Joanna Dobrakowska was born in Wroclaw and studied at the Academy of Music under Bogdan Makal. Upon receiving scholarships from the Ministry of Culture and the Austrian Government, she continued her vocal training at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst with Helena Lazarska. Dobrakowska debuted as the 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute with the Wroclaw Opera and later appeared in the roles of Don Ramiro in La fi nta giardiniera and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro. She has also appeared at a number of festivals and in chamber concerts throughout Europe. Ms Dobrakowska has been a part of premieres of new music, the most significant being Astraios by Johanna Doderer during the inauguration of Feldkirch Festspiele and the Polish premiere of Ella Milch-Scheriff’s cantata Can Heaven Be Void?. Additionally, she has released albums of works by the 18th and 19th-century Polish composers’ as well as Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil and a DVD of Szymanowski’s operetta Lottery for Husbands.
Tobias Greenhalgh is a recent graduate of The Juilliard School, from which he earned both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. He won the Liederkranz Competition in the opera division in 2013 and he received the grand prize in the Metropolitan International Music Festival Competition as well as first place in the Mario Lanza Competition. Greenhalgh made his European debut as a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien in the title role of Eugene Onegin at the Wiener Kammeroper. Recently, he was featured on WQXR’s 40 Under 40: A New Generation of Superb Opera Singers and Opera News reported that he was "so clearly headed for success.” Recent performances include Tom Joad in Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Doctor Falke in Die Fledermaus at the Franz Lehár Festival in Bad Ischl, Austria. Mr Greenhalgh is the co-creator of Operation Superpower, a superhero opera for children that promotes anti-bullying. The program was recently featured on a PBS Newshour special.
Marcin Kozieł was born in Gdansk and began his piano studies at the local Music Academy under Waldemar Wojtal. He later attended the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst and the Konservatorium Privatuniversität where he studied song accompaniment and opera coaching respectively. During the early years of his career, he accompanied a number Polish and foreign opera and pop singers and he has served as an accompanist for many of Europe’s vocal competitions. More recently, he has been collaborating with well-known voice teachers during their masterclasses. Additionally, in the capacity of music director, he has been involved in vocal coaching projects ranging from Die Zauberflöte in 2006 to Hamlet in 2016. He currently lives in Vienna where he leads a class for piano coaching for singers at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst and in 2012, he became the vocal coach of The Junges Ensemble at the Theater an der Wien.
Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of the most popular English composers from the twentieth century. He studied composition with Parry and Stanford at the Royal College of Music in England and travelled to Europe where he studied with Max Bruch in Germany and Maurice Ravel in France. Vaughan Williams set a number of verses by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to music. One of the most ambitious of these being the song cycle The House of Life, which was premiered in London on December 2, 1904, by soprano Edith Clegg and pianist Hamilton Harty.
Einojuhani Rautavaara, born in Helsinki, began his extensive education at Helsinki University. He later studied at the Sibelius Academy with Aarre Merikanto and after receiving a Koussevitzky Foundation fellowship, he went to the Juilliard School in New York to study with Persichetti and attended Tanglewood working with Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions. He then continued further in Ascona with Wladimir Vogel and with Rudolf Petzold in CologneHis early compositions are based in the Nordic classicism of Sibelius and Nielsen, with influences of Bartók and Shostakovich, as well as folk music. The human voice plays a prominent role in much of the composer’s output and the foundations for his vocal writing took form in his 1952 work Three Sonnets of Shakespeare op. 14. Rautavaara went on the complete two full-length operas in addition to his song cycles and choral works.
Geoffrey Gordon's song cycle, Sonnets from Neruda, is a setting six sonnets from Cien sonetos de amor by the Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda. The work is written for mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano. The premiere took place at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, featuring mezzo-soprano Natalia Kawalek, baritone Tobias Greenhalgh and pianist Marcin Koziel, in March of 2018.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator