Berkshire Choral International

Professionals you can learn from

The faculty who teach our workshops and classes are career singers and musicians with advanced training and performance experience. If it’s possible to come away from BCI without learning something new, no one has done it yet.

We will update this page with the 2019 faculty in the spring.

Diane Walters

Soprano

Diane Walters described as a “clear, beautifully colored soprano” by the Broad Street Review in Philadelphia and “sweetly endearing” by Music in Cincinnati, is an artist based in Brownsville, Texas. A frequent soloist, she has performed such works as Mozart’s Requiem, Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Honeggper’s King David, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.

A specialist in collaborative music, Diane has sung with ensembles across the country and in Europe including the Grammy award-winning ensemble The Crossing, Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, Taylor Festival Choir, Weimar Bach Cantata Academy, Chorosynthesis, Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival, Schola Cincinnati, Dallas Choral Festival, and JSB Ensemble of the International Bachakademie Stuttgart.  Diane recently founded Alium Spiritum, a professional vocal quartet with her husband, Sean Taylor. 

Before moving to Brownsville, Diane taught elementary music and directed the Carroll High School Drama Club. She received a Bachelor of Music from Capital University Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music and a Professional Studies Diploma from the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University. Diane joins us on the Baltimore faculty this year, returning for her seventh season with BCI after having both apprenticed and served as an administrative assistant.

Helen Karloski

Mezzo-Soprano

Helen Karloski has been gaining recognition particularly in her portrayal of the oratorio repertoire. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Ellen Lopin Blair Award for First Place in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Solo Competition. The Santa Fe New Mexican proclaimed “Her voice is beautifully suited for oratorio, and the sincerity of her delivery, along with her poised bearing and physical presentation, forged an almost palpable connection with the audience." Helen's 2017-18 includes performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall with the Masterwork Chorus and with the Worcester Chorus both under the baton of Chris Shepard, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the St. Andrew’s Music Society, a series of concerts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. with the New York Opera Society, and Haydn’s Harmonienmesse with the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York.

The New York Times wrote of her performance in Georg Philip Telemann's rarely performed oratorio Der Tag des Gerichts, "Helen Karloski commanded attention as Reason." Ms. Karloski made her Lincoln Center debut in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers with the Mostly Mozart Festival under the baton of Iván Fischer and her Carnegie Hall debut performing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Bruckner’s Te Deum under the baton of Kent Tritle with the Oratorio Society of New York. Recent solo appearances include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Harry Bicket and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Omaha Symphony, the world premiere of Evan Fein’s Deborah with Musica Sacra, Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the American Classical Orchestra, Copland’s In the Beginning with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space and the Alto soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the New York City Ballet. Other solo engagements include Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Theresienmesse with Voices of Ascension, Bach’s Magnificat with the Victoria Bach Festival, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Choral Society of Grace Church, and Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody with St. Andrew’s Music Society. Favorite performances include The Cunning Little Vixen (Hen), Le Grande Macabre, and My Fair Lady with the New York Philharmonic, Les Huguenots and Oresteia at Bard SummerScape, and the New York City premier of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel, directed by Academy Award-nominated Julie Taymor.  An accomplished ensemble singer, Ms. Karloski has appeared with Conspirare, where she was featured on the GRAMMY-winning recording The Sacred Spirit of Russia, Voices of Ascension, Musica Sacra, Santa Fe Desert Choral, and Handel and Haydn Society.

Helen joins us in Baltimore for her third year on the BCI faculty.

Richard Kosowski

Tenor

Richard Kosowski maintains an active career as a soloist, recitalist, chorister, conductor, director and educator. His performance career includes a varied repertoire encompassing over 50 opera and oratorio roles, representing music from the early 17th century through the 21st century. He is an active song recitalist, and this past March Rich performed a chamber recital with his wife, mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Kosowski, and soprano Melissa Givens (BCI, Sheffield soloist for Elijah 2006). Together, they performed music by Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Viardot, Zaninelli, and Hella-Johnson, and presented the Southeast premiere of Sammartini’s Lenten cantata, Il pianto delle pie donne (The tears of the pious women), for which Rich scribed parts for and conducted a small orchestra and sang the role of the Angel.  As a professional chorister he has sung across North America, Europe, and Asia with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera National Company, National Chorale (NYC), Coro Vocati (serving as tenor section leader, diction pedagogue and rehearsal assistant) and the Choral Guild of Atlanta.

