Guest Artists

 Guest Artists for the 2011-2012 Season
(In Order of Appearance)

Eliizabeth Futral
 The New York Times wrote: "Her singing was sure, virtuoso and yet still lighted by humanity ..."

Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the major coloratura sopranos in the world today. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramamtic range, she has embraced a diverse repertoire that includes Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Glass and Previn.

Elizabeth Futral has appeared at the major opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera (the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Princess Eudixie in La juive, Elvira in I Puritani, and most recently, Princess Yueyang in the world premiere of The First Emperor), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Musetta in La boheme), San Francisco Opera (Stella inteh world premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire, Violetta in La traviata), Bayerische Staatsoper, Nannetta in Falstaff), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Gilda in Rigoletto), and Berlin State Opera (Violetta in La traviata). Ms. Futral enjoys particularly close relationships with Lyric Opera of Chicago, where recnt proects have included Violetta and the title role in Partenope, and Washington National Opera, where she has bowed as Ophelie in Hamlet, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Violetta and Lucia.

A fervent perfromer of orchestral repertoire, Elizabeth Futral made her New York Philharmonic debut in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 under the direction of Zubin Mehta, and has performed in a concert version of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini with the London Symphony. She was a guest artist on the 2000 New Year's Eve Gala Concert with th eBerlin Philharmonic and has performed the Brahms Requiem and Krenek's Die Nachtigall with the San Francisco Symphony.

Ms. Futral's extensive discography includes Meyerbeer's L'Etoile du nord for Marco Polo, Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire and Ravel's L'Enfant est les sortileges for Deutsche Grammaphon, Phillip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Euphorbia Records, a recording of Bach solo cantatas with J. Reilly Lewis and the Washington Bach Consort, and Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice for Sh-K-Boom Records. She has recorded Rossini's Otello and Zelmira, Pacini's Carlo do Borgogna, and The Supreme Decorator for Opera Rara, Lucia di Lammermoor and a solo aria recital for Chandos as part of their "Opera in English" series. Ms. Futral can also be heard on Sweethearts, a collection of operetta favorites on Newport Classics. Elizabeth Futral can be seen as Stella in a video of A Streetcar Named Desire on the Kultur label, and has been featured on Live from Linclon Center and A&E's Breakfast With The Arts.

Baird Dodge

New York City native Baird Dodge joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a violist in 1996. He moved to the second violin section later that same year, and he was appointed principal second violin by Daniel Barenboim in 2002.

Dodge studied violin and viola from an early age, and attended the precollege division of the Juilliard School. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990, and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York–Stony Brook in 1994. His teachers have included Helen Kwalwasser, Gregory Fulkerson, and Joyce Robbins.

An avid chamber musician, Dodge has collaborated with such artists as Daniel Barenboim, Isadore Cohen, Ida Kavafian, Samuel Rhodes, David Sawyer, and Pinchas Zukerman; he also has appeared as a guest artist on several occasions with the Chicago and Colorado string quartets. He has performed at the Bravo! Colorado Festival, the Taos Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, and on Music from Marlboro tours.

Baird Dodge has a special interest in contemporary music. He often has performed works by his father Charles Dodge, including the premiere of his Violin Etudes at Columbia University’s Miller Theater in 1994 and a recording of the Viola Elegy for New Albion Records in 1992. He has championed the works of composer James Matheson, giving premieres of several pieces. In 2006, he premiered and recorded Carillon Sky, a chamber concerto written for him by Augusta Read Thomas, on the CSO’s MusicNOW series with Oliver Knussen conducting, and later performed the work with Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia.

Baird Dodge resides in Chicago with his wife, violinist-violist Jennifer Marlas, and their daughter Lida.

Edward Marcus

Works for chamber music by Edward Marcus have been performed widely, with performances in Boston, Syracuse, Utica, Oneonta, St. Paul/Minneapolis, and Victoria, BC. His works have been broadcast on NPR in New York and WFMT in Chicago. His music can also be heard on the MMC label with Richard Stoltzman performing Folk Songs and Dances forbvThree Clarinets and on the digital release Musicscapes. In August 2010, his Folk Songs and Dances for Three Clarinets, Book I was performed at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest 2010 by the Chicago Clarinet Trio.

