Artistic Director and Conductor of Masterworks Chorale since 2002, Bryan Baker also serves as Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, Director of the men's vocal ensemble Thirst & Howl, and Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Choral Society. He frequently conducts instrumental ensembles, and has led the Solaris Chamber Orchestra, the Masterworks Orchestra, the Peninsula Symphonic Band, and the New Millennium Strings Orchestra. Highlights of the recent seasons include leading performances of Faure’s Requiem, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Rutter’s Mass of the Children (with Ragazzi Boys Chorus,) Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with soloist Roy Malan, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. Masterworks 40th Anniversary concert featured Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances, Brahms’ Nänie, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, with pianist Jon Nakamatsu. Soprano Luana DeVol joined in the 42nd concert year opera gala.
While earning Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in music, Dr. Baker studied with Eckart Sellheim, Ciao Pagano, Carlo Busotti, Dewey Camp, and Conrad Bruderer. He now serves on the faculty of the College of San Mateo. He formerly taught voice at San Francisco State University and at Truman University in Missouri, as well as piano at Foothill College and at Arizona State University. He maintains a busy private studio, and his students have won competitions and appeared in concerts and opera productions in the Bay Area and across the country.
Active as a concertizing pianist, Dr. Baker has played solo concerts, chamber music, and accompanied vocal recitals across the United States and in Europe. Locally he has performed in Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theater, at the Stern Grove Festival, on the Old First Concert Series, Concerts by the Sea, the Oakmont Concert Series, and on many other concert series. He gave the inaugural concert of the new Petrof Recital Series in Ashland, Oregon. During recent seasons, he performed with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, the California Chamber Symphony, the New Millennium Strings, and the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra in concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, St-Säens, and Shostakovitch.
Dr. Baker has won prizes in numerous competitions, including first place in the Klatzin Contemporary Keyboard Competition and the Bay Area Keyboard Arts Competition, Living Composers. He received a grant for performances of chamber music and has performed a wide range of unusual works for small ensembles. Bryan has spent a good deal of time in the theater, first as a singer and actor, and now as a musical director. He has directed many musicals and operas including productions of Godspell, The Mikado, Company, Cabaret, Puccini's Suor Angelica, and Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti. The last two shows on which he worked are the review Side by Side by Sondheim and the opera La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart.
Mezzo-Soprano Dr. Candice Burrows, co-chair of the vocal area at High Point University, is known for commanding a wide variety of musical styles. Initially a jazz singer, Burrows switched to the classical genre furthering her vocal studies and culminating in numerous vocal awards: a winner in the Oralia Dominguez International Opera competition in Mexico, a finalist in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera competition where she was also voted the “Outstanding Future Artist” award, the Oregon Governor’s Arts Award recipient and the Outstanding Achievement award at USC in Los Angeles. She has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Santa Fe Orchestra, Boston Pops and Symphony, Tanglewood Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Phoenix Chamber Orchestra and Pops, New Jersey Symphony, June Opera Festival of New Jersey, Eugene Opera, New York Repertory Theater, Pasadena Chamber Orchestra, Schleswig-Holstein Orchestra, Oxford Symphony Orchestra and Oregon Bach Festival. Her many symphonic works have been under the batons of maestros Seiji Ozawa, Helmuth Rilling, Marin Alsop, John Williams, Gunther Schuller and her dear friend, the late, great Leonard Bernstein.
Active in opera, some of her more notable roles include; Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Cenerentola, Nancy (Albert Herring), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Sesto, Baba (The Medium) and Helen Potts (Picnic/World Premier 2009). Reviews of Dr. Burrows include; “hauntingly beautiful voice” (Eugene Register Guard), “Praiseworthy vocalism…” (New York Times), “the next Janet Baker” (Albuquerque Journal).and referring to her opera performance of Rossini’s Cenerentola, “the role is hers forever!” (New Jersey Star Ledger).
Burrows received her B.M. from the University of Oregon after studying abroad at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She was a student of mentor, Arleen Augér and coached exclusively with Gwen Koldofsky at the University of Southern California where she pursued her M.M. In 2006, Burrows returned to academia and received her DMA at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. In addition to teaching at High Point University, Dr. Burrows is a performing artist and member of the voice faculty at SongFest International Music Festival in Los Angeles. Many of her students have won voice competitions at the state, regional and national levels.