On the faculty of the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University since 2007, Rich is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for TSM, and in fall 2018 he will begin to serve as the interim Chair of the Vocal Studies area. As music director and conductor for Mercer University Opera, he has led performances of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (2016), Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (2017) and Iolanthe (2013), Mozart’s Così fan tutte (2018) and The Magic Flute (2014), and in January 2015, he conducted Handel’s Alcina. This past fall, he led performances of the children’s opera The Trial of Goldilocks for 2,500 children and adults in Macon and in neighboring Monroe County. In March 2017, he led the premiere of extended orchestral scenes from the new opera Hugh Smalling, which recounts the life and events of a local Macon (GA) hero who lost his life in a bombing raid during World War II. The full opera is scheduled to premiere in the 2019 -2020 academic year.

Rich is the music director for the Mercer University Youth Choirs program, a position he has held since 2011. In this role he has prepared MUYC for performances of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Nick Page’s The Nursery Rhyme Cantata for “Once Upon a Symphony,” and two annual performances of “Home for the Holidays” with the Macon Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous local concerts. Under his direction, MUYC has traveled to 22 states and performed in important venues in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Providence (RI), Philadelphia, Washington DC, Winston-Salem, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Charleston (SC) and Savannah. He began his teaching career as an elementary music specialist with Atlanta (GA) Public Schools.

For the past year, Rich has served as the interim Director of Music for Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, a large, vibrant congregation and the mother church of Methodism in Georgia. In this capacity, he served as conductor of the Ainsworth Choir (adult choir) and the Wesley Choir (1st-5th grades) and oversaw the musical activities of the church. His weekly duties include planning liturgy for and preparing the choirs and soloists for two of three services each Sunday. At Mulberry, he has led choral/ orchestral performances of Bach’s Sleepers, Awake! (BWV 140) and the Easter portion of Handel’s Messiah.

Rich holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Houston Moores School of Music (TX), a Master of Music from the University of Miami Philip and Patricia Frost School of Music (FL) and a Bachelor of Music Education from Truman State University (MO). He will serve on both the Baltimore and Fullerton faculty in his eighth year with BCI.

Kirk Averitt

Bass

Kirk Averitt  is the Director of Choral Music at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, MA, where he teaches choral ensembles from grades 6 through 12. In addition to teaching, Kirk serves as music director at Weston Congregational Church. He holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. At UMass he conducted the University Women's and Recital Choirs and taught an undergraduate course in Arts Appreciation. 

Kirk is originally from Decatur, AL. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, Kirk held positions as the interim choral director at Brentwood High School and baritone section leader at West End United Methodist Church. He also performed with a number of choral groups including Music City Baroque and the Nashville Chamber Singers. This is his fifth season with BCI, where he started as an apprentice. He joins the faculty in Baltimore and Saratoga Springs.

Paul Conrad

Pianist

New Jersey-based Paul Conrad received his B.M. in piano performance and M.M. in collaborative piano from Mason Gross School of the Arts. He is in high demand as an accompanist for both soloists and ensembles as a staff pianist at MGSA. Paul was selected twice as Accompanying Apprentice at Berkshire Choral International, where he played master classes with prominent singers and conductors, including Tim LeFebvre, Jerry Blackstone, David Hayes, and Craig Hella Johnson.

Paul is the recipient of many collegiate awards, including the RUGC Aspinall Award, Presser Foundation Award, Arthur G. Humphrey Memorial Prize, and the NJ State Governor’s Scholarship. Under the direction of MGSA professor Min Kwon, he performed at Weill Recital Hall as part of a Franz Liszt 200th Anniversary Recital. Paul sang with and now accompanies the Rutgers University Glee Club, the university’s internationally acclaimed male choir, conducted by Dr. Patrick Gardner, as well as the university’s premiere mixed ensemble, Kirkpatrick Choir.

Throughout his studies of collaboration and chamber music, Paul has received coaching from artists Barbara Gonzalez-Palmer, Allison Brewster-Franzetti, Matti Hirvonen, and Warren Jones. He has worked extensively as pianist and musical director in collaboration with soprano Lori Mirabel for the Maplewood/South Orange Coalition on Race child-friendly operatic productions, including Robert Kapilow’s adaptations on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and Gertrude McFuzz, as well as Verdi’s Aida and Dvořák’s Rusalka.

