Berkshire Choral International

Professionals you can learn from

The faculty who teach our workshops and classes are career singers and musicians with advanced training and performance experience. If it’s possible to come away from BCI without learning something new, no one has done it yet.


this page will be updated in spring 2015.

Julia Foster


Julia is active in the stage, concert, and teaching arenas. Her recent concert engagements have included Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, Handel’s Messiah, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Bach’s Mass in B Minor. On the operatic stage, Ms. Foster was most recently seen as Beth in Adamo’s Little Women, Vitige in Handel’s Flavio, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias, and Rose Maurrant in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene.  She has performed with Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Ars Lyrica Houston, Amadeus Operensemble, Orlando Ballet, Stoughton Opera, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Madison Early Music Festival.

In addition to concert and operatic performances, Julia is an advocate for the performance of Art Song and is a frequent recitalist. Alongside standard French, German, and American repertoire, her recitals have incorporated less traditional works, such as George Crumb’s Apparition for soprano and prepared piano. Her early repertoire ranges from Armonia in La Pellegrina to Bach’s celebrated cantata, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen. Julia has had the honor of singing for such dignitaries as the President of the Czech Republic and has premiered works for composers Scott Gendel and Daniel Crozier.

Julia currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where she leads a voice area of more than 90 students and teaches music in both the classroom and studio. She also co-founded and directs the Rollins Summer Music Academy for high school singers.  Julia holds voice performance degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (BM), the Eastman School of Music (MM), and the Moores School of Music, University of Houston (DMA). This is her first season with BCF, where she will serve on the faculty at Winter Park, Florida.

Ory Brown


Ory has sung a variety of operatic roles with Sarasota Opera, Nashville Opera, Oswego Opera, and the Caramoor Opera Festival, including roles in  The Medium, Falstaff, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Jenufa.  She has been involved in several ongoing projects with American Opera Project (Kimper’s Bridge of San Luis Rey, Patience and Sarah, Hamer’s The Lost Childhood, and most recently, Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon). Active on the concert stage, Ory has appeared as soloist with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, American Symphony Orchestra, Little Orchestra Society of NY, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Hartford Symphony, Spoleto Festival, Voices of Ascension, Kalamazoo Bach Festival and the Mark Morris Dance Company. In 1998 she sang Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Berkshire Choral Festival. More recent debuts include performances at the Bard Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Dessoff, the South Dakota Symphony, and the S.E.M. Ensemble. Other interesting ventures include "The Late Show with David Letterman," the Salt Lake Olympics, several appearances with P.D.Q Bach, and Bravo’s "Project Runway." Ory holds a graduate degree in Choral Conducting and an undergraduate degree in Church Music from Westminster Choir College. She has been on the faculty of the University of Richmond, Longwood College, the Brearley School and Bloomsburg State College. Last year saw the completion of three major projects: Ory collaborated with eMedia to produce the "Singing Method," an interactive voice training program. She wrote a chapter for "The Singer's Guide to Complete Health" edited by Anthony Jahn, MD,  (Oxford Press), and most recently she became certified as an ANUSARA Elements yoga teacher.This is her fifth year with BCF, where she will be on faculty in Winter Park, Maynooth, and Sheffield.

Patrick T. Waters


Patrick (B.M. Manhattan School of Music; M.S.M. Boston University) holds degrees in composition, conducting and sacred music, with additional studies in piano and vocal performance. He has studied conducting with Dr. Ann Howard Jones, Bruce Hangen, Robert Isaacs, and Paul Brantley, and has worked in master classes with John Alexander, Jane Glover, Frank Nemhauser, and Kathy Saltzman Romey. He has completed coursework pursuing the Performance Diploma in voice at Boston University, studying with James Demler. He has participated in Berkshire Choral Festival since 2009, first as a conducting apprentice, later joining the faculty as staff instructor; in 2009, he was a featured soloist in the Festival’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil.

