Edith BersEdith Bers received bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University and studied voice with Tourel, Callas, Popper, Berl, Guth, Faull, B. P. Johnson, Cuenod, Brown, Hotter, and Stader; and acting with Stella Adler. Among her performance credits are the United States premiere of Schumann's Des Sangers Fluch and the television production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw. She has presented master classes and served on juries throughout the world, including: Symposium on the Care of the Professional Voice, Aspen Music Festival, Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition (Brussels), Korean Broadcasting System, and the Bel Canto Institute (Florence). In addition to teaching at Bard, Edith Bers teaches at the Juilliard School (where she served as chair of the voice department from 1991 to 1995), Manhattan School of Music, and New York University.
Artistic Director, Graduate Vocal Arts Program
Stephanie BlytheA renowned opera singer and recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Her repertoire ranges from Handel to Wagner, German lieder to contemporary and classic American song. Ms. Blythe has performed on many of the world's great stages, such as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris National Opera and San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Seattle Operas. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year in 2009, received an Opera News Award in 2007 and won the Tucker Award in 1999. Ms. Blythe recently released her first crossover recording on the Innova label with pianist Craig Terry. Ms. Blythe has sung in many of the renowned opera houses in the US and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris. Her many roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila , Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, and Giulio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Il Trittico, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress, Ježibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites; Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Ino/Juno in Semele. She also created the role of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27 at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Ms. Blythe has also appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at the BBC Proms. The many conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alan Gilbert, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas. A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall in Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center in both its Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presenter by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances. A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg, Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Smith which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Alan Smith and featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones. Ms Blythe starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice, Il Trittico, Rodelinda, and the complete Ring Cycle. She also appeared in PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic's performance of Carousel and her acclaimed show, We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith. Her recordings include her solo album, as long as there are songs (Innova), and works by Mahler, Brahms, Wagner, Handel and Bach (Virgin Classics). Ms. Blythe's many engagements have also included her return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Rake's Progress, the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Il Trovatore, the Seattle Opera for Semele, Samson et Dalilah with the Atlanta Symphony and Carnegie Hall for a recital in Stern Auditorium. Last season she performed with the San Francisco Opera as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and the Houston Grand Opera as Nettie Fowler in Carousel. She also performed her new program, Sing, America! at Carnegie Hall. Next season she returns to Opera Philadelphia for the title role in Tancredi, brings her acclaimed performance of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27 to New York's City Center, and returns to Palm Beach as Ruth in performances of The Pirates of Penzance. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award. She is also the Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at the Crane School of Music.
Richard CoxAmerican tenor Richard Cox possesses a remarkable voice that combines lyric and heroic qualities, and is equally suited to opera, concert, and recitals.
His recent opera engagements have included Captain Ahab in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby Dick with the Chicago Opera Theater and Opera San José; the title role of Siegfried in concert with the North Carolina Opera; Loge in Das Rheingold (Minnesota Opera and North Carolina Opera); Mitch in Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Hawaii Opera Theatre); Laca in Jenůfa for Des Moines Metro Opera; Peter Grimes (Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra); his debut with the Washington National Opera for Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (Das Rheingold and Die Walküre); Prinz Kalaf in Ferruccio Busoni's Turandot for the Bard SummerScape Festival, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, Sergei in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Tichon in Káta Kabanová at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile; Froh in Das Rheingold, Malcom in Macbeth, First Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte (Live in HD) and the Celebrant in Nico Muhly's Two Boys at the Metropolitan Opera; Don José in Carmen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in Samson et Dalila at the New Orleans Opera; Ruprecht in Viktor Ulmann's Der zerbrochene Krug at the Los Angeles Opera (released on DVD by Arthaus Musik); Larry Renault for the European Premiere of William Bolcom and Mark Campbell's Dinner at Eight at the Wexford Festival Opera; Adolar in Weber's Euryanthe at the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden; and Claudio in the first fully-staged North American production of Wagner's Das Liebesverbot at the Glimmerglass Festival. A former ensemble member at Oper Frankfurt, Mr. Cox appeared in several new productions there, including The Tempest, Arabella, Owen Wingrave, and Das Rheingold (releaed on CD and DVD by Oehms Classics). He was also seen as Florestan in Fidelio, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, the Bishop of Budoja in Palestrina (released on CD by Oehms Classics), and Aegisth in Elektra.