Paul is an avid ballet pianist, playing regularly for the Rutgers University Dance Department, Lustig Dance Theatre (New Brunswick, NJ), and annually at the Cecchetti International Summer School at Hope College, MI. Paul also accompanies the Highland Park Community Chorus (NJ) under the direction of Benjamin T. Berman, and serves choir director and organist at Middlebush Reformed Church in Franklin, NJ.

Originally a Berkshire Scholar at BCI, Paul returns for his sixth season this year, where he will be accompanist faculty in Baltimore.

Kristina Bachrach

Soprano

Kristina Bachrach is emerging as a young artist confident in an extensive range of styles and languages. In 2017, she has joined MetroWest Opera Company as Musetta in their production of La femme bohème, an all-female take on Puccini's evergreen masterpiece, and has appeared with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn as soloist for Knoxville: Summer of 1915. She made her American Lyric Theater debut as part of its The New Crew event, presenting the initial hearings of works by Shuying Li and Andy Teirstein, and rejoins Bare Opera as Susanna in the two-hour Mozart / Rossini pastiche Figaro/ Figaro!  A frequent and beloved guest artist with the Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS), she appears with them on a variety of French mélodie concert programs throughout the season.

During the 2016–2017 season, Kristina made her debut with the New York Choral Society at St. Patrick's Cathedral for the American premiere of Joseph Vella's The Hyland Mass, produced by the Order of Malta, and joined BASS in repertoire ranging from Schubert lieder to Hanns Eisler's Hollywood Songbook.

In recent seasons, Kristina has become increasingly in demand for fulfilling prestigious artist residencies. This spring she was an Artist-In-Residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she performed a recital and delivered  a lecture on music by composers who were suppressed or killed during the Holocaust. In the spring of 2017, she joined the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar under the guidance of Stephanie Blythe and Alan Smith to focus on the study and performance of song literature written by living composers. From there she spent the summer in residence at North America's most prestigious chamber music retreat, the Marlboro Music Festival. As one of a select few singers invited to Marlboro, Kristina studied and performed lieder and chamber music alongside the world-renowned artist roster.

Kristina's concert activity includes recital performances of Milhaud's rarely performed song cycle Alissa in the Masterworks Series at BargeMusic and at Notre Dame University, and performances of Schoenberg's Second String Quartet with the Cantata Profana Ensemble in New Haven and New York. Additional New York performances include her appearance with the Westchester Choral Society for their 2013 Christmas concert, her debut with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn as the soprano soloist in the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, and her Carnegie Hall debut with the Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra as the soprano soloist in the Bruckner Te Deum. Kristina has performed in recital under the auspices of the Moravian Music Foundation and the Joy in Singing Foundation, and toured a Brahms Lieder program with BASS.

Equally adventurous as an operatic artist, Kristina has appeared in new and rarely performed repertoire with Thompson Street Opera (Louisville, KY), Gotham Chamber Opera, Opera Naples, and New York's Bare Opera, in whose inaugural production of L'enfant et les sortilèges she made her role debuts as the Princess and Shepherdess. Kristina has fulfilled residencies with Nashville Opera, where she appeared as Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, and Lyric Opera of Virginia, where she returned to perform Musetta in La bohème.

Kristina holds degrees from Mannes College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (summa cum laude). She is an award winner with the Ziering-Conlon Art Song Competition, American Prize Competition, the Philharmonic Society of Arlington’s Young Artist Competition, the MetroWest Opera Competition, and the Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges.

She joins BCI in Saratoga Springs for her third season on the faculty.

Mary Gerbi

Mezzo-Soprano

Mary Gerbi is a versatile soloist and chamber musician whose repertoire ranges from medieval chant to new music premieres. She has been praised for her “earthy tone and crisp diction,” “trumpet-like projection,” and “impressive control,” (Boston Musical Intelligencer); and for “project[ing] emotion with easy power” (Boston Globe).

Mary has performed as an oratorio soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society, Emmanuel Music, Arcadia Players, Berkshire Bach Society, Boston Cecilia, and Maryland Choral Society, among others. An experienced interpreter of early music, she has presented lecture-recitals at the Peabody Essex and Concord Museums and is currently a core member of Ensemble Origo, a group that presents early repertoire in historical contexts.

