Regular coaches’ biographies—fall 2014 Pianist nobuko amemiya

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Pianist NOBUKO AMEMIYA has built a reputation as a dynamic and versatile collaborator; her playing is described as “soaring with a thrilling panache, and then with great warmth and suppleness.” (Valley News, VT)  Equally committed to vocal and instrumental chamber music, she traveled three continents to give recitals and concerts with numerous renowned conductors and soloists such as Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Brian Priestman, James Dunham, Colin Carr, Yuhuda Hanani, Lucy Shelton, Raphael Popper-Keizer and Judith Kellock.  An enthusiastic advocate of new music, Ms. Amemiya has worked with and performed music by many of today’s leading composers, including John Harbison, George Crumb, Bright Sheng, Robert Cogan, Oliver Knussen, George Benjamin, and John Heiss.  Ms. Amemiya participated in various music festivals throughout the world, including Festival de Música da Figueira da Foz in Portugal, Britten-Pears Institute at Aldeburgh Music Festival, International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy, Festival de Musique Lausanne in Switzerland, Aspen Music Festival, and Tanglewood Music Center where she was awarded Tanglewood Hooton Prize, acknowledging the “extraordinary commitment of talent and energy.” She earned prizes and awards at international competitions, including “Vittorio Gui” in Florence, Italy, the Munich International Music Competition, Aspen Music Festival Piano Concerto Competition, Manhattan School of Music President’s Award, Aldeburgh Music Festival travel grant, SongFest Faculty Scholarship Award and OperaNorth Special Recognition Award.  Ms. Amemiya studied at the New England Conservatory, the University of Kansas, and Toho School of Music in Tokyo, and holds double DMA degrees in Solo Piano and Collaborative Piano Performances.  Her teachers and coaches include such distinguished pianists as Claude Frank, John Perry, Margo Garrett, Rita Sloan, Abbey Simon, and Emmanuel Ax.  Also active as a coach and educator, she has worked at OperaNorth Company, Garden State Opera, International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy, Grinnell College, New England Conservatory, University of Kansas, and Aspen Music School & Festival.  Ms. Amemiya currently works for the Manhattan School of Music, American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and Bronx Opera, and is a music director of the enCANTA Collective in New York City.

Accompanist/vocal coach, KARINA AZATYAN, extensively collaborates with leading figures of vocal art in United States, Europe and Israel. She has developed original method of coaching singers in Russian language based on knowledge of Italian, German, French and English IPA. On a stage Ms. Azatyan was heard in concerts with soloists from New York City Opera, New Israeli Opera, Kirov Opera House, Bolshoj Theater, Vienna State Opera House and many others. Among many distinguished artists Ms. Azatyan worked with and for are Oksana Krovytska, Dimitri Kavrakos, Arthur Levy, Angela Brown, Dona Vaughn, Rita Shane, Maria Cleva (UK), Dan Ettinger (Israel), Robert Cowart, Nico Castel, James M. DeBlasis, Ljuba Kazarnovskaya (Russia), Charlie Ricker, Paolo Montarsolo (Italy), Bruno Rigacci (Italy), Svetlana Sandler (Israel), John Norris and Marc Verzatt. Ms. Azatyan has accompanied master classes with such artists as Vera Rozsa, Sherrill Milnes, Diana Soviero, Fedora Barbieri, Licia Albanese, Anna Moffo, Lucine Amara, Lauren Flanigan, Rashel Shulova, Michael Cordovana, Mignon Dunn, Martin Isepp, Martin Katz, Brian Zeger and John Wustman. She has served as accompanist and language coach for Opera Lyra in Ottawa, Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Virginia Opera, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, Israel Vocal Arts Institute, Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy, Brooklyn College Opera Theater, “Oratorio” Chorus in Jerusalem, “Cantus” Chorus of Jerusalem Theater and “Chamber Chorus” of Jerusalem Academy of Music in Jerusalem. Ms. Azatyan holds a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music in Accompanying, a master’s from the Brooklyn College and Artists Diploma from the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Piano Solo Performance where she also studied church organ and harpsichord. Her mentors include musicians such as Warren Jones, Yelena Kurdina, Yevgeny Shenderovitch, Alexander Tamir, Yelena Galustova, Yelena Kaminskaya and Rashel Shulova.

