Gateway Classical Music Society and

Gateway Classical Music Society of New York

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Gateway Classical

Music Society

Artist Bios

Yigit Karatas, Violinist, has performed with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Turkey, where he played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and at the International Belfort Music Festival where he played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Mr. Karatas has concertized as a member of chamber orchestras and as a soloist at the Eilat Festival in Israel and has received several awards in competitions: First Prize at the Fourth National Gulden Turali Violin Competition, Second Prize at the International Marsyas Violin Competition and Third Prize at the VIVO International Music Competition in New York in 2015. He has taken part in the masterclasses of renowned artists that include Leonidas Kavakos, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Ida Haendel and Shmuel Ashkenasi and studied with Maxim Vengerov, Ivry Gitlis, Shlomo Mintz, Vadim Gluzman and other soloists of renown. He participated in the New Virtuosi Violin Mastercourse in Duino, Italy in 2011 and gave solo and collective concerts with Cihat Askin. Mr. Karatas served as concertmaster to The World Peace Orchestra and was given a full scholarship in 2013 to the Manhattan School of Music where he studies with Albert Markov.    He was the winner of the 2017 Waldo Mayo Memorial Violin Competition and the 2017 International Suna Kan Violin Competition.  Mr. Karatas was featured in the Gateway Orchestra 2016/17 tour, as a participant orchestra in the New York Philharmonic's New World Initiative. He performed  the Waxman Carmen Fantasie. 

Yezu (Elizabeth) Woo, Violinist has performed as a recitalist and soloist in major concert halls and with orchestras worldwide including the North Czech Philharmonic, Slowakishe Radio Symphonie Orchester, Bulgaria Symphony, Romanian National Constanza Orchestra, Venezuela Philharmonic, New Jersey Philharmonic, Bozeman Symphony and the Pyongyang Symphony of North Korea, as well as the Sungnam, KBS, Jeju, Mostly Philharmonic and Gangwon Province's Orchestras of South Korea. She debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2004 as the youngest performer to have performed all of Paganini’s 24 Caprices for solo violin. She has performed outside the realm of classical music with the KBS Korean Traditional Orchestra that presents a fusion of Korean traditional music and classical music. ​​Born in Freiburg, Germany, Ms. Woo returned to Korea as an infant; and, at the age of 10, she moved to the U.S. where she later studied with Albert Markov at the Manhattan School of Music and with Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School. ​​The 2015 Gateway Orchestra Tri-State Tour featured Ms Woo in the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, and the 2016/17 Tri-State Tour, as a participant orchestra in the New York Philharmonic's New World Initiative, featured Ms Woo in the Brahms Violin Concerto.   

Xiao Wang, Violinist, was the first prize winner of the Szigeti International Violin Competition and laureate of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Competition in addition to having won numerous other prizes and awards. He has performed as a soloist and collaborator with orchestras worldwide including the National Orchestra of Belgium, Kodaly Philharmonic Orchestra in Hungary, Gewandhaus Academisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra and others. Mr. Wang was quoted by the New York Times as “… wonderfully clean in Sibelius, and he made the most of its expressive opportunities.” He is a passionate chamber musician having collaborated with Phillip Entremont and the American String Quartet, as well as members of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Wang currently studies with Lucie Robert at the Manhattan School of Music where he has been awarded a full scholarship. The 2015 Gateway Orchestra Tri-State featured Mr. Wang in the Sibelius Violin Concerto

Davide de Ascaniis, Violinist, has toured as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Canada, USA and Europe. He has appeared in the festival of the Nippon Foundation in Tokyo, Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, International Music Festival Bled (Slovenia) to high acclaim. He performed as a soloist at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, National Theater and National Concert Hall of Taipei and Merkin Hall in New York. Born in Italy in 1991 to a family of musicians, Mr. de Ascaniis began studying the violin at the age of eight and made solo appearances with orchestra a year later. He received a Master’s Degree cum laude from the Conservatorio Pedrollo in Vicenza at the age of 16 where he graduated with honors. He also earned a Diploma at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and currently resides in New York City where he studies with Albert Markov. Mr. de Ascaniis played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Gateway Orchestra for the 2014 spring mini tour in celebration of Gateway’s tenth anniversary year.  

