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Musican Biographies

     

Artistic Director

   

Nathan Leaf, Director

 

 

Artistic Director Nathan Leaf is the Director of Choral Activities at North Carolina State University, where he conducts three choirs and teaches voice. He is also the Choir Director at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Durham and was for several seasons the Chorus Master for North Carolina Opera. A versatile musician, he has garnered critical praise for his work as a conductor and teacher, and he performs as singer with some of the top vocal ensembles in the country. As a guest conductor and clinician, his work with young singers emphasizes thoughtful musicality and healthy vocal production. A tenor, he is a member of the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, and has also performed with Conspirare-Company of Voices in Austin, Texas, the Tucson Chamber Artists in Arizona, the Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus in New York City, and in the Triangle area with the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir and the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham. Dr. Leaf earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Valparaiso University (Indiana) and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. His research on Swedish choral music has earned several publications, including in a feature article in Choral Journal.

     

Singers

   

Aaron Carlyle

 

 

 

Tenor Aaron Carlyle is a native of North Carolina where he attended and received his Bachelor of Music degree from East Carolina University in 2007. Aaron continued his vocal studies by attending the renowned Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, receiving his Master of Music degree in 2010. Aaron studied voice with John Kramar, at East Carolina University, and with Laura Brooks Rice at Westminster Choir College. He has worked extensively as a professional chorister in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, singing with The New York Choral Artists, The Choir of Men and Boys at St. Thomas Church NYC, and as a member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus.

Since returning to North Carolina in 2011, Aaron has been active as a chorister and soloist with various choral groups and church choirs throughout the state. He also maintains a private voice studio in Carthage, NC. Past engagements include recitals on the “Bach’s Lunch” concert series at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines NC, tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Greenville Choral Society,Samuel Barber’s The Lovers with the Concert Singers of Cary, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the North Carolina Master Chorale in Raleigh, NC. Aaron will begin a new position for the 2014-2015 school year with Moore County Schools as the Choral Teacher at New Century Middle School, and is thrilled to be singing with VOANR for first time this fall. 

     
Fran Cloke  

Soprano Fran Cloke moved to the Triangle in 2012 after graduating from Furman University in Greenville, SC, with a Bachelor of Music in Church Music. She currently serves as the Soprano choral scholar at Christ Church Episcopal in Raleigh and section leader of the Cary Concert Singers.

While she enjoys all good music, Fran's passion and specialty is Early Sacred music and has performed the works of William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, Josquin Desprez and J.S. Bach to name a few. A long-time ensemble singer, Fran has travelled that nation and the world as a choir member, student conductor and soloist, performing venues in Washington D.C., Charleston, Vienna, Salzburg, Barcelona and Prague. Recent solo highlights include Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer, Howell's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Laudate Dominum. Fran is very excited to be singing with Voices of a New Renaissance!

 

     
Erica Dunkle  

Erica Dunkle, mezzo-soprano, has been living and performing in North Carolina since 2004. She currently sings in the Duke Vespers Ensemble and SONAM (Singers of New and Ancient Music) and is a board member of the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra. Erica has soloed often with these groups as well as with other early music groups and concert series in North Carolina such as Greensboro Early Music, the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, and Mallarme Chamber Players and Choral Society of Durham's Historical Bach Series. Highlights of her recent solo performances include DeFalla's El retablo de Maese Pedro, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri with the Duke Vespers Ensemble at this year's Boston Early Music Festival. Erica recently returned from a tour of Peru and Chile where she soloed with the Ensamble Barroco de Arequipa at the Festival Internacional de Musica Antigua. Erica received an A.B. in Music from Vassar College and earned her Masters of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill.

 

 

     
David Faircloth  

David Faircloth, baritone, has received acclaim for both his dramatic and comic performances. TheWashington Post has hailed “...his rich, rangy, intense, and individual singing [which] gilded every phrase he voiced,” and praised his “...uninhibited comic energy and fine singing.”

