A City of Works – an oblique reference to former Mayor Richard J. Daley’s moniker for Chicago – combines the power of music and design in a series of site-specific digital experiences. Evoking the ethereal nature of theatre itself, audiences embark on individual journeys to landmarks throughout our city, unlocking audio and video content, and joining a collective experience to watch performances through individual personal devices.
Arriving at specific locations, audiences scan a QR code on their smartphone to access a music video of a given newly-commissioned work, the piece having been filmed at that locale, creating a fleeting yet shared theatrical experience. The project eliminates the need for the gathering of groups of people while leaving content both free of charge and accessible at any time to audiences.
Stellar [Chicago Tribune] countertenor Thomas Aláan has been a featured soloist with chamber ensembles and orchestras on the radio, concert series, and festivals across the United States, and on several albums ranging from Vivaldi to Bernstein. He has premiered a dozen contemporary works and himself commissions topical music ranging from Appalachian folk songs to environmental justice. When he’s not singing, Thomas divides his time teaching voice in his private studio; as Executive Director of The BBE (Bach and Beethoven Experience); as Assistant Conductor of Choirs and Director of Women’s Schola at Holy Name Cathedral; as a sustainability educator at the University of Illinois at Chicago, running the internationally renowned Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy and lecturing in the Honors College; and as an occasional saxophonist. Thomas is a Paul J. Collins Fellow at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he is a candidate (ABD) for the Doctorate in Musical Arts; he will defend and (hopefully) graduate in Spring 2021. His research focuses on the performance practice and ornamentation of Sean-nòs singers, and the intersectionality of music with science, philosophy, and environmentalism. Outside of music, he volunteers as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Beyond Legal Aid, counts calories, and pretends to be a DJ. When not engaged in any of the above activities, he can be found in the kitchen cooking or feeding his cat, Guillaume, his breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.
|A City of Works||Countertenor||2021|
Dee is among the premier vocalists and songwriters in American music today, and one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected artists. Her performances span virtually every music genre related to the African diaspora: gospel, blues, neo-soul, rhythm-and-blues, and world music. But her true heart belongs to jazz, the one idiom that can encompass all her influences. She gravitated toward jazz at an early age and names Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald among her major influences, as well as Chicago saxophonist Henry Huff, who encouraged her to take risks and cross boundaries, setting her on the path to becoming one of the most accomplished voice improvisers in the world today. Her 2007 “Sirens of Song” tribute to Nina Simone and Dinah Washington (commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago), at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion, introduced her to a larger audience and helped her garner world recognition as well, resulting in frequent tours of France, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Poland. Dee boasts long and fruitful associations with Chicago’s jazz elite (including Ramsey Lewis, Orbert Davis, and Nicole Mitchell), and leads two of her own bands: the Dee Alexander Quartet and the Evolution Ensemble, which emphasizes original compositions.
|A City of Works||Vocalist||2021|
Mezzo-Soprano Eunice Ayodele received her M.M in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University where she studied under Myra Merritt and her B.A. from Aurora University. With over a decade of experience in performance, she is at home in a range of styles, including opera, musical theatre, jazz, rock, R&B, and blues. In addition to performance, Eunice has been teaching voice and piano for several years now. She believes music training should take place in a setting in which the student can learn about them self and about their music ability. In her teaching, Ms. Ayodele guides her students to discover their unique sound, technique, and theory through a variety of exercises and musical styles. By the end of a student’s time with her, she hopes they not only discover what their unique sound is, but also who they are as a musician and a person.
Ms. Ayodele is an active soloist and has recently finished work with the Toledo Opera Chorus. Some of her operatic roles include: Ino in Semele, Kathrine from L’ivrogne corrigé, Carmen from Carmen, and Dido from Dido and Aeneas. Her musical theatre roles include: Motormouth Mabel from Hairspray, Matron Mama Morton from Chicago, and The Witch from Into the Woods.
|A City of Works||Mezzo Soprano||2021|
Her New Music demands to be heard and experienced in a new way. Listening to the horizontal line, one is more prone to listen, dismiss and move on.
Her scores are inadvertently defiant in the way they make listeners stop, stay with each sonic vignette, each sound. They have to reset old notions as to what music scores or filmsound arenas actually are, what emotional, aural and visual stimuli are.
They can, if they wish, take them apart with the wonder of children taking apart toys and putting them back together again. Hence, the re-ordering of the accepted audiovisual cosmology.
Renée Baker has created sonic arenas, scores and compositions for many museums including MCA CHICAGO, MOFA St. Petersburg, Fl., Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MOMA, NY, ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO, DESTEJILK MUSEUM, Zwolle, NL , MOMA NY, Spurlock Museum Champaign, Il, Krannert Art Museum,Milwaukee Ibstitute of Art and Design, Stony Island Arts Bank, DuSable Museum Chicago, Gardener Museum Boston, alongside prestigious music orgs, Symphony Center, Chicago. She has the privilege of being Visiting Resident Artist of the CHICAGO SYMPHONY AAN 2017-2020.
