Voice Teachers

Robynne Redmon: mezzo-soprano, University of Miami Frost School of Music
Robynne Redmon (mezzo-soprano) is an assistant professor in the Department of Vocal Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and program director for the Frost School of Music at Salzburg. Critics have hailed her “glorious singing, intense acting, excellent phrasing, ardent tone, splendid shading and solid coloratura and excellent artistic sense” (Das Opernglas) and for her “exactitude of pitch, her luxuriance of tone, her abundant animal spirit and unerring dramatic intelligence” (Newsday). She has performed leading roles with the major opera houses of the world including The Metropolitan Opera (Maddalena in Rigoletto, Marina in Boris Godunov, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Fenena in Nabucco); Lyric Opera of Chicago (Adalgisa in Norma, Fenena in Nabucco, Laura in La Gioconda), and with San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Berlin State Opera and Opera de Marseilles. She added the role of Amneris in Aida in her South American debut at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, sang Eboli in Don Carlos with Boston Lyric Opera and Minnesota Opera, and as Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and Frugola in Il Tabarro for Montreal Opera. A respected interpreter of modern music and creator of new roles, Ms. Redmon performed in world premieres of Madame Mao for Santa Fe Opera, and Harvey Milk and Esther for New York City Opera. Equally at home in recital and concert she has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Nashville Symphony with whom she recorded a critically acclaimed Beethoven Missa Solemnis (Naxos).  She also sang a special Chinese language version of Das Lied von der Erde at the British Library as part of the Silk Road Exhibition.

Peter Atherton: bass-baritone, Chapman University
Peter Atherton has had the joy of performing over forty-five roles ranging from Seneca in The Coronation of Poppea to Frederick in A Little Night Music.  His operatic credits include performances with the Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Baltimore Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Wolf Trap Opera, Virginia Opera, San Francisco Opera Touring Division, Opera Atelier, Cairo Opera and the Operafestival of Rome and Verona.  He has performed with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Lucas Foss, James Conlon, Kurt Herbert Adler, David Effron and Myung-Whun Chung. In concert and oratorio he has performed to acclaim with numerous orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L’Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Bach Cercle Genéve, International Chamber Ensemble Rome, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Orchestre de Belgique, Philadelphia Singers, San Diego Symphony, William Hall Chorale, Angeles Chorale and the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. Equally popular in recital, he has performed in Vienna, Zürich, Rome, Hannover, Basel, Geneva, New York, Houston, Miami, Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.  Mr. Atherton’s versatility as a singing-actor enabled him to perform six different roles in The Phantom of the Opera in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.  He has also recorded a program of French Art Song for the Hannover Radio in Germany. Mr. Atherton holds the Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The Juilliard School, Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles.  He has received numerous awards including Artist of the Year sponsored by The National Arts Club in New York City and a full scholarship to The International Academy for Soloists where he studied exclusively with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Mr. Atherton holds the Robert and Norma Lineberger Endowed Chair of Music at Chapman University and is Director of Operatic Studies and Associate Professor of Voice in the Conservatory of Music.  He is a member of the Artistic Board of Directors of Operafestival di Roma.  Mr. Atherton has served on the faculty at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, Occidental College and at Operafestival di Roma and has presented master classes throughout North America.  His students have been admitted to prestigious graduate and apprentice programs across the country, with many performing professionally in Europe, the United States and Canada.

Clifford Billions: tenor, Cleveland Institute of Music
Clifford Billions began his professional singing career in New York City in the Metropolitan Opera Studio. He also performed extensively in the New York City Opera Title III program, taking opera to schools throughout New York City and State. Mr. Billions sang at Carnegie Hall with the American Opera Society in Bellini’s La Straniera with Montserrat Caballe and in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots with Beverly Sills and Justino Diaz. In Germany, he was a leading tenor at the Darmstadt Opera and also sang at the Munich Festival. He has sung throughout the U.S. in opera, oratorio and recital, appearing in 30 leading opera roles including Faust, Rodolfo, Tamino and Don Ottavio. He received a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Converse College School of Music, and has taught on the faculties of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria; the University of Alabama; the University of Miami Frost School of Music at Salzburg; and the University of Akron, where he is now professor emeritus. He has given master classes in Taipei, Taiwan; at the national convention of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) in Los Angeles; and at numerous colleges, universities and state NATS chapters in America. His students have performed at the Metropolitan and New York City Operas, and for major opera companies in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit and Cleveland. His students are currently in European opera houses at Bonn and Graz and have made guest appearances at the Aix-en-Provence festival, Düsseldorf, and Essen, among others. Mr. Billions continues to teach professional singers in New York City. He was appointed to the Cleveland Institute of Music faculty in 2005.