David has been heard as a featured soloist for New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera Delaware, Washington Bach Consort, Gold Coast Opera, The Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Summer Opera Theatre, and Washington Ballet, as well as broadcast appearances of the world premier of Dominic Argento's The Dream of Valentino, Vaughan Williams's Dona Nobis Pacem, and Handel's Messiah, and appearing as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute with the late Victor Borge.

 

 

     

Margaret Neil Hammer

 

 

Soprano Margaret Neil Hammer attended the George Mason University School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance in 2010. She was a professional soloist at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Potomac, MD from 2003 to 2011. She has performed on two recordings with the St. Francis Choir, as well as an album of Christmas music, A Child My Choice, with soprano Julie Keim, countertenor Roger Isaacs, harpist Eric Sabatino and organist Gary Davison. Ms. Hammer has also appeared as soloist on The Tuesday Music Concert Series at Church of the Epiphany, Washington D.C.

In June 2006, she toured Russia with the George Mason University Singers, performing at Moscow State University, the City of Moscow and neighboring cities. While at Mason, she participated in several vocal ensembles, served as section leader for the University Singers and performed with GMU's Vocal Chamber Ensemble, a 12-member select choir specializing in early music and contemporary works. Margaret was also soloist in G.F. Handel's Laudate Pueri Dominum with the GMU University Singers in 2009. In March 2010, she performed with members of the United States Army Chorus in a concert of early music for the Eastern Trombone Convention at Fort Myer, Virginia. In March 2011, Margaret was a featured soprano soloist in Handel’s Dixit Dominus with The Oratorio Society of Virginia.
     
Elizabeth Terry Joyner  

Soprano Elizabeth Terry Joyner has performed as a soloist and ensemble member for audiences throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, France, Portugal, and Brazil. She studied music in Leipzig, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, and holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Duke University. Recent solo credits include Handel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Saint-Saens' Christmas Oratorio, and Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, which she performed with the Choral Society of Durham at the 2009 International Haydn Festival in Vienna, Austria. In 2012, Elizabeth appeared as soprano soloist under John Rutter in a Duke Chapel performance of Rutter’s Magnificat.

Elizabeth serves as Director of Cantus Choir for first and second grade singers at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, where she is an active musician and parishioner. By day, she specializes in communications efforts for nonprofit organizations and currently works for the Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness in Raleigh. 

 

     

Evelyn McCauley

 

 

 

 

Mezzo-soprano Evelyn McCauley is a featured soloist and recitalist throughout the Triangle, actively performing with several area companies. She is also an active chorister as a member of The North Carolina Master Chorale and The NC Symphony Baroque Chorus. Oratorio performances include several Handel’s Messiah, most recently for The Carolina Ballet, A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippet, Brahm’s German Requiem, J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Jenkin’s The Armed Man (soloist), Christopher Theofinidis’ The Here and Now, and the “Mother” in Brave Souls and Dreamers with Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus. She is also a frequent soloist at Unity Church of the Triangle, under the direction of Scott McKenzie.

Past performances include The Narrator in "The Rocky Horror Show" at RLT; as a member of The Oakwood Waits, a local holiday a capella performance group; several Duke Children’s Classics, Long Leaf Opera’s Blitzstein/Weill Cabaret, and several Broadway reviews produced by Richard Wall. Opera credits include several character roles with the Durham Savoyards, most notably Mad Margaret from Ruddigore; The Medium (Mrs. Nolan), Riders To The Sea (Catherine), Tale for a Deaf Ear (US Laura, Ensemble); and work with Triangle Opera, NC Opera, and Duke Opera Workshop. Recording credits include two original works: Diana in Thespis, the 14th extant G&S operetta as completed by Alan Riley Jones; and Vashti in Esther, an original musical based on the Book of Esther. Evelyn also directs, produces, and teaches voice privately.

