Joseph SUmmer

While attending the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, I (Joseph Summer) was fortunate to study composition with eminent Czech composer Karel Husa. Two years later I matriculated at Oberlin Conservatory, graduating with a BM in Music Composition in 1976. Recruited by Robert Page to teach at Carnegie Mellon University, I spent the next two years teaching music theory before coming to my senses, and leaving academia to pursue composition full time. In 1981, with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts, my The Tenor’s Suite, an opera based on The Tenor by Frank Wedekind was produced in Philadelphia. This lead to the production of  Hippolytus, an opera based on Euripides, in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. For the next twenty years I concentrated my efforts composing comic operas based on the bawdy stories of Boccaccio’s The Decameron.  These consist of four completed works: And The Dead Shall Walk The Earth; Courting Disaster; Their Fate In The Hands Of The Friar; and Gianetta. The fifth and sixth in a projected cycle of seven: Also Known As and The Grotesque, the Heretical, the Ignoble are currently in progress. In 2003 I founded The Shakespeare Concerts, which has presented compositions from my ever expanding collection of settings of the bard’s ever living texts, entitled The Oxford Songs, (due to my support of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the likely identity of the author also known as William Shakespeare.) I completed the opera Hamlet, in 2006; and The Tempest more recently. — Joseph Summer


Jessica Lennick “is a complete package, including a terrific smile and stage presence to go along with her pleasing voice,” according to The Baltimore Examiner.  She has used these qualities to great effect on the opera stage, singing for Washington Camerata of DC, Chesapeake Chamber Opera, and Center City Opera Theater, among others.  She was an Annapolis Opera Competition finalist and Great Lakes Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions.   She covered the role of Giulietta at the Caramoor Festival, where she also appeared as soprano soloist with Roberto Abbado and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Midsummer Night’s Dream. A frequent performer of new music, Ms. Lennick has premiered many pieces, notably Tesla's Pigeon (Dunphy), Mark the Music (Smith), A Weeping Woman (Solitro), Under the Harvest Moon (Runestad), and Honor, Riches, Marriage, Blessing (Summer) the last of which she has recorded for Navona Records.  About the latter, the American Record Guide said, “As Iris, Jessica Lennick’s stratospheric singing is stunning; she tosses off gleaming high E-flats and Fs.”  Continuing her collaboration with Joseph Summer, she premiered the role of Iris in The Tempest in April 2015 and recorded it for Albany Records about which Fanfare Magazine said, "The role of Iris is cast for coloratura soprano, and is gloriously rendered by Jessica Lennick." Ms. Lennick will rejoin Joseph Summer and The Shakespeare Concerts for another series of concerts and a recording in April 2017.



Neal Ferreira, tenor, especially noted for his dynamic and captivating stage presence, is quickly gaining national recognition. Mr. Ferreira opened the current season with his Boston Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Hall debut as Ein Tierhändler in Der Rosenkavalier under the baton of Maestro Andris Nelsons. He will make another company debut with Odyssey Opera in March 2017, singing the role of Jack in Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's setting of The Importance of Being Earnest. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Shakespeare Concerts this spring and Boston Lyric Opera in 2018. His 2015-16 season was highlighted by a successful return to Boston Lyric Opera as The Visitor in their production of Philip Glass' In the Penal Colony, for which the Wall Street Journal called him “poignant” and the Boston Globe lauded his “firm yet sweet tenor.” In addition to performing roles in Otello with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and The Merry Widow with Boston Lyric Opera, the tenor sang the role of Alan in Joseph Summer's The Tenor's Suite with the Shakespeare Concerts at Jordan Hall. In the 2014-15 season, Mr. Ferreira debuted the role of Ferdinand in the world premiere of Joseph Summer’s The Tempest with the Shakespeare Concerts. He can be heard on the original cast recording, recently released on Albany Records. He returned to Syracuse Opera as Alfred in Die Fledermaus to great acclaim and sang multiple roles with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra in Un ballo in maschera.



Thea Lobo

Hailed as "excellent", "impeccable", "limpidly beautiful", "impressive", "stunning", and "Boston's best", Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo's 2016-17 season includes performances with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bucknell Bach Festival, Halcyon Chamber Series, Sunshine City Opera, Callithumpian Consort, Sarasota Choral Society and Guerilla Opera. She has recently appeared with fortepianist Sylvia Berry, Brandeis New Music, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, and Brookline Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Lobo has appeared under conductors Gunther Schuller, Harry Christophers, Stephen Stubbs, Joshua Rifkin, Martin Pearlman, Helmut Rilling, and Andris Nelsons, and has been featured by the Firebird Ensemble, Carmel Bach Festival, Boston Baroque, Handel + Haydn Society, The Bermuda Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, and Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart. Her dedication to new music, art song, and early music has seen her featured on True Concord's Grammy winning recording of Stephen Paulus's 'Prayers & Remembrances', invited to the Carmel Bach Festival as an Adams Fellow, a prizewinner at the Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers, a grant recipient of the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, a featured recitalist for the Boston Portuguese Festival, and performing as a soloist under the direction of composers Steve Reich, Fred Lerdahl, Christian Wolff, Louis Andriessen, and many others. Thea Lobo is a graduate of New England Conservatory and Boston University, and represented by Vocal Artists Management.



