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2017-18 Season

RoschmannFebruary 8, 2018
Dorothea Röschmann
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PregardienFebruary 24, 2018
Christoph Prégardien
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Hoffman March 20, 2018
Theo Hoffman
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MulliganApril 28, 2018
Brian Mulligan
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NYFOSNovember 5, 2017
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BondarenkoDecember 5, 2017
Andrei Bondarenko
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ErraughtJanuary 9, 2018
Tara Erraught
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Vocal Arts DC
PO Box 42423
Washington, DC 20015



The George Washington University Department of Music
Goethe-Institut Washington
Levine Music
University of Maryland Opera Studio
Wagner Society DC

"My Favorite Song"

Guest contributors select one song that has a special, personal meaning for them, sharing specific reasons about why they find the music and lyrics irresistible, and choosing a performance that they feel ideally captures the spirit of that song.

Archive of Past Selections

Art Song Discovery Series

Vanessa Vasquez, soprano & Shabnam Kalbasi, mezzo-soprano

To further appreciation for the classical art song form, Vocal Arts DC will present the winners of the 2015 Vocal Arts DC Art Song Discovery Competition in concert on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millenium Stage on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 6pm. The concert is shared between the first and second prize winners in the competition. Accompanying soprano Vanessa Vasquez on the piano will be Danielle Orlando; mezzo-soprano Shabnam Kolbasi's collaborator at the keyboard will be Andrew Hsu. Noted area vocal instructor and Vocal Arts DC Board Member, Elizabeth Daniels will provide lively commentary for this concert to introduce the vast richness of the classical song literature, with an emphasis on contemporary American works. Composers whose works will be represented will include George Crumb, Ben Moore, Rebecca Clarke, Francis Poulenc, Richard Strauss, Manuel de Falla, Fernando Obradors, Maria Grever and Joaquín Valverde Sanjuán.

On Thursday evening, May 19 at 6:30 pm hear a program of vocal selections as diverse and colorful as the masterpieces on display at The Phillips Collection. Soprano Vanessa Vasquez, winner of the 2015 Vocal Arts DC "Art Song Discovery" Competition, offers a program of songs by composers including Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Fernando Obradors, Rebecca Clarke, and Ben Moore, inspired by artworks of Paul DuBois, Arthur G. Dove, George Inness, Marjorie Acker Phillips, and Ernest Lawson, among others. Ms. Vasquez, an Arizona native and alumna of Catholic University, is currently a Young Artist in Residence at Philadelphia prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts.

WHO: Vocal Arts DC
WHAT: 2016 Art Song Discovery Concert featuring
Vanessa Vasquez, soprano and Shabnam Kolbasi, mezzo-soprano
WHERE: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St NW, Washington DC 20566
WHEN: Friday April 1, 2016 at 6:00pm
TICKETS: No tickets are necessary; the concert is free of charge
INFORMATION: For press ticket requests or information please contact
Peter Russell (202-669-1463) or Gregory Stuart (917-621-6005).

Additional biographical information is below:

Vanessa Vasquez. First prize winner of the 2015 Vocal Arts DC "Art Song Discovery Competition," Vanessa Vasquez, originally from Scottsdale, Arizona is a second-year Resident Artist of The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America and M.M. in Opera Performance from the University of Los Angeles, California (UCLA). Last season, she made her AVA debut as Mimì in La bohème. This past November she sang the role of Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at AVA. In 2015,, Vanessa won the James Parkinson Opera Foundation First Prize and the Walter and Alice Strine, Esqs. Audience Prize in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, as well as First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in Phoenix Opera's Southwest Vocal Competition. In addition, she was a 2015 Grant Award recipient in both The Giulio Gari Foundation and Puccini-Licia Albanese Vocal competitons. Upcoming engagements include Giorgetta in Puccini's Il tabarro at AVA and competing as a finalist in the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition in Los Angeles. This summer she has been invited to join the roster of selected artists for the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany.

Shabnam Kalbasi.Shabnam Kalbasi, mezzo-soprano, was most recently seen as Mercédès in Carmen with Venture Opera in New York City. She has been a 2016 George London Foundation Finalist and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist and garnered an award from the Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competition. In summer of 2015, she returned to the Santa Fe Opera, in her second consecutive year with the apprentice artist program, singing Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and debuting the role of Olivia in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain.

Danielle Orlando.Danielle Orlando, piano for Ms Vasquez, is an accompanist to many international opera singers, a vocal coach, and an artistic consultant to many prestigious musical organizations. She was accompanist, judge, and artistic coordinator for all of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competitions. She worked with Gian Carlo Menotti and the Festival Dei Due Mondi as artistic coordinator and coach for nine seasons. She was the artistic administrator and head of music staff for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and has served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, S.C.), Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, AIMS (Graz, Austria, ECOV (Belgium), and Curso de Perfecionamiento (Mexico). Ms. Orlando is a guest judge for the annual Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and works with the Junges Ensemble of the Dresden Semperoper in Germany. She has performed with the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, and will return as a master coach for Oberlin in Italy this year. Ms. Orlando has a residency as returning opera coach for the Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program and the WNO Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program of Washington National Opera. She is also a master coach for the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Ms. Orlando joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and will be on faculty at the Young Artist Voice Program as part of Curtis Summerfest 2016.

Andrew Hsu.Andrew Hsu, piano for Ms Kalbasi, is a maverick among concert musicians, praised as both a critically acclaimed pianist and an award-winning composer. His piano-playing has been described as "[channelling] Horowitz right down to the brilliant-yet-delicate high-treble sonority" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "incendiary" (New York Times) and "a great storyteller, who listens attentively to what he says and plays with deep conviction" (Kalamazoo Gazette). His compositions have been performed across the United States, interpreted by some of the leading artists of our time. Notable upcoming projects include new commissions for Sasha Cooke, the Miró Quartet and Abigail Kent. He will be a Composition Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and Protégé Project Artist at Chamber Music Northwest in Summer 2016. Hsu has also been named a 2014 Gilmore Young Artist and 2016 Gilmore Rising Star. Hsu's compositions have also received numerous honors over the years, including several ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a BMI William Schuman Prize. Hsu currently pursues a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School in New York City, studying with Samuel Adler and Steven Stucky. He also studies piano privately with Gary Graffman.

Photo of Vanessa Vasquez by Paul Sirochman.
Photo of Shabnam Kalbasi by Kristina Jacinth.
Photo of Danielle Orlando by Paul Sirochman.

Past Winners
Previously presented in this series:
2015 Colleen Daly, soprano and Julia Dawson, mezzo-soprano
2014 Natalie Conte, soprano and Matthew Morris, baritone
2013 Heather Bingham, soprano and Jeffrey Grayson Gates, baritone
2012 Kate Jackman, mezzo-soprano and Sarah Mesko, mezzo-soprano
2011 Laura Strickling, soprano and Melissa Wimbish, soprano
2010 Aundi Marie Moore, soprano and Jennifer Edwards, soprano
2009 Laura Stuart, soprano Steven Combs, baritone
2008 Brooke Evers, soprano Michael Gallant, tenor
2007 Lisa Eden, soprano Danielle Talamantes, soprano
2006 Randa Rouweyha, soprano Jeffrey Tarr, bass
2005 Sarah Wolfson, soprano Lee Poulis, baritone
2004 Lorriana Markovic, soprano Stacey Mastrian, soprano
2003 Amanda Gosier, soprano Joshua Saxon, baritone













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Education Programs

Take Song to our Schools Classroom programs presenting young professional singers and song to students around the region inspire the singers and audience of the future. More >

young artists
Art Song Discovery Competition
An annual, juried competition for singers in the greater Washington area. Find more information here. More >