Edward Marcus has also written music for musical theater, large wind ensemble, and orchestra, including commissions for works for ensembles in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, New York, and Illinois. He has received grants from Meet the Composer and from the American Composers Forum. His Symphony No. 1 has been performed by the Utica Symphony Orchestra and the Catskill Symphony Orchestra. Edward and clarinetist Robin Seletsky collaborated on the Chanukah Klezmer Medley for solo clarinet and orchestra, as well as several new arrangements of Klezmer music for solo clarinet and orchestra. Performances of songs by Edward Marcus and librettist Mic Weinblatt have been done at Rough Cuts in St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as the Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Recently, Ed has been working on commissions with theSapphire Woodwind Quintet and the Cathedral Brass Quintet in Chicago, as well as the Chicago Horn Consort.

Edward Marcus received his bachelors and masters degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in clarinet performance and conducting, where he studied with Peter Hadcock and Frank L. Battisti, with additional studies at the Aspen Music Festival Conducting Program with Murray Sidlin. Edward Marcus was selected for and participated in the Nautilus Musical Theatre-Composer-Librettist Studio, collaborating on several compositions with Minnesota-based performers and writers.

Marta Aznavoorian

"A pianist of exceptionally finished technique and purity of musical impulse", (Boston Globe) Marta Aznavoorian has performed nationally and abroad. A Chicago native, she has performed in her hometown's most prestigious venues, and has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orhcestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New World Sympony, Aspen Concert Orchestra, San Angelo Syphony and San Diego Symphony, working with such renowned conductors as the late Sir Georg Solti, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas and Henry Mazer, to name a few. Solo recital credits include the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sydney Opera House, Steinway Hall, Weill Hall, Caramoor Festival, Tanglewood Festival, Music in the Loft, Dame Myra Hess Series, and Green Lake Music Festival.

Ms. Aznavoorian has collaborated with such artists as the Pacifica Quartet, Julian Rachlin, Robert Chen, Colin Carr, Stefan Milenkovich, and Jennifer Frautschi. She has made a recording of Sonatas for violin and piano by Stravinsky and Ravel under the ARTEC label and is currently working on her next recording with Cedille Records.

Ms. Aznavoorian received her Bachelor of Music degree and Music Performers Certificate from Indiana University, and a Masters of Music degree from New England Conservatory. Past teachers include Lev Vlassenko, Menahem Pressler, Carolyn McCracken, Patricia Zander, Evelyn Brancart, and Emilio del Rosario.

A member of the Lincoln Trio, ensemble-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ms. Aznavoorian is also a member of the MIC Faculty.

Mark Pohlad
Art Historian
 Mark Pohlad is an associate professor at DePaul University in the Department of Art and Art History, where he teaches courses in Modern and Contemporary Art and the History of Photography. His dissertation, "The Art of History: Marcel DuChamp and Posterity," (University of Delaware, 1994) was written under Patricia Leighten. Many of his publications involved the history of photography, both in Chicago and Victorian England, particularly the cathedral photographs of Frederick H. Evans. His research interests include the relationship between literature and art, and artists' management of their own works. Dr.Pohlad lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.


David Dallison

David Dallison
graduated from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto in 1987. He has explored and painted the people and landscapes of diverse cultures, including Italy, Turkey, Vietnam, France, Russia, Ireland, England, Spain, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, India, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, Cambodia, and more. Encuntering exotic locals and diverse cultures through painting allowed David to observe what is shared by much of humanity. His paintings tell the story of his travels and are a celebration of the Earth and the places, events and people that inspire him.

David has also painted over 1500 commissioned paintings, which can be found in numerous corporate and private collections. His detailed watercolor portraits of homes and landmarks evoke the emotion that an owner might feel rather than being just an architectural illustration.

David lives in Waukegan, IL with his wife and son.
His in-house gallery can be seen by appointment.
His website is:

Peter Hessemer

Peter Hessemer
studied with renowned ceramicists Rudolf Staffel at the Tyler School of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and with Ruth Duckworth at the University of Chicago. Peter has won many awards including the Frances Freedman Prize in Fine Art while at the University of Chicago. His ceramic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. It can also be seen in Hands in Clay by Charlotte F. Speight and John Toki.

Peter is Professor of Art at Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois; his studio is in Lake Forest. His art work frequently reflects his local natural environment or where he has traveled, building a romantic connection with the world around him. Recently Peter has been developing a special material unusual for its extreme translucence, like porcelain but having much more luminance. These pieces are included in this exhibit. They are smaller and intimate, but as direct as his large stoneware constructions or wheel turned pottery.

