Success Stories: Music

Russell Thomas (BM ’98, voice) is a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. The tenor appeared in concert with James Levine and the Met opera Orchestra and made his New York debut at the Goethe Institut. He won first place in the 2004 Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition and makes his Alice Tully Hall debut at the winners concert in November. During the 2002-2003 season he was a member of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program and performed the role of Rodolpho in La Boheme during the company’s tour.

Carlos Izcaray (BM ‘98, cello), principal cellist of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra.

Alejandro Lozada (BM ’01, clarinet) was a semifinalist of the International Clarinet Association Audition competition, held at Clarinet Fest 2004 in Washington, D.C. He is a second year student of the Doctoral in Musical Arts degree at the University of Nebraksa-Lincoln.

Aaron Merrit (HS ‘98, cello) BM from Indiana University, MM Rice University, recently accepted as a member of New World Symphony in Miami

Elisha Weiner (BM '05, voice) Attended the UM Salzburg summer program and is pursuing a Masters Degree on full scholarship at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign studying with Jerry Siena.

Daniel Ruiz-Isasi (BM '05, voice) is attending the Royal College of Music in London for operatic studies.

Mark Sayih (BM '03, voice) is a Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera. This summer he was selected for the Chautauqua Opera Summer Program and was given a Student Artist Award.

Vivian Baldonado (BM '03, voice) is a Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera.

Lucia Minervini (BM '05, voice) has been named Cultural Projects Officer for the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs.

Michael Ventura (BM current student, voice) was selected for the Chautauqua Opera Summer Program and was a winner of a Student Artist Award. He also placed 2nd in the Connecticut Opera Vocal Competition and was a Finalist in the Heinz Rehfuss Competition.

Alessandra Piccione (BM '04, voice) participated in the New Operafestival di Roma, performing the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.

Shane McDonough (BM current student, voice) attended the Brevard Music Festival this summer performing in a production of Sweeney Todd.

Brian Kinnard (BM current student, voice) participated in the Dollywood Music Festival.

Evy Pinto (BM '05, percussion) is pursuing graduate studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Luis Fernandez (BM '05, violin), Orlando Gomez (BM '05, violin) and Circe Diaz (BM '04, cello) as members of the Nuevo Mundo String Quartet were selected participants in the 6th Annual Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka, Japan. They have now begun graduate studies at the University of Florida on full scholarship.

Mauricio Cespedes (BM '05, viola) is pursuing graduate studies at Michigan State University.

Enide Dufresne (BM, viola) attended the University of Florida program in Salzburg, studying with Werner Christof of the Mozarteum Orchestra.

David Andai (HS current student, violin) won the New World Symphony Concerto Competition and the Ars Flores Concerto Competition performing Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole.

Daniel Andai (HS '01, violin) graduated from Lynn University cum laude and will pursue graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Jillian Bloom (HS '05, cello) was a winner of the Ars Flores Concerto Competition. She is continuing her studies at Manhattan School of Music.

Jennifer Sanon (HS '04 voice, jazz) toured with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis the summer of her graduation. She is currently performing with Jazz at Lincoln Center and pursuing studies in New York City.

Dawn Smith (HS ’03, viola) associate principal viola of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Italy; toured Italy with the Juilliard Orchestra; artist/faculty-in-residence at the North Carolina School of the Arts, recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the USA with "The Young Eight" ( 8 outstanding African-American string players from Juilliard), guest soloist with the Santa Fe Virtuosi.

Melissa LaPerche Stevens, (BM ’92), is currently assistant professor of oboe at Capital University, where she also performs as a member of the Capital Winds. In addition, she is an associate with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Lancaster Festival Orchestra.

Erich Wasserman (High School ’96, piano) is the executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil liberties and civil rights organization that educates (and advocates for) students and faculty on college and university campuses on issues of free speech, due process, free association, and related liberties. He studied piano and political science at the University of Virginia, (B.A. ’00).

Katie (Leaman) Genovese (HS '92, clarinet) is program coordinator of the Young Artist Wind Ensemble for Boston University's Tanglewood Institute.

Seneca Black (HS '96, trumpet) was a member for 7 years of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. He has performed and recorded with notables like Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Bob Belden, The Mingus Big Band and Chico O'Farrill. He was awarded the Rising Star alumni award from New World School of the Arts in 2005. He currently works and resides in New York City.

Ellen Dooley (HS '92, flute) joined "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. She will perform in multiple ensembles at the White House, in the Washington, DC area and across the country as part of her duties. After graduating from New World School of the Arts, she received degrees from Peabody Conservatory (BM) and Carnegie Mellon University (MM) and was professor of flute at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and the Levine School of Music in Washington DC.

Karl Lutgens ( '88)  is a graduate of The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Boston University, and The University of Florida.  Karl lists Michael Debost, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, Leone Buyse, and Sir James Galway as his principal teachers.  Karl spent several summers as a fellow at The Tanglewood Music Center and was a member of the famed New World Symphony.  He has performed with the Florida Philharmonic, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and regional Orchestras in South Florida. Karl is on the Board of Directors of The Florida Flute Association and teaches masterclasses throughout the US.