Cynthia Clayton, soprano
American soprano Cynthia Clayton is an audience favorite in opera houses throughout the United States and overseas for her critically acclaimed performances of roles including Puccini heroines Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Mimi, Musetta, Liù, and Madama Butterfly, Mozart heroines Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Pamina, Countess Almaviva, and Fiordiligi; and numerous others, such as Leonora in Il Trovatore, Nedda in Pagliacci, Violetta in La Traviata, Micaela in Carmen, Marguerite in Faust, Janáček’s Jenůfa, Floyd's Susannah, and Catán’s Florencia (Florencia en el Amazonas). She has bowed in leading roles at New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opéra en Plein Air (Belgium), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Grand Rapids, Anchorage Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Delaware, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Knoxville Opera, Orlando Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theater, Opera Santa Barbara, Intermountain Opera, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, and Opera San José, where she was a Principal Artist in Residence for four seasons.
Ms. Clayton's concert performances have included appearances with orchestras across the country, in Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mozart's Requiem and Solemn Vespers, Brahms' Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Debussy's La Damoiselle Élue. In addition, she is an avid performer of recitals and chamber music, including, most recently, Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. She has been a member of the faculty at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston since 2005, and has earned the rank of Associate Professor. Recent performances include appearances as Madame Larina in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin.
Lucie Robert, violin
Violinist Lucie Robert, a native of Montreal, has received enthusiastic praise from audiences and critics alike for the expressive lyricism and tonal beauty of her playing. Allan Kozinn, writing in the New York Times, lauded her "melting tone" and "wonderfully supple approach to phrasing." Ms. Robert carries on the great violin tradition of her teacher, the legendary Josef Gingold.
Ms. Robert has appeared as recitalist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Far East in major music centers including New York, London, Chicago, Washington D.C., Vienna, Beijing, Seoul, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. She has performed over thirty different works as violin soloist with major orchestras throughout North America. Ms. Robert has also collaborated in chamber music with artists such as Menahem Pressler, Richard Goode, Claude Frank, Philippe Enremont and Isidore Cohen. As a recording artist, she has performed for National Public Radio, the CBC Radio Network, Radio Canada, and Radio France, and received critical acclaim for her recording of violin sonatas by Fauré and Saint-Saëns. An active participant in the summer music festival scene, Ms. Robert has been guest artist or faculty member at festivals such as Bowdoin, the American Conservatoire at Fontainebleau, Musicorda, Meadowmount, Orford, Waterloo, Busan Music Festival and the Hida-Takayama Festival. She is currently on the faculties of the Texas Music Festival at the Moores School of Music, the MusicAlp Academy in France, and the Duxbury Music Festival Ms. Robert is the artistic director of "Mannes in Unison", a new concert series in New York which premiered in 2014.
Highly sought after as a violin pedagogue, Ms. Robert has served as violin professor for the past twenty-five years at the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music in New York City. She has given master classes throughout the world at prestigious institutions such as Seoul National University, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, the Glenn Gould School, and the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal. Her students have won prizes in major international competitions including the Indianapolis, Young Concert Artists, Paganini, Sendai, China and Szigeti International Violin Competitions. Ms. Robert has served as an adjudicator for many competitions including the Montreal, Fritz Kreisler, Jozsef Szigeti, and the 2015 Seoul International Violin Competitions.