THE OPERA NORTH ORCHESTRA
Sarah Atwood has performed solo at Carnegie Hall as First Prize Winner of the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition, and featured as a BBC Radio recording artist. Upcoming engagements include a Mozart Concerto with the Juno Orchestra, the final installment in a recording series of Bach arias, numerous chamber music performances around the New England area, and appearances at the Leipzig Bach Festival. Ms. Atwood has performed and taught throughout the United States, Middle East, and Europe. A graduate of New England Conservatory, Ms. Atwood is the Principal Second Violin of both the Boston Lyric Opera and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She actively performs and tours with the Boston Pops. Ms. Atwood also holds a first violin position with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and performs weekly Bach cantatas with Emmanuel Music. She appears regularly with many other ensembles such as Odyssey Opera, Monadnock Music, Cantata Singers, Boston Ballet, Glissando Concert Series, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project.Originally from Portland, ME,
Nicholas Brown is second/bass clarinet with the Boston Lyric Opera, and Principal Clarinet with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and Phoenix. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, and New World Symphony, and regularly performs with orchestras throughout New England. Nicholas has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra and Symphony Nova and will be featured with the Boston Festival Orchestra and New Bedford Symphony in the coming season. He was a resident musician with the Celebrity Series of Boston’s Concert for One installation and is the recipient of many awards and distinctions from ensembles and organizations across the country. As an educator, Nicholas teaches at the North End Music & Performing Arts Center, Natick Public Schools, and Wayland Public Schools where his students have been selected to participate in Massachusetts District and State Festivals.
Marcia Cassidy, viola/violin, is a chamber music recitalist, teacher, and freelance violist. As a member of the faculty of Dartmouth College, she teaches violin and viola, coaches chamber music, and leads sectionals for the Dartmouth Symphony. Raised near San Antonio, Ms. Cassidy pursued her musical training at the University of Texas (Bachelor of Music), University of New Mexico, New England Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory (Master of Music), and with the Tokyo String Quartet at the Yale School of Music. As the violist of the Franciscan String Quartet, Ms. Cassidy performed extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan to critical acclaim. The quartet was honored with many awards including first prize in the 1986 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Her principal violin teachers were Doris Norton, Stephen Clapp, and Leonard Felberg. As a violist she studied with Burton Fine and Geraldine Walther. Ms. Cassidy is a member of the Musicians of the Old Post Road (a Boston-area period performance chamber music ensemble), frequently plays with the Vermont Symphony, and is principal violist for Opera North. She was a member of the Bella Rosa String Quartet, the Samara Piano Quartet, the New England Bach Festival Orchestra, and has participated in numerous summer music festivals including Aspen, Banff, Blossom, Norfolk, and Tanglewood.
Trumpeter Mark Emery performs actively throughout New England and teaches at Tufts University. As principal trumpet for Vermont Symphony Orchestra, he also performs regularly with Symphony New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, and has been a soloist at both Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, as well as with the North Country Chamber Players. Mark has performed and toured extensively with Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Pops. With BSO/POPS, he can be heard on multiple episodes of PBS Great Performances, from both Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and in music of Shostakovich, recorded under Andris Nelsons. Most recently, he was part of the Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular, broadcast on Bloomberg Television. Mark lives in Natick, MA with his wife Jennifer, who is also a musician.
Elizabeth England joined the Boston Ballet Orchestra in 2016 where she plays second oboe and English horn. In addition to her work with the Ballet, Ms. England maintains a busy freelance schedule with many of New England’s top ensembles, including the Boston Pops, Marsh Chapel Collegium, and Emmanuel Music. Additional performances include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Glimmerglass Festival, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Florida Grand Opera, and the Palm Beach Symphony. A dedicated advocate of new music, Ms. England regularly performs with Callithumpian Consort, Sound Icon, Harvard’s Fromm Players, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Equilibrium Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, East Coast Scoring, and the Boston Microtonal Society. In February 2019, she appeared as soloist with Sound Icon in Klaus Lang’s oboe concerto, Der Dünne Wal, as part of the composer’s residency with the Boston University Center for New Music. Ms. England can be heard on recordings for Navona, Tzadik, Why Twist the Hair, and Ludovico Ensemble records. Originally from Edina, Minnesota, Ms. England holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory where she studied with Mark McEwen. In 2013, she was a recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation’s Emerging Artist in Music Award.