Patrick performs regularly with Cambridge Concentus, earning acclaim with the group in their landmark performance of Haydn’s Mariazellermesse at Boston University’s Haydn & Landon Musicology Conference in 2009, and in his critically lauded performance of Bach’s cantata Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben in 2011.  He has performed with the Bermuda Chamber Choir to high praise as a soloist (Mass in C, Beethoven; Messiah, Handel; Oratorio de Noel, Saint-Saëns) and has joined semi-staged productions with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (A Midsummer Marriage, Tippett; Four Saints in Three Acts, V. Thomson) and the Boston Youth Symphony (Rigoletto, Tosca). He also appears frequently with the Back Bay Chorale (Carmina Burana, Handel's Saul) and the Handel and Haydn Society. Patrick has collaborated with Music at Boston University Marsh Chapel as a member of the music staff since 2009, and returns to BCF for the fifth year on the faculty in Winter Park.

Lynn Peghiny


Lynn, is a pianist from Orlando, FL. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida  with a degree in Piano Performance. A passion for choral music  led to  Lynn’s  position as accompanist for the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park under the direction of Dr. John V. Sinclair. In January she was honored to perform in concert with Morten Lauridsen and Julia Foster in collaboration with the Bach Festival Choir.

Lynn is enthusiastic in the field of  collaborative  piano. She was thrilled to perform recently with Grammy© award-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair .

In addition to performing,  Lynn  is a dedicated  teacher. Her studio consists of 51 piano students at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, FL.

She is a member of the American College of Musicians/National Guild of Piano Teachers  and the National Federation of Music Clubs. This is Lynn's first stint as accompanist with BCF.

Frank Nemhauser


Berkshire Choral International Music Director Frank Nemhauser will serve as bass faculty in Winter Park, Maynooth, and Scheggino.

Helen Semple


Helen Semple held a Choral Award at Cambridge University before going on to study at Trinity College of Music, where she sang the female lead in both years’ opera productions. She was a student at the ENO’s performance course, The Knack, and is currently taught by Arwel Treharne Morgan.

Notable recent concerts include the Verdi Requiem with Armonico Consort and Sir Willard White and a performance of Carmina Burana in the the Faroe Islands. In 2007 she was soloist with the Cheltenham Bach Choir in ‘Til Earthly Passions Turn by Carl Rütti in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal.

Operatic roles include Susanna, Mimi, Countess Adele in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Micaela, Margarita in Gounod’s Faust, Pamina, Donna Anna in Gazzaniga’s Don Giovanni (Bampton Classical Opera), Poppea, and the Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors). Earlier this year she performed Despina with Candlelight Opera and Miss Jessel with Artwork Opera.

Helen will serve on the faculty in Maynooth, Ireland, for the first time.

Mary Scarlett


Mary is in constant demand as an accompanist for singers, instrumentalists, ensembles, choral societies and musical societies. Coming from a musical family, her interest in piano accompaniment was nurtured from an early age by her father, baritone and choirmaster Tomás Ó Súilleabháin.

She studied piano with Rhona Marshall at the RIAM and organ with Sidney Greig at St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin and was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships throughout her studies, including the award of Associate from the Royal College of Music in London , just after her 17th birthday. Following her graduation from UCD with an honors B.Mus. degree, she worked for some years as a secondary school teacher before being appointed as a lecturer at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. She was awarded a 1st class MA in Performance and Musicology from NUI Maynooth in 1991. Her many duties at the Conservatory include playing for both undergraduate and postgraduate recitals, examinations, feiseanna, and opera productions. She also works regularly with professional groups such as Opera Ireland and the RTE performing groups, as well as privately coaching some of Ireland’s leading vocalists.

Mary is honored to be associated with Our Lady’s Choral Society since 1993. Maynooth marks her first time as a BCF accompanist in Maynooth.