An accomplished concert singer and recitalist, Mr. Cox has appeared as the tenor soloist in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the Britt Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony, and Laredo Philharmonic; with the Collegiate Chorale and Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall; Mark in the America premiere of Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers, and Siegmund in a concert version of Act One of Die Walküre with the American Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Cox was on the roster of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and made his New York rectial debut in the On Wings of Song rectial series, and recently sang Schumann's Dichterliebe as part of the West End Collegiate Church Concert Series in New York.
The recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, Richard Cox has earned grants from the George London Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index Inc., the Olga Forrai Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and the Shoshana Foundation. He has been honored with a Lucrezia Bori Grant for foreign study, the Juilliard School Vocal Arts Honors Recital at Alice Tully Hall, and the Campbell Watcher Memorial Award for singers from Santa Fe Opera.
Mr. Cox holds degrees from Tennessee Technological University, Florida State University, and The Juilliard School. He is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), Opera America, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
German Language and Translation
Elaine Fitz GibbonElaine Fitz Gibbon is a doctoral candidate in Historical Musicology at Harvard University. She received her MA in German Studies from Princeton, and her BA in Musicology and German Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Diploma of Advanced Studies in music journalism from the Musik Akademie Basel and has been active as a journalist in the field of new music in the German speaking realm. Her dissertation, which focuses on the music-conceptual work of the Argentine German composer Mauricio Kagel, explores trends and relations of opera, music theater and electro-acoustic music of the avant-garde from 1945 to today from the perspective of circum-Atlantic migration and mobility. Fitz Gibbon has published translations of texts by Bernd Alois Zimmermann for The Opera Quarterly (2014) and Hans Merian for Princeton University Press (Puccini and His World, 2015). Her article, “Beethoven Returns to Bonn: Origins, Belonging and Misuse in Mauricio Kagel’s Ludwig van (1969),” was published in Current Musicology (107) in 2021 and her chapter on the music notational practices of conceptual artist Hanne Darboven recently appeared in the volume Material Cultures of Music Notation (Routledge, 2022). An interview with the Irish composer Jennifer Walshe (b. 1974) is forthcoming in The Opera Quarterly. In her free time, Fitz Gibbon enjoys playing chamber music on modern and Baroque cellos.
Undergraduate and Graduate Voice, Undergraduate and Graduate Seminars
Lucy Fitz GibbonNoted for her “dazzling, virtuoso singing” (Boston Globe), Lucy Fitz Gibbon is a dynamic musician whose repertoire spans the Renaissance to the present. She believes that creating new works and recreating those lost in centuries past makes room for the multiplicity and diversity of voices integral to classical music’s future. As such, Ms. Fitz Gibbon has given U.S. premieres of rediscovered works by Baroque composers Francesco Sacrati, Barbara Strozzi, and Agostino Agazzari, as well by 20 th century composers including Tadeusz Kassern, Roman Palester, and Jean Barraqué. She has also worked closely with numerous others, premiering works by John Harbison, Kate Soper, Sheila Silver, David Hertzberg, Reena Esmail, Roberto Sierra, Anna Lindemann, and Pauline Oliveros. In helping to realize the complexities of music beyond written notes, the experience of working with these composers translates to all music: the commitment to faithfully communicate not only the score, but also the underlying intentions of its creator.
As a recitalist Ms. Fitz Gibbon has appeared with her collaborative partner, pianist Ryan McCullough, in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Park Avenue Armory, and Merkin Hall; and Toronto’s Koerner Hall. They have three forthcoming CDs: Descent/Return, featuring works by James Primosch and John Harbison on Albany Records (May 2020); one alongside Dawn Upshaw and Stephanie Blythe of Sheila Silver’s complete Art Song repertoire; and one featuring mid-20 th century Polish works on Acte Préalable. In concert, Lucy has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra; the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra; the Albany, Richmond, Tulsa, and Eureka Symphonies, and the American Symphony Orchestra in her Carnegie Hall debut. She has also premiered two major works by John Harbison and Shirish Korde with Boston Musica Viva, appeared in concert with the Aizuri Quartet, and will appear on tour with Musicians from Marlboro in such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Kimmel Center through 2022. Debuts with the Seattle Opera and Lexington and Kalamazoo Symphonies, as well an appearance with the Doric Quartet at the West Cork Festival in Ireland and a guest recital at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, were all delayed because of COVID-19.
A graduate of Yale University, Ms. Fitz Gibbon is the recipient of numerous awards for her musicaland academic achievements. She holds an artist diploma from The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory and a master’s degree from Bard College-Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program; her principal teachers include Monica Whicher, Edith Bers, and Dawn Upshaw. She has spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center (2014-2015) and Marlboro Music Festival (2016-2019). She is currently Interim Director of the Vocal Program at Cornell University and on the faculty of Bard College Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and will serve as voice faculty for Kneisel Hall’s 2020 season, occurring online. For more information, see www.lucyfitzgibbon.com.