Accompanist, EUN AH BEA, has been a collaborative pianist in diverse areas such as opera, art song, oratorio, and chamber music, and developed her extensive vocal repertoire for eighteen years in those fields. Ms. Bea’s performance was heard at many international venues such as Vladivostok in Russia, Takarazuka in Japan and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and at numerous concerts in Korea. She also has a broad range of teaching experience in Sungshin Women’s University and Soongeui Women’s University. Since 1995, she has been a vocal accompanist in one of the most renowned music schools in Korea, The Korea National University of Arts, working with esteemed faculty members and young students. Her achievement with one of the most well-known Mezzo Soprano Chung Ja Kim has been widely recognized by the fellow musicians in Korea. In those years, she also worked as an accompanist in many established choirs such as Korean National Opera Theater Choir, Seoul Motet Choir, 21 Century Choir, and Seoul Beatus Choir. She majored in piano in Seoul Arts High School and Ewha Womans Univerity. She received her Master’s degree in Music Education in Ewha Womans University, and D.M.A in Collaborative Piano in Sungshin Women’s University. Additionally, she acquired diplomas in Korean National Opera Theater Academy, Austria Salzburg Mozarteum Sommer Akademi and she studied for a Professional Studies from the Manhattan School of Music in Accompanying under the advisement of Dr. Heasook Rhee. Her excellence was recognized by winning the Korea National Student Competition in Piano and by receiving a prestigious Youngchang Foundation Scholarship. She is currently voice coach and working as an accompanist for Manhattan School of Music Senior Opera Theater in New York.
Brazilian pianist FABIO BEZUTI holds a master degree in piano accompanying from Westminster Choir College and also a Professional Studies Certificate in piano accompanying from Manhattan School of Music. Mr Bezuti is a staff pianist at Manhattan School of Music, playing for voice lessons, vocal coaches, classes and recitals for the voice department. Among his most important works are: Verdi's Rigoletto and Falstaff,  Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cimarosa' Il matrimonio segreto, Pergolesi's La serva padrona, Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, Bizet's Carmen, Ravel's L'enfant et les Sortilèges, Wagner'sDer Ring des Nibelungen,  Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Bartok's A kékszakállú herceg vára (Blue beard's castle). Mr. Bezuti conducted Lennox Berkeley's A Dinner Engagement at the São Pedro Theater in São Paulo, and Ernest Mahle's Maroquinhas Fru-Fru at the Summer Festival in Poços de Caldas. He also performed Charlie Worrinen's songbook of the opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which is based upon Salman Rushdie's book by the same title.
SUSAN BROWN is sought after as a language coach and collaborator grooming singers for professional careers and operatic roles. She has over twenty five years of performing experience in Theatre, Opera, and academia in excess of 80 musical productions and many recitals at Belmont, Vanderbilt, and Indiana Universities and theatre productions in Tennessee and Michigan. Susan is also particularly suited for collaboration on difficult instrumental repertoire. She is an excellent sight reader and considers the challenge of instrumental repertoire motivating. She has worked with notable and international artists such as Jeffrey Wells, Adam Frey, Callen Esperian, Craig Smith, Richard Cass, Jake Heggie, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jane Felty, Judity Kellock, Peggy Pearson, Jing Ling Tam, David Willcocks, André Thomas, Edith Davis, Dorothy Delay, Regina Resnik, Eugene Rousseau, Thomas Studebaker, Carol Smith, and James King, among other. Susan Brown received two degrees in Piano Performance with an assistantship in coaching Musical Theatre and Opera. During her undergrad she also received a degree in French after spending some time studying overseas. She has taught and performed at various summer music camps including Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and Bay View Summer Conservatory of Music. In addition, she plays for choruses and has years of experience as a Music Director and rehearsal/performance pianist for University and Community productions. Susan has been a collaborator for student and faculty recitals, Accompanist Coordinator at collegiate auditions, has taught English and Italian diction for singers, sight reading for pianists, and Accompanying classes at the University level. She was awarded a scholarship to attend SongFest 2007 in Malibu, CA. where she studied closely with Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie, James Primosch, and John Harbison.
A seasoned recitalist and orchestra soloist, pianist, CHRISTOPHER CANO has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Civic Orchestra, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Catalina Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Recital appearances have been in Europe, across the US, Mexico and the Far East. Mr. Cano has participated as a pianist at the International Vocal Arts Institute and has been on the faculties of the Intermezzo Foundation Festival and VOICExperience summer programs. Currently, Mr. Cano is a staff coach at the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Cano has also served on the music staff of Toledo Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Festival Opera and The Opera Company of North Carolina. He is a graduate of The University of Arizona and the Manhattan School of Music where he was a student of Warren Jones.