Her film scores for BODY AND SOUL, THE SCAR OF SHAME along with two new opera projects BALDWIN CHRONICLES MIDNIGHT RAMBLE and A SOVEREIGN POUT both premiered at Symphony Center in 2019 and in 2020. She has authored 8 operas to date. The scene shot for Chicago Fringe Opera in 2021 is an excerpt of the third and final installation of the Baldwin Chronicles: Lone Alchemy (world premiere) featuring vocalist Dee Alexander and multi instrumentalist Adam Zanolini, fellow AACM members of Ms Baker..
Films with her scores have aired on NETFLIX and TCM.
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
Seth Boustead is a composer, broadcaster, writer, concert producer, in-demand speaker and visionary with the goal of revolutionizing how and where classical music is performed and how it is perceived by the general public.
As the founder and Executive Director of Access Contemporary Music, Seth has created unique programs like the Sound of Silent Film Festival, the Thirsty Ears Festival, a chain of storefront music schools, and dozens of concerts in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Mexico City. Seth is the host and creator of the award-winning podcast Relevant Tones and the Concept Lab series in Manhattan.
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
Chicagoland native Allison Chambers began playing cello at the age of nine. She enjoys an eclectic musical career of teaching, orchestral playing, and chamber music. Allison strives to be a “citizen musician,” as Yo-Yo Ma defines it, by serving the community through art and music. She currently teaches all ages through the Elmhurst College Community Music Program. Allison is a former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and presently performs with the South Bend Symphony and Illinois Symphony Orchestras. She is also an active chamber musician with Fifth Wave Collective, a performing group working to bring the music of women to the foreground of classical music. Allison has spent her summers conducting a European concert tour with the Buffalo Grove High School Orchestras, performing with Chicago Summer Opera, and concertizing across wine country with Festival Napa Valley. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Elmhurst College and a master’s
degree in cello performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. When she isn’t behind her cello, you can find her enjoying time with loved ones, exploring the outdoors, or curled up with a good book.
|A City of Works||Cellist||2021|
Grace Coberly is a queer composer and conductor with a passion for vocal music. Above all, they seek to create music that is accessible to audiences of any background. Their work has been performed across Europe and the American Midwest, including a recent world premiere in Milan.
Grace is currently completing their undergraduate studies in music and linguistics at Haverford College, where they have studied under Curt Cacioppo and Ingrid Arauco; they are also a member of the Bi-College Chamber Singers. They spent the fall of 2019 in Milan studying composition, conducting, and vocal performance with faculty members from Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, as well as singing with professional ensembles Glass Armonico and Canticum Novum. During the summer of 2020, they attended Temple University’s remote Young Women Composer’s Camp and two virtual choral conducting courses through the Eastman School of Music. A runner-up in the 2020 Women’s Sacred Music Project Commission Competition, they are pursuing a career in music education and plan to earn a master’s degree after graduating from Haverford in 2021.
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
Anna B. Gatdula is a writer based in Chicago, but she longs for the Philippines tropical winds where she was born. She is a scholar of opera studies, American cultural history, and critical theory. Find her ramblings on music, history, and Marxism @gatsbea_ on twitter.
|A City of Works||Librettist||2021|
Tomás Gueglio is an Argentine composer currently based in Chicago. His music has been described as ‘immediately captivating’ (I Care If You Listen), ‘touchingly harmonic’ (Chicago Classical Review) and of ‘an exquisite weight’ (Best of Bandcamp). In his creative work, Tomás strives to devise surreal and unique sound worlds through purposefully blending a variety of musical lineages and styles. Metaphors central to his recent work are private languages, the logic of dreams, and, as of late, melodramas and radio soap operas
His music has been performed across the Americas and Europe by renowned ensembles and soloists like Ensemble Dal Niente, eighth blackbird, MEI, Pacifica and Spektral string quartets, Nuntempe Ensamble, Latitude 49, Marco Fusi and Ben Melsky. Recent and upcoming projects include the devising of a piece with Delfos Danza presented as part of Dal Niente’s ‘Staged’ series, a trilogy of works based on Tango’s star Libertad Lamarque, and the release of his first portrait album, ‘Duermevela’, in the Fall of 2020
In addition to composing, he works as Ensemble Manager and Artistic Consultant for Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, and as Music Theory and Aural Skills Lecturer at Northwestern University. Tomás holds a PhD in composition from the University of Chicago, a MMus from Syracuse University, and a BMus from the Universidad Católica Argentina. Born in Buenos Aires, a major influence in his musical upbringing was Gerardo Gandini whose workshop he attended between 2003 and 2007
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
K. F. Jacques [pronounced k. f. Żak] is a classical singer and hip hop producer. He has been featured on the Rosie Show (Oprah Winfrey Network), various Polish Television and radio networks, and has toured the US, Poland, and several other countries! Currently he is the head composer of, and plays the role of Figaro in, “The Rosina Project”, a hip-hopera version of The Barber of Seville with a cast of talented rappers, dancers, a beatboxer, dj, and singers. The Rosina Project was recently included in The Pivot Arts Festival two years in a row, featured on ABC 7 News, Chicago SunTimes, and The Chicago Tribune, and was also featured in a citywide summer tour of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks. Shortly after completing his Masters in opera performance, bass-baritone Khary Laurent took to producing his own material and creating a brand-new genre on the forefront of hip-hop and opera music under the pseudonym K. F. Jacques. Mr. Laurent has advanced from a chauffeur day job to captivating audiences worldwide with his exceptional fusion of rap, opera, and pop; dubbed OperaTronic. He’s performed multiple times as a headliner at House of Blues Chicago, and has performed his classic solo rendition of the national anthem at United Center, U. S. Cellular Field, and Soldier Field.