Associate Director, Graduate Vocal Arts Program
Kayo IwamaAmerican pianist Kayo Iwama has concertized extensively with singers such as Stephanie Blythe, Kendra Colton, William Hite, Rufus Müller, Christòpheren Nomura, Lucy Shelton and Dawn Upshaw throughout North America, Europe and Japan, and has performed in many prestigous venues including the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, The DiMenna Center, Merkin Hall, The Morgan Library, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The Washington Post has called her a pianist “with unusual skill and sensitivty to the music and the singer” and the Boston Globe has praised her “virtuoso accompaniment…super-saturated with gorgeous colors”.
Miss Iwama is the associate director of the innovative Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she works alongside Stephanie Blythe, the Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano and recently appointed artistic director of the program. Miss Iwama has been with the program since its inception in 2006, working in tandem with the founding artistic director, the acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw. Other collaborations with Dawn Upshaw include master classes and a recital at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, and appearances at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia, the University of Wyoming, Edward Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Ms. Iwama has been a faculty member of Songfest, and for over two decades taught at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she also served as the coordinator of the Vocal Studies Program. There she worked with some of today’s most promising young singers and collaborative pianists, and assisted Maestros James Levine, Seiji Ozawa and Robert Spano in major operatic and concert productions. In addition her teaching has also taken her to some of the foremost universities of the United States and Asia to give master classes and performance/demonstrations. A former resident of the Boston, Massachusetts area, she was a frequent performer on WGBH radio, and performed with such groups as the Florestan Recital Project, the Handel and Haydn Society and Emmanuel Music. In addition she was the founder, music director and pianist of the critically acclaimed Cantata Singers Chamber Series, creating programs devoted to rarely-heard works of art song and vocal chamber music. She was formerly on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Miss Iwama earned a bachelor of music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her master of music at Stony Brook University where she studied with Gilbert Kalish. She also attended the Salzburg Music Festival, the Banff Music Center, the Music Academy of the West and the Tanglewood Music Center, where she worked with such artists as Margo Garrett, Martin Isepp, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz and Erik Werba. She has served previously on the music staffs of the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Miss Iwama can be heard on CD on the Well-Tempered label, with baritone Christópheren Nomura in Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, two ISMM discs devoted to French mélodies and the songs of Schumann with tenor Ingul Ivan Oak, and on the The Reckless Heart with soprano Kendra Colton, a collection of 20th century American and British song. She will also be heard on a newly released CD with Miss Colton in the vocal music of John Harbison, honoring the composer’s 80th birthday
Yelena KurdinaExtraordinary pianist, recitalist, coach, prompter and assistant conductor, Yelena Kurdina is among the most sought after collaborators in the opera world today.
A specialist in Russian repertoire at The Metropolitan Opera for over 25 years, Ms. Kurdina became Placido Domingo’s private coach for his preparation of “one of the most important roles of his career,” Ghermann in Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”. Ms. Kurdina joined Mr. Domingo for the productions in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and the Vienna Staatsoper, and also accompanied him in concert on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in a program of Spanish music. Indeed, Ms. Kurdina has partnered with many of the most outstanding singers of our time. Yelena was the coach and consultant for Renee Fleming’s recordings of “Night Songs” and “Homage: The Age of the Diva”, as well as her televised appearance as Tatiana in “Eugene Onegin” with the New York Philharmonic on PBS’ Great Performances and later on the Met HD telecast. Ms. Kurdina’s recitals with the remarkable Dmitri Hvorostovsky, have been called “rich and haunting collaborations, beautifully judged and impeccably ardent”.
No stranger to the leading international opera houses, Ms. Kurdina has brought her distinguished musicianship to such renowned festivals and opera houses as the Opéra national de Paris, Houston Grand Opera, Saito Kinen Festival in Japan, Summerscape in the Frank Gehry theater at Bard College, Cincinnati May Festival, Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla, Spain, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera in Washington, DC. and recently San Francisco Symphony. Ms. Kurdina has been the assistant to a host of extraordinary conductors - Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Seiji Ozawa, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, James Conlon, Valery Gergiev, Jiří Bělohlávek, Fabio Luisi, Michael Tilson Thomas among others - with whom she has worked not only on Russian operas, but also on many Italian operas, as well. Among the highlights of her operatic career are Verdi’s “Otello” and “Don Carlo”, Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”, Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” and Prokofiev’s “Gambler” and “War and Peace”.
