Erin Freeman, conductor, is Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, Director of Choral Activities at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts. A frequent guest conductor, she has led the Buffalo Philharmonic, South Carolina Philharmonic, Savannah Symphony, Richmond Ballet, and ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois. 2015 marks her debut with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Massachusetts. As Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony from 2007-2014, Freeman conducted subscription concerts, led the Pops and Lollipops Series, and spearheaded the Symphony’s education initiatives, including its four youth orchestras. She has served as Director of Orchestras at Baltimore School for the Arts and American University, Conductor at Northwestern University’s High School Music Institute, Lecturer for the National Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony, Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic, and Resident Conductor at Peabody Conservatory. Freeman holds a DMA from Peabody Conservatory, a MMus from Boston University, and a BMus from Northwestern University, and has studied with Gustav Meier, Victor Yampolsky, Helmuth Rilling, Murry Sidlin, and Robert Shaw.
Aaron Jones, tenor, graduated in May 2015 from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in voice performance. While at VCU, Aaron performed full roles and many scenes with VCU Opera. This season he made his Richmond Symphony debut as a soloist for their “Voices of Survival” collaboration concert. Recently, Aaron was awarded second place at the Virginia NATS competition, received honors at the Mid-Atlantic Regional NATS Competition, was a winner of the VCU Concerto and Aria competition, and was also a finalist in the 2015 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. In the summer of 2014 Aaron performed a principle role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Harrower Opera Institute in their young artist division and sang various opera scenes at the Crittenden Opera Institute. For the summer of 2015 Aaron was accepted into the Miami Summer Music Festival, Opera Breve Institute in Texas, and the Druid City Opera Workshop at the University of Alabama. Having been awarded a major scholarship, he decided to spend 6 weeks in Arezzo, Italy with the Oberlin in Italy summer opera program, where he performed the role of Basilio in their production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro under conductor Ari Pelto. Aaron will be auditioning for graduate programs this coming fall.
Soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick has been active in oratorio, concerts, and opera in the United States and Europe. She was a member of the House Chorus at the Nationaltheater Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany, for five years, where she performed in over 50 different productions. She has also performed with Ithaca Opera, Long Beach Opera, Pacific Chorale, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Theater of Lucca, Opera Piccola of San Antonio, Alamo City Ballet, San Antonio Chamber Choir, the Princeton Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival. Ms. Piazza-Pick has performed in several concert series as a soloist and ensemble singer, including a concert tour of Poland, Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania with the U.S. Army Europe Band. She gave the premiere Texas performance for CMASH, a California-based music repertory group, which included the premiere of High and Low by award-winning composer Liam Wade. As part of the Composers Alliance of San Antonio’s spring concert, she premiered works of three different composers that were based on the poetry of San Antonio’s poet laureate, Camen Tafolla. Ms. Piazza-Pick is the recipient of the George Cortes Award for Classical Singing by the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and was a finalist for the American Prize in the women’s art song division. She is currently adjunct instructor of voice at Virginia State University.
Mezzo-soprano Martha Prewitt has appeared on stages in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and beyond. Her most recent performances have been with the Richmond Ballet, singing for their performances of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzer in April. Last summer, she sang the title role in Midwest Institute of Opera’s staging of Bizet’s Carmen and participated in the chorus for Ash Lawn Opera’s Susannah. In April of 2014, she made her company debut with Marble City Opera, singing Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman show, Bon appétit! and returned to the company the following month for Menotti’s A Hand of Bridge (Sally). A Kentucky native, Ms. Prewitt received her Bachelor’s of Music degree from the University of Kentucky where she was most notably seen as the 3rd Spirit in UK Undergraduate Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She then moved to study for her Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she performed in Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), Suor Angelica (La Principessa), The Medium (Baba), Albert Herring (Mum), and L’elisir d’amore (Giannetta). She was also a member of the Knoxville Opera Studio, performing educational outreach programs in addition to mainstage comprimario roles, including Flora in La traviata and Rosette in Massenet’s Manon.
