Adjunct Faculty and Lesson Instructors
Students in the School of Music have access to a wide range of professional musicians who are currently working in Chicago. These individuals bring their expertise in academic, instrumental, and vocal disciplines to the School, as well as their knowledge and experience of working professionally. They serve as excellent teachers and valuable mentors to our undergraduate and graduate students.
Julia BentleyMMVP Performer's Survey Instructor
Since completing apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera, mezzo soprano Julia Bentley has appeared in leading roles with opera companies throughout the country, and has been featured as a soloist with orchestras led by George Manahan, Raymond Leppard, Oliver Knussen, Robert Shaw, and Pierre Boulez. She performs in wide range of Chicago's opera and chamber music companies, including the Contemporary Chamber Players, the Orion Ensemble, Pinotage, Ensemble Noamnesia, Chicago Opera Theater, Concertante di Chicago, Music of the Baroque, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the MusicNOW series at Symphony Center. She has appeared to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall and has recorded on the Albany, Cedille, and Tintagel labels.
Colin HolmanMMVP Performer's Survey Instructor
Colin Holman combines performance and academic interests to study, teach, and conduct a wide range of music, both American and English. He earned degrees from Trinity College of Music, London, and the University of Birmingham, England, before completing his master's and doctoral programs at the University of Kansas. He has taught and lectured at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at colleges and universities across the Midwest. His extensive conducting credits include work in opera and musical theater, with orchestras, concert and brass bands, and in early music. In 2001, Dr. Holman was honored by Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper as one of only two people in the arts, out of 100 total honorees, who have made significant contributions to cultural life in Chicago.
Stephen KellyMusic Integration Instructor, Gospel Choir Director, Piano Instructor
Stephen Kelly started playing piano at age four and has been involved in music ministry for churches since the age of eight. After earning his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, he began directing music and leading worship in churches and conferences across the United States and Europe. He is currently the worship coordinator for North Park's University Ministries, gospel choir co-director, and also teaches music integration and piano. Mr. Kelly is on staff as a music director at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Ill.
Philip KrausMMVP Opera Survey Instructor
Baritone Philip Kraus has performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra; symphonies in Dallas, Milwaukee, Omaha, Colorado, Santa Barbara, Richmond, Roanoke, Grant Park, South Bend, Owensboro, Jacksonville, and Madison; and the Rochester and Fort Wayne philharmonics. He has also appeared with numerous opera theaters, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, Cleveland Opera, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera, and Hawaii Opera; Light Opera Works; and the Pamiro Opera. Mr. Kraus is frequently heard as a guest artist with choruses and festivals around the country and has taught opera at DePaul University and Roosevelt University. He is also a specialist in Gilbert and Sullivan. Mr. Kraus earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University.
Michael LillPercussion Methods and Pedagogy Instructor
Michael Lill is a founding faculty member at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, where he is chair of the Music Department; director of jazz, concert, and beginning bands; moderator and technical director of theater productions and the student stage crew; and orchestra director for musicals and operettas. He is also a professional trumpeter and percussionist in the Queen of All Saints Basilica Ensemble, a member of "Six of One," and a private trumpet and percussion instructor. Lill earned his BA in secondary education/instrumental music from Northeastern Illinois University, studied trumpet with Joseph Summerhill and Harold Harmon, and studied drums with Leo Murphy. He is a member of the Chicago Grandstand Big Band, Chicago Federation of Musicians, Illinois Music Educators Association, Illinois Brass Band, and Chicago Teachers Union.
Gregory MacAyealBibliography Instructor
Greg MacAyeal is currently the assistant head of the Northwestern University Music Library. Active in professional library organizations, he has made presentations at meetings of the Music Library Association, the Society of American Archivists, the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Illinois Library Association. As a composer, Greg's music has been performed throughout the region, with commissions from the Cassandra Manning Ballet Company, Music From Almost Yesterday, and the Augustana College Koto Ensemble. He earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his MM at DePaul University, and his MLIS at the University of Wisconscin, Milwaukee.
Michael McBrideComposition Instructor
Michael McBride is a composer, performer, conductor, songwriter, and educator. He has served as music director for various ensembles and churches such as the Chicago Cabaret Project, Dal Niente, Opera Cabal, Sonic Impact, Winnetka Bible Church, Edison Park Lutheran Church, and Achurch4me? MCC. Dr. McBride uniquely mixes influences of contemporary classical music with pop, gospel, inspirational, and dance music in his writing and performing career. His first EP, Almost There, and two other singles are currently available on iTunes. He is a regular performer throughout the Chicago cabaret and festival scene and has appeared in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Denver, and Phoenix. Dr. McBride earned his BM at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and master's and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University.