A naturally gifted actress, Mary has performed Baroque operatic roles with Connecticut Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music, and La Donna Musicale. Also an advocate of new music, she performed David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project “with outstanding sensitivity and skill” (Boston Classical Review). She appears on True Concord’s Grammy-nominated album Far in the Heavens and on a dozen other recordings with groups such as Boston Baroque, Cut Circle, and Lorelei Ensemble. Raised in Millbrook, NY, she studied at Boston University and has resided in the Boston area ever since. Saratoga Springs marks her eighth season on the BCI faculty.

Matthew Swanson

Tenor

Matthew Swanson, a native of southeast Iowa, is assistant conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival Youth Chorus, adjunct instructor of early music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and chorus master of CCM Opera. He frequently prepares choruses for performances with the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops.

As Community Engagement Coordinator for the May Festival, Matthew organizes and presents lectures and community forums on choral masterworks throughout the year. Recent conducting engagements include concerts at the Cincinnati Early Music Festival, performances with Cincinnati’s Musica Sacra, the Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble and the King’s College Music Society, and frequent appearances with ensembles at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

As a tenor, Matthew has performed with Schola Antiqua (Chicago) and the Vocal Arts Ensemble (Cincinnati). In May 2017, he will co-present sessions on the monophonic repertoire from Benevento, Italy, at the International Medieval Congress.

Matthew is Assistant Choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Cincinnati. Prior to his appointment at Redeemer, he was Master of the Schola at the Chapel of St. John Fisher, Cambridge, UK. He earned degrees in American Studies and trumpet performance at the University of Notre Dame, and holds degrees in conducting and choral music from the University of Cincinnati and King’s College, Cambridge. 

He returns to BCI in Saratoga Springs for his fifth year on staff..

Mitchell Vines

Pianist

Mitchell Vines’ active performing career has taken him to Europe, South America, Asia and throughout the United States. The German newspaper Hessische Niedersächsische Allgemeine wrote “The sensitive playing of American pianist Mitchell Vines captivated the audience. He performed with virtuosity and bravura.”

Mitchell’s professional associations include Berkshire Choral International, New York Summer Opera Scenes, Trinity Church Wall Street, CantaLyrica Chamber Choir, and the Vermont Music and Arts Center. He was twice soloist with the New York Repertory Orchestra, performing Bartok’s 3rd piano concerto and Milhaud’s Le Carnaval d’Aix. Mitchell has performed with numerous singers and instrumentalists, and is in high demand as a collaborative pianist.  

His teaching experience includes positions with the Aspen Music Festival, Mannes School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and the Harlem School of the Arts, and he is a music director for theater, opera and cabaret. Mitchell is the artistic director of Afternoon Music, a concert series in Summit, NJ.

Mitchell can be heard on the CD "American Music for Trumpet and Piano" on Capstone Records, and he is featured on a CD of vocal chamber music by North German composers on the Syrinx label. Recent recordings include a CD of compositions by Paul Zeigler, a recital with Japanese soprano Selena Miyazaki, and a collaboration with flutist Tia Roper on Albany Records.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from Portland State University and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman, he held a Fellowship in accompanying and was awarded the Performer's Certificate, the conservatory’s highest honor. Previously music director of Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, Mitchell is currently music and choir director of the Unitarian Church in Summit, New Jersey, and Temple Israel of New York City. This will be his eighth year accompanying BCI choristers when he joins the faculty in Saratoga Springs..

Barbara Ann Peters

soprano

Barbara Ann Peters, soprano, made her Carnegie Hall debut as Mater Gloriosa in Mahler's Eighth Symphony with Canterbury Choral Society, and has been a featured soloist in over 60 oratorio, chamber, and Pops performances with Greensboro Oratorio Singers, Augusta Choral Society, New York Chamber Symphony, Dallas, Santa Fe, and Springfield Symphony Orchestras, New York’s Schubertiade, I Cantori di New York, Manhattan String Quartet at Music Mountain, and Berkshire Choral Festival.

