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 five different choirs from sixth grade until the present.
At Peabody, Marina participated in the Bernstein Mass as part of the Congregant Choir, and has performed several solos in both the Peabody Concert Choir and the Peabody Singers Chamber Choir. She is currently participating in the Peabody Vocal Ensemble and the Opera Etudes program, working with student composers and conductors to perform original compositions and new music.
Marina is in her third year at Peabody Conservatory, studying voice performance under the tutelage of Ah Young Hong. She is also pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at The Johns Hopkins University in History of Art and a minor in Museums and Society.
Vivian Hilyard, a soprano from Athens, Georgia, is a first-year student at Peabody pursuing a BM in voice performance. 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 9 different vocal ensembles that covered a variety of musical genres, and 5 theatrical productions (her most recent role was Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream). 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 (scheduled release: late 2020). 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.
Vivian 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.
Cynthia Hu is a soprano from McLean, Virginia. She began her studying piano at age four and began studying voice at age 12. As she continued her studies, she fell in love with classical singing and opera, specifically music from the Romantic period.
In recent years, Hu has competed in many state, regional, and national competitions including ones hosted by MTNA, NATS, and AYMTC, leading her to perform on stages such as Carnegie Hall. She has also traveled internationally to compete and perform, most notably at the Water Cube, the Beijing Olympic Aquatic Center, and film for TV broadcasts. Additionally, she has performed various opera scenes, including Despina from Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Serpina from Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, and Susanna from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
She has appeared in masterclasses with Rod Gilfry, Sharon Daniels, Stefano de Peppo, and will appear in one with Deborah Voight in 2021. In 2019, she attended the BUTI Tanglewood Institute where she studied under Deborah Selig Zavracky.
Upon starting university, she is excited to meet, collaborate, and learn from other artists as well as make lifelong friends and colleagues. Also, she wants to expand her musical repertoire and work on improving her art. Hu is in her first year of undergraduate study with Ah Young Hong at the Peabody Institute (Johns Hopkins University), in pursuit of a Bachelor of Music degree. She is a proud recipient of the Claire and Allan Jensen Endowed Scholarship.
Mira Fu-En Huang uses her voice to veer off the beaten path and bring underperformed repertoire to the forefront. She has had the pleasure of singing not just in the languages of the western classical canon, but in Spanish, Korean, Taiwanese, Czech, Bulgarian, Nisenan, and more. Her repertory sprawls across cultures and eras, from folk music to medieval motets to the works of living composers.
Hailed by her peers for her vocal control and silver voice, Mira especially enjoys bringing early and modern music to life. She has performed as Euridice in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She also sang as a featured soloist in the ExplOratorio, a new music masterwork premiered in 2020.
Mira enjoys extensive experience with ensembles. She has sung with Vox Musica, a contemporary treble-ensemble, and Il Dolce Suono, the first student-led ensemble invited to an ACDA conference. Her choral accolades include launching the east-coast premiere of Ēriks Ešenvalds’ Sunset in My Hand at Carnegie Hall in 2017 and soloing at the Vatican in 2013. Mira also has instrumental experience; she has accompanied vocal ensembles both as a flautist and a viola da gambist.
Currently, Mira studies under Ah Young Hong while pursuing her M.M. in Historical Performance Voice. She received a B.A. in Vocal Performance, along with degrees in Psychology and English, from the University of California, Davis. Her coaches have ranged from early music specialists Jeffrey Thomas and Christine Brandes to the contemporary, all-female Quince Ensemble.
Claire Iverson is a lyric soprano from Baltimore, Maryland. She is an avid performer of classical vocal music from all eras, ranging from early music to new works. This season, she will be featured as the Governess in Peabody Opera Theatre’s virtual production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Ms. Iverson is also excited to be involved in Peabody’s Opera Etudes program, a year-long course which will culminate in the spring 2021 semester with performances of new operas from Peabody composition students. Next summer, she looks forward to travelling to Prague for her role debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni.
Earlier this year, Ms. Iverson performed in Kaija Saariaho’s Émilie with Now Hear This! While working on this production, she was fortunate to coach with both Karita Mattila and Elizabeth Futral, who gave the world premiere and American premiere of Émilie, respectively. In fall of 2019, Ms. Iverson sang as Jane Bennet in the world staged premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Pride and Prejudice with Peabody Opera Theatre.
Claire in her final year of undergraduate study with Ah Young Hong, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Music degree. She is simultaneously pursuing a Bachelor of Arts through Johns Hopkins’ Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences, with a double major in International Studies and French. She is a passionate learner, always looking to engage with new languages, cultures, and literature. Ultimately, she hopes to encourage greater collaboration between these fields and the rich world of classical music.