|Corsair||Man / Composer / Librettist||2020|
|The Rosina Project||Figaro / Composers / Producer||2019|
Born into a musical family in rural, northern Wisconsin, Heidi began her piano studies as early as four years old and harp studies at seven years. Through her years of musical training, she eventually took up studies in voice, oboe, organ, jazz piano, saxophone, mallet percussion, and guitar. She started composing at the age of 18 and fully began her composition training her junior year of college. She earned degrees in composition from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (BM) and Roosevelt University – Chicago College of Performing Arts (MM). Her previous composition instructors include Stacy Garrop, Kyong Mee Choi, Ethan Wickman, and Chia-Yu Hsu, and J. Michael Roy.
An avid lover of works for the stage and screen, Heidi’s music is heavily influenced by romantic opera, contemporary musical theatre, and film and television scores. With over 150 original compositions to her name, she enjoys writing for a multitude of genres, such as vocal, choral, opera, chamber, musical theatre, solo piano, and wind ensemble. She has received commissions from many of her fellow performer colleagues as well as the Gaudete Brass Quintet, Bach + Beethoven Experience, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Wind Symphony, Women’s Concert Chorale, Wind Symphony, Singing Statesmen, Rice Lake Municipal Band, Platteville (WI) School District, Columbus (WI) High School, Beaver Dam (WI) High School, Lakeland All-Conference Honors Choir. Her award-winning music has been performed across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Recent performances include Take My Hand by the Gaudete Brass Quintet, Four Sacred Settings by the UWEC Women’s Concert Chorale, Distracted by Nick Phillips as part of his #45Miniatures project, Deus Noster Refugium by the UWEC Singing Statesmen, Gaudete Omnes by the UWEC Symphonic Choir and Wind Ensemble. Recent musical theatre compositions include The Bone Harp with Laura Stratford, which premiered with a sold-out first reading at the 2019 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, and Queer Eye: the Musical Parody with Evan Mills, which had a nearly-sold out workshop run at The Playground in Spring of 2019.
Heidi is also a highly sought-after music director and arranger. In addition to accompanying both local ensembles and various musical theatre productions and rehearsals at the high school, collegiate, and community levels, she has arranged music for ensembles for the Peppermint Patties, Cameron School District, Red Cedar Chorus, and for several UWEC a capella groups, as well as served as a music assistant / orchestral librarian for The Who’s Moving On! 2019 international stadium tour. She has been serving as the composer in residence and music director for operatic improv group Forte Chicago since 2016, and is currently serving as the music director and orchestrator for Reddyk & Krupp’s Hildegard: An Unfinished Revolution.
In addition to her work as a composer and music director / arranger, Heidi is an active performer in the greater Chicago area. Heidi has performed all over the greater Midwest with a myriad of regional talent. Most recently, she premiered 13 of her original works during her debut cabaret Cheaper Than Therapy in August of 2018 at Davenport’s Piano Bar in Chicago, which also featured fifteen Chicago and New York-area artists. She returned to Davenport’s in October 2019 for her follow-up show, Heidi Joosten Ruins The Things You Love, which featured some of Heidi’s favorite (and least favorite) works in the musical theatre repertoire. Her accomplishments as a vocalist are complemented by her proficiency as a solo pianist; her debut solo piano album Winter Meditations was released in December of 2018 and is available for purchase on Bandcamp. She will also be performing Rhapsody in Blue in April at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire at Barron County Communiversity Ensemble under the baton of her father, Michael Joosten. Heidi also loves performing on stage, most recently portraying Natalie Goodman in the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre production of Next to Normal and Eponine Thenardier in Northern Star Theatre Company’s production of Les Miserables.
In the free time she has, Heidi enjoys making friends with the dogs that live in her building. She is a proud member of ASCAP, Pi Kappa Lambda, International Alliance for Women in Music, and the American Composers Forum.
|Sounds of Pride 2020||Composer||2020|
Chungers Kim has established himself as a vibrant presence in the Chicago classical music scene since he moved to the city in early 2012. As a Music Director and vocal coach, he is very active in playing for numerous rehearsals, shows, recitals, conducting and directing various choirs in the communities, and teaching vocal music and theory to potential music lovers throughout the city. He directed and conducted many beloved Broadway shows such as Beauty and the Beast, Guys and Dolls, The little shop of Horrors, Shrek the Musical, The Sound of Music.
