“Experiencing the passion of Classical Music through the power of Poetry”
-Director Gustavo Jimenez
GUSTAVO JIMENEZ, Director
Gustavo Jiménez leads the team for SOLA International, providing an amazing vocal talent and dedication to his craft and to building a lasting organization that seeks to further excellence in vocal and collaborative performance
Winner of the Wagner Award at New York’s Gerda Lissner International Voice Competition in 2008, American baritone and heldentenor Gustavo Jimenez is today regarded as a wonderfully versatile singer, both with an impressive vocal range and comfort in a large range of musical styles, from opera to art song to mariachi and the American songbook. While excelling in the large, Romantic world of Wagner opera, Gustavo is just as impressive performing the operas of the Baroque and Classical periods and in German, Italian, French, English, and Spanish languages.
In addition to live performances in recital and on the opera stage, Mr. Jiménez has frequently appeared on television and radio, including a matinée of Schubert songs on WQXR-FM in New York with Robert Sherman, Christmas concerts for Finnish television, and a televised Opera Gala Concert for RAI in Italy. On the 200th anniversary of Robert Schumann’s birth, he have several recitals of Dichterliebe in Munich.
Having began his early studies as an actor in his native Southern California, Mr. Jiménez discovered the power of opera and became a vocal student in there before continuing his studies in New York and later in Germany. He has studied with many of the most famous singers in the operatic tradition, including his long association with Franco Corelli in Italy. Other great master he has worked with either privately or in master classes include James King, Antonietta Stella, Hans Hotter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Luciano Pavarotti, Sir Donald McIntyre, Peter Schreier, and many others.
In addition to his work as a performer, Mr. Jiménez has been able to bring his vast experience with many of the world’s greatest singers to his own teaching and his a highly sought-after teacher in the operatic world. His students have won major international competitions and perform internationally as well. In addition to teaching privately, Gustavo is Director of Voice at Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival in Minnesota, and has given master classes as part of festivals in New York, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and Holland.
CONSTANTINE EVANS, Co-Director
As a postdoctoral researcher in the Winfree lab at CalTech, Mr. Evans researches the physics underlying algorithmic DNA tile self-assembly, bridging the gap between abstract theoretical models of tile computation and experimental implementations with DNA tiles. He is also the Director of the Evans Foundation for Molecular Medicine.
Mr. Evans recently came on board the leadership team at SOLA International and is a welcome addition and valued asset.
Read more of his work here: http://dna.caltech.edu/~cge/
SOLAinternational is in partnership with Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival
PETER SCHREIER, Tenor
Peter Schreier made his professional debut in August 1959, playing the role of the First Prisoner in Fidelio by Beethoven. In the years that followed he was successful as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) and somewhat later as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), both operas by Mozart.
In 1963, he was employed by the Berlin State Opera at Unter den Linden. Starting in 1966, he was for many years an annual guest of the Vienna State Opera. That same year he made his debut in Bayreuth as the young seaman in Tristan und Isolde with Karl Böhm as conductor. For 25 years, beginning in 1967, he took part in the program of the annual Salzburg Festival. In 1969, he starred as The Witch in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, in a CD recording that featured the Staatskapelle Dresden.
He also sang Loge in Das Rheingold & Mime in Siegfried by Wagner. It was important to him to sing the title role of Palestrina, the opera by Hans Pfitzner, not only in Munich but also in East Berlin — a controversial issue at the time in East Germany.
He recorded Bach cantatas with Adele Stolte, Annelies Burmeister, Theo Adam, the Thomanerchor and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Erhard Mauersberger, such as the cantata for Pentecost Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172 in 1970. Recordings of the Bach’s St Matthew Passion have included the version conducted by both Rudolf and Eduard Mauersberger, Karl Richter, Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. He recorded Bach’s St John Passion with Helmuth Rilling.
Throughout his career Schreier has been famous as a singer of German Lieder, including the songs of Schubert and Schumann.
Peter Schreier is married and has lived in Dresden since 1945, in the district of Loschwitz on the right bank of the river Elbe.
EMMA KIRKBY, Soprano
Emma Kirkby was educated at Hanford School and Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset. Her father was Geoffrey John Kirkby, a Royal Navy Officer.
