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Behind every great singer and in every opera company you’ll find vocal coaches: extraordinary collaborative pianists who help artists explore musical and linguistic nuances.
These coaches may not call the plays, but like their counterparts in sports, they know how to bring out the best performance. Howard Watkins (Metropolitan Opera, Juilliard), Myra Huang (New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera), and Carrie-Ann Matheson (Zurich Opera, Metropolitan Opera) join Naomi Lewin for a 92Y School of Music conversation. Lewin is host of the popular syndicated program Classics for Kids, and former host of weekday afternoon music on WQXR.
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Naomi Lewin is the former host of weekday afternoon music on WQXR, and of the podcast Conducting Business. Before that, she was midday host at WGUC in Cincinnati, where she created the award-winning weekly program Classics for Kids, which airs on radio stations across the country. She has produced music programs and arts reports for NPR; intermission features for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts; and podcasts on subjects ranging from the Yale Glee Club, to Tippet Rise Art Center, to the bicentennial of St. George's Choral Society. Südwestrundfunk in Stuttgart recently com ...
Naomi Lewin is the former host of weekday afternoon music on WQXR, and of the podcast Conducting Business. Before that, she was midday host at WGUC in Cincinnati, where she created the award-winning weekly program Classics for Kids, which airs on radio stations across the country. She has produced music programs and arts reports for NPR; intermission features for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts; and podcasts on subjects ranging from the Yale Glee Club, to Tippet Rise Art Center, to the bicentennial of St. George's Choral Society. Südwestrundfunk in Stuttgart recently commissioned her to create a two-hour program – in German – celebrating Itzhak Perlman's 75th birthday. Naomi is also a speaker, emcee, and media coach, and the radio voice of Arizona Opera.
Given her previous lifetime as a singer and actress, Naomi has continued to appear onstage, narrating Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, King David, Façade, A Visit from the White Rabbit, and Four Seasons of Italian Futurist Cuisine by Aaron Jay Kernis. She can be seen as J.S. Bach in the Sunday Baroque 30th Anniversary video, and as a spitball-shooting professor in La Folía, from Filmelodic. Naomi has hosted a Classics for Kids Live show around the country, and has given talks on operas from Aida to Zauberflöte.
Naomi was born in Princeton, New Jersey, but received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale.
The World of Gustav Mahler
Unsung Heroes of the Opera: Vocal Coaches
Music Critics’ Round-Table
Tales from the Front Stand: Conversations with Orchestra Principals
Hitting the High Notes: Behind the Scenes with a New Generation of Tenors
Music’s Tightest-Knit Family: The String Quartet
Organ: The King of Instruments
Inside the Concert with Naomi Lewin: Gil Shaham and The Knights
Inside the Concert with Naomi Lewin: Jason Vieaux
Inside the Concert with Naomi Lewin: Brandon Patrick George
Inside the Concert with Naomi Lewin: Anthony McGill
Inside the Concert with Naomi Lewin: Stewart Goodyear
American pianist Howard Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera …
American pianist Howard Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout the Americas, Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Far East. In recent seasons, he has appeared in concert and on television with Joyce DiDonato, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecien, Matthew Polenzani, Michelle De Young, Marcello Giordani, Diana Damrau, Ben Heppner, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Alexandra Deshorties, Lawrence Brownlee, Anthony Dean Griffey, and violinists Xiang Gao and Sarah Chang. Under the aegis of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Mr. Watkins has performed in recitals and educational residencies in the United States, and he has also appeared in the Horne Foundation gala New York recital.
Mr. Watkins made his Carnegie Hall performing debut in 2002 as the harpsichord recitative accompanist in Haydn's Die Schöpfung with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. He has given recitals and concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the United States Supreme Court, Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the three stages of Carnegie Hall, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. In addition, he has performed with the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel Halls under the baton of James Levine. He has accompanied the classes of such legendary artists as Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, Regina Resnik, Regine Crespin, Frederica von Stade, Birgit Nilsson, Shirley Verrett, Håkan Hagegård, Elisabeth Soderstrom, and Josef Gingold among others. A number of his performances have been broadcast on WQXR in New York as part of George Jellinek’s “The Vocal Scene” and the “Young Artist Showcase”, and he has recorded for the Centaur and Prestant labels.
As an educator, Mr. Watkins was formerly the Vocal Arts Program Co-Coordinator of the Tanglewood Music Center, and he has taught at the Aspen Music Festival; the Banff Centre; Meadowmount School of Music; the International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia, Israel, Japan, and China; VOICExperience in Florida and Savannah, Georgia with Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. In 2015, he was a founding member of the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy. Currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School, he was formerly a faculty member of the Mannes College of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute. He has worked on the music staffs of the Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera, and Palm Beach Opera.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, and he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 1998 at the University of Michigan. In 2004, Mr. Watkins was honored as the recipient of both the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan for his outstanding contributions to the field of music, and a Special Achievement Award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton. He is the 2019 recipient of the Lift Every Voice Legacy Award from the National Opera Association.
He is currently a resident of New York City.
Mr. Watkins appears courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.
