The Musicians of Twickenham Fest 2011
Twickenham Fest has once again invited some of the world's top young musicians to perform in Huntsville, Alabama. Their names and instruments are listed below. Click on a name or scroll down to read more.
Alabama native Susanna Phillips has attracted special recognition for a voice of striking beauty and sophistication. Recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, she appears at the Met this season as Pamina in Julie Taymor’s celebrated production of The Magic Flute, and as Musetta in La bohème, the role with which she made her debut in 2008. She also portrays Musetta on the Met’s Japan tour in June in a cast that includes Anna Netrebko and Joseph Calleja. This past summer she was a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, and a resident artist at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Last season, Susanna Phillips returned to the Met as Pamina with conductor Bernard Labadie. Following her Baltimore Symphony debut under Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Sun proclaimed, “She’s the real deal.” Susanna Phillips also appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and with Opera Birmingham as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. In May, she garnered rave reviews for her debut at the Fort Worth Opera Festival as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni.
In the banner year of 2005, Susanna Phillips was the winner of four of the world’s leading vocal competitions – Operalia (both first place and the audience prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards and the George London Foundation. She completed the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2007.
Since making her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina in the summer of 2006, Susanna Phillips has returned to Santa Fe in a trio of Mozart operas: as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Recent seasons have brought significant operatic debuts, including Mozart’s Countess with the Dallas Opera, Donna Anna with Boston Lyric Opera and her first Violetta with Opera Birmingham. She performed the notoriously difficult role of Elmira – to great acclaim – in a Tim Albery production of Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus in her debut with Minnesota Opera conducted by Harry Bicket. As a participant in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, she sang Diana in a new Robert Carsen production of Iphigénie en Tauride opposite Susan Graham, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. She has sung leading roles at Madison Opera and Utah Opera and Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites at Kentucky Opera.
Her continually expanding concert repertoire has been showcased with many different prestigious organizations. She has performed with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic as part of their annual “Composer’s Festival” under Alan Gilbert, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Chicago Symphony, and Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy for her Mostly Mozart Festival debut at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York under Kent Tritle. She has also sung Dvorak’s Stabat mater with the Santa Fe Symphony, Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem with the Santa Barbara Symphony, and appeared opposite baritone Wolfgang Holzmair in Wolf’s Spanisches Liederbuch at New York’s Weill Recital Hall. Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Carmina burana, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart Requiems, and Handel’s Messiah. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson and Rob Fisher with the New York Pops.
Susanna Phillips is a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and was awarded grants from the Santa Fe Opera and the Sullivan Foundation. Additionally, she was the first prize winner of the American Opera Society Competition and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago.
Raised in Huntsville, Susanna Phillips is grateful for the ongoing support of her community in her career. She sang Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder, Carmina Burana, Mozart’s C minor Mass, and her first performances of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor in a concert version with the Huntsville Symphony. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.
Mezzo soprano Heather Johnson, hailed by Opera News as "a dramatic singer in the truest sense", has received critical acclaim for her work on both the opera and concert stage.
Ms. Johnson enjoyed a triumphant opening of the 2010-11 season with a highly praised portrayal of the title character La Cenerentola with Sarasota Opera. In the winter she will return to Sarasota to appear as Elizabeth Practor in The Crucible. Also this season she will also sing Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Boston Lyric Opera, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera New Jersey, a role she will also sing with Opera Southwest in the 2011-12 season.
In the 2009-2010 season Ms. Johnson sang Vivaldi's Gloria and Haydn's Harmoniemesse with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall. She made her role debut as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Sarasota Opera, a role she also sang with PORT Opera. Ms. Johnson also made her Kennedy Center debut singing Mozart's Requiem with The Washington Chorus.
Ms. Johnson began the 2008-09 season making her Italian debut in Rome singing Rossini's Stabat Mater with Maestro Paolo Olmi, which was broadcast on RAI 1. She made her role debut as Carmen with the Volkstheater in Rostock, Germany and performed Mozart's Requiem with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman. Other performances included Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Madison Opera, Beppe in L'Amico Fritzwith Sarasota Opera, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas with The Yard Arts Festival.
