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2014-15 Season

DeshayesFeb 3, 2015
Karine Deshayes
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CargillApr 7, 2015
Karen Cargill
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NYFOSApr 30, 2015
New York Festival of Song
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RoseOct 19, 2014
Matthew Rose
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YendeNov 6, 2014
Pretty Yende
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Brancy Dec 10, 2014
John Brancy
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PolenzaniJan 14, 2015
Matthew Polenzani
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Vocal Arts DC
PO Box 42423
Washington, DC 20015



University of Maryland Opera Studio
Wagner Society DC


Art Song Discovery Series



In collaboration with The Phillips Collection, Vocal Arts DC will present a special recital in the museum's elegant and intimate music room on Thursday evening, April 17 at 6:30 pm. Featuring soprano Natalie Conte and baritone Matthew Morris, accompanied by Dr. R. Timothy McReynolds, the evening's musical program draws inspiration from artworks in The Phillips Collection's exhibit, Made in the U.S.A.: American Masters from The Phillips Collection, 1850-1970.

Ms. Conte and Mr. Morris, co-winners of Vocal Arts DC's 2013 "Art Song Discovery Competition" for emerging area singers, have carefully selected songs by American composers as "pairings" with 17 of the over 200 masterworks by American artists included in the exhibit. The result is a program that reflects the rich diversity of canvases by artists including Clyfford Still, Winslow Homer, Everett Shinn, Ben Shahn, Rockwell Kent, Arthur Bowen Davies, Jerome Myers, and Walt Kuhn with songs by Paul Rochberg, John Musto, William Bolcom, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Lauridsen, John Duke, Charles Ives, and Lori Laitman, among others. Ms. Conte and Mr. Morris will narrate the program, which will include high resolution projected images of the artworks that inspired their programming choices as they perform each song.

Ms. Conte received both her bachelor and master degrees from The Peabody Institute, and has performed frequently in the area with such companies as Lyric Opera Baltimore, Baltimore Concert Opera, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, and Young Victorian Opera Theatre. She performs as Anna in Verdi's Nabucco with Lyric Opera Baltimore this spring. Mr. Morris received his undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School and his master degree from Bard College. His eclectic résumé of experiences in opera, music theater, and concerts includes a European tour as Papageno in Peter Brook's French adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute; concert performances of Bernstein's Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra; Milhaud's La Délivrance de Thésée at Tanglewood directed by Mark Morris, and Mahler's Rückert Lieder with the American Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Morris also became Associate Artistic Director of Songfest at Colburn in 2013.

Tickets to the program are $20 for the general public, $8 for members of The Phillips Collection. To make a reservation online, click the link here:

To hear Natalie Conte perform Michael Ching's song, "I know the stars" (paired for this recital with "December Moonrise" by Charles Burchfield), click here:

To hear Matthew Morris perform Charles Ives' "General William Booth enters into Heaven" (paired for the recital with "The Tambourine" by Jerome Myers), click here:

Additional biographical information is below:

Conte. Do not be surprised if you feel transported to another time and place when listening to Natalie Conte. This exciting young soprano channels a rich family history in opera, as her maternal grandparents met as singers in Rome. Embracing a passion that be"ts her talent as well as her legacy, Ms. Conte has studied vocal performance and immersed herself in the world of opera since childhood. Her devotion to the art shines through in her passionate performances. Currently based in Baltimore, Natalie is in high demand as a soloist in the Mid-Atlantic. She most frequently appears as a soloist in Outreach programs for the Lyric Opera of Baltimore. Other local engagements include performances as a soloist at the Russian Embassy, with the Baltimore Vocal Arts Foundation, the Young Victorian Theatre Company, Live Arts Maryland, and at the State Department.

Outside of the Mid-Atlantic, Ms. Conte debuted internationally in 2005, playing the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with the Operafestival di Roma. She was also a participant in the 2005 St. Petersburg Conservatory's Convention of Conservatories. While in Russia, she performed programs of Russian romances and American art song throughout both St. Petersburg and Moscow. In addition to numerous recitals, Natalie has brought her talents to numerous productions, building her repertoire to include the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Live Arts Maryland, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Center Stage Opera, Musetta in La Bohème with the Repertory Opera Theatre of Washington, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Loudoun Lyric Opera, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Opera Anne Arundel Community College, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Countess d'Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Noémie in Massenet's Cendrillon, and Suor Genovieffa in Puccini's opera Suor Angelica, among others.

Along with her performance credits, Natalie teaches voice privately and at Shepherd University, where she has held an adjunct voice faculty position since September of 2008. Ms. Conte is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University where she earned a Master and Bachelor of Music. While there, she won awards for excellence in both performance and academics, and studied with John Shirley-Quirk and Phyllis Bryn-Julson. In April, 2011 she won second prize in the Russell C. Wonderlic Memorial Competition. She currently studies with Barbara Dever. For more information, please visit

Morris.Baritone Matthew Morris is quickly garnering international recognition for the depth and versatility of his artistry as an actor and singer. He is as equally at home on the opera, concert, and Broadway stages as he is on film and television. As Le Monde declared, "you really want to hear him in either an opera or a musical. He has a big presence, a warm baritone voice, immense humanity, and the gift of an actor."

