Julio Agustin (he/him)
Choreographer - Dance, Librettist, Stage Director
New York, New York / Greensboro, North Carolina
Julio Agustin (Director-Choreographer) has staged and/or choreographed productions at Theatre Under the Stars, Geva Theatre, Hangar Theatre, North Carolina Theatre, and others. He is a nationally recognized director-choreographer and librettist with a Broadway background. He specializes in Radical Inclusivity (Re-envisioning the Classics with Contemporary Practices).
Award recognitions include an Audelco nomination for Best Director (La Dulce Caridad, a Latina adaptation of Sweet Charity @ New Haarlem Arts Theatre, NYC) where he also served as Associate Artistic Director; a Best Choreographer nomination by the Houston Press Theatre Awards (Guys and Dolls @ Theatre Under the Stars, TX); and a Syracuse Area Live Theatre nomination for Best Choreographer (In the Heights @ Hangar Theatre). He has also been recognized for his advocacy for disability access and inclusion as well as received diversity research grants.
Upcoming projects: Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue (ENT Center for the Arts, Colorado), On Your Feet! (North Carolina Theatre), and Sister Act (GEVA Theatre). Julio has performed on Broadway in the original companies of Fosse, Steel Pier, Never Gonna Dance, Bells Are Ringing revival (“Carl”), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (“Ambite”), and was featured opposite Bebe Neuwirth in Chicago, the musical.
He conceived and wrote the book to Out of Line, with music and lyrics by John Franceschina. The musical picks up where A Chorus Line left off and had its world premiere at Pennsylvania Centre Stage with a cast of Broadway veterans. It will soon be available for rental.
Juhi Bansal (she/her)
Composer, Conductor/Music Director
Described as “radiant and transcendent” by New Classic LA, the music of Juhi Bansal takes inspiration from her multicultural background growing up in India and Hong Kong. Her work features themes celebrating musical and cultural diversity, nature and the environment, and strong female role models.
Current projects include Waves of Change, a digital experience on womanhood, identity and clash of cultures inspired by the story of the Bangladesh Girls Surf Club; and Edge of a Dream, an opera about Ada Lovelace, daughter of infamous poet Lord Byron and a 19th Century pioneer in computing commissioned by Los Angeles Opera. Recent seasons have included commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Prototype Festival, Beth Morrison Projects, New York Virtuoso Singers, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and more.
John Bronston (he/him)
Chorus Master, Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Composer, Conductor/Music Director, Singer, Voice Teacher
New York, NY
John Bronston currently serves as the Musical Director and Conductor of Bounce: The Basketball Opera (Ardea Arts NYC) and previous opera credits include Amahl and the Night Visitors and Trouble In Tahiti. He served as the musical director for the National Tour of Hair and recently served as the associate conductor for the touring productions of Ain’t Misbehavin and Smokey Joe’s Café. Favorite regional credits include The Color Purple, The Wiz, Legally Blonde, and Heathers. New York credits include work with NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival), MTF (Musical Theatre Factory), The Women’s Project, The Workshop Theatre, and The New York Theatre Barn and he has served as a pianist and musical director in cabarets and piano bars including Brandy’s, Don’t Tell Mama, and the Duplex. In addition he is a teaching artist for Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) and Stagedoor Manor and has had his work as a composer of musicals and incidental scores produced Off-Broadway and Regionally.
Nicole Brooks (she/her)
Composer, Librettist, Producer, Stage Director - Asah Productions Inc.
In the performing arts world, Nicole Brooks is beyond a triple-threat. Her extensive accomplishments include filmmaker, director, performer, singer, playwright, composer, curator, teacher and ‘art-ivist’. Brooks has devoted over 20 years producing innovative content (for the stage and screen), with a focus on narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora. In 2012, Brooks officially added playwright to her list of talents. Her debut theatrical work Obeah Opera - which she created, wrote, composed and performs in - has been staged in various incarnations from festivals to staged workshop productions in Toronto between 2009 and 2014. Honoured with a Dora nomination for Outstanding New Opera/Musical in 2012 and with continued development thereafter, an updated version of Obeah Opera premiered in August 2015, as a prestigious commission from the cultural arm of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games. Its final incarnation mounted in June 2019 as part of the critically acclaimed roaster of the Luminato Festival in Toronto and was honoured with two additional DORA nominations in 2020 (Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Feature Performance). On the heels of this accomplishment and success, the work is now projecting to launch its international tour in South Africa during their Women's Month and Barbados to celebrate their ‘We Gatherin’’ celebrations inviting the diaspora back home.
Caroline Cao (she/her)
New York, NY
Caroline Cao wants to do everything in life. She is a film, TV, and theatre critic and her wit pops up on SlashFilm and other outlets. She also has written a full-length screenplay and manuscripts for children's book.
Her plays “The Buddhist Darkhorse” was produced at the 2018 Future is Female Festival in Houston. She produced her play “Matriarch, Mother, and Maiden” for the 2018 New York New Work Festival. A play version of her 10-minute opera “Demon Princess” was performed at the 2019 Tribeca Writers & Performers.
Juan Cantú (he/him)
Composer, Conductor/Music Director, Librettist, Singer, Stage Director, Choreographer - Dance
Juan Cantú works as a director, actor and singer. He has directed at Universal Studios Japan, Walt Disney World, Viking Cruise Lines, Sea World, Busch Gardens, the Orlando Fringe Festival and Mad Cow Theatre (Avenue Q, Ain't Misbehavin'). Juan performed in “Tarzan Rocks!” and “Finding Nemo the Musical” at Walt Disney World. Juan has recorded vocals for Disney, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean as well as various television jingles. In Las Vegas, he was in “Starlight Express,” and various other shows. He was on the creative team that brought the musical adaptation, “El Wiz” to Central Florida.
Faye Chiao (she/her)
Composer, Conductor/Music Director, Singer
New York, NY
Faye Chiao is a composer and performer of opera, concert music, and musical theater. Chiao has been honored with awards from The Presser Foundation, The Puffin Foundation and OPERA America. Chiao has also been an artist-in-residence at New Victory Labworks, The John Duffy Institute for New Opera at the Virginia Arts Festival, and Boston Chamber Symphony. Chiao’s work has been commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, Prospect Theater, Single Carrot Theater, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Chiao holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.
Deantha Edmunds (she/her)
Composer, Librettist, Singer, Voice Teacher
St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Canada’s first and only Inuk professional classical singer, Deantha Edmunds is a two-time Dora Award Nominated performer and is much in demand as a singer, actor, and collaborator in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous projects. She is also a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists.
Edmunds was nominated for the East Coast Music Award ‘Indigenous Artist of the Year’ in 2020 for her solo EP, “My Beautiful Home,” and in 2016 for the album “Pillorikput Inuit: Inuktitut Arias for All Seasons.” 2019 performances included the world premieres of Indigenous operas “Shanawdithit” with Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon, and the Cree and Sámi double-bill “Two Odysseys” with Soundstreams/Signal Theatre/Sámi National Theatre Beaivváš.
Edmunds was the soloist representing the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Against the Grain Theatre’s national film “Messiah/Complex,” accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The project received international acclaim.
Most recently, Edmunds was one of the artists featured in Perchance Theatre’s video series ‘The Power of One.’ It is a video series capturing monologues from every Shakespeare play in the Canon. Edmunds performed a monologue by Lady Percy in Henry IV, Part II.
An urban Inuk, Edmunds aims to empower Indigenous people and share their stories. She explores and embraces her Indigeneity through poetry and song. Upcoming projects include recording her collection of songs, “Connections” with string quartet. Edmunds is currently writing the libretto for her opera, “Ingutak” which will be the first opera sung in English and Inuktitut.
Robert Ellsworth Feng (he/him)
Librettist, Singer, Voice Actor
New York, NY
Bass Robert Ellsworth Feng is acclaimed for having a “commanding darkness and thickness to his tone,” and is a born collaborator who performs with artists of all mediums.
Robert is the recipient of the George Woodhead Prize in Voice and the Peabody Career Development Award, and placed second in the New York Classical Music Society International Voice Competition.
Performance highlights include Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore) with Kor Productions, La sonnambula (Count Rodolfo) and Così fan tutte (Don Alfonso) with Opera Alchemy, Tobias Picker’s Emmeline (Pastor Avery) with Manhattan School of Music, La traviata (Dottore Grenvil) and Les pêcheurs de perles (Nourabad) with Thomas Muraco’s Opera Repertoire Ensemble, Prince Igor (Khan Konchak) with Russian Opera Workshop, Le nozze di Figaro (Bartolo) with Berlin Opera Academy, and Massenet’s Chérubin (Le Philosophe) with Peabody Conservatory. Not limited to performing standard repertoire, Mr.Feng has premiered new works including Tony Small’s operetta Qadar, Nick Peros’ monodrama Lamentation of Ruin, and with Christman Opera in their Voices Rising Voices series.