Acclaimed by Opera News as being "among the top accompanists of her generation," and "...a colouristic tour de force" by The New York Times, Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Myra Huang performs in recitals and chamber music concerts …
Acclaimed by Opera News as being "among the top accompanists of her generation," and "...a colouristic tour de force" by The New York Times, Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Myra Huang performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. Highly sought after for her interpretation of lieder and art song as well as her depth of musicianship and impeccable technique, she regularly performs with acclaimed opera singers around the world. Last season Huang performed in recitals throughout the U.S., including The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center, The Aspen Music Festival, Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan, Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University, and The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Her recital with tenor Lawrence Brownlee at Carnegie Hall was chosen by WQXR as one of 2018’s best classical recitals of the year, and Huang was chosen as the recipient of The Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award for 2019 by The Classical Recording Foundation for her consummate artistry. Her participation with the “Emerging Voices” project under Nicholas Phan’s curation at The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in January 2020 included 6 concerts, exploring the themes of social connection through art song. Huang made her 92nd St Y debut in March, 2020 with mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, one of the first concerts that was streamed online during the covid-19 pandemic, which was viewed by over 77,000 people around the world from over 125 countries. She joins Lawrence Brownlee in September to record “Cycles of My Being” by Tyshawn Sorey, as well as “Larry Brownlee and Friends” for subscription broadcast.
Huang has served on the music staffs of the Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and The Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain. She worked closely with directors Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta as an assistant conductor at the Palau De Les Arts. From 2011-2013, she served as the Head of Music Staff at New York City Opera. She was a staff pianist for the Operalia competition, directed by Placido Domingo, performing at opera houses around the world such as Teatro alla Scala (Milan), The Royal Opera House (U.K.), The National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and Teatro Real (Madrid). She has taught at young artist programs throughout the U.S. and abroad to train young opera singers and pianists, including Music Academy of the West and the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and is on the music staff of The Atkins Program in The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, as well as The Steans Institute at Ravinia. She is a part of the coaching staff in The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, as well as The Atkins Program at The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Huang is an avid recitalist and recording artist. Her recordings have received critical acclaim from the New York Times, Gramophone UK, Opera News, and The Boston Globe. Her recent album Gods and Monsters with tenor Nicholas Phan was nominated for the “Best Classical Vocal Solo Album” category at the 2018 Grammy® Awards. Of this album, Opera News stated that “Huang matches the tenor with pianistic arsenal of colors and attacks, controlled by her astonishing technique.” Her most recent album, Clairieres, on the Avie label with tenor Nicholas Phan, features the music of Lili and Nadia Boulanger, and has been released to critical acclaim anew. Other albums include Illuminations, Winter Words, and Still Falls the Rain on the Avie label with Nicholas Phan, and Paysages on the Bridge label with soprano Susanna Phillips, all released to critical acclaim. Huang is a Steinway Artist.
Carrie-Ann Matheson enjoys a multi-faceted career as pianist, conductor and educator. The newly appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, Ms. Matheson begins her tenure in January 2021 …
Carrie-Ann Matheson has a multi-faceted international career as pianist, conductor and educator. The newly appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, Ms. Matheson begins her tenure in January 2021. A native of Canada, Ms. Matheson began her career at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a tenured member of the full-time music staff as assistant conductor, prompter, pianist and vocal coach. In 2014 she was invited by General Music Director Fabio Luisi to join the staff at Opernhaus Zürich, which led to the expansion of her performing career in Europe. Especially in demand as a recital pianist, she has performed with many of the world’s most renowned opera singers, including Rolando Villazón, Jonas Kaufmann, Piotr Beczała, Benjamin Bernheim, Diana Damrau, Barbara Bonney and Joyce DiDonato.
Performances in the 2020/21 season include recitals with Joyce DiDonato at the Festival de El Escorial, Festival de Santander, and the virtual Metropolitan Opera recital series, with Benjamin Bernheim at the Salzburger Festspiele, Le Festival de Paris and Philharmonie de Luxembourg, and with Pene Pati as part of Les Grandes Voix recital series with performances at Salle Gaveau in Paris and at the Opéra national de Bordeaux.
In addition to her work with opera singers, she has performed in chamber music concerts with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Zürich. Ms. Matheson assisted such renowned conductors as James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and Gianandrea Noseda, before making her conducting debut in 2015 at Opernhaus Zürich, where she has conducted works such as La Finta Giardiniera, Don Pasquale and Iphigénie en Tauride, among others. Ms. Matheson has also been engaged by prominent festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele and the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival.
Passionate about nurturing the next generation of opera singers and pianists, Ms. Matheson devotes a portion of her time to the development of emerging artists, and has worked with the International Opera Studio (Opernhaus Zürich), Atkins Young Artist Program (The Mariinsky Theatre), Lindemann Young Artist Development Program (The Metropolitan Opera), Ryan Opera Center (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival and the International Vocal Arts Institute. In addition, she maintains an active private coaching studio, and stays connected with the community of young opera professionals via her social media presence (@carrieannmatheson).
Ms. Matheson holds degrees from the University of Prince Edward Island (B.Mus.Ed), the Cleveland Institute of Music (M.Mus in Collaborative Piano), the Manhattan School of Music (Professional Studies Diploma in Vocal Accompanying) and is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s renowned Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Harvey Granat Presents
with Harvey Granat and special guest Alan Bergman with a performance by Christine Andreas and Ann Hampton Callaway