SHEREZADE PANTHAKI
soprano

Soprano Sherezade Panthaki’s international success has been fueled by superbly honed musicianship; “astonishing coloratura with radiant top notes” (Calgary Herald); “a full, luxuriously toned upper range” (The Los Angeles Times), a vocal color “combining brilliance with a dark, plumlike tone” (The Wall Street Journal), and passionately informed interpretations, “mining deep emotion from the subtle shaping of the lines” (The New York Times). An acknowledged star in the early-music field, Ms. Panthaki enjoys ongoing collaborations with many of the world’s leading interpreters including Nicholas McGegan, Mark Morris, Matthew Halls, Nicholas Kraemer, Paul Agnew, Lawrence Cummings, and Masaaki Suzuki, with whom she made her New York Philharmonic debut in a program of Bach and Mendelssohn. Her recent performance with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra was named one of the Top 10 Classical Music Events of the year and described as “a breathtaking combination of expressive ardor, tonal clarity, technical mastery and dramatic vividness” by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Ms. Panthaki’s current season includes performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, a US tour with Bach Collegium Japan, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque (Chicago), the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, The American Classical Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Opera Lafayette, Pasadena and Milwaukee Symphonies, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Chicago Early Music series, and the Portland Bach Festival. A specialist in Baroque repertoire, particularly in the music of J.S. Bach, Ms. Panthaki is equally at home with twentieth century and contemporary repertoire; notable among her recent performances was the premiere of Martin Bresnick’s brand new oratorio at Yale University and the the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Highlights of her recent seasons include Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan, the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, National Arts Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Calgary Philharmonic, Nashville, Kansas City, Colorado and San Antonio Symphonies; Handel’s Saul with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto; Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat at the Oregon Bach Festival; a fully staged production of Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Brahms’ Requiem with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; Handel’s La Resurrezione at the Morgan Library in New York City; Bach cantatas and oratorios and works by Handel and Purcell with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; the role of Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Handel’s L’allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and the title role of Galatea in the Mark Morris Dance Group’s premiere performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea; Mozart’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, and Bach cantatas with Music of the Baroque; Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, Mozart’s Coronation Mass ,and Haydn’s L’isola disabitata with the American Classical Orchestra; Brahms’ Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion with John Scott and the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys; Handel’s Solomon with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie (Holland); Handel at Carnegie Hall with William Christie and the Yale Philharmonia; Christmas Oratorio with Bach Collegium Japan and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Bach, Handel, Scarlatti and Hasse cantatas with Ars Lyrica Houston, and Mozart’s Exsultate jubilate and Requiem with the Washington Bach Consort. Ms. Panthaki is an invited guest artist with the most accomplished early music ensembles in New York city, and has been featured as a guest soloist in multiple performances in Trinity Wall Street’s live-streamed “Bach at One Cantatas” series in New York City. No stranger to modern repertoire, she has performed Orff’s Carmina Buranawith the Houston Symphony, John Tavener’s The Last Discourse with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise and Strauss lieder at the Bari International Music Festival, Britten’s War Requiem with the Louisville Choral Arts Society, as well as numerous performances of Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Poulenc’s Stabat Mater and Gloria. 

An active and passionate music educator, Ms. Panthaki is frequently called upon to present vocal masterclasses at Universities and Arts Schools across the United States; most recently to students from Houston Grand Opera, Rice University’s Moore School of Music, and the University of Texas School of Music. During her 2016-17 season, she served as the Christoph Wolff Visiting Performer at the Harvard University Department of Music where she gave masterclasses and performances in collaboration with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Ms. Panthaki has served as Vocal Coach for the Yale Baroque Opera Project, and currently teaches voice lessons to scholarship winners of the top undergraduate and graduate choral ensembles at Yale University.