Initially, Kirkby had no expectations of becoming a professional singer. As a classics student at Somerville College, Oxford and a schoolteacher she sang for pleasure in choirs and small groups, notably Schola Cantorum of Oxford, preferring the Renaissance and Baroque repertoires. As her voice was not particularly large, Kirkby’s potential as a soloist was not immediately recognised.
Kirkby was a founding member of the Taverner Choir, and in 1973 began her long association with the Consort of Musicke. She took part in the early Decca Florilegium recordings with both the Consort of Musicke and the Academy of Ancient Music, at a time when most college-trained sopranos were not developing a vocal sound appropriate for early music. She found her own approach, with help from Jessica Cash in London, and from the directors, fellow singers and instrumentalists with whom she worked.
Kirkby has built long term relationships with chamber groups and orchestras, in particular London Baroque, the Freiburger Barockorchester, L’Orfeo (of Linz) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and now with some of the younger groups – the Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium. She has been the Patron of Derby Choral Union since 1993. She has taught for many years at Dartington International Summer School, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, as well as the Bel Canto Summer School. In 2010 she became President of Dartington Community Choir. In 1994, she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Music) from the University of Bath.
GEORGE SHIRLEY, Operatic Tenor
Mr. Shirley’s recording of Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte won a Grammy Award.He has three times been a master teacher in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program for Young NATS Teachers, and taught for ten years at the Aspen Music Festival and School.Shirley produced a series of programs for WQXR-FM radio in New York on Classical Music and the Afro-American and hosted a four-program series on WETA-FM radio in Washington, D.C. called Unheard, Unsung. Shirley has been awarded honorary degrees by Wilberforce University, Montclair State College, Lake Forest College, and the University of Northern Iowa. He is a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. Shirley is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and was named a Signature Sinfonian in 2013, an award recognizing exceptional accomplishment in that brother’s chosen field. In 2015, Shirley received the National Medal of Arts, bestowed upon him by US President Barack Obama, and in 2016, he was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Opera Association at their annual convention.
It goes without saying that Mr. Shirley brings an incredible amount of value to the team for SOLA International, and the group is looking forward to many accomplishments with him.
DR. JANET COLBURN, Pianist
An internationally recognized concert pianist, recording artist and Master Teacher of Piano, Janet Colburn holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California with a major in Piano Performance and minors in Music Theory, Music History, and Philosophy (Aesthetics). Her awards include the Van Cliburn Piano Award and the prestigious Presser Foundation Grant. She has recorded solo piano concertos with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Hollywood Bowl, the Ojai Festival, and UCLA’s Royce Hall with conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Steve Reich, and Kent Nagano. She has studied piano and pedagogy with many prominent artists including legendary pianist Ozan Marsh (who was a pupil of Rachmaninoff and Horowitz) and has taught at USC, UCLA, the California State Universities, and the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Alpha Lambda Delta, the Music Teachers National Association and MTAC/CAPMNT. Her piano students have included many prominent artists, actors and celebrities. She is also a skilled ensemble musician, accompanist and pianist for film and TV, appearing in the NBC film, “Nutcrackers”. She is Founder and President of the very popular Magic of Mozart and Mozart & Co. concert series in So.California, and serves on the Board of the International Foundation for Education and Performing Arts. Dr. Colburn is also a major contributor to The Colburn School and a Founder of The Music Center.
SOLA Chamber Orchestra Team
SAMUEL MARTIN, Conductor
Having begun his career as a violinist, Samuel Martin’s passion for collaboration and the beauty of opera led him to work closely with baritone Gustavo Jiménez. Having had the chance to work with and coach many great singers, Mr. Martin brought his musical talents to the podium, conducting primarily operatic and string repertoire. He is at home in many musical styles and has been a tireless advocate keeping classical music relevant by programming diverse concerts and making sure that living composers are well represented.
As a co-founder of Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival, Mr. Martin has worked with Mr. Jiménez and many of the world’s finest artists to create a musical and educational environment that allows performers to collaborate in an intensive environment and achieve their musical and personal goals. He is excited to bring that mission and ethic to SOLA International as a conductor and lecturer.