Jordan Amato is a classical soprano from Long Island, New York. At Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, she is pursuing a BM in Voice Performance and a BS in Neuroscience.
Ms. Amato’s journey with voice began in her early years, performing in musical theater productions in Long Island, NY and at Stagedoor Manor Theatre Camp in Loch Sheldrake, NY where she performed roles such as Ursula in Little Mermaid and Widow Carney in Oliver!. Aside from musical theater, she performed in many regional choirs, and was accepted into the NYSSMA All State Treble Ensemble. Additionally, she placed first in the Long Island Duck’s Anthem Idol competition, and was subsequently invited to perform the National Anthem at Citi Field in 2018, and again in 2019.
Under the tutelage of Marianna Benedict, the owner of Amadeus Opera Company, Ms. Amato auditioned for Mannes Preparatory College in Manhattan in 2019. Here, she further developed her new love for classical voice studying with Judith Bettina. Also during this time, she performed in a masterclass with Daniel Neer, and placed first in the Soprano division of the American Fine Arts Competition at Weill Recital Hall.
Ms. Amato performed in an online adaptation of Hansel and Gretel in Bienen School of Music’s Intensive Vocal Performance Seminar in 2020, having just been accepted into Peabody Institute. She is currently in her 3rd year of Hopkins’ 5-year dual degree program where she studies with Ah Young Hong and is coached by Lester Green. In her free time, she works in a research lab studying contextually-expressed knowledge of an auditory task in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Marina Bien-Aimé is a classical soprano originally from Brooklyn, New York. She works to bring a sense of interdisciplinary cohesion to her music by drawing inspiration and context from different sources including the visual arts, culture, language, poetry, and history.
Although she got her start as a classical pianist, she always had an interest in singing. When she was twelve, she was in Judith Berkson’s The Vienna Rite as a choir boy; this experience caused her to decide to pursue classical singing seriously. In high school, she studied under Sherry Overholt and participated in the Queens Summer Vocal Institute. She also has extensive choral experience, having participated in six different choirs from sixth grade until the present.
At Peabody, Marina was a part of the Bernstein MASS as part of the Congregant Choir in 2018, and performed solos in the Peabody Concert Choir, Peabody Singers Chamber Choir, and Peabody Treble Vocal Ensemble. She has participated in several compositional and contemporary music programs, including composition studio collaborations, Peabody’s Opera Etudes Program, and the Junior Bach community outreach program. This year, she performed selections from Das Italienisches Liederbuch with Arlene Shrut during her residency at Peabody, and won the ‘Outstanding Performance of a Piece by a Black Composer’ award in the undergraduate division of the Peabody Vocal Art Song Competition. Her upcoming performances include the Peabody Opera Workshop showcases, a Friday Noon:30 concert series, and her bachelor’s recital.
Marina is in her fourth year at Peabody Conservatory, studying voice performance under the tutelage of Ah Young Hong. She was also accepted this year into the fifth-year master’s program for vocal performance, and is additionally pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at The Johns Hopkins University in History of Art.
Soprano, Tara Dougherty, is an artist who uses her passions for music and education to promote change within the arts. Originally from Bristol, Pennsylvania, Tara is currently pursuing her Master of Music Degree at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Ah Young Hong. In 2021, Tara completed her Bachelor of Music degree at Boston University where she studied in the studio of Dr. Lynn Eustis. Tara has most recently performed as an ensemble member in the Boston University productions of The Rake’s Progress (2020) and La Traviata (2018), under the baton of conductor William Lumpkin. She has performed scenes by Puccini, Weber, Humperdinck, Mozart, Gounod, and Mechem. Tara has been a participant of programs such as the VIVA Festival with Opera Project Columbus and CoOPERAtive at Westminster Choir College. Tara was the 2020 recipient of the Ellalou Dimmock scholarship award and recital at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. Tara has also been involved in multiple studio recording projects, performing the works of Alan L. Smith, Margaret Bonds, Johannes Brahms, and Clara Schumann. Tara has special interests in opera and art song from the 20th and 21st centuries and plans to delve into this repertoire more in the coming years. Future engagements include singing the role of Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Peabody Opera in Action (2022). In addition to performing arts, Tara completed a minor in Education at the Wheelock School of Education and Human Development at Boston University. She is committed to forging a career that emphasizes the importance of artistry and education in the 21st century. She hopes to research new ways for music education to be more accessible and to promote change within 21st century artists. Tara works to find new ways to celebrate individuality and expression within her own work and the work of her fellow artists.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, soprano Olivia Heaner graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Vanderbilt University, where she studied with tenor Dr. Tyler Nelson. Currently, Ms. Heaner is studying at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of internationally renowned soprano Ah Young Hong to receive her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance with a concentration in Vocal Pedagogy.
While attending Vanderbilt University, Ms. Heaner was a featured soloist in the Vanderbilt Chorale and performed soprano solos in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Matthäus-Passion, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and performed as a soloist on their debut album, Music in the Listening Place. Ms. Heaner covered the roles of Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and The Old Lady (Candide), in addition to performing in several scenes with Vanderbilt Opera Theater.
Notable previous engagements include Ms. Heaner’s European debut in the Czech Republic in the role of Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro), performing with Prague Summer Nights. Ms. Heaner returned to Prague in 2019, performing the role of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) at the Estates Theater. In the fall of 2021, Ms. Heaner placed first in The Peabody Institute’s Art Song Competition’s graduate division. In the spring, Ms. Heaner was a finalist in the Institute’s Sylvia Green Concerto Competition and performed the role of the Witch in Nicholas Hersch’s arrangement of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel for Peabody Opera Theater’s Opera in Action program. Most recently, Ms. Heaner prepared the role of the Foreign Princess (Rusalka) and performed the title role of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka with Utah Vocal Arts Academy.
Vivian Hilyard is a soprano based in Baltimore, Maryland. Known for her artistic versatility, Hilyard is an avid performer of many different genres of music including: classical, contemporary, musical theatre, and jazz.
She is originally from Athens, Georgia, where her journey as a singer first began when she joined the Georgia Children’s Chorus in 2011, and instantly fell in love with choral singing. This love for choral music eventually evolved into a love for opera after starting lessons with Dr. Stephanie Tingler, a voice professor at the University of Georgia, in 2017.
During high school, she was heavily involved in her school’s chorus and theater programs, participating in nine different vocal ensembles that covered a variety of musical genres, and five theatrical productions. Her most recent role was Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a 2020 production at Oconee County High School. In 2018, she was featured along with 7 other singers portraying a high school choir in the major motion picture Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, which was released in 2021. In May 2020, she was awarded the Classic Center Cultural Foundation Scholarship, a scholarship for talented high school students in Athens, after winning the Voice category of their annual competition.
Hilyard has also attended several summer training programs for singers, including the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Vocal Program (2019), the Oberlin Conservatory Vocal Academy for High School Students (2019), and the Summer Music Horizons Program at the Eastman School of Music (2018). At the Eastman summer program, she portrayed Susanna in an opera scene from Le Nozze di Figaro, and at Tanglewood she portrayed Amore in a scene from L’Egisto.
Hilyard is currently a second-year student at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in voice performance under the tutelage of soprano Ah Young Hong. At Peabody, her studies mainly focus on solo performance of art songs and arias, but she is also a frequent collaborator with other artists; she is involved in the Peabody Camerata Vocal Ensemble and the Johns Hopkins contemporary a cappella group The Octopodes.
Chinese-American soprano Cynthia Hu strives to uplift Asian voices in opera and advocate for greater representation in the industry while striving for broader equity.
Growing up as a first-generation American, Ms. Hu has always carried a strong appreciation and connection with her culture. In 2018, she was selected to represent the United States in the China International Water Cube Competition. After months of rigorous preparation, she traveled to Beijing to compete and simultaneously fell in love with classical singing. She soon realized that the diversity that she saw on the stages in China did not translate to what she saw when she went back to her home country. This experience has since inspired her to find new opportunities to establish herself as an Asian voice in the opera industry.
Ms. Hu’s most recent operatic engagement was in the Vienna Summer Music Festival’s production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Originally performed in 1786, director Jennifer Davison put a twist on the classic, portraying the opera as a game where the setting centered around Team Susanna facing off against Team Count. Ms. Hu sang the role of Barbarina as well as Susanna.
In the same program, Ms. Hu sang the role of Venus as a part of the world premiere of PLUTO, an opera written by Michael Polo. Throughout this program, she performed in masterclasses with tenor Adam Diegel and maestro Gregory Buchalter.
Ms. Hu is currently a junior pursuing a BM in Vocal Performance at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, where she studies with Ah Young Hong and is coached by Eileen Cornett. She is the proud recipient of the Claire and Allen Jensen Endowed Scholarship.
Sooyeon Kim is a Soprano who tries to sing with strong passion and will. Born in South Korea, she completed her Bachelor of Music degree in February 2022 at Yonsei University and is currently pursuing for her Master of Music degree at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Ah Young Hong.
When she was a sophomore at Yonsei University, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, which led to her not having many opportunities to get on stage, but fortunately, she was an assistant to Dulcamara in her freshman year at Opera ‘L’elisir D’amore’ hosted by Yonsei University. She also performed a soprano solo at Symphony Choir while attending Yonsei University. While she was attending Yonsei University, she completed her Opera Acting and Opera Movement classes with very good grades. In the Opera class, she played the role of Countess and successfully completed a small performance with Baritone (Taewan Kim) as Count and Soprano (Suzy Choi) as Susanna.
She also visited Italy in 2017 and participated in the VIII Mask Festival to take a master class from Gian Luca Pasolini, a famous Italian tenor. She has been on stage twice during her time in the master class and has received much praise. She also attended Music Camp, hosted by Suwon University in 2016, 2017. She is also a performer for the Kim & Lee organization since 2017 and has performed in a few concerts hosted by Kim & Lee. In 2018, she also performed at the Young Artist Concert hosted by Young-san Art Hall, singing arias from many operas and art songs from Germany and Italy.
Noelle McMurtry, soprano, is interested in the intersection of music and theater, particularly through art song, new music, and early music to explore diverse and underrepresented perspectives. Highlights of her operatic credits include Calisto in La Calisto, Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Venus in John Blow’s Venus & Adonis. As an avid programmer and recitalist, Noelle is most interested in innovative, thematic programming to create new contexts in which to experience the “canon,” particularly highlighting feminist perspectives and the works of historic women composers. With The Cantanti Project (NYC), Noelle collaborated on The Little Ghost, Ophelia Transformed, and Her Story, all programs focusing on the perspectives of women in song. Since 2015, she has presented her original programs, including Ophelia and Her Sisters, Femme en fleurs, The Heavenly Banquet, To the queen of my heart, Head, Heart, and Portraits: The Self Illuminated in New York City and Baltimore, MD concert venues. Noelle currently serves as Director of Live Content for The Pleiades Project, a production platform for female-identifying artists through digital and live performance opportunities with a focus on classical vocal repertoire. For The Pleiades Project’s 2020-2021 season, Noelle will co-write and create “A Splendiferous Women’s Suffrage Extravaganza!,” an original music-theatre work exploring the centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, through a Community Engagement Grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Arts Council. A frequent collaborator in new music, Noelle performed at The New Music On The Point Festival, and in 2017-2018, she performed Kate Soper’s Only the words themselves mean what they say with Peabody’s Now Hear This on the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center. In the 2019-2020 season, Noelle performed the title role in excerpts from Kaija Saariaho’s monodrama Émilie with Now Hear This, debuted with The IN Series (DC) at the Women Composers Festival in Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens, as well as co-programmed and performed in the Festival Gala concert with works by Louise Talma, Jessica Krash, and Caroline Shaw. In the 2020-2021 season, Noelle will collaborate with INVISION (DC) and The Pleiades Project, performing the role of Senator Ben Cardin in a virtual production of Melissa Dunphy’s Gonzales Cantata, as well as making her film debut in German Romantics: Clara, exploring Clara Schumann’s Op. 12. To further her programming methodology, Noelle is in the second year of a Doctorate in Musical Arts at Peabody Institute under the tutelage of soprano Ah Young Hong with an expected graduation date of 2021. She lives in Washington DC with her partner, Kevin, and her puppy Cashew.
Rachel Steelman seeks to bring life to the stage just as she feels brilliantly alive on it. Singing brings Rachel innate joy as a performer, whether as a principal of Dido & Aeneas with the St. Mary’s College of Maryland music department in 2019 or gigging with her jazz combo, “No Time Five.” Her passion and love of her craft is palpable. Rachel takes pride in her empathy as a performer; she focuses on creating a sensitive relationship with listeners, opening an emotional space so they each fully engage the story in the music.
A “chameleon performer,” Rachel has portrayed a wide breadth of characters in opera, musical theatre, jazz, and folk music. From tender beginnings writing and playing original music with her close friends, Rachel creates an intimate and vulnerable setting in which to experience music. Praised for the “clarity” of her sound and “metal” in the strength of her voice, Rachel fully engages with intense, dramatic works while also breathing fun and youth into lighthearted pieces.
Before attending the Peabody Institute, Rachel pursued her passion of music following her grade school years at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, earning degrees in music and psychology. She was inspired to pursue music further after performances with pianists Brian Ganz and Beverly Babcock as the featured soloist for Brahms Requiem in 2018. Other notable performances and positions include the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Jazz Band at the National Oyster Festival in 2019, the recital Fleeting with pianist Rie Moore in 2018, the premiere of David Froom’s “Warm are the Still and Lucky Miles” and regular performances at the National Shrine, among other locations, with the PING ensemble from 2017 until 2021. Rachel earned the Barbara Bershon Arts Alliance Award in Music in 2019, and the Roberts Music Award in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Rachel is currently a section leader and frequent soloist in Peabody’s Camerata, has collaborated with the Michael Hersch composition studio, and was a performer in the John Cage Song Book Showcase. She performed in the Historical Performance Opera Showcase and portrayed the roles of “Pheobe” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and “Marta” from Company in Peabody’s Musical Theatre Opera Showcase in 2022. She was accepted into the Bel Canto in Tuscany summer opera school 2022 and the Music for a While program in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Office of Well-Being and Department of Service Excellence. She has been honored to work with local churches as a funeral and wedding singer, regular cantor, and section lead throughout Maryland. Rachel continues her own voice studio, founded in 2018, teaching beginning and intermediate vocal students ranging from children to adults, engaging them in their own passion and love of the craft through her own.
Bryce Elliot Zimmerman, countertenor, is a native of Atlanta, GA. A lover of music, Bryce strives to live by a personal mantra he penned: “Music and all forms of art is like Cupid’s arrow. You pull back, release, and let the art speak for itself. Specifically you recognize the rhythms, and the work. Now you have to shoot the arrow into the audience’s heart.”
Bryce began his musical career when he joined The Atlanta Boys Choir (ABC) in the 5th grade. While a member of ABC, he toured Prague, The Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Austria, Vancouver, and British Columbia. When visiting the Terezin concentration camp (Czech Republic), ABC gave a performance of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Charles Davidson, with Bryce singing the role of the Shema. Recently, he performed before the Governor of Georgia during the annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree.
Apart from a choral career, Bryce performs as a soloist at many different churches throughout Georgia and North Carolina, including the All Saints Episcopal Church, where he was a choral scholar. Moreover, Bryce has twice been an artist in residence under the tutelage of Metropolitan Opera soprano, Indra Thomas.
Aside from his career in singing, Bryce enjoys playing jazz and old standards on the piano, as well as gardening with his mother.
Bryce is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Music (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD), under the mentorship, and guidance of Ah Young Hong.