Ian Richardson, praised for his “rich vocal power,” is a young bassbaritone currently residing in Richmond, Virginia. During his recent education with the Opera Studio Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Ian performed the roles of Mr. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium, Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Colline in Puccini’s La bohème, and Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. While a part of Knoxville Opera’s studio artist program, he performed Paris in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Jim Larkens in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West. Outside of Knoxville, Ian has been a member of Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist program for their 2012 and 2013 summer festivals, covering Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Hobson in Britten’s Peter Grimes. February 2014 marked his studio artist debut with Kentucky Opera where he portrayed The Duke of Verona and covered Father Capulet in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. As a part of Ash Lawn Opera’s 2014 summer festival, Richardson was able to perform in his favorite opera, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, portraying Elder Ott, while covering Tevye and Lazar Wolf in their second production, Fiddler on the Roof. Recently, he had a successful debut with Capitol Opera, Richmond as Dr. Falke in J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.
Equally at home as a solo recitalist, collaborator and arranger on both the piano and the organ, Daniel Stipe’s broad array of abilities lends a rare depth of understanding and excitement to his music-making. He is a prizewinner in the William Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio (where he also garnered the Hymn-playing Prize), the Tulsa Crescendo Music Awards, the Fort Wayne National Organ Playing Competition, and the AGO/Quimby Region VII Competition for Young Organists. He maintains an active concert schedule, with recent performances in Richmond, Nashville, Chattanooga, Princeton, and New York City. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Daniel earned bachelor’s degrees in organ and piano performance from the University of North Texas, and a master’s degree in organ performance from Westminster Choir College in 2012, studying with Ken Cowan. Daniel serves as Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia. Previously he served as music director for the Episcopal Church at Princeton University, as assistant to Tom Whittemore at Trinity Episcopal Parish in Princeton, NJ, and as assistant to Robert Delcamp at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Daniel lives in Richmond with his beautiful wife Julie. In his spare time his interests tend toward road cycling, hiking, role-playing games, and good literature.
Charles West, clarinetist is an orchestral, chamber and solo clarinetist, and a conductor, performing throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. His recorded repertoire ranges from standard sonatas to avant-garde, on labels including Klavier, Wilson Audiophile, Centaur, CRI, Crystal, and on a 1993 Grammy Award-winning Telarc CD. Mr. West holds a Doctorate and three other university degrees, has been a Fulbright Scholar and he has been President of the International Clarinet Association. His career has included nearly thirty years as Principal Clarinetist in six different professional orchestras and opera companies. He has held teaching positions in three North American universities, has been Conductor of Orchestras and opera conductor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has served as conductor or adjudicator of bands and orchestras throughout the U.S, including a seven-year tenure as Conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra. Dr. West is presently Professor of Music and Coordinator of Winds and Percussion at VCU, conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle, and artist-clinician for the Buffet Crampon Corporation. His book, The Woodwind Player’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for a Successful Performance, was published in 2008 by Meredith Music Publications.
Daisuke Yamamoto, violinist, has been Concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony since 2013, and he has been featured as a soloist on several occasions since his arrival, including a performance of the Theme from Schindler’s List for the Holocaust Remembrance Concert, which was recently broadcast statewide. Other performances include Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Ravel’s Tzigane and Vivaldi’s “Autumn” from The Four Seasons. An avid orchestral performer, he has performed with many orchestras across the US, including The Cleveland Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Spokane Symphony. As a concertmaster, he has led the New World Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Blossom Festival Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. He has worked with such notable conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, Fabio Luisi, Osmo Vänskä, Nicholas McGegan, Robert Spano, Jeffrey Tate and David Zinman. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with Robert McDuffie, Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley, Steven Tenenbom, Jasper String Quartet, members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Tokyo String Quartet, Duo Patterson and Jerry Wong.