Artist Bios

K i r k  A v e r i t t

B a s s

Kirk Averitt is a conductor, vocalist and music educator located in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently Choral Director and Assistant Director of the Vocal Arts Conservatory at California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley. Kirk sings with Westwood Presbyterian Church, Choral Arts Initiative and serves on the board of C3LA - Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles. He has worked with educational and professional choral ensembles around the globe. In 2019, his choirs from Beaver Country Day School shared a week in residence with choral ensembles at Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Additionally, Kirk conducted and performed with the Viatores Mundi Choral Workshop in Bol, Croatia, an ensemble he cofounded in 2019.

Kirk has held positions on the board of Massachusetts American Choral Directors Association and NAfME. He holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelors in Vocal Music Education from Lipscomb University. 

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S t e v e n  B e r l a n g a

B a s s

Bass-baritone Steven Berlanga resides in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA where he teaches choir at Youth Orchestra Salinas, maintains a private studio, and works with local wineries. He is finishing his doctorate in Choral Conducting at Indiana University, and has also studied at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, California State University – Long Beach, and Cabrillo College. In the genres of opera, oratorio, musical theater and concert repertoire, Mr. Berlanga has worked with Cabrillo Stage, The Opera Institute at CSULB, IU Opera, New Voices Opera, the IU Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Cabrillo Summer Chorus and Orchestra, and the Santa Cruz Symphony. As a choral artist, he has sung with professional chamber choirs in the United States, such as Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Thirteen, Kinnara, Exigence, Chorosynthesis, Brevitas, the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and BorderCroSsing of Minneapolis. As a conductor and educator Mr. Berlanga served as director and assistant conductor to the Williston Northampton School Choirs, Indiana University Choirs, University of Cincinnati Cabaret Singers, CSULB Bel Canto Chorus, and Cabrillo Youth Chorus. He has served as guest conductor for the Fairfield County String Festival and for the Summer Music Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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R y a n  R.  B r o w n

B a s s

Ryan R. Brown is a conductor and Grammy award-winning baritone based in Los Angeles, California. He currently serves as a Teaching Fellow at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and as Choral Director at California School of the Arts San Gabriel Valley. Previously, Brown served as an Associate Conductor for the National Children's Chorus, Artistic Director for the professional vocal ensemble "Diamonds From The Dust" and as Choral Director at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA.

Brown regularly performs with professional vocal ensembles including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Voces8, Seraphic Fire, Red Shift, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Areté, and Concora. As a soloist he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. 

Brown is a doctoral candidate in Choral Conducting at UCLA with Dr. James Bass. In 2014, Brown graduated as valedictorian at Westminster Choir College where he studied Vocal Music Education.

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B i l l e  B r u l e y

T e n o r

Praised by the Huffington Post for his “ringing high notes,” Texas-born tenor Bille Bruley has garnered attention for his strength and versatility in operatic repertoire from baroque to contemporary. A 2018-19 William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Award and Career Grant  winner, Bille is currently engaged in his second year with the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, where his upcoming role assignments include Louis Sullivan in Shining Brow, Bern Venters in Riders of the Purple Sage, and Brighella and Bacchus (cover) in Ariadne auf Naxos.

He has taken home prizes from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a winner of the Gulf Coast Regional Finals and as a finalist and winner in the Lois Alba Aria Competition. Most recently, he was named a 2018-2019 winner of The William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Award and Career Grant.

 

Mr. Bruley received his undergraduate training at Baylor University, where he studied under Robert Best, and completed his graduate work at Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. A native of Montgomery, Texas, Mr. Bruley is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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B r i t t a n y  D e C r i s t o f a r o

S o p r a n o

 

Brittany is is a native of Miller Place, New York. Brittany and her husband, Bryan, recently relocated to Phoenix in order for her to pursue her Doctorate of Musical Arts from Arizona State. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Gardner-Webb University, located in North Carolina, and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Highlight debuts for Brittany include, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella in Into The Woods, Frasquita in Carmen, Zorah in Ruddigore, The Foreign Woman in The Consul, Kaylee in Speed Dating Tonight!  JoJo in Seussical, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro scenes production, and Hope Cladwell in Urinetown. Brittany has had the opportunity to perform in Musicals, Operas and as an Oratorio Soloist at venues across the United States and Canada. Brittany has maintained a private home studio for seven years and taught at the University level before moving to Phoenix.

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E l I j a h   F r a n k

T e n o r

Elijah Frank is a native of Phoenix, AZ where he has sung professionally with various chamber choirs including the American Bach Series at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, the festival choir of the Arizona Bach Festival, and Solis Camerata. Currently, he sings with the Arizona Masterworks Chorale, Canticum Novum, Canto Vivo, and the Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale.

 

Outside of AZ Elijah has sung with Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys of Indianapolis, Mon Choeur, Indianapolis Pro Musica, and the Intercontinentaal Projectkoor in the Netherlands. He has performed on many recordings including the Phoenix Chorale’s Grammy Award winning recording of Grechaninov’s, “Passion Week”.

As a soloist, Elijah has performed mainly as a countertenor in the works of Bach and Handel including the B Minor Mass, St. John Passion, Messiah, and the Brockes Passion. Elijah has studied with countertenor, Steven Rickards at the University of Indianapolis, and tenor, David Britton at Arizona State University.

He is excited to be joining the Quartz Ensemble this season!

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J a c o b  G i l b e r t

T e n o r

Jacob Gilbert is a conductor, organist, and singer living in Prescott, Arizona. Originally from North Carolina, he earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied voice under Dr. Robert Bracey. After graduating in 2016, he began working at Prescott United Methodist Church as the Director of Music. He also serves as the Assistant Director of the Prescott Chorale, a large ensemble located in Prescott, Arizona that primarily performs major works. Jacob has performed with a wide variety of ensembles, such as Bel Canto Company, The Josquin des Prez Chamber Ensemble, Camerata Chamber Singers, and has held several different positions in churches. Mr. Gilbert is a member of ACDA, NAfME, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

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R o b I n  H a r d m a n 

B a s s

Robin Hardman is a vocalist and conductor living and working in Greensboro, North Carolina. While studying at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under Dr. Robert Bracey, he began his work with various churches in the Piedmont area, primarily with Episcopal parishes. He currently serves as an Associate for Music and Technology at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of High Point, where he works with a variety of musical styles and traditions to plan weekly worship services and concerts. Robin has sung with many groups across North Carolina, including Bel Canto Company, Musica Anima, and the Bach Chorale of Duke Chapel. He is thrilled to add Quartz to that list this year!

J o s h u a  H a r p e r

A r t i s t i c  D i r e c t o r

Dr. Joshua Harper is a composer, conductor, and tenor passionate about the choral arts and new music based in Prescott, Arizona. His work leads him to the intersection of the vocal arts with relevant topics of today's world, considering how music can not only enhance the discussion but contribute to the conversation. Over the last ten years, he has led seven world premieres and six regional premieres of prominent composers such as Caroline Shaw, Alex Berko, and Nilo Alcala. Harper can be found on Parma Recordings 2019 release "Preach, Sister, Preach" featuring soprano Katherine Jolly, where he conducted the premiere recording of Katherine Bodor’s Absent an Adjustment.  In January 2016, he made his Canadian debut as one of the five conductors in North America invited to participate in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir's "Emerging Conductor Symposium" where he conducted the Grammy-nominated Elora Festival Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Joshua was selected as a Conducting Fellow at the Yale University Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in 2015 studying with Simon Carrington, where he also sang as a tenor. His scholarly edition of Franz Schubert’s Die Einsiedelei, D.337 is published by Colla Voce Music, LLC and was featured on the company’s 2015 reading session at the National ACDA Convention in Salt Lake City. As a singer, he has performed professionally with Novi Cantori (Springfield, MA) and the Grammy-award-winning Nashville Symphony Chorus (Nashville, TN) where he has been a featured soloist. He has prepared choruses for conductors such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Franz Welser-Möst, Betsy Burleigh, and Dominick DiOrio. He joins the Arizona Philharmonic as a Guest Conductor in the '20-'21 season.
 
Dr. Harper is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Choral Music at Yavapai College where he directs the Chamber Singers, Master Chorale, Vocal Ensemble, and Community Chorale and serves as Musical Director of many of the school’s productions. His scholarly research focuses on composer Caroline Shaw and her Pulitzer Prize-Winning work Partita for 8 Voices. His most recent article on her work was published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Choral Scholar. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN), the Master of Music degree in choral conducting from UMass Amherst, and the Doctor of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University with a minor in Music History and Literature. 

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T a y l o r  J a c o b s 

T e n o r

Taylor Jacobs is active as a choral artist and soloist in Southern California. Highlights include Dr. Nick Strimple’s 70th birthday concert with the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale as featured soloist, solo movements from the USC Visions & Voices performance of Craig Hella Johnson’s work Considering Matthew Shepard, and a solo feature in Choral Arts Initiative’s premiere performance of Jeffrey Derus’ From Wilderness. Taylor has prepared French for multiple USC productions including Hippolyte et Aricie for The Chamber Opera and Chamber Singers’ National ACDA performance of Henk Badings’ Trois Chansons Bretonnes. He currently serves as tenor soloist at Westwood United Methodist Church.

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A r i a n a  I n i g u e z

S o p r a n o

Ariana Iniguez is a mezzo-soprano and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. She currently studies under the prestigious tutelage of Gail Dubinbaum Massaro. She has been praised for her musicianship, full sound, colorful tone, and attention to technique. Ariana holds both a masters and bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from the University of Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, journaling, and traveling. 

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H a n n a h  R o s e  L e w i s

A l t o

Hannah Lewis is a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she comes from a family of professional musicians, actors, and artists and began her musical journey with 13 years of classical piano lessons. She attended California State University, Northridge and received a Bachelor of Music in Commercial and Media Writing, with an emphasis in voice. She has performed in a variety of venues and contexts, including Carnegie Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, the Ojai Music Festival, and multiple private recording studios. She coaches and arranges for two all-female a cappella groups at the high school level, teaches piano and voice privately, and is a Vocal Arts faculty member at the California School of the Arts. She regularly composes, arranges, and performs within a number of styles including pop, jazz, folk, and classical.

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M a t t h e w  L e w i s

B a s s

Matthew Lewis is a Bass from sunny Southern California. He received his Bachelors in Vocal Performance at Cal State Northridge in 2017, where he sang many opera roles and oratorios. Performances of note include playing “Il Commendatore” in Don Giovanni, “Mr. Gobineau” in The Medium, and “Zuniga” in Carmen. After graduation, Matthew has sung steadily as an auxiliary member with LA Master Chorale, as well as taking part in their Grammy-winning recording of the Symphonies of Charles Ives. Matthew also sings in the Grammy-nominated group, Tonality, which is a musically diverse ensemble that raises awareness about social justice issues through song. Lastly, Matthew loves to create original music with his banjo and his vocal looper, often posting his musings on social media.

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V e r a  L u g o

A l t o

Vera Lugo is a vocal artist, teacher, and composer from San Juan Capistrano, California. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from California State University, Northridge in 2015 and has since been a fixture in the Southern California choral community.
 
Vera's choral and vocal compositions have been debuted by the Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles and at Santa Monica First United Methodist Church. A multi-instrumentalist, Vera specializes in sparse vocal arrangements that imitate non-vocal instruments.

In addition to composing, Vera performs regularly with many ensembles, including social justice choir Tonality and the non-profit Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles where she serves on the board as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair. She is also a session singer with a special penchant for sight-reading. Vera teaches group piano and voice classes at Barnsdall Junior Arts Center in Hollywood, CA.

In her spare time, Vera can be found singing harmonies with The Beatles, arranging songs on a dinky toy piano, and finding the most fun sounds to make on a theremin.

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C a i l I n   M a r c e l   M a n s o n

B a s s

Cailin Marcel Manson, baritone and conductor, is currently Associate Professor of Practice in Music and  Director of Music Performance at Clark University, Music Director of The Keene Chorale, Music Director  of Barn Opera, and Artistic Director of the New England Repertory Orchestra. Cailin, a Philadelphia  native, has toured as a soloist and master teacher at major concert venues throughout the United States, Europe  and Asia with many organizations, including the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, SWR Sinfonieorchester,  Taipei Philharmonic, Bayerische Staatsoper - Münchner Opernfestspiele, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia,  Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Teatro La Fenice, Teatro San Carlo, Konservatorium Oslo, and the  Conservatoire de Luxembourg.  