Among her opera/operetta credits are appearances with Long Leaf Opera as Birdie (Regina), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Sadun, Sadun, an opera-ballet), Goldovsky Opera Company as Gilda (Rigoletto), Eurydice (Orfeo ed Eurydice), and Marzelline (Fidelio); Henry Street Opera as Anna (Die lüstigen Weiber von Witwe), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Despina (Cosí fan tutte); Manhattan Opera as Juliette (Roméo et Juliette); John Harms Theater as Elizabeth (Robert and Elizabeth); Alabama Symphony as Maria (West Side Story); York Theater as Minerva (The Golden Apple); and Berkshire Choral Festival as Jemmy (Guillaume Tell), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Casilda (Gondoliers), and Phyllis (Iolanthe).

Barbara made her European television debut in recitals for the RAI from the historic Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. Additional European appearances include recitals at the American Academy, Rome, the Salle Cortot, Paris, and the Deutsches Museum, Munich. An active recitalist and new music advocate with performances broadcast by WQXR-New York and WGBH-Boston, she has presented memorable performances along the eastern seaboard and since moving to NC in 1997, at Duke University, Meredith College, Wake Forest University, High Point University, Guilford College, Reynolda House, Greensboro College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Greensboro.

Visiting Faculty at UNC School of the Arts, School of Drama, High School Division and Adjunct Faculty at High Point University since 2013, Barbara has served on the faculties of Elon University, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Chapel Hill. She proudly served as founding voice faculty of Berkshire Choral Festival from 1982-2007. She has taught Italian, French, English and German Diction at Mannes College of Music, Hartt School of Music, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Chapel Hill and has presented Master Classes at UNC-Greensboro, Campbell University, Salisbury University, The Boston Conservatory, Texas Christian University, Meredith College, and UNC School of the Arts. While Executive Director of Greensboro Opera 2009-2001, Barbara created the “Write Your Own Opera! Contest for Guilford County 4th graders, for which she was honored and named in January 2018. She currently serves as NATS Mid-Atlantic Regional Governor, and is an active Certified McClosky Voice Technician, McClosky Institute of Voice, for whom she leads workshops and seminars. The soprano holds the B.M. in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory, a License de Concert Chant from L’École Normale de Musique, Paris, and the M.M. in Vocal Performance from UNC-Greensboro. Barbara has maintained a private studio for over 45 years, currently in Greensboro, NC, where she lives with her husband and artist R. David Westfall.

This season in Fullerton marks Barbara's 26th year on the BCI faculty.

Adriana Manfredi

Mezzo-Soprano

Adriana Manfredi completed music studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory and CalArts. Currently on the rosters of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Los Angeles Opera Chorus, she enjoys singing chamber music, art song, opera, and new music.

Solo credits include René in the Shostakovich opera world premiere Orango (Los Angeles Philharmonic), David Lang’s the little match girl passion (west coast premiere; Jacaranda: music on the edge), dreams for a new world by Ellen Reid (world premiere), The Cunning Little Vixen (Long Beach Opera), Ceremony of Carols, The City of Dis by Andriessen (LA Phil; world premiere), St. Matthew Passion, Lord Nelson Mass and Harmoniemesse by Haydn (Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall), and Tehellim by Steve Reich (Skirball Cultural Center).

Adriana’s voice is heard with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on the national anthems (David Lang, Calder Quartet), A Good Understanding, a Decca release of the choral music of Nico Muhly; Miserere, featuring the choral music of Henryk Gorecki, and in the ensemble of The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a world premiere concert opera by John Adams, staged by Peter Sellars and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (LA Philharmonic). Her voice can also be heard in such feature film soundtracks as Wreck-It Ralph, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Big Hero 6, Minions and Frozen.  In 2018-19 she joins the LA Master Chorale international tour of Lagrime di San Pietro (The Tears of St. Peter), a staged choral work (di Lasso/Peter Sellars, director).

A 12-year member of the voice faculty of the Classical Voice Conservatory of the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), CSArts community arts academy at OCSA, and coaches for the Junior Chamber Music program, Orange County Branch, Adriana will join the BCI faculty in Fullerton for the first time.

Sean Taylor

bass

Sean, originally from Brookville, Pennsylvania, is Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, where he conducts the UTB Master Chorale and Chamber Singers and teaches applied voice, conducting and choral methods. Previously he was on the faculties of Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and Central State University in Ohio. Sean holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. His primary area of research is Latin diction; he is a diction specialist with SingersBabel (www.singersbabel.com), for which he authors phonetic guides and recordings of Latin texts.

