Glenn
Basham
Bergonzi String Quartet

Glenn Basham (Violin, Bergonzi String Quartet) is concertmaster of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Professor at the University of Miami (FL) where he teaches not only violin, but also one of the few courses in the country in improvisation for string players. He has performed as a soloist with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, the Miami City Ballet, and Naples Philharmonic, among others, and has served as concertmaster of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and performed with the Chester String Quartet. As a jazz player, Glenn has performed with Ira Sullivan, Simon Salz and John Blake, and is featured on the Miami Saxophone Quartet's recording "Four More Giant Steps." Educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts and Indiana University, he received First Prize in the Renaud National Honors Competition and was the only American violinist invited to compete in the 1988 International Bach competition in Leipzig, Germany. His compact disc "Aria" was released in 2006. Glenn plays a G.B. Ceruti violin made in Cremona, Italy, in 1810.

Susan
Byykkonen

Susan Byykkonen is an independent music teacher in Houghton County.  She is the Associate Director and accompanist for the Michigan Tech University Concert Choir.  Susan has performed in the MTU Visual & Performing Arts Department’s chamber Music Series, and played flute & keyboard instruments for the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.   From 2000-2004, she served as choir director and piano instructor at Lakeland Christian School in Florida.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio where she studied Flute Performance and Piano Pedagogy.   Susan resides in Calumet with her husband Eric and children;  April, Mitchell and Olivia.  

Debra
Dickinson

Debra Dickinson’s directing career encompasses a wide range of projects, from being a stage director and acting teacher at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas for the past 20 years to a guest director/choreographer/acting instructor at various opera companies, including Glimmerglass Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Brevard Music Center, Berkshire Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Connecticut Opera.  She has also directed musicals at Pittsburgh Public Theater and Stages Theater in Houston. She began her directing career as Associate Stage Director at the New York City Opera, with Beverly Sills as producer.  Ms. Dickinson was a professional actress in New York prior to beginning her career as a stage director.   Her numerous credits include performing the role of Guenevere in Camelot opposite both Richard Burton and Richard Harris, and appearing in the Vienna German-language production of Cats.  

Scott
Flavin
Bergonzi String Quartet

Scott Flavin maintains a busy and versatile career, whether conducting Classical symphonies, accompanying the world’s greatest jazz stars, or premiering new works.  He is Resident Conductor for The Henry Mancini Institute and Music Director for the Miami Mozarteum.  He has appeared on the podium with such diverse artists as soprano Denyce Graves, The Beach Boys, Chick Corea, and Dave Grusin, among many others.  He was born and raised in Boston, where he received his early musical training, and then attended the Eastman School of Music. The HMI Chamber Orchestra, under his direction, received the 2013 Downbeat Magazine award for outstanding classical group.  His nationally-broadcast conducting debut, for the PBS television special, “Jazz and the Philharmonic”, aired in January of 2014.

As a violinist, he holds several high-profile positions.  Since 2002 he has been concertmaster of Florida Grand Opera, as well as for the Miami Bach Society. He performs nationally and internationally on violin and viola with Pulse Chamber Music, and is a violinist in the critically-acclaimed Bergonzi String Quartet, which is in residence at the University of Miami.  Previous positions include concertmaster of Miami City Ballet from 1997-2003, and violinist in the Rochester Philharmonic.  He has also been heard on over a dozen Grammy Award-winning albums, has recorded for labels including Naxos, Centaur, and M&W, and has released two solo recordings.  In addition, he is active as a composer and arranger, his works having been heard often on American Public Media’s Performance Today, and in concert across the country.