Hailing originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Kurdina is a protégé of John Wustman - the “Dean of American accompanists” - with whom she studied at the University of Illinois. Like her illustrious mentor, an important part of Ms. Kurdina’s career has centered on working with young artists. Ms. Kurdina has been on the faculty of the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv for many years, she has been a regular guest of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington Opera and Domingo
Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera, SIVAM in Mexico City, and maintains a vibrant private studio in New York City, where she has coached innumerable singers who have gone on to major operatic careers.
Ms. Kurdina has also developed an outstanding system of transliteration for Russian opera that has been lauded by houses across the country. Ms. Kurdina’s transliterations of such scores as “Eugene Onegin”, “The Queen of Spades”, “Khovanshina”, “Boris Godunov”, “The Gambler”, “Mazepa”, “The Nose” and “The Maid of Orleans”, as well as many others, are currently in use by such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Lorraine NubarVocalist. B.A., M.A., The Juilliard School. Studied with Jennie Tourel, William Vennard, Daniel Ferro, Martial Singher, Frank Corsaro, Gerard Souzay, Elly Ameling, Jeanine Reiss, and pianist Dalton Baldwin, with whom she conducts annual master classes at Vermont Opera Theater’s “Foliage Art Song” festival. First American to be appointed to the voice faculty of the Paris Conservatory; has prepared singers for the Paris and Lyon Operas and regularly conducts summer master classes at Foundation Royaumont in Val d’Oise, Centre International de Formation Musicale in Nice, and summer vocal chamber music program at Les Azuriales Opera. Has served as juror for Young Concert Artists International competition, Paris Concours, and Marseille Concours. Teaches at Bard College Conservatory, Juilliard, and New England Conservatory.
Joan Patenaude-YarnellFollowing her debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Micaela in Carmen, this Canadian-born soprano joined both the New York City and San Francisco Operas. She has also sung with opera companies throughout North America and Europe. Her roles have included Violetta in La Traviata, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Gilda in Rigoletto, Nedda in I Pagliacci, the title role in Suor Angelica, Mimì in La Bohème, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Elle in La Voix Humaine, and Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict. As a recitalist she performed internationally under the auspices of the Canadian Government, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Les Jeunesses musicales, and the United States Department of State. With orchestra she sang under the batons of Sir Charles Mackerras, Charles Dutoit, Seiji Ozawa, Julius Rudel, and James De Preist. Her recordings include Songs of the Great Opera Composers with Mikael Eliasen, pianist, on the Musical Heritage Society label, as well as releases on the C.B.C. International Series and Vanguard labels. In addition to her position at Bard Conservatory, Miss Patenaude-Yarnell also serves on the voice faculties of Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music. Her students perform with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Paris Opéra, Chicago Lyric Opera, and Stuttgart Opera and are participants in the young artists programs at Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Center (Zurich, Switzerland), and Volksoper (Vienna). Several of her students are current winners of the George London Foundation Awards, Marilyn Horne Foundation Awards, and Puccini Foundation Awards, as well as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions First Prize Winner, 2004. She has presented her master class “The Principals of Bel Canto” throughout the U.S. and Canada. In the 2014-15 season Miss Patenaude-Yarnell has given master classes in the Art of Bel Canto at the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) Young Artists Program, Princeton University, and the University of Southern Ontario (Canada). She is presenting classes in spring 2015 at Guild Hall (London, England), the Royal Welsh College of Music/Drama (Cardiff, Wales), and Oberlin in Italy (Arezzo, Italy).
Elizabeth ReeseElizabeth Reese (AmSAT, M.Ed, LMHC), began studying the Alexander Technique in 1981 and considered the work as a core part of her training as a choreographer/performer in NYC. She certified as an Alexander teacher in 1994 at the American Center for the Alexander Technique and, in 2006, as a teacher of Breathing Coordination with Jessica Wolf. Elizabeth was senior faculty for ten years at AT-NYC, a certification course for AT teachers, and is a founder and instructor at Postural Rehabilitation, a continuing education program for veterinarians. In 1999, she created and established The Warwick Summer Arts Festival, producing performance events at farms, parks and lakes around the town of Warwick, NY, which continues today. Her interest in the embodied experience of trauma led her to her masters work in mental health counseling and, in 2014, her work as a research associate on a study exploring the significance of posture in performance, injury, relationship and emotional regulation, using horses as models, funded by the American Holistic Veterinary Foundation. Elizabeth has presented workshops and seminars throughout the US as well as Ireland and Denmark and has presented at numerous national conferences for the American Society of the Alexander Technique. She is currently on faculty at Neighborhood Playhouse and maintains a private practice at her farm in Sugar Loaf, New York and in New York City.