In the summer of 2008 Ms. Johnson's performance at the Stillwater Music Festival of a world premiere arrangement of Grieg's song cycle Haugtussa with the renowned string quartet Brooklyn Rider was featured on NPR's "Performance Today". She also performed Meg Page in Falstaff with New York City Opera. Her numerous roles with that company include Flora in La Traviata, Mercedes in Carmen and Soraya in the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Ms. Johnson is the 2006 recipient of New York City Opera's prestigious Stanley Tausend Award, presented to a deserving young artist in the season following their debut with the company.
Other notable recent operatic engagements include Hedwige in Rossini's Guillaume Tell and Mallika inLakmÃ© with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Lola inCavalleria Rusticana with Glimmerglass Opera, Lisetta in Il mondo della luna with Opera Layfayette, Rosina inIl barbiere di Siviglia with Portland Opera Repertory Theater, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti with Nashville Opera. On the concert stage she has performed Mozart's Mass in C minor with New York Choral Society, selections from Il barbiere di Siviglia with Boston Pops Orchestra, Mozart's Requiem, Coronation Mass and Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 with the New Hampshire Music Festival, Coronation Mass with Syracuse Symphony, the title role in La Cenerentolawith Minnesota Opera (tour) and appearances with the Midcoast Symphony.
A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Semi-Finalist, Ms. Johnson received her Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music and Bachelors of Music degree from St. Olaf College. She is a native Minnesotan and currently resides in New York.
Mr. Abrams has studied conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas, Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he graduated in 2008 at the age of twenty-one, and David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival’s American Academy of Conducting. At Aspen Mr. Abrams won the 2007 Aspen Composition Contest for his string quartet Erinnerungen. A passionate educator, he has taught at a number of schools around the United States and is the conductor of all educational activities at the New World Symphony Orchestra. He received a bachelor of music in piano performance in 2005 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
An accomplished pianist and clarinetist, Mr. Abrams has appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the Berkeley Symphony and has performed chamber music with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Susan Naruki and John Adams. Mr. Abrams is the founding member of the 6th Floor Trio, a group of recent Curtis graduates dedicated to exploring engaging ways to communicate with a diverse range of audiences. The Trio has performed around the country, holding residencies in North Carolina, Philadelphia, New York and South Florida.
2010-11 marks Teddy Abrams’ third season as Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor of the New World Symphony Orchestra (NWSO), among the finest international orchestra academies, founded by Michael Tilson Thomas, one of his early mentors. At the NWSO Mr. Abrams’ conducting duties range from subscription, chamber and full orchestra concerts to educational activities and performances for young people. He has conducted the NWSO in Miami Beach, Washington, D.C. and Carnegie Hall, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra made up of musicians from conservatories across the country at the Kennedy Center and Symphony Parnassus of San Francisco. Last season he made his debut with the Marin Symphony and in October 2010 he appears with the Florida Orchestra for the first time.
Francesca Tortorello, collaborative pianist and harpsichordist, began piano lessons at the age of four in her hometown of Mount Kisco, NY. She holds a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Antonio Pompa-Baldi as an undergraduate. Her true passion, however, has always been chamber music. She received a Masters degree and Professional Studies certificate in Collaborative Piano from CIM where she studied with Virginia Weckstrom. She studied harpsichord with Janina Cesar, also at CIM
Francesca regularly performs in recitals in the Northeast and Midwest and has collaborated with a wide variety of instrumentalists and singers. She has worked with many members of the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as the Pacifica, Arianna and Cavani quartets. She has also spent several summers studying at the Aspen Music Festival.