MIRIAM CHARNEY – refer to MSM faculty bios at 
A musician not limited by the bounds of a single expertise, COCO CHEN has performed internationally as a professional collaborative pianist, soprano, composer and actress. Last summer, she was reviewed in a cover story as “The Gifted Prodigy” by the National Newspaper of Trinidad and Tobago after her successful concert at their National Center of Performing Arts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China claimed that Ms. Chen was the first Chinese artist ever to come to Trinidad and she made a great contribution to the culture exchange between China and Trinidad. Ms. Chen is in great demands as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist due to her firsthand experience as a vocalist. Ms. Chen debuted at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall as a collaborative pianist in 2008 and won the Bronze prize in the Chinese International Voice Competition in the same year. She was the winner of the second Asia piano competition and the first Nanjing cup piano competition. Ms. Chen won second prize and other awards in China’s Second National Music Competition, which included all genres and disciplines of musical performance. As a singer, her vocal appearances include solo soprano in The Messiah, Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio, Troi Chansons de Charles d’Orleans, as well as roles in The Secret Garden (Lily) and Cosí fan tutte (Despina). After graduating from the voice studio of Kathryn Cowdrick and piano studio of Tony Caramia at the Eastman School of Music, she entered the Manhattan School of Music to pursue a Master’s degree in Piano Accompanying under the tutelage of John Forconi. Ms. Chen has also worked with Lauren Flanigan, Pat Misslin, Frank Corsaro, Robert McDonald, Cristina Stanescu, Gait Sirguey, and Kwangchul Youn, and has collaborated with aspiring vocalists from the studios of Hilda Harris and Joan Patenaude-Yarnell and Cynthia Hoffmann. She is currently a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Ms. Chen has been having a strong passion on acting ever since she has been cast in a MTV in China when she was in high school. After she moved to USA, besides finishing her education as a musician, she was cast a starring role in the short movie “The Piano” and also composed the sound tracks. This film has been exhibited in many major film festivals, including Festival of Nations-World best short films (Austria); Salento International Film Festival (Italy); Rochester High Falls International Film Festival (U.S.A); San Diego Asian Film Festival (U.S.A). Most recently, she was also seen in a stage reading as Lin Daiyu in The red dream of Pavilion with Pan Asian Repertory Theater in 2011.
As a seasoned collaborating artist, Brazilian pianist, MOZART DE OLIVEIRA has performed at concert halls around the world including Avery Fisher Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, amongst others in Europe, Middle East and South America. Mr. de Oliveira recently returned from his teaching engagement at the Tel Aviv Opera working with students in the Young Artist Program. He also worked as the assistant chorus master at New York City Opera and vocal coach at the Boston Conservatory. In 2010 and 2011, he conducted the world premiere of Michael Kowalski’s The Rise and Fall of the First World, in New York City. While finishing his early studies in Brazil, Mr. de Oliveira was awarded first place in Brazil’s Bage National Piano Competition in 1995.  During this time, he also worked at Guaira Opera Theater in Curitiba, Brazil, where he was the resident rehearsal pianist for five consecutive seasons.  Mr. de Oliveira has participated in master classes for musical legends such as Marilyn Horne, Ken Noda, Martin Katz, Charles Reiner, Daniel Ferro, Mignon Dunn, UbaldoFabbri, Maria Spacagna, Irma Vallecillo, Charles Castleman, Eleonore Schonfeld, Karen Richter, and James Lyon. Mr. de Oliveira holds a Master of Music in collaborative piano and a Professional Studies Certificate from Manhattan School of Music. In addition to his formal education, he studied under the baton of Frank Corliss of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. de Oliveira currently works as a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music and as a pianist for the studio of Patricia McCaffrey.  His students sing in major opera houses around the world, including the Vienna Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Jose Opera and Tel Aviv Opera.
Born in Montreal, RONNY MICHAEL GREENBERG discovered his passion for vocal collaboration while pursuing his Bachelor's degree at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. Among the festivals he has attended are the New York Opera Studio, the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar and the Music Academy of the West. In 2013 he participated in The Song Continues Masterclass series with Marilyn Horne, Jessye Norman and Dalton Baldwin. Mr. Greenberg's performing experiences range from guest soloist appearances with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to concerts in venues such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization for the Glenn Gould Exhibit, Steinway Hall as part of Yale in New York, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall as part of the Worldstrides Heritage Performance Programs. Recently, he completed his Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones. This summer he was a coach apprentice at the 2014 Merola Opera Program.
GEORGE HEMCHER, a native of Frazer, PA could be described as a triple threat owing to his multifaceted abilities as a conductor/director, pianist, and tenor. Mr. Hemcher is the music director of the opera scenes programs at Hofstra University. Since the summer of 2009, Mr. Hemcher has worked closely with Nico Castel and Carol Castel at Delaware Valley Opera (DVO) and New York Opera Studio. At DVO, George was a répétiteur for Verdi’s Otello, and for Mozart’s Die Entführung Aus Am Serail with DVO. George made his conducting debut in the 2012 DVO production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, and in 2013 was the music director for Mozart's Der Shauspieldirektor. Mr. Hemcher was also the music director for the first year of Youth Opera Experience in 2012 at Bethel Woods, and in 2013 where they did The Wiz and Babes in Toyland. This past January, Mr. Hemcher traveled to Vancouver, Canada where he was the music director for Vancouver Concert Opera Society's Die Fledermaus. An active freelancer, George has collaborated with Pocket Opera of New York as a pianist for Händel’s Alcina, and currently is a pianist for Regina Opera in Brooklyn, NY on various productions including La Bohème, Suor Angelica, and Le Nozze di Figaro. As a collaborative pianist, Mr. Hemcher has performed in master classes for Thomas Hampson, Lauren Flanigan, and John Fisher. Mr. Hemcher has also been active in writing two piano transcriptions of operas for Thomas Muraco’s Opera Repertory Ensemble for performances at Manhattan School of Music. George wrote transcriptions for Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Gounod’s Faust. This season he will be working on Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. As a singer, Mr. Hemcher has performed roles in Die Fledermaus (Dr. Blind), and Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio). At DVO, Mr. Hemcher sang Spärlich in Nicolai’s Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor. In Mr. Hemcher’s development as a vocal coach, he has found his work on stage just as important as a pianist in order to understand exactly what singers need. George holds an undergraduate degree in Music Merchandising from Hofstra University and a Master’s in Music Piano Accompanying degree at Manhattan School of Music.  
A versatile musician, RIKO HIGUMA is a highly sought-after pianist collaborator performing with the world’s leading artists throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. As a soloist, she was a top-prize winner at the Jacob Flier International Piano Competition and the Santa Fe International Piano Competition. Ms. Higuma has participated in numerous music festivals around the world, including the Nagano-Aspen Music Festival and the LaJolla Music Society Summerfest in California, where her live solo performance was broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today. Notably, she was one of the Young Artists for the Van Cliburn Piano Institute in Fort Worth, where she appeared with the Fort Worth Symphony. Ms.Higuma’s collaborations on the recital and concert stage have included distinguished artists such as Albert Markov, Neil Rosenshein, Jeffrey Solow, Aaron Rosand, Cho-Liang Lin, Alan Gilbert, Steven Tanenbom, Dora Schwarzberg, Timothy Eddy, Yovan Markovitch, and Suren Bagratuni among others. As a vocal accompanist, she has worked for such festivals as Lidal North in Norway, Intermezzo in Belgium and Summer Voice Program in New York. She is also a regular pianist of the International Academy of Music in Italy and the Summit Music Festival in New York, where she performed a gala recital with the legendary violinist Aaron Rosand. With her acclaimed ensemble group, The Zodiac Trio, she has been claiming top prizes at international competitions which include the International Peninsula Young Artist Festival, Yellow Spring Chamber Music Competition, Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation, and the Cziffra Foundation audition. Their concert at the Festival Radio France in Montpellier was broadcast on France 3 television. They have made appearances on WQXR, WGBH, Radio France, CCTV among others. The Zodiac Trio is under the Columbia Artists Management Inc. Ms. Higuma studied with Phillip Kawin at the Manhattan School of Music and chamber music with the Ysaye String Quartet in their Superior Chamber Music Program in Paris.