Mr. Kim is also an active concert soloist and opera singer. He has appeared as Masetto in The Floating Opera Company’s performance of Don Giovanni at The Bohemian National Cemetery. Other roles include Don Pasquale from Don Pasquale, Leporello (cover) from Don Giovanni, the Watchman from Maskarade and Schaunard (cover) from La Bohème. On the classical concert setting, Mr. Kim sang M. Haydn’s Te Deum with VOX3 Collectives and Lakeview Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with St. Croix Valley Orchestra, as well as J.S.Bach’s Cantata BWV131 and F.J.Hadyn’s Te Deum with UW – River Falls Concert Choir.
As a young musician, he had the privilege of being involved with the Minnesota Chorale, with whom he had the opportunity to work with highly acclaimed conductors such as Osmo Vänskä, Nicholas Kraemer, Andrew Litton, and Dr. Kathy Saltzman Romey. Currently, Mr. Kim studies with W. Stephen Smith and works at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church as Music Director.
|Two Remain||Supertitles Coordinator, Conductor Cover||2022|
|A City of Works||Pianist||2021|
Lia Kohl is a cellist and multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago. She creates and performs embodied music and multimedia performance that incorporates sound, video, movement, theatre, and sculptural objects. She has presented work and performed at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Walker Art Center, Chicago Symphony Center, and Eckhart Park Pool, and held residencies at Mana Contemporary Chicago, High Concept Labs, dfbrl8r Performance Art Gallery, Mills College and Stanford University.
She is a curator and ensemble member with poly-disciplinary performance ensemble Mocrep. As an improviser and collaborator, she has participated in cultural exchanges in Mexico, France, Germany, Denmark and the UK. She has toured in four continents. Frequent collaborators include ZRL (Ryan Packard and Zachary Good), Katinka Kleijn, Macie Stewart, Jasmine Mendoza, Corey Smith, Whitney Johnson (Matchess) and Iris Bernblum. She plays with Makaya McCraven, Whitney, OHMME, and Circuit des Yeux. She tours with puppet theatre company Manual Cinema and helps create 60 Songs in 60 Minutes, a monthly show with the Neo-Futurists.
|A City of Works||Cellist||2021|
“Keanon Kyles, praised by CNN for his “incredible bass-baritone voice” and by Scottish Magazine, Opera Scotland for his “beautiful technique”. Kyles was raised in Chicago where his musical journey started and where he received his bachelor’s degree in music from Chicago’s Columbia College. Keanon made his opera debut as Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme”. Conducted by Metropolitan Opera’s Maestro David Jackson, he made his Italy debut in Trento, Italy as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. Keanon was featured as Billy Evans in the world premiere of Floating Opera Company’s production of “War and Peace”. Kyles made his Chicago Opera Theater debut as Daggoo in “Moby Dick”, shortly after he was asked to return to perform the role of Tommie in the opera, “Freedom Ride” with Chicago Opera Theater. He has ranked one of the top 5 singers in the National Association of Negro Musician’s competition. He made his Lyric Opera debut by way of Lyric Unlimited’s production of “Earth to Kenzie” and soon after made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut as a featured soloist in their “Purpose Over Pain” concert.
Keanon was invited to Carnegie Hall to make his solo debut where he sung a plethora of genres on Perelman Stage. Kyles’s versatile voice has gained him notoriety and has allowed him to share the stage with some of music’s greatest artist- Samuel Ramey, Andrea Bocelli, Kathleen Battle, Celine Dion and more. Aside from his growing Opera career, he has performed concerts across the globe at popular venues such as Allstate Arena, United Center, Chicago Theater and internationally at the Edinburgh Festival and Japan World Music Festival. He made his South America debut doing the title role in Benjamin Britten’s Opera “Noye’s Fludde” under the baton of Maestro Guerrasim Voronkov in Bogotá, Colombia.
After making his U.K. debut as Colline, Keanon returned to Scotland in the role of Rigoletto in Clyde Opera Group’s production. He currently is the Bass-Baritone Resident Artist at Chicago Opera Theater (20/22). His career has been highlighted by CNN, Good Morning America and the headline of The Chicago Sun-Times. In addition to his performance career, Keanon teaches voice performance in jazz, gospel and musical theatre out of his studio in downtown Chicago, as well as,Lyriq Music School in Northcenter. Kyles is a 2 time award recipient of the Reva and David Logan Foundation award and Resident Music Artist of the private club -The Cliff Dwellers.”
|A City of Works||Bass-Baritone||2021|
Michael R. Oldham (b. 1989 Braidwood, IL) is a composer and pianist who weaves artwork, story, and imagination into his work. Whether experimenting with looping videos on Instagram as the “parts” of a piece that anyone can play (Music In Segments – 2018), utilizing repeating gif images of old silent films as inspiration for a twelve-movement work (Music In Gifs – 2019), or translating great works of art into music (Suggestion Box: Art – 2020, The Egon Schiele Pieces – upcoming), Michael’s thirst for unusual storytelling through music is never quenched.
One of the many projects keeping Michael busy over quarantine is a weekly art song series entitled, Lugubrious Portraiture, or, Art Songs for Those on the Peripheries of Love. Michael virtually gathered eight of his friends in the Chicago opera scene and beyond to create this series, which has premieres on his Instagram (@WhoaItsMichaelO) and YouTube channel every Sunday through April 2021.
Continuing this trend, his work as composer-as-storyteller is ever-present in the albums, EPs, and singles he has self-released. Recent albums include In Select Theaters (2019), which is his first full-length album of piano solos based on imagery of cinema past, Three Vignettes (2017), which is a work with short stories for violin and piano, The Los Angeles Miseries (2016), which is a set of pieces for solo piano on perspectives attained while driving across America from Chicago to Los Angeles, Grand Delusions on a Small Scale (2015), which features early solo piano works, as well as Fantasies for Piano (2014), which is a six-movement dissection of some of his favorite songs by artists including Fiona Apple, Dirty Projectors, My Brightest Diamond, Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, and Sufjan Stevens. Follow Michael R. Oldham now on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you stream music.
Michael earned his Bachelor’s degree in Film Scoring and Composition from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied briefly at Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens, Greece. He also keeps quite busy as a collaborative pianist in and around Chicago, including work with Chicago Fringe Opera and Chicago’s illustrious improv institution, Second City.
|A City of Works||Pianist/Composer||2021|
|Sounds of Pride||Pianist||2019|
|Sounds of Pride 2020||Pianist/Composer||2020|
Darius Rashad Parker (He/Him) is a Queer Black Scholar, Activist, Poet, and Performer based in Chicago, IL. Darius is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where he received a BA in Journalism and a minor in Black Studies. He has been a member of the Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble since 2005, and has performed in a multitude of plays and has toured performances across the world. Darius Parker’s teaching, research, performance, and activism has grown out of his commitment to social justice, focusing on arts, culture, race and gender inequities in education, and performance art. He is particularly concerned with the relationship of educational practices, and the politics of Queer & racial identities. Darius is the current Resource Coordinator for Kuumba Lynx, the Sustainable Community School’s Lead Partner Agency at Uplift HS. His role includes contributing to an educational model that will build transformative schools, where students, parents and their communities play a key role in public education, in partnership with educators. He is active in multiple coalitions of educators, artists, activists, and community organizations including the SCS Task Force, where he supports the notions of racial justice through efforts that include providing real equity to Black and Brown children who make up the majority of Chicago Public Schools. As a Local School Council Community Representative at Brennemann Elementary School in Uptown, Darius demonstrates a commitment to centering the whole person in a way that involves both children, family, individuals and community partners at the core. Globally, Darius contributes frequently to forums of parents and teachers, as well as locally facilitates opportunities for youth and their families to engage with Social Justice work through arts and culture. Darius collaborates with an array of national collectives and organizations enabling him to produce large scale culturally relevant programming. His work in arts and culture has contributed to local dialogues on topics of educational injustices, and Hip Hop Ed praxi. As of late Darius has led multiple workshops and Think Tanks on Anti-Racist Education and on how educators can show up at their best for students of color, specifically Black students. Darius hopes to empower youth through the arts and to make any experience involving youth, art, and poetry one infused with love, liberation, and truth. Darius received his Master’s Degree in Critical Ethnic Studies from DePaul University in the Spring of 2020. His passion for his people and community is what drove him to academic excellence. Darius is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Delta Phi Delta Dance Fraternity Inc.
|A City of Works||Librettist, Performer||2021|
Recio recently finished his post as the Vanguard emerging composer with Chicago Opera Theater, developing operas with Royce Vavrek and Stephanie Fleischmann. This past year he was asked to return as an aperture resident artist with West Edge Opera to further develop “L’autre Moi”. Current projects include a commission from Chicago Fringe Opera for the Decameron Opera Coalition, a feature on American soprano, Laura Stricking’s CD “40×40”, a commission for LYNX amplify series, and a commission for Ryan Strand’s Letters for Jackie project. Recent past projects include a commission for Stare at the Sun’s Fall concert “Returning”, and a commission for Queer In(n) dedicated to Chicago elder trans icon, Mama Gloria, featuring trans singer, Jalissa Spell, Chicago Fringe Opera’s City of Works series, Fourth Coast Ensemble’s SongSlam and wrote an interactive choral cantata “The Hollow” for Chicago choir, Stare at the Sun. He was a winner of the IU Georgina Joshi Vocal Composition prize, the American Prize in choral writing and the first selected commissioned artist for the Cincinnati Song Initiative. Recio has worked with organizations such as BMP, New Voices Opera Company, Cincinnati Camerata, NOTUS and The Crossing. He was a composer fellow at VIPA, IMANI Festival, Atlantic music festival, The Crossing and Norfolk Chamber Series.