Mark Chaundy


Mark was raised in Wales, studied music at Oxford and singing at the Royal College of Music supported by The Countess of Munster and The Arts Council of Wales. He now continues to study with Joy Mammen. In 2004 Mark was selected to take part in the ‘Operalia’ competition in Los Angeles where he sang for Placido Domingo. In October 2005 he was announced as one of the recipients of the first Susan Chilcott Scholarship, enabling regular lessons with Dennis O’Neill, and in 2006 became a Samling Scholar. He has twice been a finalist in the Young Welsh Singers Competition and also won the National Federation of Music Societies Award.

Concert appearances include the Wigmore Hall with The Wallace Collection, Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with Cleo Laine, Messiah with the CBSO, Brubeck’s La Fiesta de la Posada at the Barbican, and Haydn's Creation with the Northern Sinfonia. Mark's concert repertoire also includes Haydn's The Seasons, Janáček’s Otcenas, Handel's Samson, Rossini's Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solennelle, Kodaly's Psalmus Hungaricus and Tippett's The Tempest Suite. Mark is also a keen recitalist and has performed at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, the Wigmore Hall with the Samling Foundation, at the Ludlow English Song Weekend with Iain Burnside, a Britten programme with Roger Vignoles, and has worked with Ned Rorem on a performance of his songs at Tanglewood.

Mark was an Associate Artist with Welsh National Opera. He sang Roderigo in Otello in the WNO Millenium opening gala conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Other appearances include Adonis in Blow's Venus and Adonis for the Benslow Music Trust, Bajazet in Handel's Tamerlano for Cambridge Handel Opera Group, 1st Trojan Man in Idomeneo and Giuseppe in La Traviata for Glyndebourne on Tour, as well as several roles during the Scottish Opera ‘Essential’ spring tour. Recordings include Durufle’s Messe Cum Jubilo for Harmonia Mundi.

Other recent and future highlights see Mark performing Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance in Beijing for the IFC, Jacquino (cover) Fidelio and Albafiorita (cover) in Martinu’s Mirandolina for Garsington Opera, Frisellino in Haydn’s Le Pescatrici for Bampton Classical Opera and Arne Judgement of Paris at Wigmore Hall, Satyavan in Holst’s Savitri at The English Music Festival with Janice Watson, Septimius Handel’s Theodora at the Barber Institute in Birmingham, The Tempter in Britten’s The Prodigal Son for the Ryedale Festival and Lysander (Cover) Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream  and Steersman (cover) The Flying Dutchman for ENO. Also, staged performances of Carissimi’s Jephte for the Spitalfields Festival followed by a recording for Harmoni Mundi and Aminta Handel’s Atalanta for Cambridge Handel Opera.

Mark is also a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique and teaches at Mountview Academy of Dramatic Art and Harrow School. He lives in London with many books, an old piano and three chickens. This is his second year with BCF; he is tenor faculty in Maynooth and Scheggino.

Kristina Bachrach


Kristina is making a name for herself as an up-and-coming soprano in New York City and around the country. She has been enjoying an exciting 2013-2014 season. In October she was both Lucy in The Telephone and Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium with Opera Naples. Throughout the year she performed with the Brooklyn Art Song Society in many concerts of the lieder of Johannes Brahms in New York City, Philadelphia, Newton, MA, and South Bend, IN. In December she returned as a soloist with the Westchester Choral Society in its annual Christmas concert and appeared for the first time with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn singing the soprano solos in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. This year also brought Kristina's second collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera, where she was involved in its presentation of the world premiere of Lembit Beecher's I Have No Stories To Tell You at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In January, Kristina was an Artist Resident at the Banff  Music Centre where she focused on the music of Elliott Carter and Judith Weir, and in March Kristina debuted  in the role of Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème with the Lyric Opera of Virginia. At the end of April Kristina made her Carnegie Hall Debut as the soprano soloist in Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra of NY. She also looks forward to presenting a solo recital under the auspices of the Moravian Music Foundation. Following that she will appear in the role of Emily Dickinson in Eva Kendrick’s opera Emily with the Thompson Street Opera Company. This summer she will for the third time return to SongFest at Colburn as a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow, where she will perform the music of John Harbison and Elliott Carter and will appear in recital with John Music at the Piano.