As a harpsichordist, Francesca plays with the CIM/Case Western Reserve Baroque Orchestra and recently performed at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Baroque Performance Institute held at the Oberlin Conservatory. Francesca’s interest in historical performance includes Baroque dance, which she has studied with Julie Andrijeski and Thomas Baird. She appeared with New York State Baroque and Pegasus Early Music and has recently started teaching baroque dance classes herself.
Francesca and her husband, Michael DeBruyn, have been performing as a professional duo since 2004. Francesca loves Project Runway and her dog, Chloe.
From Francesca Tortorello
As an active soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader, Joseph Meyer has garnered critical acclaim throughout the country. He has been described by the San Francisco Classical Voice as “a standout player, both technically brilliant and musically innovative.” The Times Picayune has called him a “brilliant new concertmaster” and a “superb violinist,” while the Boston Globe described his chamber music performance of the Carter First String Quartet as “an extraordinary event.”
Currently, Mr. Meyer holds positions as Concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster of the Colorado Music Festival. Former positions include Associate Concertmaster of the Charlotte Symphony, Guest Concertmaster of the New World Symphony and Louisville Orchestra, and member of the Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble and San Francisco Symphony. As a member of the Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble, he performed across the United States in critically-acclaimed concerts that emphasized new music. The groups’ debut recording on the Innova label was called “a tour de force of technical ability and engaging new music” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
As a chamber musician, he has been a guest performer with members of the Arditti and Degas quartets, singer Fredrica von Stade, violinist Donald Weilerstein, guitarist Paul Galbraith, the Sierra Chamber Society, the Colorado Music Festival chamber music series, as well as the Left Coast, Providence and St. Peter’s chamber music series’. Recently he took part in a State Department/Carnegie Hall sponsored chamber music tour of Central Asia in order to promote cultural exchange.
His awards include first place in the Harold Levin solo competition and the Jules Reiner prize as a fellow at the Tanglewood Festival.
Mr. Meyer graduated in 2000 from the San Francisco conservatory with a masters degree in chamber music while studying with Camilla Wicks and Mark Sokol. Former teachers include Almita and Roland Vamos and Jorja Fleezanis. He is also a teacher at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and an active chamber musician in New Orleans. He performs on a 1740 Celoniati violin, made in Turin, Italy.
Erin Schreiber has studied the violin since age four. She has appeared in recital throughout the U.S., as well as in London, Sweden, and most recently Neuenkirchen, Germany. She has also appeared as soloist with the Richardson, Gateway, and Alton Symphony orchestras, and has performed for such dignitaries as Colin Powell and former President Jimmy Carter.
Ms. Schreiber has won the Lennox Young Artist's Competition, the St. Louis Italian American Federation Young Artists Competition, the pre-college strings division of the Corpus Christi International Young Artists Competition, and the Junior division of the Kingsville International Competition. She has twice been the recipient of the prestigious Buder Foundation Music Grant, as well as three-time recipient of the Anita Crane Music Scholarship. Past teachers have included Roland and Almita Vamos, Elisa Barston, and Robert Lipsett. Currently Ms. Schreiber is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studies with Joseph Silverstein and Pamela Frank.
She assumed the duties of St. Louis Symphony Assistant Concertmaster in September 2008.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Cynthia Black enjoys performing and studying as a modern and baroque violist. Cynthia first began her musical studies at age four at the piano with her mother, and also briefly studied organ with Christina Harmon. She started studying viola at ten with Louise Rossi, and continued her studies with Barbara Sudweeks through high school. After recently completing undergraduate studies with Robert Vernon at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cynthia is now pursuing a Master of Music with Lynne Ramsey.
She regularly performs throughout Northeast Ohio in chamber ensembles and orchestras appearing on stage with her colleagues in concert halls, churches, hospitals, and bars. Cynthia has been a member of the CIM/Case Western Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Julie Andrijeski for three years, and recently performed at the Boston Early Music Festival as part of the Young Performers' Festival. She regularly performs with CityMusic Cleveland, and has appeared with Apollo’s Fire and Pegasus Early Music (Rochester, NY).
