SEASON SOLOISTS

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CHARLES ZANDIEH

n award-winning cellist, Charles Zandieh is rising to the top of the classical music scene. 

A native of New York, Charles began his cello studies at the age of 4 with Mr. Alex Croxton and at age 10 was accepted to The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Program under the tutelage of Ms. Clara Kim.

Since then, he has accumulated numerous awards and accolades. He has been a 2-time winner of the Juilliard Pre-College Cello Concerto Competition, a 2-time YoungArts winner, a 2-time prize winner of the Adelphi Orchestra Competition, the first-prize winner of the New York Music Competition, the first-prize winner of the Bellagrande International Music Competition, and a prize winner of the Ensemble 212 Young Artist Competition.

Charles has performed extensively across the tri-state area, including solo and chamber performances at venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Tilles Center, and Steinway Hall, among others. His press features include articles and highlights in The Daily News and News 12 Long Island, and he was headlined on Ovation TV’s original series, “Young Marvels.” Additionally, he occasionally performs with his two brothers, violinist Cameron and pianist Christopher, and together they form The Zandieh Trio.

Charles is currently a sophomore at The Juilliard School, where he is pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Music (BM). His playing is characterized by delicate intimacy, flaring versatility, and jovial charisma. He currently plays on a mid-1790s Forster cello on generous loan by The Juilliard School.

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SOOAH JEON

Sooah Jeon has already distinguished herself as one of the most promising young flutists of her generation. She quickly demonstrated enormous talent since beginning her flute studies at the young age of seven. 
Six months after she started learning the flute she won several national and  international competitions. At the age of nine, Sooah was officially 
announced as the world's youngest flutist to receive a Performance Diploma  with distinction award from the Associate of the Royal Schools of Music in  the United Kingdom. Subsequently Sooah was awarded first prize in various  music competitions in the United States, including the American Protege,  international Grande Music Competition and the New York International  Music Competition. In 2019 she won the first prize in the New York Flute 
Club Young Musicians Contest, the South Carolina Flute Society Competition, the 92nd Street Y Concerto Competition in New York and the Camerata Artists International Concerto Competition, where she was the youngest grand prize winner. 
As a soloist, Sooah has performed at New York's leading concert halls, including the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Buttenwiser Hall 
at the 92nd Street Y and Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center,  as well as Weill Recital Hall and Isaac Stem Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. 
Since her solo debut with the New Jersey Camerata Orchestra at Merkin Hall  at the age of eleven, she has performed as a soloist with numerous  orchestras, including the Concert Festival Orchestra, New York Chamber  Players Orchestra and the 92Y Orchestra. Sooah has also appeared in  various international concert halls. She performed at the Royal Albert Hall in  London and the Cite de la Musique Amphitheatre in Paris as the first prize  and exceptional young talent special prize winner of the 2019 Grand prize  Virtuoso International Music Competition

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LELAND KO

Leland Philip Ko (b. 1998) is a cellist of Chinese-Canadian descent from the Boston area.  He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in venues across America’s east coast, such as Merkin Concert Hall and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York, and Jordan Hall and Sanders Theatre in Boston, as well as internationally in Sweden, Israel, and Spain, including Auditorio Manuel de Falla in Granada.  Leland’s most recent accolades include second prize at the inaugural Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition in 2020, and appearing as a finalist in the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Despite growing up a part of Boston’s strong youth orchestra culture, Leland has often sought out chamber music at various summer festivals over the years, having attended the Perlman Music Program’s Summer Music School and its Chamber Music Workshop, and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute.
Leland’s love for chamber music has also led him to be an Artist in Residence of New York Piano Society (NYPS), as well as a frequent performer on Swedish pianist Per Tengstrand’s concert series “Music on Park Ave” at Scandinavia House in NYC, and former Music Director of Opus 21, a student-run chamber music collective at Princeton.
Leland was a long-time student of Ronald Lowry and Paul Katz before attending Princeton University, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in German Literature.  Currently, he is pursuing a Master’s degree at The Juilliard School under the teaching of Minhye Clara Kim and Timothy Eddy.  Since the end of 2020, Leland plays on the ex-Peled, ex-Greenhouse Thomas Dodd from 1790.
Leland was also a competitive long-distance runner for several years, but remains loyal to his original passion of tennis, both as a player and even more so as a fan.

