic, with conductors Erich Kunzel and Maurice Peress. A protégé of pianist Ivan Davis, he has been a featured guest artist at the Chopin Festival at the Catholic University in Peru, and the Chopin Foundation of Miami. He has appeared with soprano Kirsten Chambers in a series of joint solo piano and voice recitals at Lake George Opera and Northwestern State University. Mr. Chambers has been official pianist for The Dallas Opera Competition, Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, Amarillo Opera Gala, and the Fort Worth Opera McCammon Competition.
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.
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.
LISA NAVA - Stage Director
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 Federico TAGLE, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Carlos Federico Tagle has been the Artistic Director of the Manhattan Opera Studio since 2013. Under his direction, the main goal of the Opera Studio has been to create an intensive and practice oriented artistic experience and a bridge to the professional world. This strategy helped to establish MOS as one of the most prestigious young artist programs in the world.
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 becoming an artistic advisor.
During his tenure as Artistic Director the MOS has produced more than 30 operas and has become an ever improving organization, recruiting and preparing singers that have continued their careers in some of the leading opera houses in the world, including The Metropolitan Opera House and Teatro alla Scala di Milano.
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 2018 MOS Summer Festival giving artistic and professional advice to our artists.