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American Bach Soloists
2016-2017 Soloist Biographies

NOLA RICHARDSON (soprano), a partcipant in the ABS Academy in 2012, and 2013, has received attention for the "precision and clarity" of her voice and the sensitivity of her interpretations, particularly in the Baroque repertoire. Her operatic roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Madame Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirektor with Bel Cantanti Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Maryland Concert Opera, Gianetta in L'elisir D'amore with Emerald City Opera, Calisto in La Calisto with Peabody Opera Theater, the Child in Lux et Tenebrae with The Figaro Project (a world premiere), and the Dew Fairy and Gretel (cover) in Hansel and Gretel with Chesapeake Chamber Opera and Maryland Concert Opera. In addition to her operatic work, Ms. Richardson frequently appears in concerts throughout the United States. She presents recitals of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music which have included performances for the opening of the exhibit Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe at the Walters Art Gallery and a featured performance in the Boston Early Music Fringe Festival. She has performed Bach's Mass in B Minor with the American Bach Soloists Academy and the Bach Concert Series, Schubert's Mass in G Major and Handel's Messiah with Hood College and the US Naval Academy, Bach's Jauchzett Gott in allen Landen with the Bach Sinfonia, and Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Ms. Richardson also has appeared as a soloist with Tempesta di Mare and recently performed in concert as part of the Early Music Series at the Walters with trumpeter Andrew Balio of the BSO featuring virtuosic Baroque repertoire for trumpet and soprano. Ms. Richardson also performs as a member of the medieval ensemble, Eya, and her voice can be heard on the recording Concerto delle Donne with Heaven’s Noyse present the Music of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani. She is the official cantor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation and the Episcopalian Diocese of Maryland and she frequently performs as a professional chorister and soloist with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Chantry, and Cathedra, at the Washington National Cathedral. Ms. Richardson will be releasing her first album of lute songs with John Armato in June. This summer she will appear as a young artist and cover the title role in the Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Handel’s Almira and return for a second season with the American Bach Soloists. She has taught voice for over six years, combining pedagogy studies with performance experience, and considers teaching to be a valuable part of her career as a musician. She has presented workshops to singers from all over Maryland on choral diction and vocal technique. She holds two Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy and Early Music from the Peabody Conservatory, and has studied under sopranos Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Ah Hong.


STEVEN BRENNFLECK (tenor) has been consistently acknowledged for his consummate artistry, vocal flexibility, and moving interpretations on the operatic and concert stage. Praised by The New York Times as “dramatically astute” and a “stand out” performer, his operatic credits include Laurie in Adamo’s Little Women, Dr. Binch in Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, El Remendado (Carmen), The Madwoman in Britten’s Curlew River, Cégeste in Glass’ Orphée, Beppe (I Pagliacci), Testo in Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Pang (Turandot), Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Gonsalve (L’Heure Espagnol), Tobias Ragg (Sweeney Todd) with companies including American Opera Projects, the Caramoor Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, New York Lyric Opera Theatre, Opera Piccola of San Antonio, Portland Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, The Tanglewood Festival, Theatre Nohgaku, and the Westminster Opera Theatre. Mr. Brennfleck made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 in Handel’s Messiah and returned during the 2014/15 season for a performance of Charles Wuorinen’s cantata It Happens Like This with the MET Chamber Ensemble. Equally at home on the concert stage, he has collaborated with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Princeton Baroque Orchestra, LA International New Music Festival, June in Buffalo Festival, Temple Symphony Orchestra, Westminster Festival Orchestra, and Princeton Pro Musica in works such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Magnificat, and St. John Passion, Britten’s Cantata Misericordium, Haydn’s Creation and Missa St. Nicholas, Mozart’s "Coronation" Mass, Mass in C minor, Requiem, and Vesperae Solennes del Confessore, and Saint-Saen’s Christmas Oratorio.


WILLIAM SHARP (baritone) has performed with American Bach Soloists for more than two decades, and is featured on ABS recordings of Bach cantatas, St. Matthew Passion, Mass in B Minor, and Handel's Messiah. He continues to garner critical acclaim for his work in concert, recital, opera, and recordings. This past season has been full of notable events. There were major roles in two operatic premieres: The Inspector by John Musto and Le Roi et le Fermier by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny, both enthusiastically received (Opera News calling Mr. Sharp's performance at Wolf Trap "downright brilliant"). The Monsigny (from 1762 and never heard on this side of the Atlantic) was performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Opéra Royal in Versailles. David Froom's Amichai Songs were premiered in their orchestral version at River Concerts. Charles Villiers Stanford's orchestral song cycle The Songs of the Fleet was heard with the Chorus of Westerly and the Boston Festival Orchestra. A half dozen performances of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder were given in five states. Mr. Sharp participated in three imaginative concerts in the Ives Festival presented by the Post Classical Ensemble at the Strathmore, and there were four performances of Copland's Old American Songs with the Baltimore Symphony under Marin Alsop. Mr. Sharp's legendary portrayal of Scrooge in Jon Deak's The Passion of Scrooge was repeated with the 21st Century Consort at The Smithsonian American Art Museum. Also this season, Mr. Sharp made his second recordings of both Bach Passions, and has just completed recording Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liederkreis, Op. 39. Mr. Sharp made his song recital debuts in New York at the 92nd Street Y in 1983 and at the Kennedy Center in 1984. In 1989 he was presented in recital at a sold-out Carnegie Hall, and he is the winner of the 1987 Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition. He was nominated for the 1989 GRAMMY award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his recording of songs of American composers. Mr. Sharp is featured on the 1990 GRAMMY award-winning world premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles for Koch and he collaborates with pianist Steven Blier on numerous recordings under the auspices of New York Festival of Song.