Recio is a G. Schirmer published artist under the Craig Hella Johnson and Dale Warland series. He is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music where he was a Jacobs Fellowship recipient for his DM and MM in composition.
|DOC the Halls||Composer||2022|
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
|A City of Works||Countertenor||2021|
Elizabeth Rudolph is a Chicago-based composer “whose music takes advantage of the rhythmic complexity of minimalism to emphasize thoughtfully composed melodic storytelling.” according to contralto Katherine Dalin. Rudolph’s music has been performed and/or recorded by VOX3, Third Eye Theater, New Moon Opera, Chicago Fringe Opera, Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, Interlochen Arts Academy Chorale, and Opera on Tap-Chicago. Her most recent evening-length opera, Imogen, had its debut with New Moon Opera in 2019. Here, Rudolph shed convention and voiced and scripted roles to be genderless, smartly designing a work that gives more singers an opportunity to be heard. Rudolph is an established classical soprano in her own right, and enjoys collaborating with working artists to create new classical music in all formats, especially art-songs. “Singing her music is always immensely musically and dramatically fulfilling.” says soprano Mary Govertsen.
Other commissions include, Lincoln Square (soprano and cello) for the Chicago Fringe Opera City of Works project, Just a Phase (TTBB Choral) for the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, The Third Night (baritone, bass clarinet, and piano) for VOX3, La Belle Dame sans Merci (SATB chorale) and Incidental Music for The Tempest (chamber music), for Interlochen Center for the Arts.
She attended Roosevelt University (MM-Vocal Performance) and St. Olaf College (BM-Vocal Performance and Music Theory/Composition) where she studied composition with Dr. Peter Hamlin and Dr. Timothy Mahr. She began composing at the age of 14 under the tutelage of Dr. Alan Hirsch, then finished high school at Interlochen Arts Academy where she advanced her composition and music theory study with Dr. Elaine Broad-Ginsberg.
|The Heroes Project – The Widow’s Will||Composer||2021|
|A City of Works||Composer||2021|
A native of Aurora, IL, David Sands began his cello studies at age 10. After graduating from DePaul University in 2014 he became a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where he sat as assistant principal and was a teaching artist for CSO Connect and the Chicago Youth and Music Festival. David completed his master’s in cello performance from DePaul University, where he studied with CSO cellist Brant Taylor. There he sat as principal of the symphony orchestra and continues to serve as an adjunct faculty member for the Music Education Department.
As a recording artist, David has participated in select studio work for the film Chi-raq and can be heard on the track “Mama” from the hit TV show Empire. He has appeared on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary chamber music series MusicNOW and was a featured soloist and chamber musician for “The Line-Up” at Wrigley Field. As a pedagogue, David has served as a guest clinician for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as given masterclasses at DePaul and North Park University. Most recently David became a teaching artist for the inaugural cohort of The Chicago Music Pathways Initiative.
David serves as both a teaching artist and Senior Manager at The People’s Music School of Chicago, a non-profit that brings free music education to over 800 children in Chicago. Through TPMS he has performed chamber music alongside acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax and curates an annual recital called “PlayOut!” in collaboration with The Center on Halsted.
|A City of Works||Cellist||2021|
Alex Salas is a Chicago based soprano with a focus on new works. Alex was most recently seen in Chicago Fringe Opera’s “City of Works,” featured in Lincoln Square with music composed by Elizabeth Rudolph and text by Laura Stratford. Previous engagements with Chicago Fringe Opera include “Love Wounds” showcasing music composed by Christopher Cerrone in 2019, where Chicago Classical Review described Alex’s voice as “pure and lovely in tone.” Alex is a founding member of Forte Chicago, an operatic improv ensemble, last seen at the 2019 Chicago International Puppet Festival, performing “Distant Flight of Birds”, cabarets, and fully devised shows. Since Forte’s inception in 2015, Alex has been seen devising, directing, and performing in every show. Alex holds a BA in Music Education from Florida Atlantic University, and an MM in Voice Performance from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where operatic credits include Contessa di Folleville in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims, Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and Daughter in Torke’s Strawberry Fields. Alex is a soprano section leader at Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, IL.
|Love Wounds||Soloist (I Will Learn To Love a Person)||2019|
Mezzo-soprano Bridget Skaggs has swiftly gained the attention of Chicago audiences as “a compelling force” with an “agile, expressive voice” (Chicago Classical Review) equally at home in opera, art song, and oratorio. Critics have noted the way she “lights up the scene” (Chicago Reader) in performances with Chicago Fringe Opera, where she debuted the role of Austin in the world-premiere production of Rossa Crean’s The Great God Pan in 2018, and sang Christopher Cerrone’s Naomi Songs with “warm and plaintive mezzo” (Chicago Classical Review) as part of Love Wounds, a multi-disciplinary exploration of the composer’s works, in 2019.
Bridget is increasingly recognized for her excellence in the musical and movement styles of Baroque repertoire, having performed Giunone in Cavalli’s La Didone with Haymarket Summer Opera Program in 2018, Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina with Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium in 2019, and performed numerous Bach cantatas as a Festival Artist at the Baroque on Beaver Island Festival (MI) in summers 2014 and 2015.