Bruce TammenMMVP Performer's Survey instructor
Bruce Tammen, baritone, is the founding director of Chicago Chorale and Chicago Men’s A Cappella, and has taught voice at a variety of colleges and universities. His vocal studies include degrees from Luther College and Northwestern University, extensive study in France with Dalton Baldwin and Gérard Souzay, master classes in Sweden and Norway, and several years with Max Van Egmond at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. He has sung with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Chicago's Contemporary Chamber Players, the Oregon Bach Festival, Les Heures Musicales in Biot, France, and Helmuth Rilling’s professional choir, Gächinger Kantorei, in Stuttgart, Germany. He is a baritone soloist on two Telarc/Shaw CDs, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes and Appear and Inspire. Mr. Tammen's degrees include a BA from Luther College in Iowa, an MA in English Langauge and Literature from the University of Chicago, and a master of music in vocal performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University.
Collin AndersonBassoon Instructor
Bassoonist Collin Anderson performs regularly with both the Elgin and Lake Forest Symphonies. He has appeared with the Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Grant Park Orchestra. Collin can be heard on Equilibrium Records Chandos label recordings. Dr. Anderson is a founding member of Quintet Attacca, a Chicago-based wind quintet that was the 2002 Grand Prize Winner at the Fischoff National Chamber Music competition. He earned his BM at the Eastman School of Music, master's degrees from Kent State University and DePaul University, and a DMA from Northwestern University.
Elizabeth AndersonCello Instructor
Cellist Elizabeth Anderson performs frequently throughout the Chicago area with groups such as the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, City Lights Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. She has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and in the orchestra pit for many ballets and musicals in Chicago’s theater district. Ms. Anderson earned her BM at Drake University and her MM at Indiana University.
Kara BershadHarp Instructor
Kara Bershad is the founder of Tick Tock Publications, which publishes chamber music arrangements for harp. She is principal harp of the Northwest Indiana Symphony and also performs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, and the Grant Park Symphony. Her performances on harp can be heard in the Hollywood film scores from My Best Friend's Wedding, Home Alone II, and the Kodak Film documentary Symphony. Ms. Bershad earned her bachelor's of music degree at the Eastman School of Music.
Bobby BroomGuitar Instructor
Throughout his career, Bobby Broom has been an active jazz educator. He conducts clinics, master classes, and lectures nationwide and abroad, and is also an instructor with the Thelonious Monk Institute, Ravinia Festival Organization, and Music Institute of Chicago. Broom has recorded several albums with his Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. His most recent recording was Upper West Side Story in May of 2012.
Jimmy CarterBass Instructor
James L. Carter is a bassist with extensive performance and teaching experience. He is the co-founder of Future, a performance band, and an active gospel and church musician who has played all across Chicago. Currently, Carter is a musician at Bright Star Church and Willow Creek Community Church. He earned his bachelor of arts with a concentration in instrumental performance from Columbia College Chicago.
Owen CondonPercussion Instructor
Owen Condon currently performs with the Millenium Chamber Players, and has performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the University of Chicago’s Contempo series, and as a guest artist with the Eighth Blackbird contemporary music group. Recently, he performed on behalf of Northwestern University at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He earned his BM at the New England Conservatory and master's and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University.
Janet EckhardtPiano Instructor
Janet Eckhardt is a graduate of North Park University and the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. Along with teaching piano at North Park, she is a staff accompanist at Moody Bible Institute. Ms. Eckhardt also serves as rehearsal accompanist for the Bach Week Festival Chorus and for the Chicago Bar Association Chorus.
Greg FishmanSaxophone Instructor
Saxophonist and flutist Greg Fishman is an accomplished performer, recording artist, author, teacher, and clinician. HIs self-published books—Jazz Saxophone Etudes, Volumes 1–3; Jazz Saxophone Duets, Volumes 1–3; Jazz Phrasing for Saxophone, Volumes 1–3; Hip Licks for Saxophone; Jazz Guitar Etudes; Jazz Trumpet Duets and Tasting Harmony™—are in circulation worldwide and have been endorsed by top educators and jazz performers. Mr. Fishman has toured and performed worldwide with his own group, and with such artists as the Woody Herman Band, Louis Bellson, Slide Hampton, Conte Candoli, and others. He is the co-founder of the award-winning duo Two for Brazil. Mr. Fishman earned his bachelor of music in performance degree from DePaul University and a master's of music degree from Northwestern University.
Naomi Bensdorf FrischOboe Instructor
Oboist Naomi Bensdorf Frisch holds principal oboe positions in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Bensdorf Frisch performs regularly with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the Kallima Woodwind Quintet. She can be heard on recordings with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony and in a collection of the chamber music of renowned Chicago composer M. William Karlins. She earned her BM from Northwestern University and MM from DePaul University.
Renée-Paule GauthierViolin Instructor
An accomplished and sought after chamber musician, solo artist, teacher, and orchestra leader, Canadian violinist Renée-Paule Gauthier was mentioned as one of the "best upcoming violinist of the new generation" in the book Violin Virtuosos, from Paganini to the 21st Century. A graduate of the University of Montreal and the Eastman School of Music, Gauthier was concertmaster of the New World Symphony, part of the first violin section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and assistant concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic. She is the artistic director of the Rendez-vous musical de Laterrière, a chamber music festival in the province of Québec, and is principal second violin with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Northwest Indiana Symphony. Gauthier is currently finishing her doctorate at Northwestern University and on the faculty of the CYSO chamber program.
Julie GoldbergGuitar Instructor
Julie Goldberg, named 2002 Classical Guitarist of the Year by Guitar Alive! radio magazine, is "a superb performer who frees the mind from the technical demands of the guitar. A pleasure to hear!" (Columbus Guitar Society). "Her music is invigorating and calming all at once!" (WLUW Radio, Chicago). Dr. Goldberg is on the faculty of North Park University and VanderCook College of Music, and frequently performs in the Healing Arts Program at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. Dr. Goldberg earned her BM from Roosevelt University, MM from the University of Cincinnati, and DM from Northwestern University.
Phillip GratteauJazz/Set Percussion Instructor
Phil Gratteau has been playing drums professionally in Chicago since 1972. He has performed with virtually all of Chicago's jazz royalty, including Judy Roberts, Von Freeman, the late Johnny Frigo, Eddie Johnson, and many more. He has also accompanied or recorded with jazz artists Marian McPartland, Herb Ellis, Richie Cole, Cab Calloway, Joe Henderson, Jimmy Heath, Joey DeFrancesco, Randy Brecker, and Dorothy Donegan. He has been a guest clinician/adjudicator at numerous high school and college jazz festivals. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MM at Northwestern University.
Ellen HuntingtonFlute Instructor
Ellen Huntington is second flute with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She also performs frequently as a founding member of the Lyrebird Ensemble, a flute and harp duo devoted to performing works composed exclusively for that instrumentation. As a Fulbright scholar, Ms. Huntington studied with Jean-Claude Gérard at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, Germany. She earned her BM from Northwestern University, MM at Ohio State University, and DM at Northwestern University.
Thomas JeffersonPiano and Keyboard Instructor
Thomas Jefferson has collaborated with numerous vocal artists, including the late world-renowned bass-baritone William Warfield. He was a participant in the 11th International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, and has performed as a recitalist across the country and within the Chicago area. As a skilled music transcriber, he has transcribed the music of gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, Walter Hawkins, and Byron Cage, among others. Dr. Jefferson’s hymn arrangements are published by Augsburg Press. He earned his bachelor's of music degree at Texas A&I University, his master's degree at Roosevelt University, and DMA at Northwestern University.
Paula KosowerCello Instructor
Paula Kosower is an active performer and teacher in the Chicago area. She has performed with the Sheridan Chamber Players at the Chicago Cultural Center, Fulcrum Point at the Harris Theater, and MusicNOW from Symphony Center. During the summer season she frequently performs at the Ravinia Festival. Dr. Kosower teaches a course in cello pedagogy at Northwestern University, private lessons at the Northwestern University String Academy, and chamber music at the Merit School of Music where she is also a member of the faculty piano trio. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Indiana University and her DMA at Northwestern University.