 

Ross
Harbaugh
Bergonzi String Quartet

Ross Harbaugh (Cello, Bergonzi String Quartet) is Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the University of Miami (FL). He studied with Janos Starker, Leonard Rose, Peter Howard in the United States, and Andre Navarra at the Paris Conservatory. Ross won the Naumburg Chamber Music Prize and a Prix du Disque with the New World Quartet and has performed in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and London's Wigmore Hall. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Keweenaw, Grand Rapids, and Canadian Chamber Orchestras. He has recorded for VOX, CRI, Musical Heritage, MCA Classics, Centaur, Fleur de Son, and IMP Masters. Ross was formerly principal cellist of the Grand Rapids and Toledo Symphonies, artist in residence at Harvard University, and has published articles on Ensemble Communication and "Tai Chi for Cellists," which explores balance, natural movement, and momentum in string playing. Ross teaches each summer in Italy at the Orfeo Music Festival. He performs on a Domenico Montagnana cello made in Venice in 1734.

Levi
Hernandez

With a velvety tone and a stage presence which exudes confidence and charm, baritone Levi Hernandez is gaining momentum as a sought after artist on the operatic stage. Mark Thomson Ketterson of Opera News declared of his principal debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Dandini in La cenerentola,“Young baritone Levi Hernandez’s intelligent Dandini displayed a most impressive knack for subtle text-painting within a pristinely negotiated coloratura line…”

Recently, the El Paso native made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless inMadama Butterfly next to Ana Maria Martinez and Joseph Calleja. He also joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Puccini’s Il trittico and Fanciulla del West. His 2014-2015 season includes a return to the Metropolitan opera to cover the title role in The Death of Klinghoffer and Dancaïre inCarmen, his Opera Roanoke debut as Dandini in La cenerentola, the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Intermountain Opera, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Beethoven’sNinth Symphony in his debut with Pine Mountain Music Festival. Future seasons will see his return to Opera Omaha and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

Benjamin
LaPrairie

Michigan native Benjamin LaPrairie performs original organ works and great masterpieces by Bach, Franck, and Vierne.  Associate Director of Music at the largest Catholic Church in the western hemisphere, Ben will perform throughout the Upper Peninsula, playing the areas magnificent historic pipe organs.

Pamela
McConnell
Bergonzi String Quartet

Pamela McConnell (Viola, Bergonzi String Quartet)is recognized as a concert violist, an adjudicator and master teacher. She has gained notoriety as a result of her arrangements for String quartet of Saint Seans' Carnival of the Animals, Babar, the Little Elephant, by Poulenc, and The Legend of the Loon with music by Sibelius, and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. She has performed as soloist and chamber musician in prestigious venues throughout North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and Korea, and in the United States. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University and an M.M. degree from the University of Texas at Austin, studying under such luminaries as Walter Trampler, Leonard Shure, George Neikrug, and Andor Toth. Ms. McConnell and her arrangements can be heard on the Orion, Bergonzi, Fleur de son, Naxos, Living Artist, Audiofon, and Centaur labels.

Miles
Mykkanen
Tenor- Miles Mykkanen in Recital and Handel and Hoiby

Tenor Miles Mykkanen, a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, received his bachelor's degree and continues his graduate studies at The Juilliard School as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  2013-14 season highlights include Lensky in Juilliard Opera’s Eugene Onegin conducted by Matthew Aucoin, American Voices festival at The Kennedy Center, a live-streaming master class with Renée Fleming, and the tenor soloist in Stravinsky’s Cantata with the Juilliard Dance Division.  Mr. Mykkanen has worked with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Franz Schubert Institut, Opera on the Avalon, and is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. 

Recent roles include Gastone in Verdi’s La traviata with the National Symphony Orchestra, Florindo in Wolf-Ferrari's Le donne curiose, and Il Contino Belfiore in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera.  Appearing regularly with the New York Festival of Song, Mr. Mykkanen has performed in Alice Tully Hall, Peter J. Sharp Theater, and Carnegie Hall. 