Elizabeth Futral: American soprano Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the world’s leading sopranos. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to world premieres. A native of Louisiana, Futral studied with Virginia Zeani at Indiana University. She joined the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, won the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in 1991 and was catapulted to stardom with critically acclaimed performances of Delibes’ Lakmé at the New York City Opera in 1994. Career milestones soon followed, cementing her star status: a win in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, the title role in Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran in Pesaro, her debut at the San Francisco Opera as Stella in the world premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and her Metropolitan Opera debut in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor.Futral’s most recent recording release is Gordon’s 27 with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis on Albany Records. Other operatic recordings include Previn’s Brief Encounter and A Streetcar Named Desireas well as Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges for Deutsche Grammophon, Rossini’s Otello and Zelmira, Pacini’s Carlo di Borgogna for Opera Rara, Lucia di Lammermoor for Chandos as part of their “Opera in English” series, Of Mice and Men on Albany Records, Six Characters in Search of An Author on New World Records, and Philip Glass’s chamber opera Hydrogen Jukebox for Euphorbia Records.

Frank Ragsdale: tenor, Oklahoma City University
Dr. Frank Wayne Ragsdale earned degrees from Atlantic Union College, The Longy School of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Miami. Dr. Ragsdale has performed in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, and recitals throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, and Central America where, for three consecutive years, he was invited by the U.S. Embassies of Costa Rica and Honduras to give recital tours and master classes with collaborative artist Thomas Enman. He has performed in such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Cairo Opera House, Mechanics Hall, Notre Dame, San Marco di Venizia, and St. Martin-in-the-fields. Some of his operatic roles include “Rodolfo” from La Bohème, “Alfredo” from La Traviata, “Don Ottavio” from Don Giovanni, and “Tamino” from Die Zauberflöte. Some of his musical theatre roles include “Tony” from West Side Story, “Freddy” from My Fair Lady, and “Sam” from Street Scene. As well as performing, he has directed opera, musical theatre, and theatre. Dr. Ragsdale is on the voice faculties of Oklahoma City University and the University of Miami Frost School of Music at Salzburg and is currently the NATS Texoma Region Auditions Chair.

Mary Schiller: soprano, Cleveland Institute of Music
Mary Schiller is the head of the voice department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has appeared in operas, oratorio and recital in the U.S., France, and Germany, singing leading roles such as Violetta, Fiordiligi, and Susanna. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Ohio State University. Ms. Schiller received several grants for study in Germany, including the Fulbright, Martha Baird Rockefeller, Richard Wagner Society, and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and received a fellowship to Tanglewood. She is a frequent adjudicator at major voice competitions and regularly gives master classes; she was also a master teacher at the Master Voice Teachers Conference at Westminster Choir College. Ms. Schiller has served on the faculties of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, The University of Akron School of Music, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria; the Accademia dell’Opera in Rimini, Italy; and the University of Miami Frost School of Music at Salzburg. Recently she taught at Sessione Senese per la Musica e L’Arte in Siena, Italy. She maintains a private voice studio in New York City. Her students perform with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera and the Cleveland Opera. Her students have also participated in Houston Opera Studio, Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists, Santa Fe Opera, Music Academy of the West, Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals. Ms. Schiller’s students have won the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award, George London Award, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Award, National Opera Association Competition, and ARIA.

Vocal Coach

Steven White: Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. Among the many orchestras Maestro White has conducted are the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for a CHANDOS recording of arias featuring his wife, soprano Elizabeth Futral. This season he will lead the Omaha Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique and the Liszt E-flat Piano Concerto, featuring internationally hailed pianist Markus Groh. Maestro White made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010, conducting performances of La traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu. Since then he has conducted a number of Metropolitan Opera performances of La traviata, with such stars as Natalie Dessay, Hei-Kyung Hong, Placido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and Matthew Polenzani. In the past two seasons he has returned to the Met to participate in critically fêted productions of The Rake’s Progress and Elektra.