Nationally, Bridget has appeared as the Fox in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen with Opera Steamboat, and Charlotte in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, where she served as Young Artist. Internationally, she has toured Bruckner’s Te Deum as alto soloist with Blue Lake International Symphony. Her vast concert and oratorio repertoire includes the Ravel Shéhérezade, Duruflé Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Handel Messiah, and Bach Magnificat.
A passionate advocate for art song, Skaggs is a founding member of vocal chamber quartet Fourth Coast Ensemble, and was recently named Vocal Arts Associate for Chicago Fringe Opera. She has twice been awarded the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago’s vocal chamber fellowship. This season she records music by composer Lori Laitman, and has recorded the American premiere of Paul Abraham’s 1932 jazz operetta Ball at the Savoy for future release. A native of Southlake, Texas, Bridget received her education at Oklahoma City University’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music, and resides in Chicago.
|Ear Taxi Festival – Spotlight Series Concert: Songs From Letters||Soloist||2020|
|Love Wounds||Soloist (Naomi Songs)||2019|
|The Great God Pan||Austin||2018|
Lyric mezzo soprano, Emma Sorenson, is currently based in Chicago. Ms. Sorenson was a recent semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya competition hosted by the Kurt Weill Instituted. She also won first place in the Kansas City District Metropolitan Opera Auditions. In the 2019/2020 season, Ms. Sorenson will be featured in her first season as a Chorister at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, associate member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, ensemble at Chicago Opera Theater and will be reprising her role in the ensemble quartet and understudy for Old Lady in The Knight’s Orchestra’s production of Bernstein’s Candide at the Ravinia Music Festival.
In previous Chicago seasons, Emma sang the role of Stasi in her debut with Chicago Folk’s Operetta in their production of The Csardas Princess, covered the role of Laura in Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolantha, played Jill All Alone in the Gilbert & Sullivan Company of Chicago’s Merrie England, and Isabelle Eberhardt in Chicago Fringe Opera’s critically acclaimed production of Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar: the Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt. Critics praised Emma as a “striking and graceful presence, [she] sang with an attractive, flexible voice and brought strong dramatic engagement throughout, from Isabelle’s joy at discovering Islam, to her pain and anger at a lover’s betrayal, and solace and resignation at her death.”
|Song from the Uproar||Isabelle Eberhardt||2016|
|2016 Holiday House Party||Soloist||2016|
Laura Stratford is a Chicago-based musical theatre writer. She co-founded and served as Founding Executive Director of Underscore Theatre Company, Chicago’s home for new musicals, and acted as the Executive Producer of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival for five years. With Underscore, she produced over 74 readings, workshops, and productions of new musicals in eight years.
Laura is the co-lyricist and co-librettist of Liberal Arts: The Musical (Underscore Theatre Company), Grounds: The Musical (Midwest Fringe Tour; Theatre Undeclared); Spa Fire! The Children of the One Percent (the EX-Pats), and pr0ne: a hardcore, amateur musical (Underscore Theatre Company), and librettist for The 57th National Mathlete Sum-It (CPA Theatricals; licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide) with collaborators Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld.
Currently Laura has composed nine original songs for season two of the podcast Arden and is the librettist and lyricist for The Bone Harp, a new musical with music by Heidi Joosten.
She is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild and ASCAP.
|A City of Works||Librettist||2021|
Lauded for his versatility as a performer and accomplished in Musical Theater, Opera, Oratorio and Concert repertoire, critically acclaimed tenor, Jonathan Zeng, has performed throughout the United States with companies such as Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Memphis, Utah Festival Opera, and the Princeton Festival. With a voice described by Chicago publications as “valiant”, “stunning”, “vibrant”, and “rich”, Jonathan is based in Chicago and has appeared as soloist with The William Ferris Chorale in the American premiere of John Joubert’s Five Songs of Incarnation and Bonaventura Somma’s Missa Pro Defunctis. You may also have seen him singing with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, in Johnny Johnson or The Csardas Princess with Chicago Folks Operetta, or performing in Chicago Fringe Opera productions The Long Christmas Dinner, Trouble In Tahiti, Turn of the Screw, and Song From the Uproar. Roles elsewhere range from Goro in Madama Butterfly & Beppe in I Pagliacci to Prince Charming in Cinderella, Chip Tolentino in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Frederic in Pirates of Penzance. An avid proponent for arts education and vocal instruction, Jonathan has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Preparatory Department at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and has maintained a private voice studio for more than a decade. Jonathan received a BA in Music Education from the School of Music at Western IL University and an MM in vocal performance from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Jonathan also writes and records his own music.
|Sounds of Pride 2020||Soloist||2020|
|Sounds of Pride||Soloist||2019|
|Dynamic Donuts: A Fundraiser for Love Wounds||Soloist||2019|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Charles||2018|
|Fringe at the Taproom||Soloist||2018|
|The Great God Pan||Clarke and Meyrick Cover||2018|
|Song from the Uproar||Ensemble||2016|
|The Turn of the Screw||Miles||2015|
|Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree||Soloist||2015|
|Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti||Tenor, Jazz Trio||2015|
George is the Producing Artistic Director of Chicago Fringe Opera (called “the city’s alt-opera company” by the Chicago Tribune), which produces experiential, immersive, and site-specific productions of operas composed in English. At CFO, George has directed Woyzeck, The Rosina Project, The Long Christmas Dinner, The Great God Pan (world premiere), Lucrezia, In the Penal Colony, The Turn of the Screw, Trouble in Tahiti and The Rape of Lucretia. Camera opera filmwork includes Corsair, The Widow’s Will, and A City of Works.