Layna Chianakas is in her ninth year as Associate Professor of Voice, and the Director of Opera Theatre at San José State University. Known for "vocal talents which are matched by her poignancy as an actress" (Des Moines Register) she has portrayed many leading opera roles including over 80 performances of Carmen, as well as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, The Woman in Poulenc's La Voix humaine, the title role in La Perichole, and countless Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. Her most current performances have included Amneris in Verdi’s Aida with Dayton Opera and Orphée in Gluck’s Orphee et Eurydice with Opera Santa Barbara. Most recently, she directed Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and the National Opera Association’s award-winning Argento’s Postcard from Morocco for the San José State Opera Theater. For Opera San José, she most recently directed Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia. As an active participant in the San José music community, she is the Director of Opera San José’s Summer Program for Singers which goes into its second year in Summer 2017and will continue her position as Stage Director for Vivace Youth Chorus’ Summer Youth Opera.
Ms. Chianakas recently made her Carnegie Hall debut, sang the alto solos in the Lord Nelson Mass with the Limerick Music Festival in Limerick, Ireland, was the mezzo-soprano soloist for Dayton Opera’s Season Opening Spectacular in October, and looks forward to returning to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra as the alto soloist in Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony No. 1 and Dayton Opera as the Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul in the 17/18 season. She will also perform the second soprano solos in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and be the featured master clinician and recitalist as part of this year’s Music Teachers Association Conference held in Santa Clara, CA.
She lives in San José, California with her husband and two children, who are her greatest productions.
An alumna of San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellowship program, Nicolle Foland sang many roles with San Francisco Opera, including Musetta in La bohème and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. She has sung the role of Violetta in La traviata with Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and has performed with Los Angeles Opera, Opera Bilbao in Spain, and Seattle Opera as Musetta. She has debuted other leading roles with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Santa Fe Opera. Orchestral appearances include the San Francisco Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is also an avid recitalist, appearing on performing arts series throughout the U.S. Ms. Foland received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Iowa.
Internationally renowned soprano Sheri Greenawald has been director of San Francisco Opera Center since 2002 and is the artistic director of the Merola Opera Program, two lauded organizations that recognize, cultivate and nurture the finest young operatic talent. She has performed leading roles with San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Venice’s La Fenice, the Munich Bavarian State Opera, the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet, Welsh National Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Netherlands Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Naples’s Teatro San Carlos and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among others. She is featured on several recordings, including singing the title role of Blitzstein’s Regina conducted by John Mauceri and recorded for Decca.
A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and the Juilliard School of Music, Greenawald has been a recipient of a Rockefeller Grant, NEA Grant, and was named Seattle Opera Association’s “Artist of the Year” in 1998. She served as a professor of voice and opera at the Boston Conservatory, was a visiting artist at the University of Charleston, an artist-in-residence at the University of Northern Iowa, was the vocal coach of the Santa Fe Apprentice Program in 1999 and opera director of the program in 2000, and has given master classes with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Arizona Opera, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Boston University, Longy School of Music, Mannes School of Music and Manhattan School of Music.
Michael Nutter made his directing debut with Eugene Opera on a semi-staged production of Cavalleria Rusticana. Since then he has directed over 40 operas including The Crucible, Meanwhile, Back at Cinderella’s, Wuthering Heights, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Saint of Bleecker Street, Susannah, Così fan tutte, The Medium, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, PDQ Bach’s A Little Nightmare Music, The Stoned Guest, Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, Dido & Æneas, Don Pasquale, Mozart’s The Impresario, Riders to the Sea, Kirke Mechem's Tartuffe, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Puccini’s Il Trittico, La Bohème, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd; The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Merry Widow, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and the world premiere of Curtis Bryant’s, The Secret Agent, and most recently directed Gianni Schicchi for Eugene Opera’s Artist Mentor Program. In 2012, he directed for the Atlanta Opera’s 24-Hour Project where his team won both audience and judges’ favorite for the farcical 10-minute opera Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens, composed by Jennifer Jolley. He has also directed Two From Seuss for the Oregon Bach Festival, a production of The Telephone in Binghamton, N.Y., and the world premiere of Where Music Comes From in Eugene. Michael has worked in opera, classical music and theatre professionally for 30 years, including staff positions for The Atlanta Opera, Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY, Central City Opera in Colorado, Eugene Opera, Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, and served for 15 seasons as Technical Director for the Grammy®-award-winning Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, Oregon. He works full-time in the Human Resource department at the law firm of Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta and is the Artistic Director and Stage Director for the Capitol City Opera Company in Atlanta, Georgia.
Burr Cochran Phillips
Burr Cochran Phillips, baritone, joined the faculty of the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in 2007, where he teaches private voice, vocal coaching, lyric diction and assists in the preparation of opera repertoire. Phillips has performed with the Dallas Symphony, Royal Philharmonic (London), and the symphony orchestras of Fort Worth, Honolulu, and San Antonio. He has taught at the Big Bear Lake Festival of Song (Big Bear Lake, CA) as well as the Taos Opera Institute (Taos, NM). He holds a master’s of music degree in vocal pedagogy and performance from Texas Christian University and a bachelor’s of music degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas.