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.
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.
Elaine Choi (she/her)
Conductor/Music Director, Chorus Master, Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist
Dr. Elaine Choi contributes to Toronto's vibrant choral community as a conductor, educator, adjudicator, and collaborative pianist. She is currently the Director of Music at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Past President of Choirs Ontario and the conductor of the University of Toronto Women's Chorus.
As a music educator, in addition to the above affiliations, Elaine is active as an adjudicator and a clinician for various community events, such as the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, CAMMAC reading sessions and Singsation Saturdays.
Elaine is an advocate for Chinese Orchestral and Choral music. She was the conductor of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra from 2010-2017 and currently continues her connection as Guest Conductor and Educational Outreach Representative. In 2018, Elaine founded Babεl, an SATB choral ensemble with a mission to bridge cultures through choral music. The ensemble worked with more than 200 musicians in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau in its inaugural tour in 2019. This season, Babεl focuses on the Choral Composer Mentorship Program, helping participants develop brand new choral compositions.
Elaine holds a Doctor in Musical Arts and Master in Music Performance (Choral Conducting) degrees from the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Dr. Doreen Rao. Elaine is a four-time recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015) and a finalist in the Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Choral Conducting (2012). She's the 2018 recipient of the prestigious William and Waters graduating award.
Eiki Isomura (he/him)
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor - Opera in the Heights; Conductor/Music Director
Japanese-American conductor Eiki Isomura is in his fourth season as artistic director and principal conductor of Opera in the Heights (OH), where he has led over a hundred performances of over twenty-five operas, drawing consistent praise for elevating the company's performance standard. "The orchestra has never sounded so focused," wrote the Houston Press, "Down the line, this is ensemble playing of fine caliber... The OH chorus is ultra-fine, too, smooth and lustrous... Maestro Isomura deserves our thanks." In recent years he has served on the music staff of Opera in the Ozarks as conductor and pianist, as well as HGOco, preparing the world premieres of numerous chamber operas for Houston Grand Opera. A passionate advocate for new music, Eiki launched Opera in the Heights' first ever new works festival, featuring three world premieres in two weeks, produced in collaboration with MUSIQA and the American Center for New Works Development at Seagle Music Colony. Prior to his appointment as artistic director at OH, Eiki served as director of orchestral activities at Lone Star College-Montgomery. He currently holds a residency as guest music director of opera at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Eiki holds a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler, who also mentored him as a conducting fellow at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to work with the NAC Orchestra.
Kelly Kuo (he/him)
Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Conductor/Music Director, Artistic Director/Artistic Administrator
Cincinnati, OH, and Eugene, OR
Praised by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “a leader of exceptional musical gifts, who has a clear technique on the podium and an impressive rapport with audiences,” Maestro Kelly Kuo brings a dynamic versatility and nuance to a diverse repertoire, which includes over 90 operas and an expansive symphonic repertoire as well. Currently Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players, his recent engagements have included productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Kentucky Opera, Anchorage Opera, and the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center and concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, and Ballet Fantastique. He also curated and conducted the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s inaugural Summermusik festival as Interim Music Director.
In 2008, Maestro Kuo became the first conductor of Asian descent to lead a performance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, making his company debut with Porgy and Bess. He has since returned to lead the Chicago premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and performances featuring artists of the Ryan Opera Center. Upcoming engagements include company debuts with "Carmen" for Opera Orlando, "Don Giovanni" for Opera Columbus, and concerts with the Reno Chamber Orchestra and Sunriver Music Festival.
An Oregon native and recipient of a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistant Award for young conductors, Kuo continues to concertize as a keyboardist as the only pianist to have studied with two pupils of the Russian virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz.
Timothy Long (he/him)
Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Conductor/Music Director
Timothy Long is a conductor and pianist of Muscogee Creek (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town) and Choctaw descent who is Music Director of Opera at Eastman School of Music.
After working on Thomas Adès’s operatic tour-de-force, Powder Her Face, Tim was named by Robert Spano to be his assistant conductor at the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He was subsequently named an associate conductor at the New York City Opera. This led to engagements with companies such as Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Colorado, Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Juilliard School, Yale Opera, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and the Oregon Bach Festival.
Tim has performed as a pianist and harpsichordist at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, National Sawdust, Jordan Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Herkules Hall in Munich, Dvorak Hall in Prague, La Halle aux Grains in Toulouse, the Aspen Music Festival, the Moab Music Festival, the Caramoor Festival, the Mostly Modern Festival, and the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago.
Recently, he conducted the world premiere and tour of Missing, an opera about the 3,000 missing Indigenous women in Canada, with Pacific Opera Victoria, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. He has also led Ricky Ian Gordon’s Tibetan Book of the Dead and Don Giovanni for the Eastman Opera Theatre, Die Zauberflöte and Le Nozze di Figaro for the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and Dream Seminar with the Trondheim Sinfonietta.
Benjamin Makino (he/him)
Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Conductor/Music Director
From complex contemporary and twentieth-century scores to core traditional repertoire, conductor Benjamin Makino has been recognized for his nuanced and thoughtful interpretations of broad and varied repertoire.
Throughout his career, his work has been affiliated with the companies recognized for innovation. In 2013 Makino was named Music Director of Opera Memphis, a position he held for four seasons. During his tenure the company rose to national and international prominence, praised for its innovative community engagement programs, experimentation, and commissioning projects.
During his tenure Makino also became a regular collaborator with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, leading numerous concerts. In 2015 he conducted the Symphony before an audience of over four thousand at the historic Levitt Shell in Memphis Renaissance, a program produced by the New Ballet Ensemble and School, featuring Duke Ellington’s 'Harlem' and Margaret Bonds’ 'Three Dream Portraits.' Following the success of that performance, he joined the company for their annual NutRemix featuring Lil Buck, to which he returned the following season.
Prior to joining Opera Memphis Makino was the Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master at Long Beach Opera, where he conducted numerous productions including the US premieres of Gavin Bryars’ 'The Paper Nautilus' and Stewart Copeland’s 'Tell-Tale Heart.' He recently returned to the company, conducting Frank Martin’s 'The Love Potion' for which he was praised in the Los Angeles Times for being “consistently sensitive to the work’s exquisite timing and placement of dynamics and color,” making “the most of the composer’s subtle chamber orchestra textures.”
Nola Nahulu (she/her)
Artistic Director - Hawai’i Youth Opera Chorus; Chorus
Chorus Master, Costume Designer, Singer, Stage Director, Voice Teacher
Artistic Director for 35 yrs for Hawai'i Youth Opera Chorus. Chorus Master for 30 yrs at Hawai'i Opera Theatre.
Jorge Parodi (he/him)
General and Artistic Director - Opera Hispánica
New York, NY
Maestro Jorge Parodi has led several productions at The Atlanta Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera Orlando, Savannah Opera and Buenos Aires Lírica. He also conducted productions at the Castleton Festival, The Banff Centre and The Juilliard School. Recent credits include his debut at New York City Opera and Chautauqua Opera. He has led the World Premiéres of Anton Coppola’s Lady Swanwhite for Opera Tampa, and John Musto’s Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt in a co-production of On Site Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Pittsburgh Opera.
Maestro Parodi has worked with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony, the Castleton Festival Orchestra, the Metamorphosis Chamber Orchestra, the Ensemble Zipoli for the American Baroque, and the Juilliard Pre College Orchestra among others.
Recently, Maestro Parodi was appointed General and Artistic Director of Opera Hispánica, the only company in the United Sates focused on the Hispanic vocal repertoire and on the Latin perspective. With OH maestro Parodi performed with such artists as Eglise Gutiérrez and Isabel Leonard, and conducted OH Festival’s production of Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires, which The New York Times described as "excellent."
Maestro Parodi is the Music Director of the Senior Opera Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music. His work with MSM Senior Opera Theater was featured in an interview published in the March ’18 edition of Opera News.
Mr. Parodi is the Founder and Music Director of the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy Summer Workshop and he is a faculty member at The Juilliard School.
Casey Robards (she/her)
Coach/Accompanist/Collaborative Pianist, Conductor/Music Director
Currently on Keyboard/Voice faculty at Univ of Illinois as a pianist/vocal coach. Conductor/pianist/coach at Bay View Music Festival, a young artist program with one mainstage production, a scenes/art song program, and a Negro Spirituals Intensive.
Former faculty positions in vocal coaching/collab piano at Indiana University, Central Michigan and postdoc work at Oberlin. Research focus on African American piano, art song, and spirituals.
Jesse J. Sanchez (he/him)
Music Director, Composer, Librettist
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.
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.
William Garfield Walker (he/him)
Music Director and Chief Conductor - Nova Orchester Wien
Hailed as a “Modern Day Maestro”, William Garfield Walker is currently the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Nova Orchester Wien (NOW!)- Vienna’s newest professional orchestra. With NOW! Walker has performed for the G20 economic forum. In 2020 Walker was selected by the American Austrian Foundation and members of the Vienna Philharmonic for the prestigious AAF Ansbacher/Farber Conducting Fellowship (formerly known as the Karajan Conducting Fellowship). In March 2020 a Resolution “Commending the Musical Genius of Mr. William Garfield Walker…” was passed by the Mississippi House of Representatives in a unanimous bipartisan vote. He is also a 2017 recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Conducting Scholarship. His performances have been broadcasted on National Public Radio (USA) and RadioKlassics Stephansdom (Austria).
Walker is increasingly becoming known for championing the works of 20th century American and Soviet composers such as Prokofiev, William Grant Still, Myaskovsky, Barber, and Shostakovich. In 2019 he gave the South Russian premiere of Prokofiev’s Third Symphony Op. 44 to a sold-out audience and in 2020 he gave the Austrian orchestral premiere of Florence Price’s music.
Walker’s education is a unique combination of the American, Russian, British, and Austro-German schools of music making. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, London, and the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna. He has studied with maestros such as Jorma Panula, Vladimir Fedoeseyev, Michail Jurowski, Michael Rosewell, Vassily Sinaisky, Leonard Slatkin, and Niel Muus.