Born and raised in India, Ms. Panthaki began her musical education at an early age. Following intensive study and earning top distinction as a young pianist, she turned to singing and found a more personal and expressive means to connect with audiences. She holds an Artist Diploma with top honors from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where she was the winner of multiple awards including the prestigious Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize. She earned a Masters degree from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelors degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Christopher Ainslie
Countertenor

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Christopher Ainslie started his singing career as a chorister at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, his home city. While qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Christopher studied singing part time with Sarita Stern at the University of Cape Town College of Music, and viola with Jürgen Schwietering and Hermina de Groote.  After moving to London in 2005, he completed his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music with distinction, and is now performing at leading venues around the world. He has sung in master classes with Michael Chance, Peter Harvey, Ashley Stafford and Sarah Walker and now studies privately with Mark Tucker, Paul Farrington and Audrey Hyland. 

Christopher was the first counter-tenor to win the Richard Tauber Prize at the Wigmore Hall (2008) and won the Michael Oliver Prize in the 2007 Handel Singing Competition. He was a 2010 Classical Opera Company Associate Artist, and is grateful for the significant support of Independent Opera in the formative years of his career. In September 2011 he was the winner of the Gianni Bergamo Classic Music Award for Countertenors. 

Christopher is rapidly establishing himself as a leading interpreter of repertoire within and outside the traditional confines of the countertenor voice-type. His performance in the title role of Handel's Poro under Laurence Cummings at the London Handel Festival was highly acclaimed. Other opera roles include his US opera debut in the title role in Handel's Amadigi at Central City Opera with Matthew Halls, Ottone Poppea for Glyndebourne on Tour, with Opera North, and in Drottningholms Slottsteater, Sweden, Antonio The Merchant of Venice for Bregenzer Festspiele, Innocent 4 in the world premiere of Birtwistle's The Minotaur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (directed by Stephen Langridge, conducted by Antonio Pappano), the title role in Tamerlano in the Göttingen Handel Festival (conducted by Nicholas McGegan), the title role in Arne's Artaxerxes at the Royal Opera House, Medoro Orlando with Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells, Arsace Partenope at the Les Azuriales Festival, France, Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Voice of Apollo Death in Venice for Opera North (the latter also with Opéra de Lyon), the title role in Cavalli’s Eliogablo with Gotham Chamber Orchestra, the title role in Rinaldo in Sigulda, Latvia, Alessandro Tolomeo in the London Handel Festival, Arsamenes Xerxes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Unulfo Rodelinda, Messenger Thebans, and Helicon in the UK premiere of Glanert’s Caligula, all for English National Opera. He has created roles in several world premieres.

Oratorio performances include Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium in the Moscow Conservatory (with Vladimir Jurowski), Purcell's Ode to St Cecilia and Handel's Te Deum in D (Innsbruck, Utrecht and Antwerp Festivals) with B'Rock, the title role in Handel’s Solomon, Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Bournemouth and St Louis Symphony Orchestras, Belshazzar in the Dresden Frauenkirche, Saul in St John's, Smith Square, London, Judas Maccabeaus in Vilnius; Blow's Venus & Adonis (with Gary Cooper and B'Rock) in Brugge and Ghent, Bach's Matthäus-Passion in Worcester Cathedral and with the London Handel Players in St George's, Hanover Square, Bach's Johannes-Passion and Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. 

He also enjoys giving recitals, and has performed at the Wigmore Hall (including works ranging from Dowland to Schubert and Mahler), as well as in concert with Classical Opera, in the London Handel Festival with Ensemble Chocolat, with Laurence Cummings and the Croatian Baroque Ensemble, with Harry Bicket and players from The English Concert, and with Les Arts Florissants in performances of music by Handel and Scarlatti.

Recent engagements include Orfeo Orfeo ed Euridice for Opéra de Lyon and for Opéra National de Lorraine, Ottone Agrippina for the Göttingen Handel Festival, David Saul for Glyndebourne, Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as Oregon Bach Festival, where he also sang Bach’s Magnificat and the world premiere of James MacMillan’s A European Requiem; Handel’s Messiah with the Ulster Orchestra and with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Choir and Orchestra of Radio France.

Last season included Unulfo Rodelinda for the Teatro Real in Madrid with Ivor Bolton, Athamas Semele at Garsington with Jonathan Cohen, the title role Joseph And His Brethren at the London Handel Festival and concerts with The English Concert, the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C., and at Carnegie Hall.