During the months of quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Robert has been involved with Social Distance Opera's production of Street Scene as Henry Davis, Seagle Music Colony as an Emerging Artist, and has been honored to be a featured artist for Tony Small's Virtual Masterclass series for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington.
Robert received his Bachelor’s degree at Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage William Sharp, and his Masters degree at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mark Oswald.
Federico Figueroa (he/him)
Dramaturg, Librettist, Producer, Stage Director
Born and raised in Chiapas (Mexico), he moved to Spain in 1997. He has directed opera, operetta, zarzuela and plays in his native country, Colombia, Cuba, United Kingdom and United States. In the last three years he has released four lyrical-theatrical works with texts of his authorship. At the beginning of this year his staging of the baroque zarzuela "Love conquers impossible love" in Dallas, garnered great critical and public success. He is currently working on the rescue of the text and the staging of the zarzuela "Romance slave", by Colombian authors, with the support of a grant from the municipal government of Bogotá.
Sandra Flores-Strand (she/her)
Sandra Flores-Strand, Librettist and Mezzo-Soprano, is based in the US and Canada. Sandra feels compelled to often write with a focus on marginalized communities, particularly Latin American representation on stage, including the ongoing migrant crisis, a subject that hits close to home.
Sandra’s mini song cycle, Speak, But Don’t Speak: Diminished Women, premiered in March 2021 at the Arizona Women’s Collaborative Concert set by Emily Smith and Lillian Salter. Sandra is also currently collaborating with composer Laura Jobin-Acosta, a recipient of the Opera America IDEA Residency, for a piece that will have its premiere workshop at Opera America in Fall 2021. Her one act opera The Beneficiary, composed by Charles Zoll and her song cycle, Come Again: Poems Based on Recurring Dreams, composed by William Clay, are scheduled to premiere in 2022.
As a singer, Sandra has performed with Phoenix Opera, Mercury Opera, Arizona Voices, Voices of Vienna, the Phoenix Opera Orchestra, Brott Opera Festival, Flagstaff Light Opera, Lambs Players Theater, Lyric Opera San Diego and more. She participated in apprentice programs with Red River Lyric Opera, the Harrower Opera Workshop, Angel's Vocal Arts, Flagstaff in Fidenza and the Royal College of Music - London. As a theater technician, she worked with Lambs Players Theater, the Old Globe Theater San Diego, the Lyceum Theater, the Balboa Theater, the Asian American Repertory Theater, and Starlight Opera. Sandra also holds directing credits with NAU Opera under the mentorship of Kay Walker Castaldo and Nando Schellen.
Damien Geter (he/him)
Composer, Singer, Voice Teacher, Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera
I made my Met debut in the 2019-2020 season and I sing at large and regional houses across the United States. As a composer, I have several commissions under my belt including The Washington Chorus, The University of Michigan, Washington National Opera as a part of their American Opera Initiative, All Classical Portland and Resonance Ensemble, among others.
Jerome Joseph Gentes (he/him)
Librettist, Producer, Playwright
Palm Springs, CA
Playwright, producer and executive director of TigerBear Productions, Jerome is a two-spirit Standing Rock Lakota and Fort Belknap A’aninin (Gros Ventre). He makes, builds, and presents stories through art, connectivity, and community. In 2014, he co-founded the Musical Cafe Showcase Series, a Berkeley, CA-based performance series. He co-produced Sheherezade’s Last Tales (2015 TBA Award for Outstanding Anthology) and PCSF PlayOffs (2016 TBA Finalist for Outstanding Anthology), and was a founding member of the Same Boat Theatre Collective. He works in software design and is on the boards of PlayGround SF and The 24 Hour Plays.
Find out more about him and his company at tigerbearproductions.com.
Laura Jobin-Acosta (she/her)
New York, NY
Laura Jobin-Acosta is a composer and soprano whose works are filled with strange and beautiful harmony. Laura is an advocate for performing new music and participates regularly as a singer in new works.