There are no featured soloists in this production.

MARY WILSON (soprano) is acknowledged as one of today's most exciting artists. Cultivating a wide-ranging career singing chamber music, oratorio and operatic repertoire, her “bright soprano seems to know no terrors, wrapping itself seductively around every phrase” (Dallas Morning News). Receiving consistent critical acclaim from coast to coast, “she proves why many in the opera world are heralding her as an emerging star. She is simply amazing, with a voice that induces goose bumps and a stage presence that is mesmerizing. She literally stole the spotlight…” (Arizona Daily Star). In high demand on the concert stage, she has most recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Detroit Symphony, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, VocalEssence, and at the Hollywood Bowl. She has worked with conductors including Jeffrey Thomas, Bernard Labadie, Martin Pearlman, Martin Haselböck, JoAnn Falletta, Nicholas McGegan, Michael Stern, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle, and Leonard Slatkin. An exciting interpreter of Baroque repertoire, especially Handel, she has appeared with American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Bach Society of St. Louis, Musica Angelica, Baltimore Handel Choir, Florida Bach Festival, Philharmonia Baroque, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Casals Festival, and the Carmel Bach Festival. With the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, she sang the world premiere of the song cycle, Songs Old and New, written especially for her by Ned Rorem. On the opera stage, she is especially noted for her portrayals of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susannah in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. She has created leading roles in North American and World premiere performances of Dove’s Flight, Glass’ Galileo Galilei, and Petitgirard’s Joseph Merrick dit L’Elephant Man. She has appeared most recently with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Dayton Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera, Mississippi Opera, Southwest Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Goodman Theatre. An accomplished pianist, Ms. Wilson holds performance degrees from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently she is on the voice faculty at the University of Memphis and resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband, son, and two dogs.


NOLA RICHARDSON (soprano), a partcipant in the ABS Academy in 2012, and 2013, has received attention for the "precision and clarity" of her voice and the sensitivity of her interpretations, particularly in the Baroque repertoire. Her operatic roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Madame Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirektor with Bel Cantanti Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Maryland Concert Opera, Gianetta in L'elisir D'amore with Emerald City Opera, Calisto in La Calisto with Peabody Opera Theater, the Child in Lux et Tenebrae with The Figaro Project (a world premiere), and the Dew Fairy and Gretel (cover) in Hansel and Gretel with Chesapeake Chamber Opera and Maryland Concert Opera. In addition to her operatic work, Ms. Richardson frequently appears in concerts throughout the United States. She presents recitals of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music which have included performances for the opening of the exhibit Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe at the Walters Art Gallery and a featured performance in the Boston Early Music Fringe Festival. She has performed Bach's Mass in B Minor with the American Bach Soloists Academy and the Bach Concert Series, Schubert's Mass in G Major and Handel's Messiah with Hood College and the US Naval Academy, Bach's Jauchzett Gott in allen Landen with the Bach Sinfonia, and Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Ms. Richardson also has appeared as a soloist with Tempesta di Mare and recently performed in concert as part of the Early Music Series at the Walters with trumpeter Andrew Balio of the BSO featuring virtuosic Baroque repertoire for trumpet and soprano. Ms. Richardson also performs as a member of the medieval ensemble, Eya, and her voice can be heard on the recording Concerto delle Donne with Heaven’s Noyse present the Music of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani. She is the official cantor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation and the Episcopalian Diocese of Maryland and she frequently performs as a professional chorister and soloist with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Chantry, and Cathedra, at the Washington National Cathedral. Ms. Richardson will be releasing her first album of lute songs with John Armato in June. This summer she will appear as a young artist and cover the title role in the Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Handel’s Almira and return for a second season with the American Bach Soloists. She has taught voice for over six years, combining pedagogy studies with performance experience, and considers teaching to be a valuable part of her career as a musician. She has presented workshops to singers from all over Maryland on choral diction and vocal technique. She holds two Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy and Early Music from the Peabody Conservatory, and has studied under sopranos Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Ah Hong.


MEG BRAGLE (mezzo-soprano) is widely praised for her musical intelligence and “expressive virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle) and is quickly earning an international reputation as one of today’s most gifted and versatile singers.