He has also been a guest cantor and soloist at some of the world’s most famous churches and cathedrals,  including Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and La Madeleine in Paris, San Marco in Venice, Santa Maria del Fiore in  Florence, San Salvatore in Montalcino, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome,  Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, and Wieskirche in Steingaden.  

Cailin has held positions as Music Director of the Vorarlberger Musikfest, Music Director and Conductor  Laureate of the Chamber Symphony of Atlantic City, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Montgomery  County Youth Orchestra, Chair of Vocal Studies at the Hazleton Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Director of Music at The Putney School, and as the Music Director of the Bennington County Choral Society.  He has served as a member of the faculty of the Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts and the Performing  Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary. Cailin also founded and directed the Germantown Institute for the Vocal  Arts and the Germantown Concert Chorus. 

Cailin is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, presenter, panelist, and adjudicator for conventions, conferences,  competitions, and music festivals. Cailin studied voice performance at Temple University, and opera  performance and orchestral conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.

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C l a i r e  P e n n e a u

A l t o

Mezzo-soprano Claire Penneau has most recently toured Germany as featured soloist in the Schumann Liederfest. She has performed solo and ensemble work throughout Europe. Locally, she actively performs as a soloist in concerts and recitals. Recent operatic roles include: as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, as The Mother in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors Phoenix Opera; as Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and as Mimi in a mini production of Puccini's La Bohème with Three Oaks Opera. Ms. Penneau has sung as soloist with the Arizona Bach Festival, Phoenix Opera, Musica Nova, Canticum Novum, Solis Camerata, Arizona Musicfest, San Tan Performing Arts, North Valley Chorale and many others. She teaches music and also holds a private voice studio.

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K a t h e r i n e   R o s e n f e l d

S o p r a n o

Katherine Rosenfeld graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2019 with a degree in choral music education. Her time at NAU was marked by leadership roles including serving as the President for both the NAU chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Shrine of the Ages Choir. After finishing her student teaching in December of 2019, Katherine accepted a position teaching 7th and 8th grade choir at Arizona School for the Arts, began running a private voice studio, and accepted a position as the soprano soloist at Pinnacle Presbyterian church. Katherine has sung with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the Sedona Academy of Chamber Singers, and Phoenix Singing. She is thrilled to be performing with Quartz Ensemble.

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S a r a h  S m i t h

S o p r a n o

Sarah Smith holds a Master of Music from ASU and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Making her professional debut as a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony in 2010, Sarah has continued her concert work throughout the valley, last appearing in 2019 as the soprano soloist in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with the Symphony of the Southwest at Mesa Arts Center, and in Handel’s Messiah with the North Valley Chorale and chamber orchestra. Sarah has also been a featured soloist with the Arizona Bach Festival, Colorado New Music Ensemble, Classical Revolution Phx, and Concerts on the Desert at St. Barnabas Church in Scottsdale. With a deep passion for choral repertoire, Sarah has served as soprano section leader for the St. Barnabas Choir, North Valley Chorale, AZ Masterworks Chorale, and the Arizona Musicfest Chorus; and has participated as a chorister in many all professional ensembles including: Arizona Bach Festival, the Arizona Opera Chorus, Inspirare Nova, Canticum Novum, and Solis Camerata.

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E m i l y   S p e n c e r

S o p r a n o

At age 18, Emily Spencer was selected by a panel of judges that included opera stars William Warfield and Blanche Thebom to perform in the Rosa Ponselle Foundation’s Annual Winners Showcase Concert in Baltimore, MD.  This cemented her desire to pursue classical vocal studies, which led to her completion of a Vocal Performance and Pedagogy degree from Brigham Young University.  She later went on to complete a Master of Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa.  Upon graduation, she co-founded and directed the Tri-State Choral Society of Sinsinawa, WI.  Ms. Spencer also served as a soprano section Principal with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.  

Ms. Spencer’s solo concert credits include Caldara’s Stabat Mater, J.S. Bach's St. John Passion, Magnificat, and Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Mass in Time of War, Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, Brahms' Neue Liebeslieder, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Forrest’s Requiem for the Living.  She was the recipient of a scholarship to study with opera coach Timothy Shaindlin, who has served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.  She also studied with Jamie Johns, Associate Musical Director of The Phantom of the Opera National Tour.

Ms. Spencer is an inaugural member of the professional 12-voice ensemble Quartz.  She resides in Prescott, AZ with her husband and five children.  

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