Accompanying Teacher and Vocal Coach

Francois Germain: Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam
Pianist Francois Germain has performed extensively in Europe, the United States and Canada as soloist and accompanist. Originally from Aix-en-Provence, France, he is the recipient of many awards, including first prizes in the Radio-France Competition, the Madeleine de Valmalète Competition and the Paul and Verna Gelinas Competition. He holds a bachelors degree in music from the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud, and a masters and doctorate degrees in piano performance from the University of Montreal. Recent performances include such venues as the Schloss Mirabell in Salzburg, the Galerie d’Art d’Outremont, Salle Claude Champagne (Montreal), Steinert Hall (Boston), Leakin Hall (Baltimore), and he has participated in festivals in Banff and the Centre d’Arts d’Orford. A native French and German speaker, he specializes in French melodie, lied and art song. He served from 2002-2007 at the University of Montreal as a vocal coach and assistant to Rosemarie Landry (a disciple of Pierre Bernac and Gerard Souzay) where he acquired a unique expertise in French lyric diction and style and has worked as a coach/repetiteur for the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Salzburg program as well as Operetta Belle Lurette in Québec. In addition to his performance activities, Dr. Germain holds a masters degree in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and was recently featured as guest speaker at a week long festival held in Montreal, Quebec, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dmitri Shostakovich. His principal teachers include Marc Durand, Jean Saulnier, Bernard Flavigny and Clara Woringer-Kastler, and he has taken part in master classes with such greats as Thomas Grubb, Roger Vignoles, and Malcolm Martineau. He currently teaches piano, vocal coaching and opera at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam in Potsdam, New York.

Paul Wyse: SUNY Potsdam
Paul Wyse, associate professor of piano at the Crane School of Music, State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, has appeared in concert across the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, and New Zealand. Highlights include performances for the Royal Family of Monaco, concertos with the New World Symphony, the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Northern New York, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and the Peabody Chamber Orchestra. He has made radio appearances on WGBH Boston, the Australian Broadcasting Company, the New Zealand Broadcasting Company, and recently on New York public television performing Beethoven’s Sonatas for violin/cello and piano. He has collaborated with such greats as Michael Tilson Thomas, Vladimir Feltsman, Carter Brey, José-Luiz Garcia, Paula Robison and the Crane Symphony Orchestra with Katherine Jacobson-Fleisher under the baton of her husband, Leon Fleisher. Wyse has presented lectures and master classes at The Longy School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, The World Piano Pedagogy Conference, Westfield State College, The University of Arkansas, Holyoke College and adjudicated the Simone Belsky Competition, the Empire State Competition, The New York State MTNA Competition, The Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, and serves as the Artistic Director for the Julia Crane International Piano Competition. His teachers include Leon Fleisher, Marc Durand and Veronica Jochum. Wyse holds degrees from the Peabody Institute, New England Conservatory, and The University of Montreal. Also a trained visual artist, Wyse’s paintings hang in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Steinway Hall historical portrait collection, and the House of Commons of Canada. His notable portraits include pop legend Billy Joel, Leon Fleisher, Peter Milliken, and Harry Connick Jr. In 2015, he will become the first Steinway Artist to have designed and hand painted a Steinway art case (model D) piano.

Staff Pianists

Gregory Thompson: Central State University
Dr. Gregory Thompson (Head of Staff Pianists) is Associate Professor of Piano at Central State University in Wilberforce, OH.  Prior to his appointment at Central State, Dr. Thompson was Acting Chair of the Department of Music and Fine Arts at Johnson C. Smith University.  He holds the B.A. degree in Piano Performance from Limestone College, the M.M. degree in Piano Performance from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and the D.M.A. degree in Piano Performance from The University of South Carolina.  Dr. Thompson has done additional study in the United States and in Europe.  He has served as instructor of music at Morris College in Sumter, S.C., Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., and at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.  He has also served as adjunct professor of piano at Charleston Southern University and Lecturer in Opera Coaching at the University of South Carolina.  Dr. Thompson has performed as pianist and accompanist both in the U.S. and abroad.  His performances have included solo recitals, orchestral performances, chamber recitals, and vocal and instrumental accompanying.  In the summer of 1998 he served as principal accompanist for Studio Lirico’s production of Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ in Cortona.  Dr. Thompson is a member of MTNA, NCMTA, Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Theater Charlotte.  While in Charlotte, he served as pianist/choral accompanist for Calvary Church of Charlotte, NC.