Jessica “Urpi” Kahn (she/her)
Composer, Singer, Voice Teacher
Allillanchu/Allillaku hello I am a lyric coloratura soprano who has sung with both Opera Columbus (chorus) and Opera Project Columbus (chorus) and ProMusica (Second Blues Singer in The Mass). I also sang for the Columbus Arts invitational on behalf of Women in Music Columbus. I sometimes compose and arrange with high interest in Andean (my native indigenous American of the Andes) and classical fusion pieces. I am currently working on recital of such pieces (one self composed) of Theodoro Valcárcel pieces. I aspire to both recognition of myself in this genre and conventional classical/operatic repertoire and roles.
Teiya Kasahara (their/theirs)
Librettist, Producer, Singer, Stage Director, Voice Teacher
Toronto, ON, Canada
First-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, gender non-binary, interdisciplinary performer-creator. Heralded as “a force of nature” (Toronto Star) and “an artist with extraordinary things to say” (The Globe and Mail) Teiya comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe such as the Queen of the Night / THE MAGIC FLUTE (Essen, Vancouver, Edmonton), Flora Sandes / DEAD EQUAL (Edinburgh) and Fata Morgana / L’AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES (Essen). Recent engagements include the title role in MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Windsor Symphony), performer-creator of dora-nominated THE WAGER (Theatre Gargantua), assistant director of ALL THE LITTLE ANIMALS I HAVE EATEN (Nightwood Theatre), and their first video series 19 VIDEOS FOR COVID-19 which garnered Teiya the nickname, “the balcony soprano” (Toronto Star).
Within their creation practice Teiya explores the intersections of identity through opera, theatre, electronics, and taiko, disrupting and reimagining the operatic canon through their works THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT (Confluence Concerts), 夜 YORU (in development), and THE QUEEN IN ME (Amplified Opera, Nightwood, Theatre Gargantua).
As a co-founder of Amplified Opera, a new initiative which is bringing the opera sector an “injection of [...] creativity & politics of inclusivity” (barczablog), Teiya works closely with young opera artists who are discovering new ways to decolonize their artistic practices.
Teiya is the founder/head coach of the Vocal Dōjō, and makes their home in Tkarón:to. Visit www.teiyakasahara.com for more information or follow @teiyakasahara.
Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas (she/her)
Composer, Conductor/Music Director, Dramaturg, Librettist, Producer, Singer, Stage Director, Voice Teacher
Singer, actress, creator, and facilitator, Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas has been praised by critics worldwide for her visually, and vocally, compelling performances. From leading roles with many storied institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and Sydney Opera House to sharing the stage with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis, she is also a force on the stage and screen as evidenced by her magnetic performances with Broadway in Chicago and on HBO.
With a strong belief in education, creation, and community as evidenced by her recent partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she also brings with her 15+ years of experience as a Master Vocal Technician, Coach, Songwriter, and Arranger with a focus on holistically integrating and freeing the Artist’s Mind, Body, and Spirit. As a burgeoning Arts Administrator and Visionary, she brings this same international artistic view to enhance ones clarity of purpose and application of expression.
A performer since the age of two, and counting music legends McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield and Tina Turner among her relations, she consistently propels her vision of uniting tradition with innovation in all she creates.
Kameron Mitchell Locke (he/him)
Berlin, Germany and Chicago, IL
Kameron Locke (he/him) is a classically trained tenor who has sung throughout the Western hemisphere as a recitalist and chorister. As a recitalist, he has sung throughout Chicago, London, and Germany. While living in London, he was selected for a training opportunity at the renowned National Opera Studio. Kameron was most recently engaged as a tenor for the London Symphony Chorus, singing throughout Europe and at the BBC Proms, until March 2020.
As a community advocate, Kameron creates spaces and opportunities for marginalized communities to experience the arts through innovative and inclusive programming that centers these communities and their lived experiences. In Chicago, he co-created an after-school arts program for students from the Rising Majority communities. During his time in London, he created and led workshops in order to address the gaps in the music production field; these workshops were specifically for BIPOC LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths students.
Additionally, Kameron is a working musicologist educated in Chicago and London. His work centers Black identity and its precarious relationship with and in Western Classical music; his dissertation at Goldsmiths College focused on the 19th century Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Kameron, through creativity, research, and performance, is dedicated to empowering and making space in the arts for BIPOC communities of all intersectional backgrounds.
Carla Lucero (she/her)
I have had two of my operas premiere in San Francisco (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - 2001) and Los Angeles (Opera UCLA - 2019). My first opera was WUORNOS, based on the tragic life and media circus surrounding the trial of America's first female "serial killer", Aileen Wuornos. My second was Juana, a Spanish language chamber opera based on the life, forbidden love and works of the 17th century Mexican poet, nun and feminist icon, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. I am currently working on my third opera, Touch, based on the extraordinary life of blind-deaf American icon, Helen Keller. I am currently seeking coproducers for Touch, to partner with Opera Birmingham (AL) and Cinnabar Theater (CA) for a rolling premiere/tour.