Kristina joins the BCF faculty for the first this year in Sheffield.

Jason McStoots


Jason has performed around the world and throughout the US in opera, oratorio, and recital. He has been described by critics as “a natural, a believable actor and a first-rate singer,” “light and bluff, but neither lightweight nor bland, and with exemplary enunciation” and as having “a silken tenor voice” and “sweet, appealing tone.” Recent appearances include Apollo in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with the Boston Early Music Festival, Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart with the Connecticut Early Music Festival, soloist for Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with the Green Mountain Project, soloist for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Emmanuel Music and with the Cape Cod Symphony for Handel’s Messiah. He has appeared with such groups as Boston Lyric Opera, Pacific MusicWorks, Boston Camerata, Handel Choir of Baltimore, New Haven Symphony, Tragicomedia, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Jason is a core member of the up-and-coming Renaissance vocal ensemble Blue Heron. He can be heard on recordings with them as well as Cut Circle and Coro Allegro. In addition he has been featured on the Grammy-nominated recording of Lully's Pysché and on the newly released discs of works of Charpentier and John Blow with the Boston Early Music Festival on the CPO label.

Upcoming appearances include the role of Tabarco in Handel’s Almira with the Boston Early Music Festival, Ixion in BEMF’s revival and tour of Charpentier’s Orphée, concerts of new world Baroque music with Chatham Baroque in Pittsburgh, as well as numerous concerts with Blue Heron and the NYC based ensemble TENET. Jason is also a voice teacher and up-and-coming stage director. He teaches at Brandeis University ,where he recently restarted the dormant opera workshop project. He has served as stage director for productions of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. This is Jason’s seventh year with BCF as a Sheffield faculty member.

Sean Taylor


Sean recently received an appointment as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where he will conduct the UTB Master Chorale and Chamber Singers and teach voice, diction, and choral methods. Previously, he was on the faculties of Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and Central State University in Ohio. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Sean’s primary area of research is Latin diction. He is a diction specialist with SingersBabel (, for which he authors phonetic guides and recordings of Latin texts.

While a student at CCM, he served as assistant conductor of the CCM Chorale and Chamber Choir under Earl Rivers and as music director of the UC Cabaret Singers. An experienced church musician, Sean has served on the music staffs of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati and Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. In addition to extensive freelance solo work, Sean has performed with the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, May Festival Chorus, and the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati’s professional chamber choir.

Originally from western Pennsylvania, Sean earned a Master of Music in Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he was assistant conductor to Robert Page. While in Pittsburgh, Sean was a Conducting Assistant and member of the professional core of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, directed by Betsy Burleigh. He was also a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus and professional quartet of Rodef Shalom congregation.

Sean received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in voice from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, and taught music in the Beaver Local School District in Lisbon, OH, before returning to graduate school. Recently, he led performances of Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, and Schubert’s Mass in G  in Cincinnati and Beethoven’s Mass in C, Haydn’s Creation (part 2) and Kurt Weill’s opera Street Scene in Pittsburgh. This is Sean’s seventh season with BCF, where he is serving as bass faculty in Sheffield.

Joseph Baldwin


Joseph is a Massachusetts-based conductor whose primary work explores the integration of choral music, dynamic programming and presentation, the conductor as servant leader, and the transformative power of community engagement.