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(BLAIRE) NAYOUN KIM

Nayoun was born in South Korea and began playing violin at the age of four. She was admitted to the Yewon Arts Middle School before she got admitted into the Pre-college division of The Juilliard School at the age of twelve where she currently studies with Professor Li Lin. 
She was awarded both the first and grand prize of for the CAI International Competition (2021), winner for the Juilliard Pre-College Concerto Competition (2019), finalist for From the Top, and also won a 5th Hong Kong International Violin Competition when she was eight years old. 
She has also won numbers of National Competitions while she was living in Korea including getting featured on the Korean Educational Program as the violin prodigy when she was 9 with her mentor/ professor Ik-Hwan Bae, and Korean Youth Newspaper as the grand-prize winner of their competition, resulting a scholarship. 
Nayoun has performed number of performances in variety of places. She also went on international tour with orchestras such as An Die Musik Philharmonia and the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea and the Ukraine.
She was a performer for the Young Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition's opening ceremony in Seoul, South Korea.
Nayoun was selected as one of twelve in Crans-Montana Summer Camp hosted by Maestro Shlomo Mintz at the age of 12 and she is planning to attend the Perlman Music Program starting this summer 2021. 
Nayoun is currently a junior in Academy of the Holy Angels, Demarest New Jersey.

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AMY SHOREMOUNT-OBRA

The Top Prize Winner of the 2018 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition in the Wagnerian Division, Amy Shoremount-Obra was recently hailed as “Incredible! Another vocal highlight of the evening. She performed with a tone steeped in longevity, endurance, and agility… This is a voice of true substance.” (Boston Music Intelligencer) She made her Metropolitan Opera début as First Lady in Julie Taymor’s acclaimed production of Die Zauberflöte. Since, she returned for productions of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Norma, Nabucco, and Don Giovanni.
Upcoming engagements include her debut in the title role of Turandot with Opera Grand Rapids. Last season, she performs as a soloist in Camerata New York’s Divine Opera Gala performing selections of works by Puccini, Bellini and Wagner, performed the role of Maria in Regina d’Inghilterra with Odyssey Opera, and in Viva Verismo! with Maryland Lyric Opera. Recently, she returned to The Metropolitan Opera once again for performances of the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, premiered Permadeath, a new opera by Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs, and performed as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the State of Chihuahua. Additionally, she performed as a soloist in Kodaly’s Te Deum with Oregon Music Festival and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with New Choral Society.
Following her “electrifying” portrayal of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Venture Opera, she was featured in the Sound Bites article issue of Opera News, where they hailed: “Shoremount-Obra’s shining, healthy soprano had all the power and glory required for ‘Or sai chi l’onore,’ demonstrating agility, accuracy and beauty as well as gale-force temperament.” Other notable operatic engagements include Leonore in Fidelio with Grand Harmonie Orchestra; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Las Vegas and the Savannah Voice Festival; Marchesa in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno with Odyssey Opera of Boston, and a role début as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Annapolis Opera.
In concert, Ms. Shoremount-Obra recently performed the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Vaugh Williams’s Serenade to Music with National Chorale, and did a concert and recital tour throughout the Hawaiian Islands with violinist Eric Silberger as part of the inaugural season of the Hawaii International Music Festival, which was co-founded by Ms. Shoremount-Obra herself. She also performed two roles in Opera America’s New Opera Showcase, a solo performance in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with the New Choral Society, a performance for the Sherrill Milnes Gala at The Harmonie Club in New York City, a recital for the Wagner Society of New York, and a fundraiser concert for the Hawaii International Music Festival at The Old Church. Additionally, Ms. Shoremount-Obra has appeared in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Scarsdale New Choral Society, Schubert’s Mass in G major at Carnegie Hall; Verdi’s Requiem with National Chorale at Lincoln Center; a recital with the Savannah Voice Festival; Ifigenia in Händel’s Oreste with the Spoleto Festival in Italy; and as the Soprano Soloist in Fauré’s Requiem and Brahms’ Requiem, both at Carnegie Hall.
She has performed in numerous prominent venues throughout the world including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, David H. Koch Theater, the Oslo Konserthus and the Oslo National Gallery in Norway, The Tanglewood Institute, and The Sheldon in St. Louis. Additionally, Ms. Shoremount-Obra has been a featured performer representing The Metropolitan Opera at the Annual Viennese Opera Ball in New York City for seven consecutive years. She made her début with the New York City Ballet in 2009 performing the role of First Fairy in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Ms. Shoremount-Obra collaborated with composer Mikael Karlsson and librettist Elle Kunnos de Voss on the one-woman monodrama The Echo Drift, which was written for her and premièred at the house of Sweden in Washington DC in 2014. She also filmed her first major motion picture début as an opera singer in The Upside, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart.
Ms. Shoremount-Obra also finds success in the realm of contemporary and new music. Starting with her cover of John Zorn’s La machine de l’être, a one-woman monodrama, with New York City Opera, she has gone on to perform two workshop performances and the world première of Grammy Nominated Composer Tarik O’Regan’s monodrama The Wanton Sublime with American Opera Projects. She was also featured in the world première of Paola Prestini’s new opera De Deo in the role of Beattrice with New York City Opera VOX and was a resident artist with American Opera Projects’s “Composer and the Voice” Program, premièring new works all season for a team of up-and-coming composers.
She has been named a National Semi-Finalist and the New York Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Finalist in the George London Competition, a Finalist in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition, and a Semi-Finalist in the Competizione dell’Opera in Dresden. Additionally, she was awarded two consecutive career grants from the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Education fund.
Ms. Shoremount-Obra is featured on two operatic world-première Recordings on Albany Records: as Jenny on the recording of Robert Ward’s Roman Fever and as Nina in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Seagull. Amy is a native of New Jersey, and currently continues her vocal studies with Diana Soviero. She is a graduate of The Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School.
Updated 2.3.21