Carol LahtiViolin Instructor
Carol Lahti is the assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta and has participated in its numerous European and American tours, as well as recordings. She is a member of the first violin section of the Elgin Symphony and performs frequently as part of that orchestra’s educational chamber concert series, serving as the first violinist of the orchestra’s string quartet, ESQ. Ms. Lahti also performs frequently with jazz and society bands in Chicago and enjoys playing in theater orchestras, appearing with ballet companies, and in many Broadway musicals and shows. As a freelancer, she has played in ensembles accompanying such stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Il Divo, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, and Clay Aiken. She earned her BM at North Park and MM from the Eastman School of Music.
Kelly LangenbergHorn Instructor
Kelly Langenberg currently performs with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, the Kenosha Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchsestra. She is horn instructor at the DePaul University Community Music Division, as well as at North Park. She earned her bachelor's degrees at Baldwin-Wallace College and a master of music degree at DePaul University.
Claudia Lasareff-MironoffDirector of Chamber Music and Viola Instructor
Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Grant Park Symphony, and Music of the Baroque. She has also been the principal violist of the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Colorado Music Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Joffrey Ballet. From 1998 to 2011 she was on the faculty at Wheaton College Conservatory where she taught viola and was the coordinator of chamber music. Ms. Lasareff-Mironoff was the guest artist for the viola master class at the 2011 Stulberg International String Competition. Since 2002, she has been the principal violist of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. She earned a BM at the University of Denver and a master of music degree and performer's certificate at Northwestern University.
Audrey MorrisonTrombone, Tuba, and Euphonium Instructor
Audrey Morrison is the director of jazz studies and jazz trombone faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. As lead trombonist with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble for over 15 years, she performed with jazz greats Jon Faddis, Bill Russo, Curtis Fuller, Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Paquito D'Rivera, Buddy DeFranco, and many others. She has also been a member of the big bands of Clark Terry, Barrett Deems, and the DIVA band in New York City. A performer and educator in both classical and jazz styles, she is a member of the jazz sextet SHE, the Lake Forest Symphony, and teaches classical music at Columbia College, Chicago. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music.
Gregory SarchetString Bass Instructor
Gregory Sarchet has had an array of musical experiences and training, from studying with his first teacher, jazz luminary Rufus Reid, to receiving his degrees from the Juilliard School, to playing as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His ongoing international exchange efforts were recognized by a 1996 Chicago Artists International Program award (CAIP), which sent him to the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria for performances, masterclasses, and archival research. These exchange activities have allowed him to build an extensive library of unpublished, out-of-print, and contemporary double bass works. He plays principal bass with Chicago Opera Theater and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestra since 1986.
Shiho ToyonagaViola Instructor
Shiho Toyonaga is the assistant principal violist of the Northwest Indiana Symphony and has performed with Tulsa Opera, Grand Rapids Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and L’Orchestre des Régions Européennes. She collaborated with members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has performed on a live broadcast of WFMT's Impromptu. Her teachers include Paul Coletti, Victoria Chiang, Heidi Castleman, and Iwao Furusawa. Ms. Toyonaga earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in viola performance from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and has also studied the violin at the Musashino Music College in Tokyo.
Paul VanderwerfViola and Violin Instructor
Paul Vanderwerf performs extensively as both a chamber and orchestral violinist and violist. He is a member of the Ars Viva Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Lake Forest Symphony, Music of the Baroque, and the Chicago Ensemble, and was a founding member of the Ad Hoc and Ars Viva String Quartets. He has performed with Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Bach Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Elgin Symphony, Chicago Opera Theater, Broadway in Chicago, and toured throughout Germany, Switzerland, and the Canary Islands as a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta. Dr. Vanderwerf holds music degrees from Northwestern University, Occidental College, and Interlochen Arts Academy.
Christopher WhiteJazz Piano Instructor
After obtaining a BA in English from the University of Toronto, Christopher White decided to focus his studies entirely on music. In 1997 he attended Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music and pursued his master’s degree in jazz studies, graduating in 2000. Gaining valuable experience in Indianapolis, he performed with David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Oliver Nelson Jr., and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. In August 2000 Chris was invited to perform in the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia hosted by James Moody, Rufus Reid, and David Baker. Dr. White earned his DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ralph WilderClarinet and Saxophone Instructor
Throughout Ralph Wilder’s career he has been a full-time educator, teaching band and orchestra at the high school and college levels, and continues today as a well-known educator, conductor, arranger, and performer on clarinet, saxophone, and flute. As a clarinetist, Mr. Wilder has performed worldwide and has been a member of numerous ballet, opera, and symphony orchestras. As the founder and leader of the Ralph Wilder Orchestra, he performs on flute and saxophone, as well as clarinet. He is also the founder and director of the Mount Prospect Community Band. Mr. Wilder earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Northwestern University.
