Rosśa Crean (they/them) jokingly says they “create music that they like to listen to when they are by themself, eating raw cookie dough in a dark closet,” but in truth, their music has been referred to as being “funny...and virtuosic” (Classic Concert Nova Scotia), having “exceptionally different, outstanding quality” (Download), and music that “stirs you deep, undertones of humanity” (Access Contemporary Music). Composing and creating music with a focus on the evocative and lyrical, they began their professional career as a bass-baritone, specializing in avant-garde and contemporary classical music, many of which were their own compositions. While pursuing their Master’s in Composition at Illinois State University, they have studied with Stephen Taylor, David Feurzeig, and Nancy Van de Vate. They have trained in several vocal styles, including rock, opera, sean-nós (traditional Gaelic singing), and Indian and Middle Eastern vocal ornamentation.

 

As a person with synesthesia, Crean occasionally creates projects that focus on their own neurological responses between sound, color, and emotional states. Their chromesthesia was a creative tool in the creation of the Edward Gorey partnering art installation entitled"Summerland: A Ghost Story, a collaboration with visual artist Ken Gerleve. It has most recently been featured in their American Prize winning opera, The Great God Pan, where the prepared piano was notated with specific color designations for each note of a pitch class Crean saw as representing the other world that threatened the moral existence of humanity in the original story on which it was based. Their one-act opera The Times Are Nightfall, a queer sequel to Don Giovanni, premiered at Opera America in July 2018. Their most recent commission, The Priestess of Morphine, a monodrama in song cycle style, was commissioned and premiered by the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago in June 2019. Rosśa’s most recent opera The Harbingers, an a cappella performance about several harbingers of death convening on Halloween night to decide the fate of a recently-departed soul, premiered on Halloween night 2019 at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

 

A prolific collaborator, Crean has received commissions from and worked with numerous artists, including The Mozart Players at Oberlin College, the International Museum of Surgical Science, clarinetist Andrew Hudson, bassist Gahlord Dewald, The New Consort, Loyola University

Museum of Art and the Lynx Project. Their musical work has also been featured on Skope TV, Much Music, Fuse TV, and Comcast OnDemand. www.rossacrean.com

 

 

Aiden K. Feltkamp (they/he) began their musical life at the age of 5 playing a quarter-size cello and now they’re "upending preconceptions about voice and gender" (New York Times) as a trans nonbinary writer and specialist in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 

Feltkamp’s operatic libretti center marginalized characters and include a queer sequel to Don Giovanni that deals with grief and rape culture (The Times are Nightfall), an homage to Clara Schumann exploring mental illness (Ghost Variations), and Holocaust remembrance art (Eva and the Angel of Death, Silver and Stars, The Priestess of Morphine). They also write science fiction, poetry, and educational non-fiction. Most recently, their work has been published in Crêpe & Penn, Bait/Switch, AADOREE Literary Magazine, and New Music Box.

 

Feltkamp began their career as a mezzo-soprano specializing in Baroque opera and new music. Now they serve as the Director of Emerging Composers and Diversity for American Composers Orchestra. They hold degrees from Hofstra University and Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a certification in DEI from Cornell University. They live in NYC with their partner, cat, and two parrots. On the weekends, they drink coffee and build robots.

 

 

Jessie Lyons (Gertrud Günther von Puttkamer) is a Chicago-based soprano who has been enthusiastically received by audiences in the United States and abroad.  Described as “simply terrific” and with a “bright, youthful soprano” by Chicago Classical Review, she has become increasingly involved in Chicago storefront opera, and hopes to continue her engagement in the city’s burgeoning new-music scene.

 

Lyons has appeared in productions with numerous opera companies, as soloist with orchestra, and in recital.  Most recently, she was seen as Azrael in Rosśa Crean’s The Harbingers, Voice 1 in Thompson Street Opera’s Apart\ment, Serafina in New Moon Opera’s Il Campanello, Lucia/Lucia II in Chicago Fringe Opera’s production of Hindemith's The Long Christmas Dinner, Fiordiligi in Transgressive Theatre-Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, and Voice 2 in Thompson Street Opera’s production of Cullyn Murphy’s Agony.

 

Recent seasons have also found her as Miss Jessel in Chicago Fringe Opera's immersive production of Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw, Almera in Nico Muhly's Dark Sisters with Third Eye Theatre Ensemble; and performing Thomas Pasatieri's monodrama Lady Macbeth. Additional noteworthy engagements have been with Madison Opera's productions of Puccini's Tosca, Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, and Puccini's La Rondine with Des Moines Metro Opera. She has also partnered with her husband, Jordan Mandela, in presenting classical voice and guitar duo recitals.

 

 

Katherine Bruton (Marie Madeleine) has a clear voice and vibrant characterization that brings opera and art song to life. Her musicality and vocal fireworks have earned her the roles of Beth in Little Women by Mark Adamo, Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Le feu in L'enfant et les sortileges, and Virtù in L'incoronazione di Poppea. She has also appeared with Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Fringe Opera, Forte Chicago, Pasadena Opera, the critically-acclaimed Pacific Opera Project, and Thompson Street Opera Company, among others.

