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Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents Vocal Recitals This Spring

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program (VAP) presents a series of degree vocal recitals this spring. These are performed by second-year degree candidates, the first to graduate from the program, of which Dawn Upshaw is the artistic director. All the artists most recently performed in the two one-act opera premieres at the Fisher Center. These programs are free and open to the public and are held in Olin Hall (Note that May 12 recital is in Bard Hall). No reservations are necessary; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The recital on Thursday April 17, at 8:00 p.m. features Chanel Wood whose “gleaming soprano” (The New Yorker) has been heard in an increasingly diverse repertory. She has appeared with the Boston Pops in both their holiday concerts and “A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim.” In 2007 she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing “Sun, Moon, and Star,” commissioned in conjunction with the 2007 Carnegie Hall Osvaldo Golijov / Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers. On the opera stage, she has been heard as Die Erste Gespielen in Bard Summerscape’s Der Zwerg; as Helene in Hindemith’s There and Back at Tanglewood Music Center; and as Die Schleppträgerin in a concert version of Elektra, conducted by James Levine. She has collaborated on several chamber pieces, including Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, Chansons madécasses, and The Wanderer and His Shadow, a new composition by Lawrence Kramer. Upcoming engagements include Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the American Symphony Orchestra on April 25 and 26 at the Fisher Center and with the Columbia Festival Orchestra.


Canadian soprano Maghan Stewart performs on Sunday, April 27, at 3:00 p.m. Her voice has been described as “brilliant with warm lyricism” (Times Argus). Her recent performance highlights include her debut at Carnegie Hall in the world-premiere of Doot by Ryan Carter, followed by her debut with the American Symphony Orchestra at Bard SummerScape, playing the role of the Zweite Zofe in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. Other appearances include the CBC Radio Classical Encounters Series, the main stage at the National Art Centre with Opera Lyra Ottawa, and a solo recital at the National Gallery of Canada. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa, Stewart has received prizes that include a Canada Council for the Arts grant; Louis Quilico award; Brian Law Competition; Académie International d’été de Nice competition; and Canadian Music Competition. She has sung throughout Canada, and in Italy, France and Austria. Upcoming performances include her Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debut this spring.


The recital on Sunday, April 27, at 8:00 p.m. features bass-baritone Yohan Yi, a graduate of Hanyang University in South Korea, who studies with Patricia Misslin, Dawn Upshaw, Kayo Iwama, and Jennifer Ringo at VAP. He was a prizewinner at the 21st Music Association of Korea Competition and has performed the roles of Masetto in Don Giovanni and Marcello in La Bohème at the Seoul Arts Center. He recently made his American contemporary music debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the culmination of the Osvaldo Golijov/Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers. At the Fisher Center, he appeared in the 2007 Bard SummerScape production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer and made his solo debut with the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein, singing Ibert’s Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte. This year, at the Cincinnati May Festival, he will perform as Alcade in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino under the baton of James Conlon.


Moscow-born soprano Yulia Van Doren is featured on Monday, May 12, at 7:00 p.m. (in Bard Hall). Van Doren, described as having “the perfect baroque voice” (Seattle Times), was awarded top prizes in the International Bach Vocal Competition and American Bach Soloists’ Competition, and she recorded the role of Ceres for the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) Grammy-nominated recording of Thésée, while still an undergraduate at the New England Conservatory. In 2007 she made her debut at Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood; had a critically acclaimed operatic debut as Poppea with the Early Music Guild of Seattle; and with BEMF, where her aria in the Lully opera Psyché was acclaimed as a highlight by numerous international critics. During the 2007–08 season, she appears in concert with groups including Cincinnati May Festival, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and reprises the role of Belinda on tour with Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dido and Aeneas. This summer, she will be a member of the Santa Fe Opera apprentice program.


The series of recitals continues on Thursday, May 15, at 5:00 p.m. with soprano Kristin Ezell, formerly of Harlingen, Texas. She has received a master of music from Manhattan School of Music and a bachelor of music from Boston University. Last April, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Weill Music Institute’s 2007 Carnegie Hall Osvaldo Golijov / Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers in the world premiere of Scenes by Johannes Lauer. Ezell was a semifinalist for the 2008 Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year competition. Roles and performances include Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, the cover of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with New Jersey Opera Theater, Cathleen in Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams, the First and Second Ladies in Die Zauberflöte, and Grace in Annie. She is cofounder of American Music Productions, with which she created the lead role of Wife in Seymour Barab's new opera, Everyone Has To Be Free, commissioned by AMP.


Later that same evening, Thursday, May 15, at 8:00 p.m., northern California mezzo-soprano Julie Anne Miller appears. Miller made her New York City debut at Carnegie Hall as a featured soloist in the world premiere of Doot, a new work by Ryan Carter, part of the 2007 Carnegie Hall Osvaldo Golijov / Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers. This May, Miller debuts as a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. On the operatic stage, she has appeared as Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She has also been heard as the mezzo soloist in performances of Bach’s Cantata No. 6 and Cantata No. 147a, Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, and Schubert’s Mass in A-flat Major.


Colombian-American soprano Melissa Wegner performs in recital on Sunday, May 18, at 3:00 p.m. Her operatic, concert, and recital credits include performances in United States, Austria, and Italy. The “earthy soprano” (New York Times) was invited to perform David Bruce’s Piosenki with the critically acclaimed Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall and Skidmore College, having premiered the work through the Weill Music Institute’s 2007 Carnegie Hall Osvaldo Golijov / Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers series. A semifinalist in the 2007–08 Young Concert Artist International auditions, Wegner has won the Crane School of Music Concerto Competition. On the opera stage, she was most recently featured as Erste Zofa and The Infanta (cover) in Bard SummerScape’s production of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. Wegner holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.


The series of graduate concludes on Sunday, May 18, at 8:00 p.m., with baritone Yang Yang, who was born in northern China. He began ballet studies at age 10, and at 19 was accepted at the Shanghai Conservatory in vocal studies, earning a bachelor of music degree as a student of Zhou Zheng. As a participant at Zhou Xiaoyan’s International Opera Center, he performed in productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, among others. Yang made his Carnegie Hall debut as part of the 2007 Carnegie Hall Osvaldo Golijov / Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers. He also was soloist with the Berkshire Bach Society under the direction of James Bagwell and performed in a recital with other vocal arts students this past season at the Hudson (N.Y.) Opera House. Most recently, he was a finalist in the Liederkranz Competition in New York.


For additional information, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit

The Bard College Conservatory of Music

Robert Martin, Director
Melvin Chen, Associate Director


Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. Now in its third year, the Conservatory’s undergraduate program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.


Conservatory faculty include violinists Eugene Drucker, Yi-Wen Jiang, Ani Kavafian (master classes), Ida Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode (master classes) and Peter Serkin; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Nadine Asin (master classes) and Tara Helen O’Connor; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; trombonist John Rojak; trumpeter Mark Gould; and tuba player Alan Baer. Joan Tower and George Tsontakis direct the Conservatory Composition Program. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals of the Conservatory Orchestra. In addition, the resources and faculty of the Bard College Music Program are available to students of the Conservatory. The Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship, directed by Frank Corliss, provides accompanists for students in the undergraduate and the graduate vocal arts program.


The Graduate Program in Vocal Arts is a two-year master of music degree conceived by soprano Dawn Upshaw. The course work is designed to support a broad-based approach to a singing career that extends from standard repertory to new music. Alongside weekly voice lessons and diction and repertory courses is training in acting, as well as core seminars that introduce and tie together the historical/cultural perspective, analytical tools, and performance skills that distinguish vocal and operatic performance at the highest level. In addition to artistic director Upshaw, the program includes head of program Kayo Iwama; voice teachers Edith Bers, Patricia Misslin, and Lorraine Nubar; diction coach Jennifer Ringo; Alexander Technique teachers Gwen Ellison and Judith Grodowitz; staff pianist Ying-Chien Lin; and career workshop coordinator Carol Yaple. Master classes have been held with conductor James Conlon; pianist Richard Goode; vocalists Phyllis Curtin, Timothy Hill, and Lucy Shelton; and directors JoAnne Akalaitis, Eve Shapiro, and Peter Sellars.


The Conductors Institute at Bard aims to promote technical clarity and precision in baton movement; disarm the competitive learning process so that conductors assist and support one another; and encourage conductors to be advocates of contemporary composers. The six-week summer Conductors Institute offers four programs: the Discovery Program; the Composer-Conductor Program for composers who want to learn the fundamentals of conducting; Visual Score Study/Baton Placement and Body Movement Technique; and the Conducting Program for Fellows and Colleagues, in which students study with Maestro Harold Farberman and guest conductors and composers. The M.F.A. in conducting program comprises two consecutive summer Institutes and course work during the intervening academic year. The academic-year program features master classes in technical score study and analysis; class study in orchestral repertoire, composition, German or Italian for conductors, a “second” instrument, and solfège; and podium time, including class sessions with the Institute String Quintet, conducting opportunities with orchestra and chorus, and a thesis concert with the Institute Orchestra.


For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit

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This event was last updated on 05-19-2008