This season's guest artists:
Mary Ann McCormick, Mezzo-soprano
Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Mary Ann McCormick has been hailed in the press as "charismatic", "spell-binding", and "elegant". In addition to the privilege of working with many of the great conductors of our time, including Wolfgang Sawallisch, James Levine, Christoph von Dohnanyi, and Kurt Masur, she has sung with many of the finest orchestras and opera companies including the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Boston Symphony, The Metropolitan Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro la Fenice, Teatro alla Scala di Milano, and The Paris Opera. MaryAnn has recorded with the Emerson String Quartet, Orchestre National de France, and The New York Philharmonic, and is featured singing in the Miramax film "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Her recent accomplishments include performances as Carmen with Theater St. Gallen, Switzerland and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and a tribute concert in Avery Fisher Hall for Luciano Pavarotti.
Mark Schowalter, Tenor
Mark Schowalter, tenor, known for his thoughtful interpretations and rich voice, is at home on both the concert and operatic stages. Mr. Schowalter has been privileged to sing with some of the world's finest conductors and their orchestras including James Levine (Metropolitan Opera, Munich Philharmonic), Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony and Saito Kinen Orchestra), Valery Gergiev (Metropolitan Opera), Mstilav Rostropovich (National Symphony), and Charles Dutoit (Montréal Symphony). Mr. Schowalter has performed supporting roles in Der Rosenkavalier, I Vespri Siciliani, Die Zauberflöte and Samson et Dalilia with the New York Metropolitan Opera. Past season highlights have included performances as Jaquino in Beethoven's Fidelio, St. Brioche in Lehar's The Merry Widow, Tchaplitsky in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame and roles in four Strauss operas: Der Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Shatten, Ariadne auf Naxos and Elektra. Mr. Schowalter's performance of the Evangelist in Bach's Matthäus-Passion prompted the reviewer for The Philadelphia Inquirer to call him "among the best I've heard... with a seemingly effortless vocal production." Other concert performances include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Maverick Chamber Festival, Mozart's Requiem with William Eddins and the Minnesota Orchestra, Monteverdi's Vespers 1610 with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, and Bach's Joannes-Passion, Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne, and Vespers 1610 with Chritopher Hogwood and the St. Paul Chamber orchestra and National Symphony.
Lester Lynch, baritone
Lester Lynch is recognized as one of today's most promising Verdi baritones. Hailed by the New York Times as "magnificently forceful," for his Carnegie Hall performance at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala, Lynch has been praised for his performances at major opera companies throughout the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Lynch has studied at the Julliard Opera School before making his debut as Marcello in La Boheme with New York City Opera. Other important debuts followed, including Gremont in La Traviata with Houston Grand Opera, Count di Luna in Il Travatore with Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Seattle Opera and Flint in Billy Budd with Canadian Opera Company. The baritone has enjoyed long association with Opera Theatre of St. Louis where he has received critical acclaim for his performance of Calchas in Le Belle Helene, Marcello in La Boheme, and the bartender in Susa's Black River. Just this past summer, Lester was heard as Paolo in the Santa Fe Opera's new production of Simone Boccanegra, where the New Mexican said he sang "with imposing force," and that when he was on stage, "the air snapped." Mr. Lynch has also recently joined the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Alfio/Tonio in Cavelleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci as well as a return to the company for the High Priest in Samson and Dalila. Mr. Lynch made an important debut in the title role of Rigoletto with Dayton Opera, where he was noted for his "powerful and intensely moving" performance of the tragic jester.
Amy Van Roekel, soprano
Praised by the Washington Post as a “lovely singer and accomplished actress” with “limpid tone and agile high notes”, soprano Amy van Roekel has established herself as a vibrant and captivating performer on both the operatic and concert stage. Ms. van Roekel has sung roles with Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia and Metro Lyric Opera in New Jersey. In recent years she has been a prominent artist with American Opera Projects in New York City and is frequently called on to premiere new works. This past year she was involved in several exciting projects: Séance on a Wet Afternoon - a new opera by Grammy and Academy-Award-Winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell); Opera After Hours – a compilation of several short operas woven together by acclaimed director, Christopher Alden at New York City’s cutting-edge Zipper Factory Theater; and the world premiere of Oresteia, - a multi-media opera by Iannis Xenakis performed in ancient greek at the Miller Theatre in New York City. She is in demand as a concert soloist and has been heard across the country with groups such as the Master Chorale of Washington at the Kennedy Center, the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Kalamazoo Symphony, the North Arkansas Symphony, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. In addition to her concert and opera credits, Ms. van Roekel also enjoys performing jazz and cabaret. She was a featured artist with the New York City Ballet, performing American standards under the baton of George Steel and his Gotham City Orchestra in St-Rémy, France. She has been a winner of the National Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and an award winner in the Washington International Competition for Singers. Ms. van Roekel holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland.