In the past few years Morris has debuted on The West End, at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris, the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, with the Boston, American, and London Symphony orchestras, starred in the National Tour of A Christmas Carol, and appeared on Law & Order and in the movie The Producers! In the 2013-24 season, Morris will make several important debuts. He will sing in Gotham Chamber Opera's production of Cavalli's Eliogabalo and cover the role of Don Pedro in Offenbach's La Périchole with New York City Opera. In addition, he will debut as the baritone soloist in Brahm's Ein deutsches Requiem with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and reprise his roles in Candide with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of his theater career already include King Charles in Candide at the Barbican in London, Young Scrooge in the National Tour of A Christmas Carol, Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, George in Our Town, Gus in The Dumb Waiter, Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Soldier in Hello Again, The Prince in Cinderella, and Alan in Babes in Toyland.

Recent opera roles include an exclusive return engagement to the role of Papageno in legendary director Peter Brook's Moliére Award-winning adaptation of Mozart's Magic Flute (Une Flûte Enchantée) in Paris and Milan. The East Anglian Daily Times raved about his performance of "Le Mari" in Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, declaring it a "thoroughly commanding and effortless performance that thrilled a packed house."

An avid activist for equal rights Morris has produced and performed in the concert series You Are Not Alone alongside Betty Buckley, Lea DeLaria, Aaron Lazar, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Tartaglia, Jeanine Tesori, and many more. The concerts have raised tens of thousands of dollars for The Trevor Project, a national suicide prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

Morris trained at the Juilliard School, at Bard College Conservatory under the direction of world-renown soprano Dawn Upshaw, and with Peter Brook. He was an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera and Tanglewood Music Festival and a finalist of the Metropolitan National Council Middle Atlantic Region Auditions and Liederkranz Song Competition. For more information, please visit

pianistR. Timothy McReynolds
Enjoying a career that embraces art song, opera, chamber music, and cabaret, pianist R. Timothy McReynolds is also active as a teacher and vocal coach. He is a member of the Voice/Opera faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Music, and the former Music Director of Towson University's Music for the Stage. He has participated as vocal coach/pianist for the Washington National Opera's Opera Institute and the Aspen Music Festival. He was Instructor of Piano at American University in Washington, D.C. and Loyola University of Maryland, where he remains as pianist for the Vocal Masterclass Series.

He has toured internationally in concerts, cabarets, and masterclasses in Mexico, Germany, and Austria, as well as across the United States. He also performed in recital with acclaimed bass-baritone, the late William Warfield. He has been heard with, among others, Linda Mabbs, Isabel Leonard, Timothy Mix, Danielle Talamantes, and Laura Strickling. The Washington Post hails him as the, "perceptive accompanist", the Baltimore Sun, an "excellent pianist", while the website Classical Journal proclaims him as the "brilliant accompanist" in a recital with mezzo-soprano, Delores Ziegler. He continues his close association with the Washington (D.C.) Vocal Arts Society and their Discovery Recital Series. Recent concert venues include the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C., the Maryland Arts Festival in Baltimore, a state tour of Maryland with the Annapolis (MD) Symphony, the Egyptian Embassy Concert Series in Vienna, Austria, and both the Stern Auditorium with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In the Spring of 2012 he played (and sang) the world premier of Dominick Argento's Cabaret Songs with Linda Mabbs at the University of Maryland.

Dr. McReynolds received his B.M. from Indiana University, M.M. from the University of Michigan, and completed his D.M.A. at the University of Maryland. His teachers have included Edward Auer, Martin Katz, Jeffrey Gilliam, Robert McCoy and Rita Sloan.

He recently recorded a CD of new music with Washington, D.C.'s Inscape Chamber Orchestra. Other recent recordings include a CD of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin with tenor Bryce Westervelt, and another with the chamber music group, Greenbrook Ensemble. His recent concert schedule includes venues in New York, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.

Past Winners
Previously presented in this series:
2013 Heather Bingham, soprano and Jeffrey Grayson Gates, baritone
2012 Kate Jackman, mezzo-soprano and Sarah Mesko, mezzo-soprano
2011 Laura Strickling, soprano and Melissa Wimbish, soprano
2010 Aundi Marie Moore, soprano and Jennifer Edwards, soprano
2009 Laura Stuart, soprano Steven Combs, baritone
2008 Brooke Evers, soprano Michael Gallant, tenor
2007 Lisa Eden, soprano Danielle Talamantes, soprano
2006 Randa Rouweyha, soprano Jeffrey Tarr, bass
2005 Sarah Wolfson, soprano Lee Poulis, baritone
2004 Lorriana Markovic, soprano Stacey Mastrian, soprano
2003 Amanda Gosier, soprano Joshua Saxon, baritone













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Education Programs

Art Song Discovery Series Winners of the Vocal Arts DC competition appear in free recitals at various venues in the community each Spring. More >

Take Song to our Schools Classroom programs presenting young professional singers and song to students around the region inspire the singers and audience of the future. More >

young artists
Young Artists Competition
An annual, juried competition for singers in the greater Washington area. Find more information here. More >