Patricio Molina (he/him)
Riverdale, New Jersey
Dubbed by The New York Times as "a gifted artist", Dr. Molina has gained a reputation as a prominent composer, performer, and educator. NJEA is one of many institutions that acknowledges Dr. Molina's artistic accomplishments with their esteemed Award for Excellence. Dr. Molina’s music is colorful, dynamic, and virtuousic. His Chilean-Syrian heritage and his experiences as a Dreamer inspire his compositions and artistry.
Recent musical activities include commissions by New Jersey Youth Symphony in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T., live-streamed and live performances from Opera America, album recordings, lectures, and regular performances at Carnegie Hall. Patricio is committed to serving marginalized communities by creating new works in collaboration with other artists from underrepresented groups, performing underrated works, and working toward decolonizing academic research.
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (she/her)
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally known writer, educator, activist, and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston, Texas. Formerly ranked the #2 Best Female Poet in the World, Her work has appeared in Houston Noir by Akashic Press (2019), Black Girl Magic by Haymarket Books (2019), Fjords Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and on such platforms as NPR, BBC, ABC, Apple News, Blavity, Upworthy, and across the TedX circuit. She serves as a contributing writer to Texas Monthly and Glamour. Her most recent poetry collection, Newsworthy, won honorable mention for the Summerlee Book Prize. A German translation, under the title SayTheirNames, is set to be released in Fall 2021 by Elif Verlag.
A fellow with The Writer's Hotel and The Poetry Foundation's Poetry Incubator, D.E.E.P.’s collaborations with The Houston Ballet, The Houston Rockets, and the Houston Grand Opera have opened new doors for performance poetry. The opera, Marian’s Song, for which she wrote the libretto debuted in 2020 to roaring reviews. As a finalist for Texas State Poet Laureate, a Kennedy Center Citizen fellowship, and the prestigious Breadloaf Retreat, her work has been highlighted and studied in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Germany. She had the pleasure of performing and leading a workshop at the Leipzig in Autumn literary festival in 2018, where she bridged the gap between the performance poetry and international publishing communities.
Melody Nicolette Pilotte (she/her)
Composer, Librettist, Singer, Voice Teacher, Recording artist and producer
San Francisco, CA
Film and theater composer, recording artist, coloratura soprano.
Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei (دانیال رضا سبزقبایی) (they/their; he/him)
Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei ( دانیال رضا سبزقبایی ) is a creator who aims to emphasize the malleability of time and how we experience it. His work has been presented and commissioned by organizations including: Intimacy of Creativity Festival, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Beth Morrison Projects, the New York Festival of Song, the Banff Centre, Contemporaneous, Guerilla Opera, [Switch~] Ensemble, Pro Coro Canada, The Esoterics, Opera America, TAK Ensemble, and the Busan Choral Festival to name a few. Daniel’s recent research has focused on time and form within Persian moosiqi sonnati. He holds degrees from the University of North Texas and the Peabody Conservatory. Daniel is currently a doctoral candidate and Sage Fellow at Cornell University.
Otis Sallid (he/him)
Choreographer - Dance, Librettist, Producer, Stage Director, Film Director
“…SALLID KNOWS HIS BUSINESS…” Los Angeles Times
Born in Harlem, New York, is an international Director, Choreographer, Writer, and Producer.
Not only style but substance is the benchmark of director Otis Sallid’s work. His close attention and a keen eye for detail always make something special out of everything he touches. As a producer, director, and choreographer in theater, television, and film, his accomplishments are known throughout the entertainment industry. Otis Sallid is a true renaissance man. He has worked with such industry legends as Christina Ricci, Jennifer Hudson, Patti LaBelle, Tony Bennett, Julio lglesia, Denzel Washington, Billy Crystal, Sam Jackson, Robert Sean Leonard, Gregory Hines, Spike Lee, Lawrence Fishbourne, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariah Carey, Forest Whitaker, Helen Hunt, Prince, Vanessa Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen, Angela Bassett, James Ingram, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Don Cheatle, Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah just to name a few.
Otis Sallid would like to bring all of his knowledge and expertise to the world of opera, hoping that he can create stories, music, and experiences that make a difference in creating an inclusive cultural experience for all.