DURA JUN Coach and Collaborative pianist : Born in Seoul, Korea, Dura Jun began her musical studies at the age of 5 where she was exposed to a wide spectrum of musical education upon entering Seoul Art High School. During that time she won numerous piano competitions in Korea. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the prestigious Seoul National University in Korea, where she studied with Icjoo Moon and she began to establish her career as a collaborative pianist. In 2010 she earned her Master's degrees and in 2011 her Professional Studies degrees at Manhattan school of Music and during that time she studied with Thomas Muraco and John Forconi. She has been performing with an impressive list of talented singers and instrumentalists at well known venues such as the Weil Concert Hall in Carnegie Hall, Steinway Concert Hall and Yamaha Concert Hall. In the field of Opera her non- stop schedule has resulted in Performances promoted by Martina Arroyo Foundation of La Boheme and Die Fledermaus in their Summer Festival. She also performed Opera Scenes Performances in Borden auditorium at Manhattan School of Music and major opera such as Rigoletto(Verdi), Falstaff(Verdi), La Boheme(Puccini), Madama Butterfly(Puccini) and Faust(Gounod) with Thomas Muraco. She also was chosen a staff coach and pianist in La Lingua della Lyrica Summer Festival in Italy in 2012 and Hawaii Performing Arts Festival in 2013. Besides that, Dura Jun has been playing various contemporary opera music with Miriam Charney and also contituously playing for seasoned artist's master classes such as Marilyn Horne, Thomas Hampson, Stephaien Blythe, Craig Rutenberg and Catherine Malfitano. Since 2012 she has been starting her career as a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music.

CHUN-WEI KANG, pianist, is a native of Taiwan. She has performed in concerts both as soloist and ensemble performer throughout the United States, Canada and East Asia, including concerto performances with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Kang has appeared on national Taiwanese television in recitals with her brother, Long-Long Kang, a violinist, and was broadcast in Japan with soprano Monique McDonald. She has won several awards and scholarships including the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Memorial Award, which was given to “a musician who demonstrated outstanding professionalism in collaborative piano.” She has served as staff pianist in the National Music Competition in Taiwan, Canadian Provincial Festival, the Centro Studi Italiani Opera Festival, and International Vocal Arts Institute in Puerto Rico. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music with a Master’s degree, Ms. Kang is a vocal coach and pianist at Manhattan School of Music, and a faculty member of Long Island University, and OperaWorks in Los Angeles. She has also been the Assistant Music Director for the New Choral Society since 2007. Most recently, she appeared on PBS SundayArts in a showcase for rising young opera singers, and was the Assistant Music Director for The Tailor of Gloucester at MSM.

DUK KYU KIM received a Bachelor of Music degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Classical Piano Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, in London where he was very actively involved in concerts and festivals as soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. He moved to the USA and received a Master of Music degree and a Professional Studies Certificate in Classical piano performance at Manhattan School of Music where he began to extend his musical career as a fine accompanist. His past four years at MSM were spent mainly working in vocal studios where he was described as a sensitive, enthusiastic and passionate pianist. His musical ability also displays a great deal of making the right sound quality with the voice to create drama and character; and his sensitive approach with singers led him to become a vocal coach at MSM.

Robert Kopelson has appeared as piano soloist, collaborator, chamber musician and conductor on four continents for as many decades. He has worked with such distinguished musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Dorothy DeLay, Janos Starker, Cho-liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Joel Smirnoff, Paul Doktor, Felix Galimir, Renata Scotto, Christa Ludwig, Anna Moffo, Roberta Peters, John Aler, Heidi Grant Murphy, Hugues Cuénod, Evelyn Lear, Jan de Gaetani, Alexander Kipnis, Lotte Lenya, Eleanor Steber, Jennie Tourel, Pierre Bernac and Tito Gobbi. He has been an assisting artist with the Martina Arroyo Foundation, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program (Greve in Chianti, Italy), Carnegie Hall Presentations, the Spoleto Vocal Institute, and festivals such as Aspen and Tanglewood. He has taught at the Yale and Syracuse University Schools of Music, Loyola-New Orleans, New York, Seoul City, Sook-Myung Women’s and Seoul National Universities, the Mannes College of Music and the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam. Since 2001 he has been on the Related Vocal Studies faculty of MSM. . Also refer to MSM faculty bios at 
Pianist/Coach MING KWONG is very active in the world of opera. In spring 2014, he will be joining the music staff at Portland Opera for their production of “Postcard from Morocco” by Dominic Argento. Regionally, 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. In the fall of 2012, he played the NYC auditions for Aspen Opera Theater and Glimmerglass Opera besides being invited back to play for Portland Opera. 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. He was engaged as a faculty coach at one of the fastest-growing summer programs in North America — Opera on the Avalon in Newfoundland, Canada in summer 2012. 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 was also a faculty coach at the CoOPERAtive program in New Jersey during summer 2011 where colleagues included Anthony Manoli, Thomas Bagwell and William Hobbs. 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. 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.

JI YOUNG LEE is an accomplished musician with extensive experience as a solo pianist and vocal coach. Ms. Lee has been teaching at the Manhattan School of Music since 2002 and she is a faculty at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and also is an adjunct faculty member at New York University. She worked as a vocal coach at The Chautauqua Institution. Past teaching engagements include working as an apprentice coach for the San Francisco Opera Merola Program for two years. Ms. Lee’s performances include concerts at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Lincoln Center, where she performed in the gala concert “Sing for Hope.” She has served as the pianist for numerous Master Classes, including those of Marilyn Horne, Graham Johnson, Fedora Barbieri, Lauren Flanigan, Jane Eaglen, Tom Krause, Steven Blier, Licia Albanese, Robert Lloyd, Shirley Verrett. Also, she has been performed with many promising young singers in New York and has been a recital pianist for the up-rising star, baritone, Lucas Meachem. Born in South Korea, Ms. Lee earned her Bachelor of Music from Yonsei University in Seoul, and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the Juilliard School. Ms. Lee holds Professional Studies Certificates from The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. She is a fellowship recipient and past attendee at the Music Academy of the West, where she won the prestigious Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition in 2000. Ms. Lee resides in New York City with her husband and two children.

JIMIN LEE has built her career as a collaborative pianist, appearing in music festivals such as Aspen Music Festival and School, Manhattan Summer Voice Festival, and the Seoul International Music Camp Festival. As a pianist/singer/ensemble coach of the Hosanna Choir in Seoul, Korea, she participated in concert series throughout the Eastern United States and Europe. Her vocal accompanying experiences also include working as a pianist of the vocal ensemble I BEATI and the Young Nak Music Academy. Jimin has performed in voice master classes taught by Marilyn Horne, Craig Rutenberg, Thomas Hampson, Martin Katz, Ron Raines, Diana Soviero, among others. Last year, she performed a two­piano reduction of “The Rape of Lucretia” by B. Britten under the direction of Kenneth Merrill in the Ades Performance Space at Manhattan School of Music. In addition to her concert career, she recorded French song selections by Fauré, Hahn, Delibes, Bizet, Bachelet, Chausson, and Liszt with Soprano JungWon Park. As solo pianist, she has performed at such venues as Seoul Arts Center and Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, Korea. Jimin Lee holds a bachelor’s of Music degree in piano performance from Sung Shin Women's University and a Master’s degree in vocal accompanying from Manhattan School of Music.

ANN LEWIN is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the High School of Music and Art, Barnard College and U.C.L.A. (Master of Arts in Music). She has studied coaching with Alberta Masiello, Felix Popper, Joan Dornemann and Natalie Limonick; advanced piano with Alan Marks and Elizabeth Moschetti; composition and orchestration with Roy Harris; conducting and score reading with Rudolf Thomas; and voice with Edith Gordon Ainsberg. She has been assistant conductor and coach/pianist for over 50 opera productions in the United States for New Orleans Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Opera Colorado, Michigan Opera Theater, Mississippi Opera, Opera Carolina and Vancouver Opera. She has been on staff at Opera Music Theater International (OMTI), Opera Colorado Young Artists Training Center and the University of Texas at Austin, where she was principal coach and lecturer. Since 2000, she has been on the faculty of Mannes College. In addition, Ms. Lewin has performed many recitals throughout the U.S., including 20 with Metropolitan Opera tenor and diction specialist, Nico Castel. Since 2003, Ms. Lewin has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. Also refer to MSM faculty bios at 

MATTHEW LOBAUGH is a freelance vocal coach/accompanist currently living in New York City. He began training at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) and graduated with B.M. degrees in both Piano and Vocal Performance. Matthew holds the M.M. in collaborative piano from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH) and also was a participant in the Artist Diploma program in opera coaching. A graduate of the Domingo-Thorton Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera (2008-10) , his professional operatic credits include the Cincinnati Opera (2007-10), Virginia Opera (2010), Amore Opera and Pacific Opera. He has worked in various positions in the opera house ranging from coach/accompanist to assistant-conductor and chorus master. Matthew is also featured on the companion CD to the Menotti Arias for Soprano Anthology, published by Hal Leonard (2008).