Joseph has held appointments with Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Grammy® Award-winning choral ensembles at the University of Michigan.  He has enjoyed conducting appearances at the Five College New Music Festival (MA). the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale University, and SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Joseph has commissioned and premiered works by leading composers, including Dominick DiOrio, and prepared choruses for performances under the baton of Leonard Slatkin and Kenneth Kiesler.  From 2010 to 2012, he served as Founding Artistic Director & Conductor of the Community Chorus of Detroit.  A strong advocate for the choral arts at all levels, Joseph is an active guest conductor/clinician with ensembles in the collegiate, secondary, and sacred settings.  As a baritone, he has collaborated with some of the nation’s finest choral ensembles, including the Yale Choral Artists and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra/UMS Choral Union.  Joseph is a two-time recipient of Smith College research grants for travel to the West Coast (U.S.) and the United Kingdom, where he observed and interacted with leading conductors and ensembles in the thriving choral scenes.  He serves the greater choral community as the national board member (MA) for the National Collegiate Choral Organization.

Joseph is the Iva Dee Hiatt Distinguished Assistant Director of Choral Activities & Lecturer in Music at Smith College, where he conducts the Smith College Chorus and teaches courses in conducting, musicianship, and studio voice.  He received a Master of Music in conducting from the University of Michigan, under the tutelage of Jerry Blackstone, and a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University.This will be his fourth season with BCF, where he will serve as a staff conductor in Sheffield.

Matthew Swanson


Matthew, a native of Iowa, was Master of the Schola Cantorum at the Chapel of St. John Fisher in Cambridge, UK. Recent conducting engagements include concerts with the Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble, the King’s College Music Society, and various university organizations. In spring 2014, Matthew joined the music staff of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain to work with the Training Choirs of NYC. Matthew has led workshops in conducting for the Faculty of Music at Cambridge and assisted in faculty outreach seminars on the performance practice of early vocal music. While a student at Cambridge, Matthew was a member of King’s Voices and the mixed choir of King’s College, and served as a choral deputy for the choirs of Clare and Jesus Colleges. He holds degrees from King’s College, Cambridge, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and The University of Notre Dame.

He will join BCF for the first time as a staff conductor in Weeks 2 and 3 in Sheffield.

Mitchell Vines


Mitchell has an active performing career that has taken him to Europe, South America, Asia and throughout the United States. The German newspaper Hessiche-Niedersachsische Allgemeine wrote, "The sensitive playing of American pianist Mitchell Vines captivated the audience. He performed with virtuosity and bravura."

Mitchell's teaching and performing experience includes positions with the Aspen Music Festival, Mannes School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, Harlem School of the Arts, Berkshire Choral Festival, New York Summer Opera Scenes, Cunard Cruise Lines, and CantaLyrica Chamber Choir. He was twice soloist with the New York Repertory Orchestra, performing Bartok's 3rd Piano Concerto and Milhaud's Le Carnaval d'Aix. Mitchell is highly in demand as a collaborative pianist and is a music director for theater, opera, and cabaret. He is the artistic director of Afternoon Music, a concert series in Summit, NJ.

Mitchell can be heard on the CD "American Music for Trumpet and Piano" on Capstone Records, and he is featured on a CD of vocal chamber music by North German composers on the Syrinx label. Recent recordings include a CD of compositions by Paul Zeigler, a recital with soprano Selena Miyazaki, and a duo CD with flutist Tia Roper.  

A native of Portland, Oregon, Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from Portland State University and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman, he held a fellowship in accompanying and received the Performer's Certificate, the conservatory's highest honor. Previously music director of Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, he is currently music and choir director of the Unitarian Church in Summit and Temple Israel in New York City. This is his fourth year with BCF, where he will serve as accompanist in Sheffield.

Katharine Dain


Soprano Katharine Dain has been praised by the New York Times for her "rich tone," "deep emotion," and "lovely, passionate" performances. Her opera credits include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Madame Herz/Goldentrill (Der Schauspieldirektor), the heroines of Cavalli La Calisto (title role) and Giasone (Hypsipyle), and numerous smaller roles in repertoire ranging from Purcell to the present day. She recently covered the role of Zina for Gotham Chamber Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia in the premiere of Nico Muhly's critically acclaimed Dark Sisters; she has also worked with Ash Lawn Opera, Opera Omnia, Capitol Opera Raleigh, Center for Contemporary Opera, and the Bard Music Festival.

The 2014 season marks several important professional debuts in Europe: her operatic debut with the Netherlands Opera, in Claude Vivier's Kopernikus (Coloratura Soprano) with the DNO Talent Development Programme and VocaalLAB; her recital debut in Amsterdam's Waalse Kerk in a prize recital for the 2013 Musico Lied Competition, of which she was the grand prize winner; her debut in the Concertgebouw's Grote Zaal in John Adams Grand Pianola Music with the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, and her oratorio debut in her first Brahms Requiem with the Zuid Nederlands Concert Koor.

In addition to her experience in opera, Katharine has an extensive and varied repertoire in oratorio and concert music and has appeared as a soloist in Bach's Mass is B minor, Matthäus-Passion, Weinachts-Oratorium and numerous cantatas, Handel's Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus, Mozart's Requiem, Mass in C minor, Coronation Mass and Vespers, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and other masses, and Orff's Carmina Burana, to name only the most well-known pieces. She has been featured with the Alexandria Symphony, Springfield Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale, Masterwork Chorale, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, New England Baroque Soloists, Rebel Baroque Orchestra, and numerous civic choruses in venues including New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and throughout the United States. She has also collaborated as vocal soloist with the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group (Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, conducted by Morris) and New York City Ballet (a revival of the historic Jerome Robbins production of Stravinsky Les Noces).

On the recital platform, Katharine Dain has become particularly known as an advocate for the contemporary repertoire. She has been featured in recital at the Ravinia Festival (Steans Fellow 2009), Bargemusic, New York Festival of Song's contemporary-focused NYFOS Next series, Joy in Singing's composer series, Songfest (Stern Fellow 2011), a Marilyn Horne Foundation masterclass in Carnegie Hall with soprano Dawn Upshaw, and in regular national recital tours with the Piatigorsky Foundation, often performing songs and cycles written for her. Katharine Dain is also valued as a chamber musician, collaborating frequently with the Momenta Quartet, Talea Ensemble, New York Miniaturist Ensemble, North Country Chamber Players, and two critically acclaimed New York chamber groups of her own co-founding: Callisto Ascending, a period-instrument ensemble, and Lunatics at Large, a contemporary ensemble lauded as "young, energetic and highly polished" by senior Times critic Allan Kozinn. Of her performance in Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire with Lunatics at Large, Kozinn wrote, "Katharine Dain, the ensemble’s engaging soprano, gave as graceful, and as intense, a performance of Schoenberg’s stylized vocal line as you could want. She moved easily between its slides, whispers and more straightforward expressivity."

Katharine holds degrees from Harvard University, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Mannes College of Music, and she currently lives in the Netherlands. This will be her fifth season with BCF as soprano faculty in Scheggino.

Ester Piazza


Ester Piazza began studying piano at 7 years of age, having started singing in a children’s choir. After classical studies she was graduated in singing at the Musical Institute Gaetano Donizetti in Bergamo (Italy), under the guidance of Professor Silvia Bianchera Bettinelli (singer and composer). In recent years, she has participated in regular master classes with Maestro Colin Baldy, with whom she performs both in England and Italy.

Ester’s repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary music and performing in concerts both as soloist and as a member of various ensembles (Ars Cantica Choir - Milan, Ghislieri Choir and Consort - Pavia, Choir Antiche Armonie - Bergamo, Consort Accademia Corale di Baccanello - Bergamo).

She has performed under the direction of Marco Berrini, Aldo Ceccato, Riccardo Chailly (La Scala Academy - Milan), Gianandrea Noseda (Festival of International Music – Stresa), Giulio Prandi, Renato Beretta, among others.