Sophie Michaux, mezzo-soprano, was born in London and raised in the French Alps. The 28-year-old mezzo was noted as a “warm and colorful mezzo” (Opera News) and as “a study in color…Michaux’s expressive quality and variety is remarkable ” (Arts Impulse). This season, her engagements include her Boston Early Music Festival debut in November 2016, in their their chamber operas Versailles, Alto Soloist in the Duruflé Requiem and Handel’s Messiah at Trinity Church of Boston, and her Carnegie Hall debut with the Lorelei Ensemble. On stage, her roles include the title roles in La Cenerentola (NEMPAC), in Rinaldo (Boston Opera Collaborative), for which she was nominated as Best Female Performer in an Opera for the 2015 Arts Impulse Theatre Awards, Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia (Opera Brittenica), and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lowell House Opera), Anne in To Hell and Back (Boston Opera Collaborative). In this work by Jake Heggie, her voice was noted as “a study in color…Michaux’s expressive quality and variety is remarkable ” (Arts Impulse). She is an active performer of 21st century works as well as early works: she premiered the role of Ceres in The Tempest, by Joseph Summer with The Shakespeare Concerts, and the role of Higuchi in Troubled Water, by Misha Saldkind-Pearl with Guerilla Opera. In 2010, she was a soloist at the Egida Sartori and Laura Alvini Early Music Seminar in Venice, Italy, directed by René Jacobs.



Jennifer Sgroe, soprano, began her musical career in dance and musical theater before transitioning to opera. She has performed across the US in opera, concert and musical,  theatre and internationally as a soloist at festivals in Finland, England and Austria. Recent performances include the US premiere of Jessica Rudman’s monodrama Trigger with Hartford Opera Theatre, her original recital program To the Sea with works by American composers to be repeated across New England throughout 2017, Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel - Sinfonietta Nova), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro - Arbor Opera), and Miranda (cover) for Joseph Summer’s premiere of The Tempest with The Shakespeare Concerts. In April, Ms. Sgroe reprises her performance of Jessica Rudman’s Trigger for the Women Composer’s Festival of Hartford on the program “Gendered Violence in Music” and makes her Jordan Hall debut in recital with The Shakespeare Concerts singing works by Schumann, Brahms and Summer for voice, harp and horn. In May she will present a faculty recital at New England Conservatory with works by American composers with ties to Boston and New England. Originally from New York, she resides in historic Salem, MA with her husband Matt and serves on the Voice Faculty for NEC’s Preparatory & School of Continuing Education programs and is Vocal Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor of Theatre at Dean College.



Franziska Huhn, harpist, is a vibrant musical force as a soloist, chamber musician, pedagogue and orchestral performer. Ms. Huhn has given solo recitals throughout the United States and worldwide in Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Syria, Pakistan and Germany, including performances for German Presidents Johannes Rau and Horst Koehler at Schloss Bellevue. Ms. Huhn has been featured in recital on WGBH’s “Live from Studio 1” and as part of New England Conservatory’s First Mondays performance series. In 2007 Ms. Huhn’s recording Harp Solo was released and features both contemporary and classical works for harp. As a pedagogue Ms. Huhn holds faculty positions at New England Conservatory, Boston University, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Wheaton College. Since 2003, Ms. Huhn has been the Assistant Director of the Harp Seminar at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute and has served on the faculty of the Connecticut Valley Harp Intensive since 2012. Ms. Huhn established herself as an artist of distinction at a very young age, earning first prize in the prestigious Jugend Musiziert Competition in Germany at the age of fourteen. She was then invited to study on a full scholarship with Lucile Lawrence at Boston University and then continued her harp studies with Ann Hobson Pilot at New England Conservatory, where she became the first ever harpist to be awarded the Artist Diploma by the Conservatory in 2005. In 2007, she received an Artist Diploma from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany.



Kevin Owen is a journeyman musician and educator, performing with symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, swing bands, rock bands, jazz ensembles, and in the recording studio. Principal horn of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and the Boston Philharmonic, for 25 years he has been "first-call" horn substitute with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestra. He has also "subbed" with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic. Owen has been featured as a soloist by the Boston Pops, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, and many other regional orchestras. He has appeared on the David Letterman and Conan O'Brien shows with the rock groups Guster and My Morning Jacket. He has toured internationally with Empire Brass, the Boston Chamber Music Society, and, recently, A Far Cry, a self-conducted, Grammy-nominated Boston chamber orchestra. He's been in the backup band for Peter Frampton, the Moody Blues, Kansas, Frank Sinatra Jr., and many other popular artists. Owen graduated from Boston University in 1983. While there, he received the Outstanding Brass Performer Award and won the Concerto-Aria Competition. With the Boston Wind Quintet, the quintet in residence at Boston University, he won five international chamber music competitions. His teachers were Robert Hagreen, Dr. Charles Kavaloski, David Ohanian, Myron Bloom, and Jay Wadenpfuhl.