Michael Pilafian, Pianist, has played for voice-studio of Carolina Segrera and performed concerts internationally with the Ambassadors of Opera. He was music-director of the After Dinner Opera Company with which he premiered several chamber-operas by Seymour Barab. Currently he plays for the New York Grand Opera, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Opera on the Hudson, Taconic Opera, and the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. Pilafian plays as a rehearsal pianist for Gateway.  

Gustavo López Manzitti, Tenor, has sung numerous leading roles at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has performed, at the Teatro Colón, the leading tenor roles in Adriana Lecouvreur, Mahagonny, Andrea Chénier, Macbeth, Don Carlo, Werther and Beatrix Cenci. Prior to these more recent roles, he has performed, at the Teatro Colón, the leading tenor roles in Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Armide, Maldoror, Carmen, Doña Francisquita, I Lombardi, I due Foscari, Bebe Dom and Idomeneo. This season, in 2018, Mr. Manzitti participated in Tristan und Isolde in a production of Staatsoper Berlin with the Staatskapelle Berlin at the Teatro of Buenos Aires, where he also received acclaim as Rodolfo in La bohéme. He was the tenor soloist for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Wiener Akademie and starred in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by Weill/Brecht, both of which took place at the Teatro Mayor de Bogotá. Additionally, he sang Das Lied von der Erde by Mahler with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Paraná, and performed the title role of Don Carlo in the Teatro del Bicentenario of San Juan and the opera Blanca de Beaulieu in Buenos Aires. Mr. Manzitti also sang the leading tenor role in Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Municipal de Bahía Blanca. During the 2016 Season Mr. Manzitti sang Mahagonny in the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, La bohéme in the Teatro Argentino de La Plata, Werther in the Teatro Avenida and La Damnation de Faust in the Auditorio SODRE of Montevideo.

Mr. Manzitti developed an important part of his operatic career in the US. He made his debut in New York (Carnegie Hall) with “Giovanna D’Arco” in 2005 and has been regularly invited to perform by many opera companies in the US and Canada: Opera Tampa (Il Trovatore, Tosca), Virginia Opera (Cavalleria/Pagliacci, Il Trovatore and Aida), Sarasota Opera (Don Carlos, Cav/Pag), Orlando Opera (Il Trovatore), Anchorage Opera (Il Trovatore), Opera Delaware (Rigoletto, Carmen and Tosca), Atlantic Coast Opera Festival (Cav/Pag), Gateway Classical Music Society (Carmen), Grand Théâtre de Québec (“Le Gala de l’Opéra” and Carmen), Chrysler Theatre (Cavalleria), and more. Mr. Manzitti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied piano, conducting and composition there and, apart from singing, is active as a conductor and as a theatrical actor. Mr. Manzitti sang the role of Don José in Gateway’s 2005 production of Bizet’s Carmen and will be performing the role of Radames in Verdi’s Aida with Gateway in November of 2018.

Gregory Geis, Tenor, made his operatic debut in 2011 as Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Opera Slavica in New York City. Since that time, he has performed Alfredo in La Traviata with Opera in the Slope, as well as the leading tenor roles in several opera highlights concerts that include the Duke in Rigoletto, Don Jose in Carmen and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He has also performed as the featured tenor in concerts with the Dorothy Jones Theatre in Manhattan’s Singer’s Forum and New Jersey’s The Dome at The Manor. He was the soloist for the National Anthem at Shea Stadium for the New York Mets and a resident artist with Underworld Productions Opera, where he also performed. Mr. Geis will perform the role of Radames in Gateway’s production of Aida in November of 2018.  Aida will mark Mr. Geis's debut appearance with Gateway and his first time performing the role of Radames.