 

An advocate for new opera, Bruton has been a part of many operatic premieres. Recently, Bruton created the roles in world premieres of The Priestess of Morphine by Rosśa Crean, Cosmic Ray and the Amazing Chris by Eric Lindsay, Lost Daughters by Rosśa Crean, and The Dove and The Nightingale by Roger Bourland. She has also performed in the Chicago premieres of The Final Battle for Love by Philip Thompson, The Mouse Deer and the Crocodile by Hong-Da Chin, and The Rootabaga Stories by Yvonne Freckmann. She also appears on the original recording of The Great God Pan by Rosśa Crean, which is also released on Navona Records, and was a member of the original cast with Chicago Fringe Opera .

 

Bruton also has a passion for art song, especially new art song. She has given premieres of several art songs and art song sets/cycles, including the world premieres of Littles by Michelle Isaac, Personal Weather by Pin Hsing Lin, Twilight Lifts the Veil by Rosśa Crean, the U.S. premiere of Paper Fortunes by Timothy Ernest Johnson, and the Chicago premieres of Paula Kimper’s One Art for unaccompanied soprano and Timothy Ernest Johnson’s Simic Songs. She has also performed in concert with American composer John Musto. Her passion for art song also extends to Russian art song, which she has performed consistently since Russian baritone Vladimir Chernov introduced her to the language and repertoire during her undergraduate studies at UCLA. She also made her Chicago Opera Theater debut in the U.S. premiere of the Russian opera Kashchej the Immortal under the baton of Lidiya Yankovskaya .

 

Bruton studies with soprano Alexandra LoBianco and has her Master’s of Music degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she studied with soprano Judith Haddon. She also received bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and music education from UCLA, where she studied with Vladimir Chernov. She is also a proud OperaWorks alumna. In her non-work time, Katherine enjoys cooking (and using her friends as testers for new recipes), coffee, snuggling with her cat Sunny, and buying things on Etsy. Learn more about Katherine and her upcoming performances at www.katherinebrutonsoprano.com.

 

 

Alex Giger (Violin) has performed internationally as a multifaceted ensemble musician, playing repertoire from Biber to Boulez. As its second violinist, the Melanson Quartet was awarded the Davey-Posnanski String Quartet Scheme while earning his Postgraduate degree in

London at the Royal Academy of Music. A Creative and Performing Arts Scholar at the University of Maryland, Alex regularly received honors for chamber music performances, including a select concert of the Mendelssohn Octet with faculty and members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. For three summers, Alex has performed as a Violin Fellow with the Lucerne Festival Academy, including a collaboration with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle, premiering works of Eotvos and Kurtag among others, and touring the halls of Hamburg, Paris, and Berlin.

 

A native of Rockville MD, Giger is currently based in Chicago, where he regularly performs with orchestras such as the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Ballet, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and others, including recently principal second of the Dubuque Symphony. He maintains a small private teaching studio. In his spare time, Alex enjoys practicing yoga, exploring cooking, and health/wellness promotion.

 

 

Ben Zucker (Vibraphone) works with music as a hybrid practice of sound, composition, improvisation, multimedia, and theory, with an eye towards worldmaking practices for ethical, sensuous, and speculative spaces. He has contributed to experimental music scenes of the Bay Area, Connecticut, London, Chicago, and beyond, performing and presenting work in places including the Banff Centre (Alberta CA), Vortex Jazz Club (London), San Francisco Center For New Music, Bard Summerscape, Trinity College Dublin, Southbank Centre (London), Indeterminacy Festival (Buffalo/Montreal), Westben Centre (Ontario), Switchboard Music Festival (SF), Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago), and the Darmstadt Ferienkurse (Germany). He has been called a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine), was recognized as a "New Composer Talent" by the International Audio Branding Academy, and his work has won awards and commissions from the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Nucleo Musica Nova (Parana, Brazil), Constellation Men's Ensemble (Chicago), Khorikos (NYC), San Francisco Choral Artists, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. His interdisciplinary collaborations include The Last Days Of The Old Wild Boy with Rinde Eckert; music direction and sound design for the New York Fringe Festival; documentaries screened at the Environmental Film Festival (Washington DC), DOCNYC, and Sight & Sound Magazine; and the interactive audiovisual performances Baltic Art Form and London Roundhouse with the international Analema Group.

 

As a performer, Zucker frequently combines brass, percussion, voice, keyboards, and electronics in a variety of settings. He has been a founding member of groups performing free improvisation, salsa, experimental vocal music, noise, post-rock, and contemporary classical music, and he has performed with musicians such Anthony Braxton, Matana Roberts, Myra Melford, Karen Borca, The Crossing, The Vocal Constructivists, Vinny Golia, the San Francisco Choral Artists, and Rosśa Crean. His album projects—released on Amalgam Records, Dinzu Artifacts, Not Art Records, Verz Imprint, Weekend EP Project, and I Low You Records—have been acclaimed as "a testament to the power of restraint and arrangement" (Decoder Magazine) and "more than a little bit remarkable" (Free Jazz Blog). His most recent album, Fifth Season (Amalgam Records), explores long-form prose scores for improvisers with a quartet at the intersection of chamber music and free jazz. Zucker studied music, performance, and philosophy at Wesleyan University, Brunel University London, and currently as a doctoral student at Northwestern University.

 

 

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