Cynthia has spent her most recent summers at Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute, the Banff Centre, Juilliard Quartet Seminar, St. Lawrence Chamber Music Seminar, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota Music Festival, and Kent/Blossom Music. Her quartet participated as Quartet in the Community performing nearly thirty outreach concerts as part of the Melba and Orville Rollefson Residency at the Banff Centre in 2010. Her chamber music mentors include Peter Salaff and the Cavani Quartet. Most recently, she was awarded CIM’s Alumni Association award, the Robert Vernon Prize in Viola, and the Young Master Award from Texas Commission on the Arts.
Additionally, Cynthia continues as youth choir intern at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, OH under the leadership of Drs. Richard and Beth Nelson since 2008 and is a music theory tutor at CIM. She also enjoys cooking and making ice cream.
From Cynthia Black
Michael DeBruyn began studying the cello at the age of four in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance and a Master’s degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Richard Aaron and Desmond Hoebig. Michael has also studied with Dr. Felix Wang and Dr. Tanya Carey. His summer engagements have included the Meadowmount School of Music, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. Michael was appointed Principal Cellist of the Canton Symphony in 2009 after playing with the symphony for three seasons. The following year, he was also appointed Principal Cellist of the Akron Symphony.
As a chamber musician, Michael has worked closely with the Arianna, Cavani, and Pacifica Quartets. He also received an honorable mention in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Blakemore Quartet in 1998. Michael and his wife, Francesca Tortorello, have been performing together in their professional duo since 2004.
Michael is a rabid hockey fan and also enjoys Single-Malt Scotch.
From Michael DeBruyn
French-American clarinetist Johnny Teyssier is a recent winner of the Juventus Prize, an award given by the Juventus organization to identify the most talented young soloists in Europe; he is only the third clarinetist on the Juventus roster since the organization’s inception in 1991. He was also recently awarded the Ico Ardán Award, given by the Irish Chamber Orchestra to recognize young emerging international soloists. An equally committed orchestral player, Johnny is the principal clarinetist of the Minnesota Opera orchestra. He has also played as a guest with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Malmö Symphony.
Johnny has appeared as soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the Colburn Orchestra. He has performed recitals throughout the United States and Europe in venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Kravis Center, La Mortella in Ischia, Italy and the American Academy in Berlin. He was a featured artist at the 2007 MBNA Shannon International Music Festival in Limerick, Ireland, and has also attended the Music from Angel Fire Festival, the Juventus Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival and the International Young Artist Music Festival in Hilton Head, NC.
An avid chamber musician, Johnny is a founding member of the Sixth Floor Trio. He has also performed alongside such artists as Ida Kavaﬁan, Anthony Marwood, Christopher O'Riley, eighth blackbird, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet and members of the Peabody Trio. His performances have appeared regularly on American Pubic Media’s nationally broadcast Performance Today, as well as the BBC Radio 3 and Ireland's RTÉ Lyric.
Born in 1987, Johnny was raised in a French family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He started the clarinet at the age of ten, studying with Dwayne VanWyhe and Burt Hara. He attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, working with Nathan Williams. At the age of 17, he was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Montanaro, Pamela Frank and Ford Lallerstedt. In 2011, he received an Artist Diploma from the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he studied with Yehuda Gilad.
From Johnny Teyssier
Matthew McDonald is the principal bassoonist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to his appointment there, he was the co-principal bassoonist of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. Matthew has performed as soloist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra at Rice University. Recently, Matthew has taken part in the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Matthew began studying the bassoon in Huntsville with Hunter Thomas and continued his studies with Benjamin Kamins. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, his other teachers include Barrick Stees, Bernard Garfield, and Daniel Matsukawa.
Besides playing the bassoon, Matt enjoys poetry and wine.
Matt is excited to be a part of Twickenham Fest for its second summer, and, along with Susanna Phillips, is proud to introduce his friends and colleagues to the Huntsville audience.
From Matthew McDonald