In addition, George has directed opera scenes at Wolf Trap Opera and Chautauqua Opera, and new productions with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Pittsburgh Opera, the Bay View Music Festival, Chicago Folks Operetta, and Chicago Opera Vanguard. An enthusiastic mentor, George is the Producing Artistic Director of Opera and Theatre at North Park University, and has taught acting, auditioning and scene study at Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, and DePaul University.
Now in its seventh season, George hosts Opera Box Score, America’s Talk Radio Show About Opera, heard every Monday night on WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago and wherever you get your podcasts. The show tackles the week’s opera headlines and discusses them in a sports talk radio format.
A recipient of the 2015 American Prize in Directing, George’s production of Silent Night was chosen as a winner of Opera America’s 2013 Director-Designer competition. As one of ten Americans to receive the 2011-12 German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, George served as a Regieassistent at the Staatstheater Darmstadt.
George’s training includes the Resident Artist Stage Director program at Pittsburgh Opera, serving as the Apprentice Stage Director at the Merola Opera Program, and as the Directing Fellow at Wolf Trap Opera. He holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA in Theatre Studies and English from Yale University. A dual US-UK citizen, George is a proud ensemble member of Steep Theatre Company (Chicago) and the American Guild of Musical Artists.
He lives with his wife, their two children, their cat, and their four chickens, in Chicago.
|The Heroes Project – The Widow’s Will||Director||2021|
|A City of Works||Artistic Director||2021|
|The Rosina Project Fall 2021 (NOITP)||Concept & Stage Direction||2021|
|Arts in the Dark||Director||2019|
|The Rosina Project||Director||2019|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Director||2019|
|The Rossini Project||Director||2018|
|The Great God Pan||Director||2018|
|In the Penal Colony||Director||2016|
|The Turn of the Screw||Director||2015|
|Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti||Director||2015|
|The Rape of Lucretia||Director||2014|
Catherine O’Shaughnessy is a rising orchestral and opera conductor in the United States and abroad. Her performances have earned rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Classical Review (“great skill, alertness and sensitivity”), and Vocal Arts Chicago (“resourcefulness…scrappiness and…fierce concentration”). Avidly committed to Chicago’s dynamic musical scene, she is currently the music director of Chicago Fringe Opera, and Principal Conductor of the 5th Wave Collective. In 2020, she proudly helped produce Fringe’s contribution to the Decameron Opera Coalition’s Tales From a Safe Distance—winner of the “Best Collaboration” award from 360° of Opera—which makes innovative use of technology to reimagine this art for challenging new circumstances.
A semi-finalist in the 2016 Spazio Musica International Conducting Competition, Catherine made her New York debut conducting Antonio Salieri’s La Cifra with the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. She has also music directed Pyramus and Thisbe in Freiberg (Mittelsächsisches Theater) and conducted Don Giovanni and La Traviata in Orvieto (Teatro Mancinelli). In 2013 she conducted the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra at a sold-out performance in Tchaikovsky Hall, and in 2017 she guest-conducted the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra (Manchester, UK). Catherine holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral and opera conducting from Arizona State University, where she was a student of William Reber and Timothy Russell.
|Two Remain||Music Director||2022|
|Love Wounds||Music Director||2019|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Music Director||2019|
|The Great God Pan||Music Director||2018|
|Song from the Uproar||Conductor||2016|
|In the Penal Colony||Conductor||2016|
Brad Caleb Lee is a UK based visual dramaturge. With CFO he designed Lucrezia, The Long Christmas Dinner, Woyzeck, Corsair and co-conceived A City of Works. Other collaborators include East Riding Theatre, Opera’r Ddraig, Summer Theatre of New Cannon, Richard Burton Theatre Company, Elan Frontoio, Welsh National Opera, Opera Sonic, Music Theatre Wales, Prague Shakespeare Company, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Hell in a Handbag, and Filament Theatre.
Brad curated and designed YOUR VOICE!, an immersive community-driven exhibition reopening the Wales Millennium Centre, was the Curatorial Producer of Prague Quadrennial 2019, was featured in World Stage Design 2017, and co-designed the award-winning British pavilion, MAKE/BELIEVE for PQ2015 / Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Brad is the founding editor of Ascending and has previously edited other publications on theatre design. He holds an MA from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and both a BA and a BS of Commerce from The University of Alabama.
|Two Remain||Production Designer||2022|
|A City of Works||Co-concept / Designer||2021|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Set Designer||2019|
|Song from the Uproar||Assistant Director & Stage Manager||2016|
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