Cellist Annabelle Hoffman, originally from NYC, is a member the American Symphony Orchestra. She subs with the NY Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, NY City Ballet, and plays on several Broadway shows. Annabelle recently won the position of assistant principal of New Mexico Philharmonic and also subs with the Santa Fe Symphony.
David Horak, native of Vermont, has performed as a soloist on both violin and piano, collaborating with the Windham Orchestra, University of Vermont Orchestra, the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and, in February of 2020, with Park University's ICM Orchestra. He has participated in summer festivals, including Opera North (NH), the National Youth Orchestra (USA), Decoda Chamber Music Institute, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Kinhaven Music School, and Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Since the Fall of 2013, David has played with the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. At the International Center for Music at Park University, David currently holds the position as Concertmaster for the university's orchestra, where he is majoring in violin performance, studying with Ben Sayevich.
Paul Horak began playing the double bass in 6th grade because he loved music, his father had forbidden the violin, and he was the tallest in his class. Paul regularly plays with Opera North, the Juno Chamber Orchestra (Brattleboro), and the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. Before moving to the Upper Valley, Paul was a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yoshimi Takeda. His principal teachers were Betty Whiton, Hal Robinson, and Daniel Gwin at the University of New Mexico. When he's not playing music, Paul designs optical filters for fluorescent microscopes, Covid-19 testing machines, and astronomers at Chroma Technology in Rockingham, Vermont.
Patrick Kennelly was born in Denton, Texas and began playing the horn at age 11. He studied at the University of North Texas, where he was a student of William Scharnberg and later a freelance musician in the Dallas area before heading to Mexico for a job with the Symphony of the State of Mexico as principal horn. He subsequently joined the Mexico City Philharmonic as third horn, later becoming associate principal horn there. While in Mexico he was a member of the Mexico City Woodwind Quintet with whom he maintained an active performing, recording and teaching schedule, and he was a member of the Mineria Symphony Orchestra for several summers. Since moving to New England he has performed with the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, the Handel Society, and Opera North and is horn instructor at Dartmouth College. In his spare time he likes to build houses when he thinks he can get away with it. He lives in Lebanon, NH.
Violinist Jane Kittredge can be seen and heard performing with numerous ensembles across the northeast. A graduate of New York’s Mannes College of Music (BM, MM, PSD) she performs with the Vermont Symphony, Springfield Symphony, NYC’s DCINY Orchestra, Handel Society of Dartmouth College, Opera Company of Middlebury, Playing for Good, Dartmouth Symphony, Middlebury Bach Festival, TURNmusic, and Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble. Her festival appearances and ensemble tours have brought her throughout the country and across the world. Jane’s classical training enables her to perform in multiple styles ranging from Baroque to folk, jazz to pop, and everything in between. Jane has performed at the Grand Point North Festival, collaborated with Guster, Sarah MacLachlan, and Trey Anastasio, and can be heard on a number of albums by Vermont singer-songwriters. An active teacher and music educator, Jane is an affiliate artist faculty member at the University of Vermont, and maintains a small private studio in Shelburne, Vermont. In her spare time, Jane loves to run, hike, sing and talk sports with whomever will indulge her.