     
Lewis Moore  

Lewis Moore, bass-baritone, has appeared as soloist from the Triangle to the coast. His solo appearances include performances of Messiah, Creation, Amahl and the Night Visitors and the requiems by Durufle, Faure and Mozart. Lewis has made several tours of England with Schola Cantorum of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina and the West Texas Chamber Choir. Recently, he traveled to the Boston Early Music Festival with the Duke Vespers Ensemble for solo work in Buxtehude’s Membra Nostri. Locally, Lewis has sung with Riverdeep, Hillyer Community Chorus, Concert Singers of Cary, North Carolina Symphony Chorus and Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham. He is a long-time member of the North Carolina Master Chorale and its board of directors. He now serves as president of Schola Cantorum and is beginning his fifth year as director of the Raleigh Convocation Choir.

 

 

     

Kathryn Mueller

 

 

 

Described as a singer ”who thoroughly captures the imagination,” soprano Kathryn Mueller’s frequent solo concert engagements across the United States include appearances with American Bach Soloists, the Phoenix Symphony, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Winston-Salem Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Miami's Firebird Orchestra, and Atlanta's New Trinity Baroque. She has sung operatic roles with companies including Arizona Opera and Bach Collegium San Diego.

Kathryn was one of four fellows in the prestigious Adams Vocal Master Class at the 2011 Carmel Bach Festival. She was a finalist in the 2012 and 2013 Oratorio Society of New York's Solo Competition, winning the Frances MacEachron Award in 2013. Her soprano duo Les Sirènes was named one of 6 finalist groups in Early Music America's Baroque Performance Competition. Kathryn has recorded two GRAMMY-nominated albums with Seraphic Fire, and is featured as a soloist on recordings by New Trinity Baroque, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Tucson Chamber Artists, and Seraphic Fire. She holds degrees in music from Brown University and The University of Arizona. She also happens to be married to Voices of a New Renaissance's Music Director, Nathan Leaf. More information is on her website, www.kathrynmueller.com.

     
Jennifer Myers  

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Myers is a summa cum laude graduate of UNC Greensboro with a B.M. in Choral Music Education. She has taught general music, chorus, and drama to K-12 students throughout both the Triangle and Triad.

Jenn is well-known around the Triangle for her vocal versatility. She sings with the Concert Singers of Cary, serving as both Assistant Conductor and Alto Section Leader. She is the Alto Choral Scholar at Christ Church Episcopal in Raleigh, and is a charter member of the acappella vocal jazz group Avante. Jenn has also sung with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham. In addition to singing and conducting, Jenn teaches voice privately, specializing in adults who wish to intelligently develop both their vocal technique and musical awareness. Although she enjoys performing solos in early music, classical, jazz, musical theatre, and contemporary works, Jenn’s great love is choral music, particularly chamber work. She is looking forward to singing with Voices of a New Renaissance!

 

 

     

DeMar Neal

 

 

 

Baritone DeMar Austin Neal IV is delighted to join Voices of a New Renaissance for their 2013-2014 Concert Season. Neal enjoyed a diverse 2012-2013 performance season, with appearances including Panatellas (La Périchole) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Bunthorne (Patience) with White Iris Light Opera, and the Major General (The Pirates of Penzance) with GLOW Lyric Theatre; in concerts with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra and Meredith College Sinfonietta; and on a recital tour of Schubert’s masterwork Die schöne Müllerin.

Other recent performances include the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Tiber Sinfonia Festival in Monterchi, Italy, King Herod (Jesus Christ Superstar) with the GLOW Lyric Theatre, and Strephon (Iolanthe) with the Durham Savoyards. Upcoming engagements feature a return to the North Carolina Opera to cover the role of Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), and guest artist recitals at Campbell University and on the St. Stephen’s Concert Series.
Neal has received degrees in vocal performance from Florida State University, the Boston Conservatory, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves on the voice faculties at Meredith College and Elon University, where he teaches a variety of subjects including applied voice, phonetics for singers, and seminars in music history and literature. For more information, please visit: www.demaraustinneal.com.
     
Joahnna O'Dell  

Soprano Johanna O'Dell got her start as a singer after wandering into St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California and being drawn in by the beauty of the Anglican musical tradition. She began voice lessons and subsequently performed with numerous choral groups in the Bay Area, both as chorister and soloist. She appeared regularly with the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, the California Bach Society and the American Bach Soloists. Johanna was fortunate as well to participate with the Chamber Chorus in recordings of several Handel Oratorios for the Harmonia Mundi label, as well as Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the American Bach Soloists.

After moving to North Carolina in 2000, Johanna continued her choral singing with the North Carolina Opera Chorus, The Oakwood Waits, Raleigh Convocation Choir and Schola Cantorum of the Diocese of East Carolina. She currently serves as Soprano Section Leader at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham and is looking forward to a new season with the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Chorus. Johanna is delighted to be joining Voices of a New Renaissance.

     

Jennifer Seiger

 

 

Jennifer Seiger, mezzo soprano, is a graduate of East Carolina
University with a BM degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy and The Hartt School where she received her MM in Opera. She has performed with Connecticut Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Long Leaf Opera and Capital Opera in addition to apprenticeships with Sarasota Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera. She has toured extensively with Connecticut Opera Express and FBN Opera for Kids in school and community performances—including the premieres of two contemporary operas for children. She has been featured as a soloist with the NC Symphony, Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Master Chorale and the Tar River Symphony and Chorus.

Operatic roles include Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Hansel in Hänsel and Gretel, Flora in La Traviata. A member of the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir since 2000—Mrs. Seiger has been most recently heard as soloist in performances of Stravinsky's Les Noces, James MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross and local composer J. Mark Scearce's Anima Mundi. Mrs. Seiger is an adjunct member of the music faculty at NCSU teaching voice, she maintains an active private studio at home and served as coordinator for and performer with the education/outreach ensemble of Capital Opera.

     
Larry Speakman  

Baritone Lawrence Speakman has had a long and successful career as choral and orchestral conductor, professional singer, church musician and private voice teacher. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College and holds a Master’s Degree in choral and orchestral conducting from East Carolina University. He currently serves as the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of The Concert Singers of Cary, formed in 1991. Mr. Speakman is a long time professional soloist and choral singer who performs on a national stage with groups such as Conspirare, The Westminster Choir, The Philadelphia Singers, and locally with the Schola Cantorum of Christ Church Raleigh, The Vocal Arts Ensemble, and Riverdeep. He has sung in small and large ensembles with notable orchestras such as The Boston Symphony, The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly Pops, The National Symphony, The Pittsburgh Symphony and Atlanta Symphony. He has also appeared as a soloist in concert and operatic productions at the Spoleto Festivals in Spoleto, Italy and Charleston, South Carolina, and locally with The North Carolina Symphony and The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle.

     
Roman Testroet  

Tenor Roman Michael Testroet is pleased to have found a group of such accomplished Early Musicians in the Voices of a New Renaissance Ensemble. He is a resident of Durham, NC, where he was a graduate student in Historical Musicology for (too) many years before withdrawing in 2011. During that time, his academic interests were the Corpus Christi villancicos of 16th century Spain, pre-modern unbelief, and Hip-Hop, and he directed Duke University's Collegium Musicum as well as sang in a variety of local choirs. Since then, Roman has worked odd jobs.