In 2017/18, he sings Giulio Cesare for English Touring Opera, Oberon at English National Opera, and appears with Les Musiciens du Louvre and Mark Minkowski, with Philharmonie Zuidnederland and at the Grange Festival. .

 

CARLOR FITTANTE
baroque dance

Carlos Fittante, artistic director of the contemporary world dance company BALAM Dance Theatre, specializes in Baroque, Balinese, and Spanish escuela bolera dances and works as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher.  Known for spirited, elegant performances, Fittante’s choreographies received praise from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, and Dance Magazine.  He performed his work with the Boston Early Music Festival, Blue Hill Bach Festival, Apollo’s Fire, Gotham Early Music Scene, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Downtown Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, 2nd Encuentro de Baile Contemporáneo in Mexico, and the International Arts Festival in Bali. 

As a guest artist and masterclass teacher, Fittante's repertoire features these eclectic dance solos: the masked Baroque dance, Chaconne de Phaeton, by Louis Pecour (circa 1704); Terunajaya, a Balinese fan dance, and El Vito, a Spanish dance performed with castanets.  Dance critic Deborah Jowitt described Amantes, his fusion choreography combining a Balinese mask and Latin pop-music as, “a haunting solo of indeterminate gender”.  His choreography ranges from the Baroque operas Dido and Aeneas, Versailles-Portrait of a Royal Domain, and the Prologue to Il Pastor Fido to the Balinese fusion ballet Sita Lost in the Forest, inspired by the Hindu epic Ramayana. He is a movement and gesture coach for independent films and creates customized choreographies.  A graduate of the School of American Ballet, he holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin.  He teaches ballet and world dance at Queens College: City University of New York.

CAROLINE COPELAND
baroque dance

Caroline Copeland  is an Associate Director of the New York Baroque Dance Company has performed with the troupe throughout the United States and Europe, most notably at the Drottningholm Theater, the International Händelfestspiele Göttingen, Danspace at St. Mark’s Theater, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival.  Ms. Copeland is also a member of Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company with whom she is a featured dancer and choreographer. Her credits for choreography include  Steffani’s Niobe(2011) and Handel’s Almira(2013), and Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise (1699). Ms. Copeland was also the choreographer and assistant director to Gilbert Blin for BEMF’s Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria(2015). As a soloist, Caroline has collaborated with many early music groups around the US and Europe including Quicksilver, The Four Nations Ensemble, The New York Collegium, Brooklyn Baroque, The New Dutch Academy, Bourbon Baroque, Cantata Profana, The Knights, and the New York Consort of Viols. Her choreography has been presented at the historic Federal Hall in downtown Manhattan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Public Theater, and the Philipszaal in the Hague. Caroline also directs opera and dance projects. Her credits include productions of Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale at  Hofstra University and Handel’s Alcina for Bourbon Baroque.  Caroline has taught master classes in baroque dance and gesture at colleges and universities across the United States. She received a MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and teaches ballet and dance history at Hofstra University.

host of the PRE-CONCERT TALK | David Garland

David Garland is an audio and radio producer, presenter, programmer, editor, and mixer; a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer; an illustrator, photographer, and graphic designer; and a music journalist. 

He created and hosted the music and interview show Spinning On Air on WNYC in New York from 1987 to 2015. That radio program crossed stylistic boundaries, motivated by curiosity about the artistic process and unusual, original music. 

From 2009 to 2015 Garland also presented classical music on WQXR, and originated and produced weekly programs on early music (Old School), and film scores (Movies on the Radio). Over the years Garland has interviewed hundreds of on-air guests, including musicians from John Cage to Emma Kirkby, Lang Lang, and Paul McCartney, as well as artists, writers, and other cultural figures. Garland has hosted many live broadcasts and events, from Carnegie Hall to CBGB’s Gallery.