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KIRK DOUGHERTY

With a sound combining clarity, strength, and integrity, Kirk Dougherty is one of the most exciting voices entering the opera circuit today. His expressivity and commitment to both musical and dramatic interpretation has earned him continuous appearances as a leading tenor since he began a serious foray into the repertoire just six years ago. Of his recent performance in Tosca, the San José Mercury News exclaimed, “Kirk Dougherty shined…The unique timbre and expression of his handsome voice, coupled with refined, satisfying phrasing, provided noteworthy, heartfelt performances of ‘Recondita armonia’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle,’ two of the treasured arias of the repertoire.
2020 engagements were to include La Traviata with Opera Southwest, HMS Pinafore with Knoxville Opera, and the title role in The Tales of Hoffman with Opera Delaware. Last season, Mr. Dougherty performed as Leicester in Maria Stuarda with Piedmont Opera and appeared as a soloist in Opera Delaware’s Jukebox concert.
Other recent engagements include the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with Salt Marsh Opera, Lionetto in Gloria with Teatro Grattacielo, Mr. Cannelloni in The Impresario and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Knoxville Opera, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Raylynmor Opera, Cavaradossi in a concert production of Tosca with Helena Symphony and in full production with NJ Festival Orchestra, the tenor solo in Verdi’s Requiem with Allentown Symphony, performed as a soloist in concert with Opera Delaware, sang the role of Cavaradossi/Rodolfo in Puccini at the Pendry concert with Maryland Opera, Handel’s Messiah with National Chorale, the role of Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto with Opera Las Vegas, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Bob Jones University, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Glacier Symphony as part of their Festival Amadeus, Mozart’s Solemn Vespers for MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicci/Buoso’s Ghost with Opera Delaware, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and the tenor solo in Stabat Mater with Wichita Grand Opera, Nikolaus Sprink in Silent Night with Piedmont Opera, and both Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Albert in The Secret Garden with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. Other recent appearances included a return to Anchorage Opera as Don José in Carmen and Verdi’s Requiem with the New Jersey Choral Society.
Mr. Dougherty made his Opera San José début as the Duke in Rigoletto, and later returned to the house as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Philip in the world première of Where Angels Fear to Tread by Mark Weiser, his role début of Cavaradossi in Tosca, and the roles of Don José in Carmen and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire.  Additionally, Kirk performed the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Anchorage Opera, where he previously sang the roles of Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Joseph Treate in the world première of Victoria Bond’s Mrs. President.
Previous seasons include his company débuts with Sarasota Opera in the role of Manrico in Il trovatore, the American Symphony Orchestra portraying Aaron in Bruch’s oratorio Moses at Carnegie Hall, the Glacier Symphony performing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Salt Marsh Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale, and the title role in Faust for Opera Louisiane.