 

 

 

     
David Wiehle  

David Wiehle, tenor, is a frequent recitalist and oratorio soloist in central North Carolina. He has performed as a soloist in Messiah with Carolina Ballet, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra and the Crystal Coast Choral Society. Other recent solo oratorio credits include Bach's Coffee Cantata, Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s “Look Down, Harmonious Saint”. David is a charter member of the North Carolina Master Chorale’s Chamber Choir and has appeared with the Greater Buffalo Opera and Syracuse Opera. David is a native of Syracuse, New York and has studied at the Baroque Performance Institute of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

 

 

 

 

     

Dana Wilson

 

  Tenor Dana Wilson's performance repertoire extends from early renaissance music to contemporary jazz. Mr. Wilson earned his education at the Loyola College of Music and Fine Arts in his native New Orleans. He now performs throughout the US and internationally in opera, operetta, oratorio, in recital, and as a chamber music soloist. Dana has appeared with many regional symphonies and orchestras and has recorded and contracted with leading ensembles Conspirare, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Carmel Bach Festival and the newest professional incarnation Yale Choral Artists. This season, along with appearances with Spire here in Kansas City, Dana sang as the guest international soloist with the Auckland Symphony and Chorale in Handel's Messiah December, Auckland, NZ, has been invited to compete in an international competition in Trujilio, Peru. His most recent engagment was a recording and performance of Evangelist in Bach's Johannes Passion with Vox Amadeus in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. Dana is also an active voice instructor and has held faculty positions at The University of Mobile, and Delgado Community College in New Orleans. In addition to his music work, Dana is a collegiate baseball umpire and works for the Southern States Collegiate Officials Association.
     

Instrumental Collaborators

   
Dan Smith   Dan Smith has enjoyed a long and varied career as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and director for over thirty years. His formal studies began at Jacksonville University in Electronic Music and Composition with William Hoskins where he was the 1986 recipient of the Frederick Delius award for Composition. He later studied classical guitar at the University of Georgia under John Sutherland, a former student of Andrés Segovia, and Choral Conducting at the University of North Florida under Merrell Palmer. Highlights of his performing career include a featured solo performance at the Friday Musicale “Virtuoso Instruments” series in Jacksonville, FL, the 2000 Florida Governor’s Ball, the National Museum of Dance, appearances with Indian tabla virtuoso Sandip Burman, collaborations with avant-garde recording artist Jandek, and as guest conductor of the Free Spirits Ensemble of the Raleigh Symphony. Over the past several years Dan has focused exclusively on Renaissance and Baroque performance appearing with such ensembles as the Mallarmé Chamber Players, Ensemble Vermillion, Basso, Greensboro Early Music, and Voices of a New Renaissance. He is a founding member and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra. Dan lives in Carrboro, North Carolina and serves as a music educator with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
     
Jennifer Streeter  

Harpischordist Jennifer Streeter has performed throughout the United States and Europe with ensembles such as the Indianapolis and Seattle Baroque Orchestras, Baroque Northwest, Music of the Baroque, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, and was featured at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Bloomington Early Music Festivals. She completed masters' degrees in recorder and harpsichord from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, studying with Eva Legêne and Elisabeth Wright. She has been featured on Indiana University's WFIU and the nationally syndicated program Harmonia. She currently resides in Cary, NC where she contributes to her community as a freelance musician and as a massage therapist.

 

 

     
Stephanie Vial  

Stephanie Vial, cellist, is a sought-after chamber musician and soloist. She has performed with many of North America's period instrument ensembles and has recorded for the Dorian Label, Naxos, Hungaroton, and Centaur Records. Vial holds degrees from Northwestern University, Indiana University, and Cornell University, where she received a doctorate in 18th-century performance practice. Her book, The Art of Musical Phrasing in the Eighteenth Century: Punctuating the Classical “Period,” published in 2008 by the University of Rochester Press' Eastman Studies in Music Series, was praised by Malcolm Bilson as "inspired scholarship" and "essential reading." She co-directs the Washington, DC based period instrument ensemble, The Vivaldi Project, and its Institute for Early Music on Modern Instruments, which offers professional string players the opportunity to study historical performance practices using their own modern instruments. Vial has taught at Cornell University, Duke University, and is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a regular guest teacher at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.