Sylvia V.C. Twine • Mezzo Soprano
Sylvia V.C. Twine, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Washington, DC. Her artistry has been described as “powerfully affecting and her voice as ravishing and lush.” She has appeared at the White House, Smithsonian Institution, DAR Constitution Hall and on concert stages throughout the U.S., Canada, and abroad in recital, oratorios and operas including Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Brittan‘s Albert Herring and Ravel’s, L’Enfant et les Sortileges. Other orchestral performances include the Michigan Pops orchestra, the German American Chorale and Orchestra of Hanau, West Germany and the Georgetown Orchestra.
Ms. Twine participated with George Shirley and members of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra in the acclaimed 1998 premiere of Montage for Martin, a contemporary oratorio. She has performed under the baton of composer/conductors Donald McCullough, and John Rutter. As a featured soloist, her performances include the Sylvia Olden Lee Memorial Concert at the John F. Kennedy Center, a reprise of Montage for Martin with Yolanda King (daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington; The Holocaust Cantata at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, South Carolina; Mutual Inspiration Festival at the Embassy of the Czech Republic 2011.
Sylvia is a founding member of Tre Mezzi; a performing trio of mezzo-sopranos who perform primarily the musical works of African-American Composers. Tre Mezzi has performed throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area in venues such as the Reginald Lewis Museum, and the Czech Embassy.
Ms. Twine received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan and studied with the noted tenor George Shirley. Her awards and honors include 1993 Presser Foundation Award and Scholarship (Armstrong State College), the 1996 Martin Luther King Spirit Award (University of Michigan), winner of the 1997 North Central District Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition.
Presently, Ms. Twine is on the voice faculty at The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where she directs The Sophisticated Ladies; serves as local chair of The George Shirley African American Art Song & Operatic Aria Competition; and is Music Director for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. In the spring of 2016, Ms. Twine founded Our Legacy Productions and launched Porgy and Bess a Concert the company’s premiere production.
Tai Oney • Countertenor
Hailed by Opera News for the “richness and pliability of his [voice],” American countertenor Tai Oney has been a prize winner in several competitions, including claiming a prestigious Sullivan Foundation Award and a US-Postgraduate Fulbright Award. A Finalist in the Cesti Singing Competition, Semi-Finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Competition, and a second place Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Tai made his professional opera debut with Opera Boston in collaboration with Boston Baroque performing the role of Athamas in Handel’s Semele. Among his many solo appearances, Tai has performed in Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Honegger’s King David. Tai has also been seen as Teseo in Handel’s Arianna in Creta with the London Handel Festival; Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Opéra de Baugé; DALISO in Handel’s secular cantata Il Duello Amoroso with the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music; Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with Finnish National Opera; and, recently, sang the role of Adolfo in Faramondo with Brisbane Baroque, Australia. Tai has been a member of the Central City Opera and a guest artist for the Palm Beach Opera young artist program. He holds degrees from Stetson University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music (GDip), and the Royal College of Music International Opera School (ArtDip).
Jonas Budris • Tenor
Tenor Jonas Budris is a versatile soloist and ensemble musician, engaging new works and early music with equal passion.
He is a featured soloist in Boston Baroque's Grammy-nominated recording of Monteverdi's opera Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. He appears frequently in concert with the Handel and Haydn Society as a soloist and choral singer. Mr. Budris also performs in more intimate musical settings; he particularly enjoys singing with such groups as Blue Heron, Cut Circle, Spire, and the Skylark Vocal Ensemble.Mr. Budris is a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Felllow at Emmanuel Music, where he performs regularly in the Bach Cantata and evening concert series.
On the opera stage, he has performed principal and supporting roles with numerous musical organizations, including Opera Boston, OperaHub, Guerilla Opera, and Odyssey Opera, originating such roles as John in Giver of Light and the title role of Chrononhotonthologos.
Originally from Martha's Vineyard, Mr. Budris holds a degree in Environmental Sciences & Engineering from Harvard College.