As a composer his wide-ranging musical activities coalesced in 1980 with his "Control Songs," an on-going project that blends and bends songs and experimentalism. He has performed and recorded his music with Sufjan Stevens, Sean Lennon, Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Vashti Bunyan, Meredith Monk, and Iva Bittova, among others, and has released several albums. His long-form release "Verdancy" will be published during 2017. 

Currently Garland is an independent audio producer based in upstate New York's Hudson Valley. www.davidgarland.com

STAGE DIRECTOR | Marc Verzatt

Stage Director and Acting coach

Currently faculty at Long Island City Academy of Music, director of the opera acting workshop; at Yale University 2002-2016, Lecturer in Voice and Opera, head of the Acting and Movement Workshops.  As stage director, Mr. Verzatt directs opera, operetta, and musical theater throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. He began his theatrical career as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera after studying drama at Rutgers University and ballet with New Jersey’s Garden State Ballet. After several seasons as a soloist with the MET Ballet, he left to continue his education in production as a stage manager with the Cincinnati Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

He made his professional directing debut with a production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Opera Columbus. He has since directed opera for the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and companies throughout the USA.

In 2005 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera stage for the role of the Major-Domo in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. In demand as an acting and movement teacher, in 2015 he was acting coach and stage director for the Napa Valley Music Festival. In 2016 after productions of "Aida" and "Elektra" in New York City,  he returned as teacher and stage director to Sweden's Hänsoförd Voice Academy and to Dresden, Germany as acting coach and movement director for the Orfeo Vocal Academy.

Upcoming in 2017: La Traviata in Albany, NY in April, New York Baroque Santa Rosalia at Trinity Wall Street in May; Madison Lyric Stage Otello in June.

In 2006 he was named Outstanding Stage Director of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine and since 2015 has won numerous first prizes as a competitive ballroom dancer.

AMBIZIONE | Kate Maroney

Recognized by the New York Times for her “vibrant and colorful” singing, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney is in demand on concert, oratorio and opera stages in works that span from the Renaissance to the 21st century.

Kate is a passionate believer in the deeply transformative, fully humanizing power of music and in its ability to foster empathy in the community of performers and listeners alike. She particularly values collaborations with kind and generous colleagues who share this conviction.

Kate has appeared in recent seasons as a soloist at Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra and Sacred Music in a Sacred Space (Bach Mass in B-Minor), Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (Handel Dixit Dominus), at LA Opera (Missy Mazzoli Song From the Uproar), Carmel Bach Festival (BWV 97 and 199), Oregon Bach Festival (Bach Weihnachts-Oratorium), New York City Ballet and Musica Sacra (Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Fairfield County Chorale (Bach Magnificat), Princeton Pro Music (Bach Weihnachts-Oratorium) Clarion Music Society (Steinberg Passion Week), Bach Collegium San Diego (Handel Messiah), Mark Morris Dance Group (Vivaldi Gloria), “A Memorial to Allen Forte” at Yale University with Cantata Profana (Webern Op. 4 Fünf Lieder nach Gedichte von Stefan George), Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, Bard Music Festival, with Anonymous 4 and The Bangor Symphony, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble at the MATA Festival, Experiments in Opera, Yale Choral Artists, Vox Vocal Ensemble at The Guggenheim Museum, American Opera Projects, Berkshire Bach Society, Berkshire Choral International, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012, Kate was a recipient of the William G. Blair award in the New York Oratorio Lyndon Woodside Soloist Competition. Kate is a founding member of New York’s Polydora Ensemble which specializes in Romantic repertoire for SATB quartet and piano and also commissions and premieres new works for these personnel.