Galina Ivannikova , Mezzo-Soprano, has sung the title role in Carmen, Verdi's Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Verdi's Aida, Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Fricka in Wagner's Die Walküre, Waltraute in Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Erda in Wagner's Das Rheingold, Dalilah in Saint-Saëns' Samsonet Dalilah, Leonora in Donizetti's La Favorita, Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto, Marcellina in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Prince Orlovsky in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, The Witch in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Lubasha in the Tsar's Bride by Rimsky-Korsakov, Olga in Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky, Marfa in Khovanshchina by Mussorgsky, Marina Mnishek in Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky, La Cieca/Laura in La Gioconda by Ponchielli and as the mezzo soloist in the Verdi Requiem. Ms Ivannikova has sung regionally with the Verismo Opera in New Jersey, the Connecticut Lyric Opera, the New York Lyric Opera, the Commonwealth Opera Theater in Boston, as well as other companies here and abroad. Born in the Ukraine, Ms Ivannikova received her musical training there and in the United States at the University of Memphis where she placed first in the University’s concerto competition and is currently working on completing her doctorate in vocal performance. Ms Ivannikova will sing the role of Amneris in Gateway’s 2018 production of Verdi’s Aida.

Daveda Browne, Mezzo-Soprano, has performed regionally as the mezzo soloist in several major works that include the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the National Chorale and Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral Arts Society of New Jersey. Ms Browne has toured as a soloist with the America Spiritual Ensemble and premiered a new composition by David Lang with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center. She was the alto soloist cover for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to music with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center. A 2017 Harlem Opera Theater Competition finalist, Ms Browne has also performed in Musical Theater, appearing in ShowBoat at the University of Kentucky Opera Theater. A native of the island of St. Kitts and Nevis and longtime resident of Piscataway, New Jersey, Ms. Browne attended Lehigh University where she received a dual degree, a BA in Music and a BS in Biochemistry. She also holds a Master of Arts from the John Cali School of Music. Ms Browne will sing the role of Amneris in Gateway’s 2018 Aida production. Aida will mark her debut appearance with Gateway Classical Music Society and her first time performing the role of Amneris.

Kofi Hayford, Bass, has been described as possessing an “impressive” (Brooklyn Discovery) “sonorous,” (Meet Me at the Opera) and “stentorian bass voice” (National Herald). Mr. Hayford’s major opera roles include: La Roche in Strauss’ Capriccio, Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Mephistopheles in Faust, Rodolfo in La Sonnambula, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sparafucile and Monterone in Rigoletto, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Baldassare in La Favorita. Mr. Hayford sang the inaugural performance of the Greek Opera Olympic Flame singing the role of the titan Prometheus at Lincoln Center - later receiving an award from UNESCO for this performance. Other operatic roles and oratorio engagements include: The Monk and The Grand Inquisitor in Verdi’s Don Carlo; The Bonze in Madama Butterfly; Bass Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and Rossini's Stabat Mater; Angelotti and Sacristan in Puccini’s Tosca; Masetto in Don Giovanni, the Doctor and Baron Douphol in Verdi's La Traviata; Balthazar in Amahl & The Night Visitors. Awards include the 2018 1st Place Winner of the Tchaikovsky Music Competition in Albany and the 2017 NJ State Opera Guild Competition Finalist. Born in Guyana, Mr. Hayford received his Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from SUNY Buffalo. Since graduating, Mr. Hayford has sung with the following organizations: United Nations Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Loft Opera, Apotheosis Opera, Chelsea Opera, Central Florida Lyric Opera, Buffalo Opera Unlimited, Regina Opera, Vocal Productions NYC, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Manhattan Opera Studio, Amore Opera, Erie Opera Theatre, and several others. Mr. Hayford will perform the role of Ramfis in Aida with Gateway in November of 2018, which will mark his debut appearance with Gateway and first time performing the role of Ramfis. 

Virginia Herrera-Crilly, Soprano, has performed numerous roles worldwide that include: Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Nedda in I pagliacci, Mimi and Musetta in La boheme, Marguerite in Faust, Violetta in La traviata, Pamina in The Magic Flute and Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann. In Zarzuela, Ms. Herrera-Crilly has performed the roles of Reina, Elena, Marola, Luisa Fernanda, Susana, Carolina and Marquesita. Apart from numerous roles in Opera and Zarzuela, Ms Herrera-Crilly has performed in concerts featuring art song in numerous venues in New York City and New Jersey. Her voice, featured in the soundtrack of the Mexican Short Film "Under the Rubble," was nominated for best short film at the Tribeca Film Festival'06 in NYC and received recognition for the Best Original Music nominated at the Pantalla de Cristal Festival'06 in México. Ms Herrera-Crilly received an award on the show BESAME MUCHO “Latinas sing Latinas,” the ACE 2014 Award for Best Musical Production in the Latin Theater in NYC, and the HOLA 2013 Award of Excellence in Theater. She recently made her musical theater debut as Sister Margarita in the Musical SISTER ACT at the Curtain Call Company in Stamford, CT. Born in Mexico, Ms. Herrera-Crilly received her training there, in Italy and in New York City. She will sing the role of the Sacerdotessa (High Priestess) in Aida with Gateway in November of 2018, which will mark her debut appearance with Gateway and first time performing the role of the High Priestess.

