The music of Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand (b.1970) has been called ‚Äústrong and startlingly lovely‚ÄĚ (Boston Globe). His compositions are wide-ranging in influence and inspiration, encompassing solo, chamber, vocal and orchestral works. From scores for dance, to compositions for young people, to multi-disciplinary and collaborative works, Al-Zand‚Äôs music is diverse in both its subject matter and its audience.
Larry Rachleff is the Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestral Conducting and Music Director of the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He recently completed twenty-one years as Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and formerly served as Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony. Additionally, he served as Artistic Advisor of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Thomas Jaber is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Vocal Coaching at The Shepherd School of Music.¬† In addition to the responsibilities of coaching graduate students and senior voice majors, Mr. Jaber teaches graduate choral conducting and conducts the Rice Chorale.¬†¬†
Originally from Beaver, Pennsylvania, pianist Karen Roethlisberger Verm has recently been appointed as Artist Teacher of Opera Studies at Rice University.
Prior to her position at Rice, Ms. Roethlisberger Verm was on faculty of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, where she served as Vocal Coach and Opera Coordinator, as well as the Chamber Music Coordinator. For the past two summers, she has been on music staff for the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Festival.
Bethany Self currently serves as Artist Teacher of Opera Studies at Rice University. Previously she was on music staff for eight years at Houston Grand Opera where she was the assistant conductor and principal coach for mainstage productions. During her tenure at HGO, Ms. Self played continuo fortepiano for operas including¬†Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni¬†and¬†Il Barbiere di Siviglia¬†and was involved in the preparation of several world premieres.
Australian Soprano, Susan Lorette Dunn studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, Queensland, graduating with both a¬†Bachelor of Music Degree¬†and a¬†Graduate Diploma Degree of Opera. Miss Dunn has performed regularly with both¬†Opera Australia and Opera Queensland.
Debra Dickinson was a professional singer/actress in New York for fifteen years before starting her career as a director. She performed with Richard Burton on Broadway in Camelot and as Guenevere opposite Richard Harris in the subsequent national tour.
Julie Simson has sung with opera companies throughout the United States including Houston Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Memphis, and Opera Colorado performing such roles as Hansel in¬†Hansel and Gretel, the Composer in¬†Ariadne auf Naxos, and Suzuki in¬†Madama Butterfly. She has also performed as soloist in major oratorio works with the Denver, Colorado Springs, Cedar Rapids, Omaha and Milwaukee Symphonies and in Boulder at the MahlerFest and Bach Festival.
Stephen King is the Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Voice at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Additionally, he is Director of Vocal Instruction for the singers of the famed Houston Grand Opera Studio and is a member of the Artist Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and Ravinia Festival‚Äôs Steans Music Institute.
Virginia Weckstrom is Artist Teacher of Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music at the Shepherd School and artist in residence at the Glenn Gould School. She is also a member of the artist faculty at the Aspen Music Festival. Previously, Ms. Weckstrom taught collaborative piano and chamber music at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was director of Chamber Music at the Residential College of the University of Michigan.