Mr. Mykkanen was awarded the Joseph W. Polisi Prize at Juilliard's 2013 commencement ceremony, for exemplifying the school's values of the "artist as citizen."  He is also the recipient of Juilliard's Lucrezia Bori Grant for language studies, Interlochen's Young Artist Award, and the Gold Award for Voice at the YoungArts Foundation competition.  In addition to his musical studies at Juilliard, Mr. Mykkanen is actively involved in student life.  He currently serves as the chair of the Student Council, a Colloquium peer-mentor, a member of the Judicial Board, and a writer for The Juilliard Journal.   

Donald
Schleicher
Artistic Director and Conductor

Donald Schleicher has served as Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Illinois since 1995.  He was also on the faculty of the University of Michigan for nine years. Professional positions include eight years as Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and for nine summers, he was Music Director and Principal Opera Conductor for the Pine Mountain Music Festival.  In the fall of 2014, he returned to the Pine Mountain Music Festival, this time as its Artistic Director.  Schleicher began his career as a high school band director in Williamsville, NY. 

Schleicher has conducted the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, the Guiyang (China) Symphony Orchestra, the Inchon (South Korea) Philharmonic, the  Daegu (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM of Mexico City, the South Dakota Symphony, and the orchestras of Bridgeport, Tallahassee, and Lansing.  In March of 2015, he will guest conduct the Gwangju (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra and in the summer of 2015, he will lead the Pine Mountain Music Festival's 25th Anniversary season by conducting their production of "The Barber of Seville" as well as leading the PMMF Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's monumental "Symphony No. 9."  

Bradley
Smoak

With a voice of "rich presence and power", American bass Bradley Smoak has rapidly emerged as one of opera’s most exciting and sought-after young talents. A first-year member of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Mr. Smoak will make his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis in Strauss' Capriccio, sharing the stage with world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming. He will also appear in Tosca as Sciarrone (Angelotti cover) and as 1st SS Officer in Weinberg's The Passenger with Lyric Opera during their 2014/15 Diamond Anniversary Season. Upcoming engagements also include a 2014 return to Phoenicia Int’l Festival of the Voice as Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and a return to Opera Omaha as Don Fernando in Beethoven's Fidelio in 2015.

 

Ralph
Votapek

The first Van Cliburn International Competition gold medalist, Mr. Votapek is a familiar favorite of Festival audiences whose playing “embodies all that is best in 20th century piano traditions, combining the fire, poetry and tonal warmth of the grand-manner prewar era with the modern-day virtues of fastidious clarity and electrifying rhythmic flair.”  Repertoire includes Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Gershwin.

Chrystal
Williams

Chrystal E. Williams recently made her Opera Philadelphia debut this June as Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD and debuted with Birmingham Opera Company, UK singing Hannah in The Ice Break. She has sung with Sarasota Opera as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia where critics cited, “…the young mezzo-soprano possesses a creamy instrument with fine flexibility.” She debuts with Knoxville Opera as Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel and reprises her role in Charlie Parker's YARDBIRD with Gotham Chamber Opera.

 

Ms. Williams was the recent winner of the Wilhelm Stenhammer International Music Competition winning both First Place and Audience Choice awards in Sweden. She was a finalist in the International Belvedere Singing Competition, the Giulio Gari International Music Competition, the Mario Lanza Competition, and received the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Encouragement Award. Ms. Williams holds degrees in performance from Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University and The Academy of Vocal Arts.

Tory
Wood
Soprano-UPstarts!

Tory Wood was born and raised in Escanaba, MI where she was active in music and theater at Escanaba High School and is the daughter of Escanaba residents Brian and Ann Wood.  Last Spring, Tory graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree and has recently completed her first year of coursework for a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying under Stanford Olsen.  Recent performances have included the roles of Ms. Wordsworth in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, at Lawrence, 1st Spirit in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at U of M, and she looks forward to playing Kitty in their Fall 2014 production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.  This summer, Tory will be splitting her time between the U.P., New Zealand and Australia on a concert tour with the Chamber Choir from U of M under the direction of Jerry Blackstone.  Tory is very excited and honored to be back for a second year as an UPStarts representative for the Pine Mountain Music Festival!