MARIO ANTONIO MARRA, recently named the winning pianist of the 2013 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, is an active collaborative pianist and coach. Mr. Marra recently spent a summer as a Vocal Piano Fellow at the Music Academy of the West where he was involved in preparing the Die Zauberflöte and opera scenes. He has appeared in masterclasses with such renowned artists as Sir Antonio Pappano, Marilyn Horne, Vladimir Chernov, and Håkan Hagegård. He received his B.M. from New York University where he worked extensively in many teachers' vocal studios as a coach and accompanist. At NYU, he served as a musical and Italian diction coach for Opera Scenes productions. Mr. Marra's interest and ability in interpreting contemporary and 20th century music have led him to perform works by composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino, Heinz Holliger, B.A. Zimmermann, Bruno Maderna, and Pascal Dusapin among others. In the Spring of 2011, he performed with new music flutist Roberto Fabbriciani on tour in Tuscany. Mr. Marra is fluent in Italian and English, with knowledge of German and French. He is also fluent in the Neapolitan Dialect and has a vast knowledge of the Neapolitan Song Repertoire, something he attempts to promote and incorporate in his performances. Mr. Marra is pursuing a Master of Music degree at MSM in the studio of Warren Jones.

KANAE MATSUMOTO is an experienced pianist both in solo and collaborative fields. Ms. Matsumoto has completed her professional studies certificate for vocal accompanying at Manhattan School of Music.  She has had training at CSNY (Classical Singing in New York) and OperaWorks in Los Angeles.  Ms. Matsumoto serves as an instrumental accompanist and chamber music coach at Chautauqua Institution since 2006. Prior to moving to New York, she was a faculty member of the Herb School of Music at UCLA (the University California, Los Angeles) teaching instrumental accompanying and solo performance. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in piano performance from UCLA. For more information, visit her website at

DAVID MAYFIELD - In New York since 1997, he has been a vocal coach, conductor, singer and educator. He worked with John Wustman and Martin Katz, toured with New York City Opera, worked with major companies including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera and Fort Worth Opera, conducted for Utah Festival Opera where he spent 3 seasons also acting as chorus master, conducted for the Texas Gilbert and Sullivan Company, conducted Le Nozze di Figaro and Aïda at the State Opera House in Slovakia and performed in regional houses. His work at the New School, NYC (The Actor’s Studio) included playing for Ben Vereen and a master class for Liza Minelli; he has also played classes for Horst Guenther and Dominick Argento. On staff at MSM since 2000, at New Jersey City University (since 2005), he coaches and teaches Vocal Literatureand Diction. As a Conductor/Music Directorthere he performed Dido and Aeneas with period instruments and recently conducted The Magic Flute, directed by Met artist Anthony Laciura. Recent recitals have taken him to Key West; Dover, Delaware; the island of Grenada, and Bloomington, Indiana; since 2004 he has conducted master classes at the Midwest Festival of Song/Academy, on the campuses of Waldorf College, U Nebraska/Omaha and U Minnesota; he has performed in Austria, Hungary, Paris, Mexico and Berlin, and in January of 2009 performed a new song cycle at the International Conference on the Arts and Humanities in Honolulu. Summer 2011: ass’t. conductor/continuo, Phoenicia Festival of the Voice (Don Giovanni) with a MET cast and conductor; he returned to UMinn/Duluth in the spring of 2012 to perform on their Ovation recital series and lead master classes. July of 2012 included participation in William Neill and Lauren Flanigan’s “Audition Bootcamp”(again in 2013); in August he coached a MET cast starring Keith Miller in Le Nozze di Figaro for Emerald City Opera (Colorado); returned in Summer 2013 for Artist Institute and in 2014 (coach/chorusmaster, Falstaff); Oct. ’13: Music Director, Light Opera of New York’s The Magic Knight (Herbert); Spring 2014, residency (masterclasses, opera coaching), U Minn. /Duluth; NATS winner recital; curated recital A Treasury of French Song;May: coached Il Prigioniero (title role) for Santa Cecilia (Rome) and London; coached lead baritone, I Due Foscari (Covent Garden); July-Aug: Colorado (ECO), head coach/chorusmaster for Falstaff. Aug: conducted public reading of Il Trovatore (St. Paul, MN); curating and playing Exoticism and the Foreign in French Mélodie; coach, The Impresario / The Old Maid and the Thief. Schooling: Beloit College (BA, Musical Directing for the Theater), Northwestern U; Blossom Festival School; University of North Texas (MM).