Voice and Opera Faculty
Nyela BasneyArtistic Director of the Opera
Nyela Basney has significant experience in the field of opera. For three years, she was staff pianist at the Juilliard School where she studied conducting with Vincent La Selva, "the best Verdi and Puccini conductor living today" (Opera Magazine). Since 1982, she has provided professional role preparation and musicianship training for singers, in more than 55 roles from 25 operas. She is the founder and current director of Orvieto Musica, Inc., an annual international chamber music festival in Italy, and is artistic director and conductor of the Allegro Chorale and Orchestra in Texas. Ms Basney earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Eastman School of Music.
Felicia Coleman-EvansVoice Instructor
Felicia Coleman-Evans made her Carnegie Hall debut as featured soloist in the tribute to the great Leontyne Price. She performs throughout the United States and Europe, combining classical technique with spirit-filled soulfulness. Her vocal music has been shared with the highest elected officials and dignitaries, most notably at President Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the U.S. Senate Legislative Staff. She earned her BM and MM degrees at Howard University.
Michael KotzeStage Director for the Opera
Michael Kotze is an experienced opera director whose productions have been praised in the pages of Opera News and the Chicago Tribune. For Light Opera Works, he directed Die Fledermaus, My Night at Jacques', and Cole Porter’s You Never Know. Other operatic directing credits include The Telephone, Hansel and Gretel, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and a rare staging of Handel's Messiah. Mr. Kotze has staged productions a number of opera companies, and has appeared on stage with Light Opera Works, L’Opera Piccola, Chicago Opera Theater, Chamber Opera Chicago, Court Theatre, and the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Kotze is a frequent writer and lecturer on musical theater, and is business manager at Evanston’s Light Opera Works.
Kurt LinkVoice Instructor
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera, Liederkranz, Opera Index, and Sullivan competitions, and featured by Opera News as a singer to “keep your eye on,” Kurt Link has earned a reputation as one of America’s finest basses, both in opera and oratorio. Mr. Link has won critical acclaim for a repertoire that has embraced major operatic roles from Monteverdi to Henze, and from Mozart to Wagner. He has sung Baron Ochs, Daland, Figaro, Leporello, Osmin, Sarastro, Ramfis, Colline, Mephistopheles, and other major bass roles with many different companies in the United States and around the world.
Elizabeth MargoliusOpera Faculty
Elizabeth Margolius is a stage director with a primary focus in the development and direction of new and rarely produced musical theatre and opera. She has worked with theatres and universities in various capacities throughout the country including the Santa Fe Opera, Florida Studio Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Encompass New Opera Theatre (New York), Millikin University, University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Nebraska. Her extensive Chicago directorial credits include at Circle Theatre, Chicago Folks Operetta, City Lit Theater, Bailiwick Chicago/Artistic Advisor, Silk Road Theatre Project, Theatre on the Lake, Stage Left Theatre, Live Bait Theater, and the Center for Cultural Interchange (Chicago/Spain). Among other awards and programs, Margolius is a 2010 finalist for the Charles Abbott Fellowship, a 2012 Jeff-nominated director, and a 2013 Jeff-nominated adapter. She is the co-founder and artistic director of DirectorsLabChicago, a forum for emerging nationally and internationally based stage directors now in its ninth year. She is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Matthew OzawaOpera Faculty
Matthew Ozawa has an international career spanning all artistic disciplines, having worked for some of the most prestigious companies in the nation and with world-renowned directors and artists including Peter Sellars, Francesca Zambello, Gary Griffin, Isaac Mizrahi, Meredith Monk, and Francisco Negrin. His numerous directing credits include productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera North, Opera in the Heights, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Folks Operetta, Prologue Theater Company, The State Theater Company, 4th Meal Theater Company, and Off-Off Broadway.
Annie PicardClassical Voice and Vocal Literature Instructor
Annie Picard is a soloist, chamber musician, and voice teacher whose musical achievements have been widely recognized and rewarded. Dr. Picard’s great passion is performing art song and chamber music, and she enjoys being musically adventuresome, dedicating herself to creating recitals that explore widely varying themes and genres. Her repertoire ranges from lute songs by John Dowland to Dominick Argento’s Letters from Composers. She earned her bachelor of music degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia, master of music and artist diploma at the New England Conservatory, and her DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Alexis RandolphAssistant Director of the Opera
Alexis Randolph, actor and director, graduated from Ithaca College with a bachelor of arts in drama in 2007. During this program, she studied for a year in London, and has since expanded her training to include studies at the Eugene O'Neill National Theatre Institute, Moscow Arts Theatre in Russia, Act One Studios, and the Actor's Gymnasium. Acting and directing credits include work with Redmoon, Appetite Theatre Company, Point of Contention, The State, New Leaf, Chicago Fringe Festival, and Element. She is also the drama teacher at St. Clement School.
Jeffrey RayVoice Instructor and MMVP Career Seminar Instructor
Jeffrey Ray has sung in operas around the world, beginning with his European debut at Deutsche Opera, Berlin, in 1997. His roles include Marcello, Sharpless, Seville's Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, Belcore, and Don Giovanni. Mr. Ray's orchestral collaborations include two appearances at Carnegie Hall, Handel's Messiah and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. He has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Bruno Bartoletti, and John Nelson, among many others.
Elise SandellOpera Faculty
Elise Sandell made her mainstage directorial debut with Tulsa Opera’s production of Carmen in February 2007, which was referred to in Tulsa World as “marvelous entertainment” and “a sublime experience.” She has worked frequently with Houston Grand Opera, including directing the 2012 world premiere of New Arrivals, a chamber opera by composer John Glover and librettist Catherine Filloux. Sandell has also worked frequently with Central City Opera, and as an assistant director with such companies as San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Co. of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Utah Symphony and Opera, Central City Opera, San Diego Opera, Portland Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She often serves on the directing staff at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in 2011 worked at Il Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy. Sandell is a graduate of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, and has served as an OPERA America Fellow.
Lorain Stein-SchwaberVoice Instructor
Lorain Stein-Schwaber has more than 20 years' experience as a performer in shows that include Phantom of the Opera, Sweeny Todd, West Side Story, and Annie, in venues that include on Broadway, national tours, and the Chicago Theater. She has performed with Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Cologne, and Light Opera Works, and has taught at Roosevelt University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Music Institute of Chicago, and Carthage College. She is the artistic director of Voices of the Future/Center for American Musical Theater. Stein-Schwaber earned her BFA in vocal performance/musical theatre from Carnegie-Mellon University, completed a graduate certificate program in drama/musical theater at the Banff Center for the Arts, earned a master's in vocal performance at Roosevelt University, and is a certified master teacher through Estill International.
George TenegalVocal Coach and Diction Instructor
George Tenegal was on the faculty at DePaul University for many years, where he taught piano, coached singers, and gave classes in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English diction, and French vocal literature. He has coached and accompanied in many of the most prestigious vocal studios in Chicago and Italy. Mr. Tenegal has also been the recipient of many awards and scholarships and was a prizewinner in the IBLA International Piano Competition in Ragusa, Italy, in both the soloist and accompanist categories. His education includes a BM from DePaul University, MM from Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy, and graduate studies at Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria.
Thomas TroppWomen's Chorale Director
Tom Tropp is a music educator and recording technician, and owner of SoundByte Studios, a music services firm specializing in CD production for choral ensembles. He earned his bachelor of music education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, during which time he worked as the sound technician for the School of Music and completed an independent study project in choral conducting. Tom spent the next three years as a graduate teaching assistant in the choral department at the University of Arizona, where he completed a master of music degree in choral. During this time, he also taught in the Tucson Unified School District, and worked as the sound, recording, and lighting technician for a popular professional vocal jazz group in Tucson, a job that included two national tours. Tom is currently a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant at Northwestern University and the Chancel Choir director at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.
Ronald WatkinsVoice Instructor
Baritone Ronald Watkins has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus since 1992. His featured appearances on the Lyric stage include roles in Peter Grimes, Boris Godunov, Madama Butterfly, and Sweeney Todd. A frequent concert artist and recitalist, Watkins has appeared with the South West Symphony, Corning Symphony, Colgate Symphony, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Finger Lakes Symphony, Rochester Bach Festival, and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. He can be heard on composer John Giles's recording A Song for All Seasons.