Heather Bobeck, Soprano, praised "as an artful soprano" in the Huffington post, is a New York City freelance soprano. Ms Bobeck has performed Valencienne with the Continuo Arts Foundation Young Artist Program and Opera Wilmington; Musetta with ONLI; the Sandman and Gretel with the Manhattan Opera Studio and the Opera Theatre of Montclair, as well as covered a number of principal roles in several regional companies. Ms Bobeck debuted at Carnegie Hall in the Beethoven Choral Symphony with the Opera Theatre of Montclair and the Manhattan Opera Studio. Awards include the district winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council competition, and, in 2017, the winner of The Milton Cross award where she performed Verdi's Sempre Libera. Ms Bobeck will perform the role of the High Priestess in Verdi’s Aida with Gateway in November of 2018, which will mark her debut appearance with Gateway and first time performing the role of the High Priestess.

Dorian Balis, Tenor, has performed the roles of Roméo in Roméo et Julliette, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, and Camille in The Merry Widow.  Mr. Balis was an Apprentice Artist at the Ash Lawn Opera and the Dicapo Opera Theatre.  He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, American Opera Projects, Opera Company of Brooklyn and the West Side Opera Society, as well as in several renowned concert halls that include Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Balis began his musical path as a heavy metal singer.  He remains an active songwriter and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the James Madison University and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.  Aida will mark Mr. Balis’ debut with Gateway Classical Music Society and his first time performing the role of The Messenger.

Christopher Nazarian, Bass, has sung principal roles all over the world. This season, he has performed the roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni with the St. Petersburg Opera; Pistola in Falstaff with Prelude to Performance- Martina Arroyo Foundation; Yamadori in Madama Butterfly with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea; Ben in The Telephone with The International Vocal Arts Institute; and Colline in La boheme with the New Rochelle Opera. Other roles he has performed include Sarastro/ Sprecher in The Magic Flute and Truffaldino/ Lackai in Ariadne Auf Naxos with the Berlin Opera Academy; Buffo in Der Schauspieldirektor, Gideon March/ Mr Dashwood in Little Women; King Balthazar in Amal and the Night Visitors; Rudolfo in La sonnambula with Penrith Symphony Orchestra; Frere Laurance in Romeo and Juliet with IVAI; and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with the Western Sydney Opera. Mr. Nazarian has also performed as the bass soloist in the Bernstein Mass at the Sydney Opera House and in Handel’s Messiah with the Penrith Symphony. Awards include the winner of Russian Song at Sydney Eisteddfod, a finalist in Opera Awards and Male Operatic Voice, a finalist in the Lady Fairfax New York scholarship award and in The Opera Foundation for Young Australians. In addition to his operatic credits, Mr. Nazarian is a pianist who has appeared as the soloist for the performances of: Babajanian- Heroic Ballade for Piano and Orchestra; and Chopin - Piano Concerto No1 in e-minor with the Ryde Hunters Hill Symphony Orchestra; Rachmaninov- Piano Concerto No2 in c-minor with the Eroica Ensemble; Beethoven- Piano Concerto No3 in c-minor with the Sydney University Intercol Orchestra; and Manera- Concertante for Piano and Orchestra at the ABC Classic FM with the Sydney Conservatorium Modern Music Ensemble. Mr. Nazarian is from Australia and attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received a Master in Piano and a Master in Opera Performance. The role of the King in Aida will mark his debut performances with Gateway.

