Every year since 2009, Artistic Director Steven Blier selects four promising singers and one pianist for a week-long Caramoor residency that includes daily coaching, rehearsals, and workshops, culminating in a concert in the Music Room featuring the results of their intensive work.
This year, the 2022 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars will be performing love songs from Spain, Germany, France, and America; each chapter begins with a virtuoso duo-piano overture and features music by Montsalvatge, Dvořák, Poulenc, Bizet, Milhaud, Sondheim, and many others.
Each of the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars have recorded a special message for us, where they share a little bit about themselves, and let us know what pieces they are excited to perform on March 13!
Meredith Wohlgemuth, soprano
Soprano Meredith Wohlgemuth recently completed her Master of Music in Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School and continues to study with Marlena Malas. In October 2021, Wohlgemuth was a winner in the New York District in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and she was also a finalist in the Young Concert Artists International Competition. In the 2020 – 21 season, she performed Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Chautauqua Opera, and she was a Resident Artist at Opera Naples where she performed Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata and Francisca in Bernstein’s West Side Story. In 2020, Wohlgemuth was a recipient of the Novick Career Advancement Grant and the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Grant. During the pandemic, she premiered various new works virtually and became a member of TOE (That One Ensemble), which writes and performs new music for various nonprofit organizations in New York City.
Natalie Lewis, mezzo-soprano
Lauded for her “velvet mezzo-soprano sonic cushion” (San Diego Story), Natalie Lewis has dazzled audiences with her portrayal as The Dragonfly in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilège, The Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. Lewis has participated in numerous summer young artist programs including Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists’ Vocal Academy, Opera Neo, and the American Institute for Music Studies in Graz, Austria. She recently graduated with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) under the tutelage of William Hite. There, she received both the Howard Lebow Award for Excellence in Vocal Performance as well as the Dorothy Ornest Award for success in academics. Lewis is a first-year Masters student at Juilliard studying with Betsy Bishop and is a proud Kovner Fellow.
Cesar Andres Parreño, tenor
Tenor Cesar Andres Parreño is a native of Manabí, Ecuador. In 2016, Parreño performed as a soloist with the University of Cuenca’s Orchestra and with Guayaquil’s Symphonic Orchestra. In early 2020, Parreño made his Peter Jay Sharp Theater soloist debut as part of the New York Festival of Sound’s NYFOS@Juilliard with Steven Blier, and he has since performed in two other NYFOS concerts. In 2021, Parreño made his Juilliard Orchestra soloist debut on Stravinsky’s Pulcinella conducted by Barbara Hannigan. This season, Parreño will perform his Peter Jay Sharp Theater opera debut as Momo in Luigi Rossi’s L’Orfeo and as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. He will also make his Merkin Hall debut. Parreño is a first-year graduate in Darrell Babidge’s studio at Juilliard and has the distinction of being the first Ecuadorian to ever attend the institution.
Seonho Yu, baritone
Baritone Seonho Yu, from Seoul, South Korea, is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School, studying with Marlena Malas. In previous seasons, Yu performed the role of Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at Chautauqua Institution and in a Liederabend hosted by The Juilliard School. He is a graduate of the Seoul National University (Bachelor of Music 2017) and Indiana University South Bend (Performer Diploma 2021). He has also been awarded prizes in the International Joseph Haydn Competition, Seoul Orchestra Competition, Italian Art Song Competition, Classical Music Magazine Competition, and Gimpo Philharmonic Orchestra Competition.
Francesco Barfoed, piano
Danish pianist Francesco Barfoed currently studies at The Juilliard School, where he is a proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship. Barfoed frequently collaborates with mezzo-soprano Megan Moore. In the past year, the duo won first prize in the Copenhagen Lied-Duo Competition 2021, first prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and second prize at the Naumberg International Vocal Competition, and they performed at Lincoln Center’s renowned Alice Tully Hall. Barfoed is on the coaching faculty at Saluzzo Opera Academy in Italy and teaches sight-reading for pianists at Juilliard.
Barfoed is a passionate promoter of cultural exchange between Denmark and the United States. His studies in the U.S. have been supported by several prizes and scholarships from organizations such as the Denmark-America Foundation and the Victor Borge Scholarship. He holds Italian citizenship and, aside from being fluent in Danish, Italian, and English, he is conversant in German and French.