Joshua Michal, a native of Ohio, performs regularly with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and plays 2nd horn with the Lancaster Music Festival. Dr. Michal has toured with the Boston Brass and has recently performed with the Charleston Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Brass Ensemble and the Breckenridge Music Festival. Dr. Michal can be heard on the Resound Label with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink performing Mahler's Symphony No. 2 and on the Analekta label with L'Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne as solo horn for Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. From 2007-09, Dr. Michal was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and was actively involved in music outreach efforts within the city of Chicago through programs such as MusicCorps and the Merit School of Music. He received his degrees from Indiana University (B.M.), Northwestern University (M.M.), and The Ohio State University (D.M.A.). He completed additional studies at Bowling Green State University and the IES Institute in Vienna, Austria. His principal teachers include Rosemary Williams, Michael Hatfield, Michael Höltzel, Richard Seraphinoff, Jeff Nelsen, Volker Altmann, Gail Williams, Liz Freimuth, and Bruce Henniss. Dr. Michal joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music in the fall of 2014.



Benjamin Pesetsky is an American composer of dramatic instrumental and vocal music. NOW Magazine called his opera scene Love Redux “one of the best episodes” on a program of new works staged by Tapestry Opera in Toronto and his music has also been performed by ensembles including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, The American Symphony Orchestra, and New England Conservatory’s Jordan Winds. Recently his Piano Sonata was commissioned by Thomas Hecht and premiered on recital programs in Europe, Asia, and the United States. In 2014 the Phonochrome Collective premiered An Illusory Image, a trio for viola, cello, and piano, at the San Francisco Center for New Music.


He has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre and the Hambidge Center and attended the Deer Valley Festival and the Vancouver International Song Institute. He has collaborated with WordSong, a presenter of new artsong in a conversational format, and was a featured composer at the Rivers School Conservatory’s Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young. Mr. Pesetsky studied with Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, and Howard Frazin and holds degrees in composition and philosophy from Bard College Conservatory and Bard College. In addition to composing, he works as a freelance writer and critic for publications including, EMAg (Early Music America), Classical Voice North America, and The Boston Musical Intelligencer.



Tim Ribchester, Music Director of The Shakespeare Concerts since 2016, is recognized internationally as a versatile and inspiring musical leader and collaborator. A resident conductor of the Trentino Music Festival, Italy (Dido and Aeneas, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Rinaldo); and Assistant Conductor with North Carolina Opera (Eugene Onegin, Das Rheingold), he has also made concert debuts in the past two seasons with the Bacau Philharmonic of Romania and Sinfonietta Vidin, Bulgaria. In Berlin he has led rehearsals with the orchestra of the Komische Oper, in Baltimore with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and in Philadelphia with the Academy of Vocal Arts and Russian Opera Workshop choruses. He served over many years as rehearsal pianist/assistant conductor for Opera Philadelphia (Romeo et Juliette), Lyric Opera Baltimore (Tosca), Baltimore Concert Opera (Carmen), and AVA (Il Tabarro, Don Giovanni, L’elisir d’amore, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Quichotte, Un ballo in maschera, Così fan tutte, La Traviata, L’italiana in Algieri). He has assisted conductors Christofer Macatsoris, Timothy Myers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Steven White, and collaborated closely with stage directors Tito Capobianco, David Gately, Nic Muni, James Marvel, Gidon Saks, and Greg Eldridge.

Formerly Music Director of the Delaware County Symphony in Pennsylvania, Maestro Ribchester relocated to Berlin, Germany in 2015, where he has established a private vocal coaching studio and collaborative vocal training workshops with prominent directors, voice teachers, and movement coaches. His playing as guest pianist with the Kammersolisten der Deutsche Oper Berlin is featured on the soundtrack of Park Chan-Wook's critically acclaimed feature film
The Handmaiden, and on his debut CD The Russian Cello with cellist Cassia Harvey (available on Amazon).

Maestro Ribchester trained at Oxford University; the Royal College of Music, London; La schola cantorum, Paris; and the Academia Nacional del Tango, Buenos Aires. He has taught classes in music theory, history, conducting, piano, and voice at Temple University, Bryn Mawr Conservatory, and University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and at the Hochschule for Musik und Theater Hamburg, and is the official audition accompanist for Astral Artists, a Philadelphia agency for outstanding young concert soloists.




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