Jesse J. Sanchez (he/him)
Composer, Librettist, Music Director
Jesse J. Sanchez, a pioneer of new Latinx works in musical theater and plays with music, is a nationally recognized composer, librettist, playwright, music director, and Grammy Nominated educator (2014). Jesse is currently in residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as the Artistic Music Supervisor. He is currently commissioned as a librettist by Boston Lyric Opera and Opera America to create a digital opera miniseries. Jesse’s music and plays have been produced at Boston Lyric Opera, 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Barn, FOGG Theatre of San Francisco, Arizona Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Alley Theatre, Arizona State University, University of Texas at Austin, The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, among others. Jesse is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.
Kamala Sankaram (she/her)
Composer, Singer, Co-Artistic Director - Experiments in Opera
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram writes highly theatrical music that defies categorization. Recent commissions include the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Opera on Tap, among others. Awards, grants and residencies include: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, the Civilians, HERE, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. Known for her work with emerging technologies, her recent genre-defying hit Looking at You (with Rob Handel and Kristin Marting) featured live data mining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers. Sankaram, Handel, and Marting also created all decicions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom and featured on NBC and the BBC3. With librettist Jerre Dye and Opera on Tap, she created The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera (Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, Kennedy Center Reach Festival, “Best Virtual Reality Video” NY Independent Film Festival, Future of Storytelling, Salem Horror Festival and the Topanga Film Festival.) Also a performer, notable appearances include the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, and the PROTOTYPE Festival, among others. Kamala is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble (recipient of two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards). Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.
Damien L. Sneed (he/him)
Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Composer, Conductor/Music Director
New York, NY
As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, which he is featured on Norman’s final recording, Bound For The Promised Land. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Brandie Inez Sutton and many others.
Sneed recently premiered his new work, commissioned by the Sphinx Organization, “We Shall Overcome -- Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown,” at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium joined by his fellow Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipients J’Nai Bridges and Will Liverman along with Sneed’s chorus, Chorale Le Chateau, and the Sphinx Virtuosi Orchestra.
During the 2018 – 2019 season, Sneed served as music director, composer in residence, and cover conductor for the staff of the Houston Grand Opera. Sneed was also commissioned to compose a new chamber opera, MARIAN’S SONG, about Marian Anderson for HGO, with its world premiere on March 5, 2020.
Sneed is featured in the award-winning PBS documentary Everyone Has a Place, starring Wynton Marsalis which captures Sneed’s journey as the musical conductor of Marsalis’ “Abyssinian Mass”. Sneed is also featured in Aaron Dworkin’s book, The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives.
Sneed is currently a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music. He recently joined the faculty of Michigan State University as artist-in-residence.
Jorge Sosa (he/him; el)
Composer, Librettist, Sound Artist
New York, NY
I am a Mexican born composer currently residing in New York. In my work, you will find traces of folk and traditional music from around the globe, bel canto, chant, Afro-Latin rhythms, Jazz harmonies, and electronica. In recent years I have focused largely on writing for the classical trained voice, as represented in my catalogue of songs, and operas. My operatic style blends expansive lyricism, lush melodies, and high drama, with electronic sounds, noise, and colorful harmonies. My subject matters are connected to issues related to social justice, which aim to foster a larger discussion of the current challenges of modern society. I am also an educator, and currently chair the music department at Molloy College. My operatic works include: La Reina ( commissioned by ALT), I Am A dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (Commissioned by White Snake Projects), Alice in the Pandemic (White Snake Projects), Monkey (White Snake Projects), The Opposable Thumb (ALT).
Gregory Keng Strasser (he/him)
Librettist, Producer, Stage Director
Gregory Keng Strasser is director and writer based in Washington DC. Produced in Bangkok, Holstebro, DC, and Ann Arbor, Strasser’s work is globally-minded and epic in nature. He is the 2020 Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, and the inaugural artistic apprentice at the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. Currently he serves as Producing Director for 4615 Theatre Company.
David Wright (he/him)
Sound Designer, Composer - Orisha Tales Repertory Radio Theatre Company
New York, NY
David D. Wright (sound designer), is a nine time "VIV" AUDELCO Award winner for Excellence in Sound Design with one for Musical Direction. He is a multiple award winner of radio and film as well. David. takes this opportunity to thank Olodumare, Gbogbo Egun and Gbogbo Orisa for his success.