Flutist Dr. Jessica Lizak has established herself as one of Boston's most versatile flutists, performing with many of New England's leading musical organizations, including Opera North, Marsh Chapel Collegium, Orchestra of Indian Hill, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Portland Symphony, Back Bay Chorale, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera, Boston Philharmonic, Masterworks Chorale, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Collage New Music, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, and Springfield Symphony, and Symphony New Hampshire, among others. She has been a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center (MA), Music Academy of the West (CA), Domaine Forget (Canada), and Interlochen (MI). She was awarded top prizes in several competitions, including the Pappoutsakis Flute Competition, Myrna Brown International Flute Competition, Bohemians Club of the Detroit Symphony Concerto Competition, and was a multiple winner of the Boston University Departmental Award for outstanding musical achievements. She has been a soloist at both the National Flute Convention and the Greater Boston Flute Association's Flute Fair, and she has performed as a chamber musician on WGBH and WCRB. Her discography includes Tanglewood commemorative recordings available through the BSO website, and numerous collaborations with BMOP, Boston’s premier orchestra for newly composed and experimental orchestral works. She can also be heard on Natalie Merchant's CD Leave Your Sleep, in an upcoming children's production in collaboration with John Lithgow, on Parma Record's Godesses, and Novona Record's Polarities and Voyage/Pierre Schroeder. Dr. Lizak is also equally committed to education. She holds full teaching studios with the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Lexington Fine Arts Department, and Winchester Community Music School.
Perri Morris studied cello with Lawrence Lesser, Ronald Feldman, and Aldo Parisot; she earned a bachelor’s degree in performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree in performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mt. Holyoke College. She has been a member of the Berkshire Music Festival Orchestra at Tanglewood and she has performed with the Spoleto and Waterloo Music Festivals. Ms. Morris was the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Springfield, MA Symphony for 19 years. She performs regularly with the Vermont, Springfield, and Berkshire Symphonies, and the New York Chamber Soloists. She is the director of the strings programs at the Village School in North Bennington and Pine Cobble School in Williamstown. Ms. Morris teaches at the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute and the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College each summer and maintains private studios in Williamstown and Bennington.
Janet Polk is principal bassoonist with Portland (ME) Symphony, Vermont Symphony and Opera North. As a soloist, she has performed with the orchestras of Portland, Vermont, Indian Hill, Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire and with the Furman University Concert Band. Chamber music is a vital part of her musical life and with the trio, Sospiri, has recorded a CD entitled Trios of the 20th and 21st Century. In addition to her performing career, Janet is on the faculties of Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire.
Anna Shemetyeva has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Russia, Europe and the United States. Solo appearances include the Mendelssohn concerto with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Ravel's Tzigane with the Longy Orchestra at Sanders' Theater in Cambridge. Her European tours were under the auspices of the Spivakov foundation. In the U.S. she has collaborated with distinguished artists such as Bayla Keyes, Robert Merfeld and Peter Zazofsky and has performed in chamber concerts at Tanglewood with members of the BSO. She has appeared as well, at festivals such as the Heifetz International Festival, the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop and the San Diego Chamber Music Festival. She has served as principal violist with the Cape Cod Symphony, is a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and plays regularly, both as a violinist and violist with orchestras such as Symphony NH, the Portland Symphony and Indian Hill. She is currently Associate Principal violist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Percussionist and timpanist Gregory Simonds has been a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 2010, holding the position of Section Percussionist. In addition to his position in Portland, Mr. Simonds is a regular substitute and extra musician with the Boston Ballet Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Lexington Symphony, Orchestra of Indian Hill, and New Bedford Symphony. Previous positions include a Section Percussion post with the Monterrey Symphony in California and an associate membership as Percussionist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Simonds also teaches as part of Wellesley Public School’s Instrumental Extension Program and at the Fay School in Southborough, MA. He recently earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Boston University where he studied with Boston Symphony timpanist Tim Genis.
Born in Minsk (Belarus), Hanna Zhdan began studying violin at the age of 6. In 2019, she won FOOSA Festival Concerto Competition, and in 2018 was a prizewinner at the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition. Ms. Zhdan has received numerous scholarships and awards from Kansas City Musical Club and Sigma Alpha Iota. She has soloed with FOOSA Philharmonic (USA), Park University’s ICM Orchestra (USA), Chamber Orchestra of Republican Music College (Belarus), State Academic Symphony Orchestra (Belarus), and Youth Symphony Orchestra of Belarus and Russia. Ms. Zhdan has performed in master classes with distinguished artists such as Maxim Vengerov, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Oleg Kaskiv, Antonio Bologni, and Heng-Jin Park. In 2018, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Park University’s International Center for Music, studying with Ben Sayevich. Recently Ms. Zhdan graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where she will be continuing her studies under the tutelage of Martin Beaver.