Ron Williams • Narrator
Recognized nationwide for his artistry in the field of opera and oratorio, Ron Williams continues to gather acclaim for his work onstage and in the concert hall. He has sung leading roles with several opera companies nationally, including San Francisco Spring Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera San Jose, where he created the role of Edward in the world premiere of Alva Henderson’s The Last Leaf. Locally, Williams debuted with Boston Lyric Opera in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, receiving critical acclaim from The New York Times. He portrayed Nick Shadow in the much-heralded production of The Rake’s Progress with Boston’s Opera Laboratory Company at the MIT. The Boston Globe praised his performance of Figaro in Opera New England’s The Barber of Seville. Ron made his debut with Greater Worcester opera as Escamillo in Carmen and has since performed Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Mr. Williams was a regional finalist in the San Francisco Opera National Auditions. Ron remains passionately interested in arts education for young audiences and has performed at the National Children’s Arts Festival at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Mr. Williams maintains a busy concert schedule having performed with Cantata Singers, Symphony Pro Musica, as well as the Dartmouth College Symphony (N.H.) where he sang Beethoven’s Fidelio. He performed the one-man opera of Domenico Cimarosa, Il Maestro di Cappella with Boston Civic Symphony. He made his debut with Boston Cecilia in Britten’s Cantata Misericordium and later performed Christus in J.S. Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, all under the direction of the late Donald Teeters. Ron made his European debut with the Düsseldorf Chamber Orchestra in Germany. His stage debut was in Saint Gallen, Switzerland and has performed on the European stage in several countries. An artist committed to bringing to the stage the works of twentieth-century American composers, Ron performed the works of Hale Smith and Ned Rorem. Ron has been involved with the premiere of several works locally including Elmer Gantry, a new American opera by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein.
Darryl Hollister • Piano
Darryl Hollister was born in Detroit, Michigan. He received his B.M. from Michigan State University where he studied with Ralph Votapek and Deborah Moriarty, and his M.M. from New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Patricia Zander. He is an active accompanist and performer in the Boston area. He serves as accompanist and assistant conductor to the Dedham Choral Society, Coro Allegro, the Framingham Choral Society, and Commonwealth School Chorus and Chorale.
Since he has started championing the works of African and African-American composers, he has performed premieres of works by various leading composers. At the Festival of African and African-American Music in St. Louis in 2000 he premiered The Spring of Esentre by Gyimah Labi, Concertino Africana for Piano and Orchestra by Paul Konye and participated in the North American premiere of Baptism of Fire: Symphony Concertante for Three Pianos and Orchestra by Gyimah Labi. In December of 2002 he performed a recital of African piano music at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In April 2003 he gave the world premiere of Three Ivory Magnolia Fantasies by Gary Nash in a recital at Mississippi Valley State University. In August 2003 at the 2nd International Symposium and Festival on Composition in Africa and the Diaspora at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, he performed world premieres of works by Paul Konye, Wallace Cheatham, Akin Euba, Gary Nash, Robert Kwami, and Joshua Uziogwe. At FESAAM 2004 in Kansas City he performed solo recitals and performed with Flutist Wendy Hymes in a recital of the music of Ghanian composer J. H. Kwabena Nketia.
He has collaborated with soprano Dawn Padmore in recitals devoted to the music of African and African-American composers. Their performances include recitals at Cambridge University; England, Le Festival International des Musiques Sacrées, Profane, et Populaires in Fort-du-France, Martinique; St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands; Harvard University; and Pittsburgh University where they recently premiered a song cycle Contemplating Life by Akin Euba. In July 2005 they were invited to perform at the New Music Indaba Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa where they premiered Indaba Songs, songs written by five South African composers in five indigenous languages. In August 2005 they returned to St. Thomas and St. John where they performed Indaba Songs. In January of 2007 they performed a recital of African piano and vocal music at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Fred Onovwerosuoke • Composer
Award-winning composer Fred Onovwerosuoke was born in Ghana to Nigerian parents. Onovwerosuoke grew up in both home countries and eventually naturalized in the United States. His influences are wide and varied, and is much at home discussing Handel, Mozart and Jazz, as he is talking about the African gonje, mbira, kora, kontingu and balafon riffs, or foremost exponents of traditional African music. Onovwerosuoke’s works have been featured in a variety of recordings, films, documentaries and radio, including Robert De Niro’s film, The Good Shepherd, Niyi Coker’s Pennies for the Boatman, IMI Chamber Players’ Dances & Rhapsodies: Works for Wind Quintet, William-Chapman Nyaho’s CD, ASA, Hymes/Hollister’s CD African Art Music for Flute, Peter Henderson’s CD, Twenty-Four Studies in African Rhythms for Piano, among others. His book, Songs of Africa: 22 Pieces for Mixed Choirs published by Oxford University Press has quickly become a favorite among choral directors across the United States and globally, and his Twenty-four Studies in African Rhythms is acclaimed as one of the most-demanded African-rhythm influenced piano studies known. Onovwerosuoke is a Voting Member of the Recording Academy (The Grammy) and a Fellow of the Regional Arts Commission. For more information, please visit www.fredomusic.com. Fred Onovwerosuoke is represented by IMI Artists (www.imusici.net). In 2016, Coro Allegro presented pianist Darryl Hollister performing the world premiere of Onovwerosuoke’s Caprice for Piano & Orchestra, a work commissioned for him by Coro Allegro in celebration of their 25th anniversary season.