Alexander Boyd, Baritone, was characterized in Classical Voice America as having "melded a firm baritone with moody acting" as Moruccio, in the Sarasota Opera's production of the D'Albert opera Tiefland. This past summer, he sang the role of Donner in Wagner’s Das Rhinegold with the Pittsburgh Opera Festival and performed with the Mastersingers on a Wagner scenes program. Mr. Boyd, according to the Sarasota Observer, "gave Le Dancaïre the proper mix of menace and mirth" in Carmen with the Sarasota Opera. Mr. Boyd has also performed Barone Douphol (La Traviata) with the St. Petersburg Opera, Dr. Carrasco/Knight of the Mirrors (Man of La Mancha) with The Muses Project in Arkansas, and has given a recital of arias for the Brooklyn Public Library. Last year, he made his international debut in Cyprus as King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Kyrenia Opera. On the West Coast, he "sang with stentorian tones" (Opera Today) for the Pacific Opera Project's double bill of Salieri's Prima la musica, e poi le parole, and Josh Shaw's English libretto set to Mozart's The Impresario. Working with contemporary composers, Mr. Boyd played the role of Jensen in Jeeyoung Kim's revival of her 2012 opera, From my mother's mother, and performed selections of Joel Feigin's opera Twelfth Night in concert at the National Opera Center. He made his off-broadway debut with The Little Opera Theater of NY as Jess in Carlisle Floyd's Slow Dusk, and took second place in the New York Lyric Opera Theater’s 2016 vocal competition. Other credits include Mr. Gobineau (The Medium) with Opera Maine, Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Manhattan Opera Studio, Haly (L'Italiana in Algeri) with the Sarasota Opera, and Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly) with Prelude to Performance. The role of Amonasro in Aida will mark his first appearances with Gateway. 

Gateway's production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida enjoyed tremendous success at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT and in New York City. Here is a link to a rave review by the Brooklyn Discovery:

Ida Angland, Artistic Director and Conductor, is dedicated to providing opportunities for artists on the rise and reconnecting audiences to great masterworks through Gateway's performances designed to achieve impact and intimacy. Gateway's Great Works of Art performances with the Gateway Orchestra have received enthusiastic response by audiences in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and have been described in reviews as ''thrilling,'' ''compelling'' (Greenwich Time) ''a revelation'' ''unforgettable,'' and ''amazing'' (The Italian Voice). Ms Angland has been characterized as having ''inner genius,'' ''flair,'' ''idealism,'' and ''grit.'' (Italian Voice, Greenwich Time and Opera-L) and being "specially gifted" (Brooklyn Eagle). Prior and concurrent to her involvement with Gateway, Ms Angland assistant conducted with the New York Grand Opera for seven years for numerous operas and concerts in Central Park and Carnegie Hall. She began her music training as a pianist. When she was 12 years old, she was the youngest of four contestants chosen by the National Federation of Music Clubs and the University of North Carolina as the state's ''most promising'' musical talents. She continued her music training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Peabody Conservatory and Indiana University studying with, among others, Konrad Wolff, Elaine Bonazzi and Margaret Harshaw. Ms Angland sang professionally as a soprano with regional opera companies. Other featured guest appearances have included the Metropolitan Museum of Art and WQXR. Maestro Angland led the Gateway Orchestra in several regional tours to communities in the Tri-State that featured symphonic masterworks and major violin concerti. Several outstanding violin soloists were highlighted in these tours, the most recent season being as a participant orchestra in the New York Philharmonic's New World Initiative. The Greenwich Time ran a front page feature article on Ms Angland in June of 2014 entitled "Leading lady conductor makes her mark in field dominated by men." and add your own text.

Kimberly Lloyd, Soprano, has sung leading roles in and around New York in operas and opera highlights concerts. She performed the role of the Marschallin in the Der Rosenkavalier trio with New York Summer Opera Scenes, Donna Elvira from Don Giovanni with Amore Opera, Leonora from Il Trovatore and the title role in Anna Bolena with West Side Opera Society and the title role in Aida with West Side Opera Society and Regina Opera. In a review that appeared in Qonstage, the reviewer stated of her Aida that Ms Lloyd “lent the title role a dusky soprano and an easy high C, her “Ritorna vincitor” marked by urgency, her “O patria mia” lush and haunting…” Ms Lloyd attended Jacksonville University and studied the art of bel canto singing in Florence, Italy at the Istituto Europeo. Ms Lloyd will sing the title role in Aida with Gateway in November of 2018. Aida will mark Ms Lloyd's debut appearance with Gateway Classical Music Society.