Alison Gatwood, pianist
Alison Gatwood is an award-winning performer and educator. Born on the island of Guam, Alison studied piano with Charles Crowder at The American University and won local competitions before graduating with distinction from The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where she studied piano with Barry Snyder. Alison took her Master's degree in piano performance with distinction, studying with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Ms. Gatwood remains active as a pianist and music teacher. Ms. Gatwood was the head of the Music Department at Stevenson University in Baltimore for five years. After her son Jacob was born, Alison accepted her present position as a Music Specialist for the Howard County School System. She currently teaches vocal and general music at Thunder Hill Elementary, Howard County’s only certified Arts Integration School.
Alison was the Music Director at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Glenwood, Maryland for twenty years, and composed more than one hundred songs for use in worship. Alison is currently on staff with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia and serves as Youth Music Director. She was a founding member of the Music Leadership Team for Howard County Public Schools, and was chosen to be Music Educator of the Year. She was also nominated for a "Howie" Award for Outstanding Music Educator. Alison served for ten years on the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission for Human Rights, on the Howard County Arts Council Artistic Review Panel and on the Peabody Alumni Steering Committee. Additional awards include the Oscar Mayer Weiner Award, which brought the famous Weinermobile to Columbia.
Ms. Gatwood has been associated with the Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus since 1985. She is frequently heard as pianist and soprano soloist with this group, and with them has toured the Czech Republic and Poland. Described by the Baltimore Sun as a "lustrous soprano with a high degree of musical intelligence", Alison has premiered three works by composer Tom Benjamin: song cycles based on the poetry of Rumi and Emily Dickinson, and the "Old Brick" Oratorio premiere at Christ Episcopal Church in 2011. Alison sang Elgar’s "Sea Pictures" with the St. John’s Orchestra and studies voice with mezzo-soprano Marianna Busching. Alison performs frequently with her husband, concert violinist Jody Gatwood.
Laura Whittenberger, Soprano
A native of Ellicott City, Maryland, soprano Laura Whittenberger holds degrees from Indiana University in English and Vocal Performance, a TEFL certificate, and has begun her graduate studies in Voice/Opera at the Peabody Conservatory on Baltimore. Since returning to her hometown of Ellicott City in early 2012, she has had many opportunities to perform in Maryland regional concert, opera and theater productions. In 2012 her roles have included Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Anna in The King and I, Rose in Meet Me in St. Louis, Julie Jordan in Carousel, and Rose Green in Sousa’s operetta The American Maid. Miss Whittenberger has also enjoyed singing as the soprano soloist for concerts such as Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse last spring with Columbia Pro Cantare and a televised National Veteran’s Day concert at the National Basilica. Up next, she will sing in a Messiah this December in Easton, MD, and make her debut with the Peabody Opera Theater in March as the title role in Lakmé. For future upcoming performances and more information, please visit www.laurawhittenberger.com
David Dickey, Counter-tenor
Chad Sloan, Baritone
American baritone Chad Sloan is recognized as much for his warm elegant vocalisms as for his deft character interpretation. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Chad is an active recital, operatic, and concert performer, whose recent performances include a program responding to an installation of French Impressionism at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, singing with Stephen Blier at Wolf Trap Opera in a program entitled The Pursuit of Love, the recent world premiere of Kenjo Bunch's Dream Songs at Carnegie Hall, as well as at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, England under the tutelage of Roger Vinoles and Philip Langridge. Chad also was heard in Vaughan-Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols with the Lebanon Symphony Orchestra and Schumann's Requiem für Mignon and Faure's Requiem with the Louisville Choral Arts Society. Under the baton of Keith Lockhart he performed Peer Gynt and Handel's Messiah with the Utah Symphony.
In the 2012-2013 season. in addition to Carmina Burana with the CPC he will be performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Louisville Choral Society, Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer at the Twickenham Music Festival, Britten's War Requiem at the Lawrence Conservatory, and in works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach with the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. He debuts with Opera Memphis in Lee Hoiby's This is the Rill Speaking next spring.
Last season Chad returned to the role of Prosdocimo in Rossini's Il Turco in Italia for Tacoma Opera, performed with the Lexington Philharmonic in Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, the Anchorage Opera as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and for the Dayton Opera and the Bar Harbor Music Festival as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliette . He was featured at the Dallas Museum of Art in a multi-media concert based on the life and design portfolio of fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. In the previous season he returned to the Kentucky Opera to debut as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, to the Utah Opera as John Brooke in Little Women, and debuted with the Bar Harbor Music Festival as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Apland, pianist, is a
graduate of South Dakota State University and the University of
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has completed degrees in
classical piano. He attained commercial music experience as a show-band
and dance-orchestra leader on several ships in the cruise industry.
After a brief period as a music educator in his home state of South
Dakota, Erik became the band leader aboard the legendary Delta Queen, a
steamboat that sails the Mississippi and Ohio River systems. In 1999 he
joined "The President's Own" United States Marine Band and became a
sought-after free-lancer in the Baltimore-Washington area. Erik joined
the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 2005.