Pianist KYUNG-EUN NA has cultivated a multi-faceted music career not only as a performer, but also as an educator, opera coach, and radio program director. Ms. Na has appeared as both soloist and collaborative artist at such distinguished venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall and Town Hall in the New York Metropolitan area, as well as throughout the other venues in United States and Asia. She has served as adjunct faculty at Seoul Arts High School and Sungshin Women’s University in Korea. Previously she worked as a Spectrum Resident Artist Coach and Education Tour Manager at Virginia Opera. Beyond her performing and teaching, Ms. Na also served as an assistant program director for The Classical Collection at TBS English FM in Korea. As a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation competition 2007, Ms. Na has participated in recital tour projects and master classes with young artist singers under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Ms. Na has participated as a coach and a pianist in the productions of Puccini’s La Bohème, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, and La Cenerentola at The Juilliard School, Music Academy of the West, and Aspen Opera Theater Center. Her chamber music credits include performances with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Na’s collaboration with composer John Corigliano and her solo appearance in the New Juilliard Ensemble’s New York premiere of Mary Finsterer’s Concerto Grosso “NYX” demonstrate her great commitment to contemporary music. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Yonsei University, an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, and a master’s degree in collaborative piano from The Juilliard School. Currently a doctoral candidate studying accompanying with Warren Jones at MSM, Karen balances collaborating with both instrumentalists and vocalists.

A native Russian speaker, pianist TAISIYA PUSHKAR has performed in Italy, Serbia, Finland, Israel, Canada and the United States as part of her collaborations with singers and instrumentalists. As a winner of the Oberlin Concerto Competition, Taisiya performed Prokofiev’s 1st piano concerto with the Oberlin Orchestra, and the recording was later featured on the WQXR radio station in New York. Ms. Pushkar made her Carnegie Hall debut this winter with the cellist Amber Docters Van Leeuwen at Weill Recital Hall. The duo has just recorded their debut program, and a CD will be released later this year. Through the generous sponsorship of the Sorel Organization, this summer Taisiya was invited as a vocal coach to the renowned Daniel Ferro vocal program in Greve in Chianti, Italy. Always striving for a complete artistic presentation, Taisiya has been a New Triad artist for several of their workshops, which focus on integrating drama, movement and musical expression of the singer/pianist team for maximum connection with the audience. Since 2009, Taisiya has been the pianist of the Melodia Women's Choir of NYC, a group dedicated to exploring rarely heard music written for women's voices, as well as nurturing emerging women composers through commissions and performances. An experienced educator, Taisiya is currently on the faculty of the Lucy Moses School in New York, and the Waterville Valley Music Center in New Hampshire (summer) and has been on the faculty at the Positano International Chamber Music Festival in Italy, and the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania. Taisiya holds a Bachelor's Degree from Oberlin College, and a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she is currently working on her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree.
MAURO RONCA is a native Italian coach. He recently moved to New York City to pursue professional studies at Manhattan School of Music under Kenneth Merrill’s mentorship. For the past two years he has been the teaching assistant of renowned coach Kathryn Wright at the University of Georgia where he received his Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano with an emphasis in opera studies. Here he also served as the assistant opera coach for the full productions in their original languages of Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Die Zauberflöte, Carmen, and L’elisir d’amore (for which he worked under conductor Imre Pallo) and coached the Opera Scenes program. Prior to coming to the United States, Mauro earned his degrees in Piano and Composition with honors in his home country at the “Vivaldi” Conservatory of Alessandria. His previous education also includes studies of conducting and organ. During the summer of 2014, he was the principal coach, rehearsal pianist and assistant conductor for the production of The Cunning Little Vixen at MSM’s Summer Voice Festival, working closely with conductor David Jackson.

Ohio native SHANE SCHAG has performed in recital both as soloist and ensemble performer throughout the United States and Europe, including a concerto performance with the Ashland Symphony Orchestra. He has won several awards and scholarships among them the “Gwendolyn Koldofsky Award.” He has worked in the capacity of vocal coach for Centro Studi Italiani Opera Festival, and as an assistant conductor for the Gotham Chamber Opera. In 2007, Mr. Schag made his debut at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), and now he serves as staff pianist for Carnegie Hall’s Musical Explorers concert series, which reaches out to public schools across the tri-state area, and the Lotte Lenya Competition in Rochester, New York. Recently, Mr. Schag appeared on PBS SundayArts in a showcase for rising, young opera singers. Also, Mr. Schag is a member of the vocal coaching faculty and resident Music Director for the American Musical Theater Ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music, and is thrilled to be presenting “Ragtime” this spring. During the summer, he is on the faculty of Operaworks in Los Angeles. Also refer to MSM faculty bios at 