Caroline Lacy is a lyric mezzo-soprano from Darien, Connecticut. She is known for her versatile ability to sing music of all genres and eras, including early music, new classical works, bel canto, and musical theater; additionally, she is an avid performer and arranger of contemporary acapella music, through her work with the Johns Hopkins Vocal Chords. This season, she will be appearing as Mrs. Grose in Peabody Opera’s virtual production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw. She is also taking part in Peabody’s Opera Etudes Program, through which she will collaborate with Peabody composers to premiere several new classical works throughout the year. In the past she has appeared as Suzy/Lolette in Puccini’s La Rondine and the Mezzo Monster in Barnes’ The Hiding Tree, as well as in the chorus of the staged premiere of Mechem’s Pride and Prejudice, all through the Peabody Opera Theater.
Ms. Lacy is in her fourth year of undergraduate study with Ah Young Hong. In addition to a Bachelor of Music, she is also pursuing a Bachelor of Arts through Johns Hopkins University, where she is studying Writing Seminars with a focus in fiction and screenwriting. She is passionate about bringing her two fields of study together, and much of her written work focuses on highlighting underrepresented queer perspectives in the music industry.
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.
Maddalena Ohrbach is a lyric soprano and advocate for restorative justice through music. Beginning as a classical pianist and a musical theatre lover, she grew up surrounded by the music of Philip Glass, Leonard Cohen and Sweet Honey in the Rock. She stumbled upon classical voice by accident and soon fell in love with opera, as it integrates classical music, poetry, and drama in a grand labor of love. A lifelong practitioner of Theravada Buddhism and an Italian-American raised in a diverse immigrant community in Buffalo, she explores and integrates many cultural and spiritual influences in her vocal studies.
Ultimately, she hopes to combine her love of contemporary poetry and mindfulness practice to use music as a healing mechanism in communities without the resources to study music traditionally. Improvisation, a cappella, and extended vocal techniques are all ways to use music as a form of meditation and integrated emotional healing. She hopes to deconstruct classical voice to its bare bones—the physical practice and the understanding of poetry—and share these influences with trauma survivors, addiction outpatients, prison inmates, immigrants, and more. In this, she plans to particularly empower the music and poetry of women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color as another layer of restorative justice to celebrate underappreciated art.
Ohrbach has sung in the Buffalo Choral Arts Society under Marcia Giambrone, attended regional workshops including NYSSMA Conference All-State and NAfME All-Eastern, and toured Europe as the featured soloist with the American Music Abroad Honor Choir. Most recently, she won first place in the Peabody Vocal Art Song Competition in January 2020, and has sung as the featured soloist under maestro Ed Polochick. She is currently a junior at the Peabody Institute and studies with soprano Ah Young Hong and pianist Lura Johnson. She is the grateful recipient of the Rosa Ponselle Scholarship in Voice.
Nicole Stover is a vibrant soprano with a passion for storytelling. By creating stories through characters found in music, she allows her audience to experience an introspective journey whether in opera, art song, chamber, or new music.
A genre bursting at the seams with stories and escapism, performing opera is where Nicole feels most at home. Often playing women with a dramatic flair to them, she has performed as Nella in Varna International’s production of Gianni Schicchi and as Noémie in UNT’s production of Le Testament de Tante Caroline. Most recently, Nicole has focused on the role of Miss Jessel from Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Peabody Opera.
Nicole has always enjoyed being a part of a collaborative effort and sharing the stage with colleagues. Recently, Nicole was granted the opportunity to expand her knowledge of early music, delving further into chamber works with members of the acclaimed chamber group, Fantasmi, created and directed by Dr. Paul Leenhouts.
Currently, Nicole is working towards her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Peabody Conservatory and studying under the direction of Ah Young Hong.
Previously, she completed her BM in Vocal Performance at the University of North Texas under Carol Wilson.
Taiwanese Soprano, Tzu Jung Wang is passionate about collaborating with other artists, leaning different perspectives to make a thorough interpretation of the music. She has been featured in Isolation, a pastiche project presented by the Peabody Opera Theatre, as well as CloClo in Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe at Tunghai University. She has performed with companies including Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, Taichung Artist Chamber Choir, and Tunghai University Chorus and Chamber Choir. In scenes productions, she has performed the roles of Susanna and Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, and Sandman in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
Artists sometimes too focus on their mistakes, and forget to live in the moment, this inspired Tzu Jung to create a recital Perfectly Imperfect in 2019. She believed what makes music beautiful or even moving is those moments of humanity which form a connection between the audience and the artist. The repertoire included works by Mozart, Barber, Debussy, Fauré, and others. She has a deep interest in art song and is passionate about exploring the details in the emotion, the depth of the music, and what the composer tries to convey through the pieces.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance from Tunghai University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance & Pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory at the Johns Hopkins University, under the instruction of Ah Young Hong.
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.
Learn more about Ah Young Hong in her bio.