While a student at CCM, Sean served as assistant conductor of the CCM Chorale and Chamber Choir under Earl Rivers and as music director of the UC Cabaret Singers. An experienced church musician, he has served on the music staffs of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati and Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. In addition to extensive freelance solo work, Sean has performed with the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, May Festival Chorus, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Opera Chorus. While a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, he served as assistant conductor to Grammy-winning conductor Robert Page. Sean has sung with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati’s professional chamber choir, for six years. The ensemble is now directed by Craig Hella Johnson.

Sean received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in voice from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, and taught music in the Beaver Local School District in Lisbon, OH, before returning to graduate school. Recently, he led performances of Honegger’s King David, Handel’s Messiah, and Fauré’s Requiem. This is Sean’s12th season with BCI, where he is serving as bass faculty in Fullerton.

David Clemensen

Pianist

David Clemensen is active as a pianist, teacher, church musician, and composer.  A native Californian, he holds degrees from Chapman University, CSU Fullerton, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from USC.  The 2017-2018 season is his fifteenth as pianist for Pacific Chorale. He may be heard on several of the John Alexander Singer’s recordings, including The Radio Hour: Choral Music of Jake Heggie.

David is in demand throughout Southern California as a collaborator and coach. He has taught at Biola University and Fullerton College, and maintains a private studio as an accompanist and teacher. Often called upon to lead music for events of the C. S. Lewis Foundation, he directed the Service of Dedication for the Study Center at Lewis’ home, the Kilns, at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, England.

A lifelong church musician, David is Director of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Ontario.     His compositions have been performed by many choirs throughout the U.S, and he won the American Orff-Schulwerk competition for his William Blake setting The Tyger and the Lamb.

He joins BCI in Fullerton for the first time.  

Madeleine Holmes

Soprano

Madeleine Holmes studied French and Italian at Cambridge and on ENO’s “Knack” programme for young singers and has since played Mimi and Musetta (La Bohème), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Romilda (Xerxes) and Naiad (Ariadne auf Naxos). Last year she studied Massenet’s Manon in masterclass as a Crear scholar with Malcolm Martineau. She appeared as Mrs Lovett in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at Dartington International Festival, and this year plays Lucy Barker in a staged production of the same musical at Huddersfield Town Hall.

Madeleine loves bringing new works to life and creating new characters, notably in the form of Eve and Dragonfly in new operas for Tete-a-Tete and the Arcola, and in the world premiere of Julian Philips’ dramatic monologue Life Lessens at the Wigmore Hall.

Equally passionate about song and obsessed with all things in Italian, Madeleine received a travel scholarship from the Finzi Trust to begin research into the little-performed 20th century Italian repertoire and performs regularly in recital with pianist Gavin Roberts (Song in the City, St Marylebone Festival, LSO St Lukes, ROH Clore ‘New Dots’ Symposium).

Recent oratorio appearances include Mozart Requiem (St Martin-in-the-Fields), Orff Carmina Burana and Haydn Creation (St John’s Waterloo), Bach St John Passion (St George’s Cathedral) and Mozart Coronation Mass (Anghiari Festival).

Madeleine further combines her love of words and music in her teaching work as a vocal tutor at Morley College and as vocal coach to The Actors’ Richmond Centre. She is a regular member of the professional church choir of St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place, and in her spare time she can most likely be found striding the Suffolk coastal paths or practising yoga on the beach.

Madeleine joins BCI’s faculty for the first time this year in Newcastle/Durham.

Bernadett Nagy

Mezzo-Soprano

Hungarian Bernadett Nagy is a graduate classical singer from the class of Sasja Hunnego in the Koninklijk Conservatorium, The Hague. In Hungary she has studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, where she graduated as music teacher and choir conductor.

Because of her good vocal and theoretical skills and social sensitivity, Bernadett was selected to become a regular participant in the World Youth Choir as a singer and as a section leader. During these periods she had the opportunity to work with great conductors such as Tonu Kaljuste, Frieder Bernius, Grete Perdersen, Georg Grün, Johannes Prinz, Johan Duijk and Peter Dijkstra. As a closure of her youth-choir carreer, she had the honor of singing the solo part of  In the Beginning by Aaron Copland in the summer session of 2009.

