CINDY CHOI, soprano
BEST SOLOIST / GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Soprano Cindy Choi is a frequent 1st Place winner in young artists’ competitions. In 2010, in addition to being adjudged Best Soloist in FanFaire Foundation’s Messiah Sing-Along Soloists’ competition, she won First Place in the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artist Competition and has been engaged to sing Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the ensemble as a soprano soloist in June, 2011. She sung with the San Diego Opera Chorus in La Traviata in the 2010 International Season, and and will sing again with the Chorus in Faust in 2011.
Cindy has performed operatic scenes with the New Jersey Opera Theatre and Northwestern University. The roles include Zweiter Knabe and Erster Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Musetta in La Bohème, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, and Norina in Don Pasquale. She is preparing to sing the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto and Nanetta in Falstaff. She has also sung the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milano.
Cindy has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Voice Performance from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL and has attended Master Classes with such renowned singers as Sharon Sweet, Jennifer Larmore, the late Shirley Verrett, and Joan Dorneman. She currently studies with Mary Mackenzie and is pursuing a Teaching Credential in Music.
KARA MASEK, soprano
Soprano Kara Masek recently moved to San Diego to pursue her Master of Music degree at San Diego State University under the tutelage of Laurinda Nikkel. This semester she sang the role of Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief with SDSU’s Opera Theater. Other roles include Amina (La Sonnambula), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), Despina (Così fan tutte) and Cherubino in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s main stage production of Le Nozze di Figaro. She also performed in Opera Workshop and other ensembles and master classes at the SF Conservatory where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music.
In the past two summers, Kara participated in West Coast Opera Workshop. She was the soprano in Opera in the Park’s Opera Sings Broadway. Other musical theater roles include Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (Desert Theatre League Award winner), Antonia in Man of La Mancha, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, among many others. Kara has been the recipient of numerous scholarships. She was a winner in the McCallum Theatre’s Open Call Talent Competition in Palm Desert, CA and received an encouragement Award in the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions.
German-born lyric mezzo soprano Anne Ruth Kiefer has performed with the San Diego Opera Chorus, Lyric Opera San Diego, and most recently, at the Opera Festival in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, where she performed both in Nabucco and Die Zauberflöte. This upcoming season she will be singing with the San Diego Opera Chorus in Turandot, and again in Bad Hersfeld in The Bartered Bride. She frequently performs with Musica Vitale, a San Diego-based vocal ensemble, and can be heard in Musica Vitale’s upcoming Christmas Concert on December 19 at 4pm at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Point Loma. Ruth recently performed the world permiere of “Biodiversity” at the opening ceremony of the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington DC.
Ruth has been studying voice with Sarah Agler, has coached with Todd Simmons, and frequently collaborates with Ines Irawati at the piano. She has had the opportunity to participate in master classes with Kurt Widmer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Andreas Strunkheit at the Austrian Master Classes in Zell a.d. Pram, and with Nico Castel at the New York Opera Studio. She is the alto section leader at Torrey Pines Christian Church. Ruth recently started teaching voice and piano to beginners of all ages.
Ruth first discovered her love for classical music when performing the Mozart Requiem with her church choir at the age of 10. She received her initial music education in Germany studying piano, recorder and voice, performing with various vocal ensembles and chamber choirs.
When she is not singing, Ruth works as a project manager and event planner. She was part of the team that created the inaugural San Diego Science Festival in 2009 and just returned from Washington DC, where she helped organize the USA Science & Engineering Festival, the first national celebration of science which culminated in a two-day Expo on the National Mall that attracted more than 500,000 people of all ages.
ERIK VAN HEYNINGEN, bass
Erik Van Heyningen is consistently recognized as a member of regional and all-state honors ensembles. He has performed at the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Summer Academy as a featured soloist and also has done a command performance for the Temecula Valley Master Chorale. In addition, Erik is a frequent recitalist.
RONALD SHAHEEN, guest tenor*
Dr. Ronald Shaheen currently teaches for the Music Department at the University of San Diego where he conducts courses in class voice, and in music history and appreciation. He also teaches individual lessons, is the voice coordinator for the Department, and the Applied Lesson Manager. Dr. Shaheen holds a Ph.D. in Music from UCLA. He has performed the roles of Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), the title role in Handel’s Idomeneo, the Podestà in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and other operatic roles with UCLA Opera. He has been the tenor soloist and section leader for a number of San Diego churches, and has served nearly six years on the board of the local chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Two of those years he served as the chapter’s president.
* Because there was no winner in the tenor category, Dr. Shaheen was invited to sing the tenor part at the Sing-Along Concert