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2023 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars

Schwab Vocal Rising Stars


Sunday March 12, 2023 at 3:00pm

Tickets Start at $30 / Free for children 18 and under

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Sunday March 12, 2023 at 3:00pm

In this mentoring program, Artistic Director Steven Blier selects four young singers and a pianist for a week-long residency at Caramoor. The week includes daily coaching, rehearsals, and workshops, culminating in this performance entitled Mediterranean — a musical voyage around the Mediterranean Sea, with stops in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia.


Shelén Hughes, soprano
Maggie Reneé, mezzo-soprano
Colin Aikins, tenor
Joseph Parrish, baritone
Yihao Zhou, piano

Steven Blier, Artistic Director & piano
Bénédicte Jourdois, Associate Director & piano

Mediterranean Program


Eduardo Toldrà: Canticel
(trad., arr. Joaquín Nin): Paño murciano
Enrique Granados: El majo olvidado
Granados: Las currutacas modestas


Evemero Nardella and Libero Bovio: Chiove
Amilcare Ponchielli: Il Pellegrino, il trovatore, ed il cavaliere


Francis Poulenc: Three songs from Calligrammes:
Vers le sud 
Aussi bien que les cigales 


Dizzie Gillespie: Night in Tunisia


Najib Hankash / Iyad Kanaan: A’tini nnaya


Hugo Wolf: Anakreons Grab
Petros Petridis: Achtida
Mikis Theodorakis: The Train Leaves at Eight


Jules Massenet: Voilà donc la terrible cité (from Thaïs)


Yehudah Sharat/Rachel: Ve’ulai
Giuseppe Verdi: Qual voluttà trascorrere (from I lombardi)

About the Artists

Shelén Hughes, soprano 

Bolivian soprano Shelén Hughes has performed the operatic roles of Atalanta in Handel’s Atalanta, Inez in Mercadante’s I Due Figaro, Snegurochka in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snegurochka, Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, and Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine. Hughes made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 and her New York Festival of Song debut in 2022. She was a Young Artist at the 2019 Gstaad Menuhin Festival and a 2022 Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where she performed the role of Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen and Ms. Kohl in the premier of Picker’s Awakenings. Combining her deep passion for music and social service, Hughes is the founder of Voices for Bolivia, a small but growing international non-profit organization that seeks to use proceeds from classical music concerts to help Bolivians in need. Hughes currently studies with Darell Babidge while pursuing her Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at The Juilliard School. 

Maggie Reneé, mezzo-soprano 

Maggie Reneé, a mezzo-soprano from Los Angeles, is a Metropolitan Opera Competition Grand Finalist, Opera Index Award Winner, and an Honors Master’s graduate of The Juilliard School where she is pursuing her Artist Diploma in Opera Studies. This season she performs Irene in Atalanta and Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress at Juilliard Opera, and Zweiter Knabe in Die Zauberflöte at Merola Opera. Last season she covered Olga and Due Donne at Santa Fe Opera, and she sang King Egeo and Goffredo in Rinaldo at Juilliard. Previously, she sang Carmen in La Tragédie de Carmen with City Lyric Opera, toured Europe with Juilliard’s Dido and Aeneas, and made her European debut as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro in Germany. Reneé writes her own music, has a black belt in karate, and entertains over 225K+ of her subscribers on YouTube daily. 

Colin Aikins, tenor 

Colin Aikins, from Pittsburgh, is a tenor pursuing his Master’s of Music degree in vocal performance at The Juilliard School. Aikins received his Bachelor’s of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and studied with Julia Faulkner of the Chicago Lyric Opera. His roles at Curtis Opera Theater have included a member of the trio in Trouble in Tahiti, The Beadle in Sweeney Todd, Nate in Highway 1, USA, Mr. Upfold in Albert Herring, and Chavelier de Danceny in Dangerous Liaisons. Currently, Aikins is excited to be studying with esteemed tenor William Burden. 

Joseph Parrish, baritone 

Joseph Parrish, a native of Baltimore, holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Recent operatic credits include Dr. Cajus in Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Il Sacerdote di Minerva in Handel’s Teseo, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Augure in Rossi’s L’Orfeo at Juilliard, and Le Baron de Pictordu in the City Lyric Opera’s production of Viardot’s Cendrillon. He has performed in concert at the Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and St. Boniface church in Brooklyn, and as a soloist with Cantori New York, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Church, the Westchester Oratorio Society, and Juilliard 415. Parrish is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at The Juilliard School, while also serving as a Music Advancement Program teaching fellow and Gluck Community Service Fellow. He recently won first prize in the Gerda Lissner Art Song Vocal Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Competition. Parrish is a member of the Young Concert Artists roster. 

Yihao Zhou, piano

A frequent collaborator with other musicians, New York-based pianist Yihao Zhou is the winner of the Lila Bell Acheson Wallace Endowed Prize. Zhou graduated with highest honors from Macalester College, where he earned degrees in both music and mathematics, a unique combination that has led him to become a genuine artist who plays with great care and sensitivity. As a recitalist, Zhou has appeared at summer festivals including the Castleman Quartet Program, the Round Top Festival Institute, and SongFest, among others. In addition to his performance accomplishments, Zhou was previously on the accompanying staff at CUNY Hunter College. Zhou is a recent graduate of The Juilliard School, where he has been a staff accompanist since 2020. He is currently completing further studies with Thomas Muraco at Manhattan School of Music.

Steven Blier, Artistic Director and piano

Steven Blier is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival’s inception, he has produced more than 150 vocal recitals with repertoire spanning five centuries of art song and popular song, including commissioned works by Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, and many others. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier “the coolest dude in town.” Blier’s recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, Julia Bullock, and Paul Appleby, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and has been a guest teacher at the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and the San Francisco Opera Center.  Among Blier’s wide-ranging recordings are the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award, and Spanish Love Songs (Bridge Records) with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Joseph Kaiser, and Michael Barrett. His latest releases are on NYFOS Records, which released its first album (From Rags to Riches, with Stephanie Blythe and William Burden) in January of 2022.  A native New Yorker, Blier received a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. 

Bénédicte Jourdois, Associate Director and piano

A graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera, Bénédicte Jourdois is currently on music staff at the Metropolitan Opera and on faculty at The Juilliard School. 

Jourdois has performed in numerous venues in Europe and in the United States, including Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  

As a coach and pianist, she has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Chicago Lyric Ryan Opera Center, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Saratoga, Rice University, the Chautauqua Institution voice program, the Castleton Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and Carnegie Hall’s SongStudio. She was a faculty member at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia from 2013 to 2016 and at the Manhattan School of Music from 2011 to 2018. 

Born in Paris, Jourdois holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Region de Saint-Maur, the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, Mannes College, and The Juilliard School. 

Health & Safety

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