Since 2000 Bernadett is singing in several professional choirs, including the Purcell Choir, Budapest, with György Vashegyi; Hungarian Radio Choir, Budapest, with Zoltán Pad; Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Utrecht, with Jos van Veldhoven, and vocal ensembles including Discantus Vocal Ensemble with Péter Mészáros. 

As a soloist she mainly performs classical and baroque oratorios. She frequently sings at song recitals and has been involved in the premiere of several contemporary works.

Currently Bernadett is a member of the National Choir (conductor Csaba Somos). She joins BCI for her second season as faculty in Newcastle/Durham.

Tom Stapleton

Tenor

Born in Sussex, Tom was educated at Hurstpierpoint College and was made the Head Chorister in his final year. He completed his music degree in Colchester in 2002.

He has performed at many of the UK's main concert venues, including O2 Arena, Royal Albert Hall, and Usher Hall, and has also recorded at most of the major London studios.

He is a regular soloist for the Suffolk Villages Festival , which performs a range of Early Music in many concerts across Suffolk and Essex throughout the year.

In 2012 Tom played the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester.

As well as his classical solo work, he is co-founder, keyboard player, backing singer and vocal coach for Soul Collective, a nine-piece band that travels the UK playing for high-end corporate functions, private parties, and weddings.

In September 2014, he took on the role of director of music for Songbirds, a female voice choir based in Dedham that sings a range of repertoire from Pergolesi  to Pitch Perfect.

Tom teaches singing at Orwell Park Preparatory School as well as at his home studio in Dedham , where he also writes and records music for TV and film. He comes to BCI's Newcastle-Durham faculty for the first time.

Colin Baldy

Baritone

A part-time resident of Scheggino, Colin Baldy is a performer, teacher, writer, and director. He serves as artistic director for Hand Made Opera, which he co-founded in 2000, and for Maldon Festival of Arts, both in the United Kingdom. He has directed productions of Cosi Fan TutteLe Nozze di Figaro, Il Seraglio, Trial by Jury, Il Barbiere di SivigliaThe Old Maid and the Thief, L’enfant et les Sortileges, Riders to the Sea, Dido and Aeneas, Venus and Adonis, and more.

Colin was for many years the singing teacher at New College, University of Oxford. Now, however, he splits most of his teaching time between London and Umbria. The balance is spent teaching around the world, including as a visiting professor at Utah State University and on the Cisternino choral course in Italy. He is also director of the Scheggino Advanced Course for Singers.

As a singer, Colin is known principally as a character baritone, having worked for many years with companies such as Garsington Opera, Opera Restor’d, the New Savoyards, Opera Interludes, Country Opera, and others. His many roles have included Sempronio (Lo Speziale), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan Tutte), Geronimo (Il Matrimonio Segreto), Bartolo (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas). In addition, he has performed contemporary music with such groups as the London Sinfonietta and New Chamber Opera. On the concert platform, he has appeared with the Britten Sinfonia, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Southern Camerata (under David Hill), L’Orchestra National de Picardie, and L’Orchestra National de Lille, to name a few.

Colin has been both a conductor and a faculty member for BCI several times, returning again on the faculty in Newcastle/Durham.

Alison Gill

Pianist

Alison completed her Postgraduate Diploma in performance (Piano Accompaniment) at the Royal Academy of Music, London, 2007, under the guidance of Andrew West and Daniel-Ben Pienaar. Whilst at the RAM, she made her Wigmore Hall debut that was filmed for Channel 4. In 2007 she was invited to take part in a performance of Satie's 19-hour work Vexations that took place at the Tate Modern, London, and also appeared at the Spitz Jazz Club, London with the Ossian Ensemble.

Alison formerly studied at Huddersfield University for her Bachelor of Music (Hons) under the guidance of professional accompanist Ian Buckle, being awarded the Rodwell Prize for pianist of the department. She has performed in many concerts, both as soloist and accompanist to fellow musicians on a range of instruments. She has taken part in a number of ensembles and in her final year at University, was selected as soloist to perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the University Symphony Orchestra.

Alison has a strong interest in contemporary music and worked closely with several composers whilst playing in the Huddersfield New Music Ensemble and for performances in the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. She has gained professional experience as piano accompanist in recitals, competitions, examinations and auditions. In 2005-06 she secured the position as official accompanist to the University of Bradford Choir.

She joins BCI for the first time as accompanist in Newcastle/Durham.