His website is:

Richard Jones

Richard Jones was born in London, England, received an M.A. from the University of VIrginia and an M.F.A from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is currently professor of English and director of the creative writing program at DePaul University in Chicago. He is also co-founder (1979) and editor of the literary jourmnal Poetry East. He is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently the Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning (Copper Canyon Press, 2010). His book,The Blessing: New and Selected Poems, a selection of popems from six books, received the Midland Authors Award for Poetry for 2000. He has published two critical anthologies and Body and Soul, a compact disc in which he discusses the art of poetry. He lives north of Chicago with his wife, Laura, and ther children Sarah, William and Andrew.

Van De Graaff

A native of the Chicago area, Peter Van De Graaff began his radio career at KBYU in Provo, Utah in 1984 and came to WFMT in 1988. In 1989 he began hosting a nationally-syndicated program called the “Beethoven Satellite Network, carried on 150 stations throughout the country and known locally as “WFMT Through the Night.” He can be heard in Chicago on this program every night between midnight and 6:00.

In September, 2010, Peter van de Graaff was awarded the sixth “Karl Haas Award for Musical Education” from Public Radio International, joining other winners Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Peter Schickele, Bill McGlaughlin and Martin Bookspan.

He also serves as the host of the “WFMT Tuesday Night Opera” and has hosted two nationally-syndicated opera series on National Public Radio and has been heard on many other national broadcasts such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Van Cliburn Competition, Music of the Baroque and others. He was one of the finalists for host of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

As a singer, Peter has performed and recorded with the Czech State Symphony under Paul Freeman and has also sung throughout the Czech Republic and Poland with the Czech Philharmonic. He appeared in Berlin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in Budapest he sang with the Budapest Concert Orchestra. In Tel Aviv, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra joined him in a Mozart Mass. As a recitalist he appeared in Tokyo. His singing has also taken him throughout the United States, where his appearances include engagements with the Houston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Wichita Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony, Richmond Symphony and many, many others. Conductors with whom he has worked include Pierre Boulez, Christopher Wilkins, Paul Freeman, Bernard Labadie, Paul Hillier, Joseph Silverstein, Robert Page, Thomas Wikman, Jane Glover, Klaus-Peter Seibel, Victor Yampolsky, James Paul, Daniel Hege and Nicholas Kraemer, among many others.

Mr. Van De Graaff has made a specialty of the baroque repertoire and this has brought him as soloist to the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Costa Rica International Music Festival, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, Pittsburgh Bach Choir, Grand Teton Music Festival, St. Louis Early Music Festival, Boulder Bach Festival and many other festivals and concert series throughout the country. He and his soprano wife have been responsible for the modern premieres of several early 18th century chamber operas called “intermezzi.”

He has also been active in the opera house and has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera, Rochester Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Cedar Rapids Opera and many other companies.

Jessie Gutierrez is native of Havana, Cuba. She studied at the National School of Art in Havana during which time she participated in The International Theater School Festival in Holland. In 2002 she continued her professional training with the Cuban national company, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, where she toured to England, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong, Mexico, Austria and Hungary as a company member. She became a principal dancer in 2006 and worked with internationally recognized choreographers Jan Linkens, Cathy Marston, Rafael Bonachela, Carlos Junior Acosta, Samir Akika, Luca Bruni and Kenneth Kvarnstrom. She moved to Chicago in 2008.

Victor Alexander is a native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. He trained at the National Dance School in Havana and was a principal dancer for the National Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba for ten years. He has studied with distinguished teachers such as Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis and Jeffrey Bullock from the United States. Victor has toured and danced throughout Europe, the United States and the Caribbean and has participated in dance festivals such as the American Dance Festival at Duke University, the Holland Dance Festival in Amsterdam and the International Dance Festival in Germany. He was the first prize winner of the Fourth National Union of Writers and Artists Contest in Cuba in 1992. Victor has danced with Luna Negra Dance Theater; CDI/Concert Dance Inc; the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2008. He has also danced with the Houston Grand Opera and was nominated for an Emmy Award as a Dancer (2008) with the Ruth Page Foundation’s production of Billy Sunday. In 2009 Victor toured to China with CDI and taught at the Nanjing Normal University.

Michel Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba and graduated from the National School of Art in 2003. He began dancing as a company member of Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and became a principal dancer in 2006 participating in the International Theater Festival of Havana, Biennale of Venice, Temps D’Images of Dusseldorf, and Sziget Festival in Budapest, performing in England, Mexico and teaching workshops in Spain. He has worked with choreographers Jan Linkens, Kenneth Kvarnstrom, Samir Akika, Cathy Marston, Luca Bruni and Rafael Bonachela. He has performed in Jonathan Meyer’s The Waking Room and recently performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2010. Michel moved to Chicago in 2008.


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