GORDON SCHERMER is an extremely versatile musician equally at home in opera, art song, musical theater and chamber music. His performances have taken him across the United States as well as Canada, Italy, Austria and Israel. He has performed in venues such as Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York and the Salle Bourgie in Montréal. In Montréal, he helped recreate a unique two-piano transcription of Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias originally arranged by Benjamin Britten for the Aldeburgh Festival. He has been a fellowship coach at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he served as the children’s chorus master for Puccini’s La bohème and rehearsal pianist/coach for Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. In addition, he was also chosen to play the Verdi Requiem for renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin. He was selected as the official accompanist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Central Illinois district in both 2006 and 2007. Mr. Schermer has appeared in master classes given by Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Catherine Malfitano and Nathan Gunn among others. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Schermer now resides in Manhattan. He is an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and a staff member at Manhattan School of Music and the Bard College Conservatory of Music. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s Degree in Accompanying from Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included Ian Hobson, Kenneth Merrill and John Wustman.
ERIC SEDGWICK is a New York-based pianist, accompanist and vocal coach who has performed in concert with some of some of music’s biggest talents, including Leona Mitchell, Marni Nixon, Sarah Rice and Thomas Stacy.  He is on the coaching staff at the Manhattan School of Music, also serving there as pianist and music director for Catherine Malfitano’s performance classes, and he has coached and music-directed several productions for the cutting-edge OperaWorks training program in southern California.   Mr. Sedgwick performs regularly with several companies in New York City including Opera Singers Initiatives, the Art Song Preservation Society of New York, the Stonewall Chorale and the Broadway Concerts Direct series. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, he holds a Masters degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music and an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Brown University,summa cum laude. He is a strong advocate of new music and has premiered works by composers including Seymour Barab, J. Mark Stambaugh, Joelle Wallach, and Louis Hardin. 
HYERIM SONG, a native Korean, is an active collaborative pianist and coach in the US and Korea. Ms. Song has served on as a resident coach and pianist at the INSIEM Opera, coaching the casts of La Traviata, Don Giovanni, and Hansel and Gretel and playing for various opera scenes with the chorus. She has worked and collaborated with Seoul Metropolitan Opera on Cavalleria Rusticana, L'enfant et les sortilèges and Rigoletto. Also Ms. Song has been a pianist for prestigious Master Classes including those of Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, Martina Arroyo, Eric Owens, Martin Katz, Stephen Smith, Stephen King, Deborah Polaski, Diana Soviero, Lauren Flanigan, Sanford Sylvan, Rudolf Piernay and John Fisher. In addition, she was awarded the vocal collaborative pianist fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and was granted the professional fellowship from SongFest at Colburn where she worked closely with Libby Larsen, Graham Johnson, Jake Heggie, Alan Smith, and John Musto. Furthermore, she has served on a staff pianist at the American Protégé, Euro Music Festival and Yewool Vocal Music Festival as well as participated in Korea National Opera Festival. Ms. Song received a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Kenneth Merill and Sungshin Women’s University in Accompanying, and bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Dankoook University
DAVID ŠTECH is a successful vocal coach and conductor in New York City. He is the Music Director of the Astoria Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor of St. Petersburg Opera (FL), associate conductor of New York Lyric Opera, vocal coach at the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI), and is also the Organist and Choirmaster of St. John's Episcopal Church in Passaic, NJ. Mr. Štech's career has spanned four continents where he has conducted, coached and prepared over 100 performances of operas, orchestral works and major choral works. He has worked at Opera Theater of Lucca (Italy), Orquestra Sinfónica Uncuyo (Argentina), Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic (Czech Republic), New Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), North Shore Chamber Orchestra (Chicago), Opera in the Ozarks (AR), Opera in Williamsburg (VA), Amore Opera (NYC), the Acadamy of Performing Arts (Hong Kong), Ash Lawn Opera (VA), and many others. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Symphony Space, Orchestra Hall (Chicago), and most recently at Lincoln Center, conducting Die Walküre with New York Lyric Opera. An alumnus of MSM's accompanying program, he also studied at the Pierre Monteux School and Northwestern University, and received the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship for Conducting at Tanglewood, where he worked with Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Robert Spano, Michael Morgan and Christoph von Dohnányi. Other teachers include Donna Brunsma (Chicago Lyric Opera), Paul Nadler (Metropolitan Opera), Larry Rachleff, Gustav Meier, Kirk Trevor and Ken Merrill.
YEVGENIA TRUKSA has received her Bachelor in Piano Performance Degree in 2004,Master’s Degree in Solo Piano Performance from Texas Christian University in 2006, and completed Professional Certificate in Collaborative Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music in 2011. She has performed extensively in Europe and the United States both as a solo and collaborative artist. While still in high school, Yevgenia has worked as an accompanist and a vocal coach at the Latvian National Opera in Riga, Latvia (1996-2001), rehearsing with opera singers and performing vocal recitals as a collaborative artist. Since then, she has worked with a vast number of student and professional instrumentalists, singers, orchestras, chamber music groups, theatre and opera productions, as well as being an active teacher and solo performer. Yevgenia worked as an accompanist at Texas Christian University (2004-2007), San Diego University (2009-2010), and is currently a staff accompanist and a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music, New York.


Hailed by critics as "the greatest Mexican pianist" and praised by the New York press after his Carnegie Hall debut for his "improvisatory freedom, sonorous climaxes, and formidable octaves", ABDIEL VÁZQUEZ enjoys an active career as both a concert pianist and conductor in his native Mexico and abroad - his style at the piano being described as "authoritative" and at the podium as "emphatic and passionate". Vázquez has performed as a soloist with orchestras in South America, Europe and the United States. In Mexico, he performs regularly with all the major Mexican orchestras including the National Symphony, Mexico City's Philharmonic, and State of Mexico Symphony orchestras, totaling more than 50 performances as soloist since making his debut. He is also the founder and director of the Symphonic Youth of Monterrey. Since 2003 he has worked with the most renowned Mexican singers in concerts and opera companies, and since moving to New York City in 2007 he has played regularly and coached singers in the voice studios of Mignon Dunn ('one of the best pianists I have worked with'), Trish McCaffery ('he is in the top five percent of his field: pianist, accompanist, and coach'), Mark Oswald, and Catherine Malfitano. Vázquez has special affinity with the Italian repertoire, and is also qualified in French, German, and Spanish.

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