Ms. Bragle has sung in North America and Europe with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Les Violons du Roy, Apollo’s Fire and the Dunedin Consort, as well as with the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Colorado, Calgary, Memphis, San Antonio, Charlotte, Akron, North Carolina, and Nova Scotia. Frequently a featured soloist with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, she has performed with them at the Leipzig Bachfest and the Prague Spring, Luzerne, Aldeburgh and Brighton festivals. Recent and upcoming highlights include her BBC Proms debut singing Bach's Easter and Ascension Oratorios with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists; Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Colorado Symphony and Matthew Halls; a program of Bach cantatas with Giovanni Antonini and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; the title role in Handel's Susannah with Ars Lyrica Houston; performances and recording of Bach's Easter Oratorio with the English Baroque Soloists; Bach's Magnificat and cantatas with Music of the Baroque and Nicholas Kraemer; Handel's Messiah at the National Arts Centre with Matthew Halls; and Bach cantatas with Early Music Vancouver. Her opera roles include Dido and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dardano in Handel’s Amadigi, Amastre in Handel’s Serse, Speranza in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Ippolita in Cavalli’s Elena, and Elpina in Vivaldi’s La Fida NinfaMs. Bragle has made several recordings with Apollo's Fire: Mozart’s Requiem (Koch), Handel's Dixit Dominus and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Avie), Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine (Avie) and L'Orfeo (Eclectra). Other recordings include J. S. Bach's Ascension Cantatas with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists (SDG), Bach's St. John Passion with Arion Baroque and Les Voix Baroques (ATMA Classique), Cozzolani’s Vespro della Beata Vergine and Messa Paschale with Magnificat (Musica Omnia), Music of Medieval Love with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music (Ex Cathedra Records), the Five Borough Songbook with the Five Boroughs Music Festival (GPR Records), Toby Twining’s Chrysalid Requiem (Cantaloupe Music), Anthony Newman’s Requiem (Khaeon World Music) and Copland’s In the Beginning with John Scott and the Men and Boy Choir of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte on their own labels. A recording of Bach's Easter Oratorio and BWV 106 "Actus Tragicus" is forthcoming. Ms. Bragle studied both violin and voice at the University of Michigan before earning a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance and English. She also completed a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University. She is the recipient of several awards and recognition from Symphony Magazine, the American Bach Society, the Carmel Bach Festival and the Bethlehem Bach Festival.


KYLE STEGALL (tenor) has garnered praise around the world for his “lively and empathetic delivery” (San Francisco Classical Voice), as well as his “blemish-free production” (Sydney Morning Herald). Kyle works frequently as soloist under the baton many of the most celebrated conductors on the international stage including Manfred Honeck, Joseph Flummerfelt, William Christie, Nicholas McGegan, and Jeffrey Thomas, among others. He made his Lincoln Center debut singing the role of the evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki, where he was praised for his “lovely tone and ardent expression” (The New York Times). Mr. Stegall’s expansive repertoire spans from early baroque to contemporary music, and his singing has carried him across the world with successful solo debuts in Japan, Australia, Vienna, Italy, Singapore, and Canada. In the summer of 2013 Kyle was a member of the Britten-Pears Institute at the Aldeburgh Music Festival where he studied Britten song and Schubert lieder under the guidance of Ian Bostridge and Malcolm Martineau. There, as part of the Britten Centenary Celebrations, he was seen in recital singing Britten’s Abraham and Isaac with counter-tenor Majid El-Bushra. A dedicated proponent of the art song repertoire, Kyle programs and sings recitals throughout his performance season. He made his UMS debut in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes with pianists Martin Katz and Steven McGhee. Engaged frequently as a concert soloist, Mr. Stegall has recently been heard in the Passions and Cantatas of J.S. Bach, the oratorios of Handel, the great masses of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, and in the world premiere of Robert Kyr’s For Those Who Hunger, among many others. His highly diverse operatic repertoire has included many roles, highlights of which include the haute-contre title-role in Charpentier’s Actéon under William Christie, Le Chevalier Danois in Gluck’s Armide, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Francis Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Laurie in Mark Adamo’s operatic adaptation of Little Women. He is an alumnus of the universities of Missouri, Michigan, and Yale. 


JESSE BLUMBERG (baritone) is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 21st century. His performances have included the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Agostino Steffani’s 17th-century opera Niobe, Regina di Tebe at the Boston Early Music Festival, Bernstein’s Mass at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and appearances with New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Recital highlights include appearances with the Marilyn Horne Foundation and New York Festival of Song, and performances of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise with pianist Martin Katz. He has performed major works with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Oratorio Society of New York, Apollo’s Fire, Berkshire Choral Festival, TENET/Green Mountain Project, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Additionally, he has given the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, Conrad Cummings’ Positions 1956, and Tom Cipullo’s Excelsior, and has collaborated with several other renowned composers as a member of the Mirror Visions Ensemble. In the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Blumberg returns to Boston Early Music Festival in November for Pergolesi chamber operas, and in January for a European concert tour of Niobe, Regina di Tebe. He will also return to American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, and Apollo’s Fire, and will make debuts in the spring with Hawaii Opera Theatre and Atlanta Opera. His 2013-2014 season included debuts with Kentucky Opera, Opera Omnia, and Boston Baroque, and a return to Minnesota Opera for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Blumberg’s extraordinary singing has been recognized in several competitions, and he was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. He received a Master of Music degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and received undergraduate degrees in History and Music from the University of Michigan. He is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, which brings chamber music of many genres to every corner of New York City.