Assistant Professor of Music, Bard College; Director, Postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship, Undergraduate and Graduate Diction, Undergraduate and Graduate Vocal Coaching, Conservatory of Music
Erika SwitzerErika Switzer is an internationally active pianist, teacher, and arts administrator. She has performed on the stages of New York’s Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), David Geffen Hall (Lincoln Center), Frick Collection, and Bargemusic, and at the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Spoleto Festival, Mostly Mozart, Bard Music Festival, and Stanford Live. During a seven-year sojourn in Germany, she performed at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and the Munich Winners & Masters series, and won numerous awards, including best pianist prizes at the Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf, and Wigmore Hall International Song Competitions. European appearances also include recitals for Pro Musicis at the Salle Cortot in Paris, Académie Francis Poulenc at the L’Hôtel de ville de Tours, and Göppingen Meisterkonzerte. Recent premieres include the 5 Boroughs Music Festival Songbook II (Matthew Aucoin, Jonathan Dawe, Evan Fein, Whitney George, Laura Kaminsky, Missy Mazzoli, Paola Prestini, Kamala Sankaram); Brooklyn Art Song Society (Andrew Staniland); and Vancouver’s Music on Main (Jocelyn Morlock, Caroline Shaw, Jeffrey Ryan). Switzer has been recorded by the CBC, Dutch Radio (Radio 4), SWR and the Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, WQXR New York, and WGBH Boston. A recent recording release, English Songs à la française, features her long-standing duo partnership with baritone Tyler Duncan. Together with soprano Martha Guth, she created Sparks & Wiry Cries (sparksandwirycries.org), which contributes to the future of art song performance through publication of The Art Song Magazine, presentation of the songSLAM festival in New York City, and the commission of new works. In addition to teaching in Bard’s undergraduate Music Program, Switzer works with the Graduate Vocal Arts Program on diction for singers, vocal coaching, and chamber music, and directs the Postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship. BM, MM (solo piano), University of British Columbia; MM, Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, Germany; DM (collaborative piano), The Juilliard School. At Bard since 2010.
Howard WatkinsAmerican pianist Howard Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout the Americas, Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Far East. In past seasons, he has appeared in concert and on television with Joyce DiDonato, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecien, Matthew Polenzani, Michelle De Young, Marcello Giordani, Diana Damrau, Ben Heppner, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Alexandra Deshorties, Lawrence Brownlee, Anthony Dean Griffey, and violinists Xiang Gao and Sarah Chang. Under the aegis of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Mr. Watkins has performed in recitals and educational residencies in the United States, and he has also appeared in the Horne Foundation gala New York recital.
Mr. Watkins made his Carnegie Hall performing debut in 2002 as the harpsichord recitative accompanist in Haydn's Die Schöpfung with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. He has given recitals and concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the United States Supreme Court, Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the three stages of Carnegie Hall, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. In addition, he has performed with the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel Halls under the baton of James Levine. He has accompanied the classes of such legendary artists as Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, Regina Resnik, Regine Crespin, Frederica von Stade, Birgit Nilsson, Shirley Verrett, Håkan Hagegård, Elisabeth Soderstrom, and Josef Gingold among others. A number of his performances have been broadcast on WQXR in New York as part of George Jellinek’s “The Vocal Scene” and the “Young Artist Showcase”, and he has recorded for the Centaur and Prestant labels.
As an educator, Mr. Watkins was formerly the Vocal Arts Program Co Coordinator of the Tanglewood Music Center, and he has taught at the Aspen Music Festival; the Banff Centre; Meadowmount School of Music; the International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia, Israel, Japan, and China; VOICExperience in Florida and Savannah, Georgia with Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. In 2015, he was a founding member of the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy. Currently on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the Washington National Opera Cafritz Young Artist Program, he was formerly a faculty member of the Mannes College of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute. He has worked on the music staffs of the Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera, and Palm Beach Opera.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, and he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 1998 at the University of Michigan. In 2004, Mr. Watkins was honored as the recipient of both the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan for his outstanding contributions to the field of music, and a Special Achievement Award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton. He is the 2019 recipient of the “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award from the National Opera Association. He is currently a resident of New York City.
Mr. Watkins appears courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.