Ester has appeared under the baton of Giulio Prandi with the Ghislieri Choir and Consort, specialising in Italian sacred music of the eighteenth century. Performances have included Oude Musiek Utrecht, Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, Saison Musicale de Royaumont, Festival d’Ambronay, Festival MITO, George Enescu International Festival Bucarest. She has also recorded with them for Sony-Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.

Ester recently sang on the first-ever recording of Czerny’s arrangement for four hands piano of Mozart’s Requiem and Listz’s Via Crucis for Ars Cantica Choir on Naxos.

In addition to her own singing, Ester is kept busy as a singing teacher at the Music School of Lomagna (Lecco), Music Academy of Mezzago (Milan). She is also involved in the vocal preparation of several choirs and has previously worked for BCF as alto faculty in 2010 at Scheggino, Umbria. She will join us again in Scheggino in September.

Riccardo Bonci


Born in Terni (Italy), Riccardo studied piano and organ with Fausto Mastroianni, Maria Teresa Gregorini, Claudio Brizi and Wijnand Van de Pol, graduating in both instruments from the Conservatoires of Terni (1997) and Perugia (2002) and gaining the highest achievable marks in both.

He also trained as Opera Repetiteur under the guidance of internationally known repetiteurs, such as Marco Boemi, Enza Ferrari, Robert Kettelson, and Rolando Nicolosi, and in 1998 was awarded a European Diploma by the “Teatro Lirico Sperimentale” in Spoleto. At the same time he studied the harpsichord and the art of continuo playing with Claudio Brizi and Fabio Ciofini.

Riccardo took part in several masterclasses and seminars with some of the world’s most distinguished musicians (Gustav Leonhardt, Jacques Van Oortmerssen,  Ludger Lohmann, David Titterington, Nicolas Kynaston, Helmut Deutsch, Daniel Chorzempa, David Ponsford, James O’Donnell, Sophie-Veronique Chaucefer-Choplin, Roland Börger).

Riccardo has graduated from the “Postgraduate in Performance” Organ course at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Distinction and also the much coveted award of “DipRAM” for the outstanding final recital, studying with David Titterington, Susan Landale, Nigel Allcoat and William McVicker;  during his studentship he won several awards and prizes. As part of the course, he also studied the Art Harmonium with Anne Page.

The Royal Academy of Music awarded him the “PIDEM Organ Fellowship” for the academic year 2005-2006, which also allowed him to teach the organ at King's College University of London during that academic year.

He has performed with some of the most distinguished musicians and musical institutions (Trevor Pinnock, Lydia Mordgovitch, Thomas Indermühle, Johannes Geffert, Levon Chilingirian, Dante Quartet, Bloomsbury Chamber Orchestra, London Oriana Choir, Young Musician Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Brizi, Solisti di Perugia, Camerata del Titano)  in prestigious venues and for well-known concert societies (Westminster Cathedral, Royal Festival Hall, King's Place, St James Piccadilly, St John Smith Square, Huddersfield University, Magdalen College Oxford; Amici della Musica Perugia, Amici della Musica Trapani, Sagra Musicale Umbra, St Peter's Square Vatican City; Neresheim Abteikirche; Thomaskirche, Leipzig; Hofkirche, Dresden; Georgenkirche, Eisenach). Among the latest professional engagements it is worth mentioning the opera conducting debut in London (Madama Butterfly, November 2011) and the collaboration with the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai as chorus master.

Riccardo is currently assistant organist at St. Barnabas Church, Dulwich; choir director at Alleyn’s Junior School, and accompanist for Thomas's Choral Society, Battersea, and is very much in demand as an accompanist, recitalist and instrumental teacher.

His latest CD releases, “The John Reading Manuscript of Dulwich College” (Brilliant Classics) and “The Grand Tour Goes to England” (Master Chord) have been received very positively by the specialised press: “★★★★✩” (Choir and Organ); “highly communicative performances. . . outstanding” (Organist's Review); “most enjoyable and convincing” (Church Music Quarterly).

This is Riccardo's first season with BCF, where he will provide accompaniment in Scheggino.