A fervent champion of new music, Kate recently performed Dominick Argento’s Pulitzer-prize winning piece, From The Diary of Virginia Woolf, in a staged adaptation by Håkan Hagegård at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, MN, as part of the Source Song Festival. She performed the U.S. premiere of Damon Albarn’s Monkey: Journey to the West at the David Koch Theatre during the Lincoln Center Festival in 2013 under Brad Lubman and the U.S. premiere of Here All Night with the Irish theater company Gare St. Lazare Ireland as part of Lincoln Center’s 2015 White Lights Festival. Kate worked closely with Missy Mazzoli to develop and premiere Song From The Uproar at The Kitchen in 2012 (and is heard on the premiere cast recording on New Amsterdam Records with the Now Ensemble under Steven Osgood.) Kate created the role of Brianna in Matthew Welch’s collaborative opera Sisyphus with Experiments in Opera and she recorded James Adler’s Reflections upon a September morn for Albany Records. Kate sings on the recording of Julia Wolfe’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning and 2016 GRAMMY®-nominated work, Anthracite Fields, with the Bang On A Can All-Stars and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street under Julian Wachner. She has also worked closely with and premiered works by composers Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Daron Hagen, Dominick Argento, David Lang, Hannah Lash, Paola Prestini, Missy Mazzoli, Ted Hearne, Alex Weiser, Olga Bell, Lisa Bielawa, Harry Stafylakis, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Michael Rose, Marie Incontrera, Ola Gjeilo, and Scott Wheeler.

From 2012 to 2015, Kate was featured worldwide in over 75 performances of Einstein on the Beach with the Philip Glass Ensemble. With her Einstein on the Beach family, Kate performed this iconic piece for audiences in Montpellier, Paris, London, Brooklyn, Toronto, Reggio Emilia, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Berkeley, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Berlin and, most recently, in Gwangju, South Korea. Being part of this historic tour and piece of living art was a profound and transformative experience for which Kate is incredibly grateful. She also learned how to sing numbers really fast.

Kate holds a a D.M.A. from Eastman in Voice Performance and Literature with a Minor in Voice Pedagogy, as well as degrees in music from SUNY Purchase and Yale. She has written articles published in The Journal of The New York Singing Teachers' Association ("Reflections from the Beach: Einstein on the Voice") and a blog entry on singing Webern for the Society of Music Theory Performance and Analysis Interest Group (http://societymusictheory.org/societies/interest/performanceanalysis).

In addition to performing, Kate is an avid teacher and she recently joined voice faculty at Mannes (The New School) where she teaches a voice pedagogy course and private students within the Voice and Opera department. When not singing (or teaching) her heart out, Kate loves being home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with jazz-musician and composer husband Red Wierenga and their two cats.

LUCIFERO | Dashon Burton

The 2015-16 season for Bass-Baritone Dashon Burton includes performances of the title role in Elijah, two subscription weeks of Belshazzar's Feast with the Charleston Symphony, Mozart's Requiem in a return to Boson's Handel and Haydn Society, Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Baltimore Symphony and the Bach Society of St. Louis, and the role of Jesus in Bach's St. Matthew Passion at the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in Berea, Ohio. In December, he sings Handel's Messiah with the New Jersey Symphony, Boston Baroque, and the Kansa City Symphony, where he will return in June 2016 for performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under the baton of Music Director Michael Stern. Burton capped off last season singing Bach's Mass in B Minor ant the Bethlehem Bach Festival, Messiah with I Solisti in Italy, Bach cantatas at the Cincinnati May Festival, and the bass arias in the St. Matthew Passion at the Spoleto USA Festival. This past summer, he appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra to open the Blossom Music Festival in a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Burton also spent several weeks at the Carmel Bach Festival singing the role of Jesus in the St. John Passion and Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute. 

In recent seasons, Burton debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen led by Franz Welser-Möst; also with Boston's Handel and Haydn Society in their production of Handel's Samson. He has toured Europe in Bach's St. John Passion with Christoph Pregardien's Le Concert Lorrain, and he sang the role of Jupiter in Les Talents Lyrique's production of Castor and Pollux with Christophe Rousset in Toulouse, France. 

Burton is also an avid performer of new music, and has premiered works of Christopher Cerrone, Caroline Shaw, William Brittelle, and Judd Greenstein. He is a founding member of the internationally touring chamber ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Devoted To performing new compositions using the fullest possible range of vocal techniques, the group received a Grammy Award for "Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance" in 2014. 

Burton earned his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and his master's degree from Yale University.