Performing Artists, February 2022

Praised for her musical elegance and passion, soprano Clarice Alfonso (Feb 24) recently made her Chicago Orchestra Hall debut as the soloist in the North American premiere of Jacob TV’s Mountaintop. Recent engagements include Pamina with Northwest Opera in Schools, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Engage Opera, and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 at the Seattle Art Museum. Past feats include Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Northwest Opera in Schools, Sister Genovieffa in Suor Angelica with Puget Sound Concert Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Seattle Operamuse, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with Chicago Chamber Opera, Julia Jellicoe in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Grand Duke, and Silvia in the world premiere of Philip Seward’s Sincerely Yours. An avid singer of not just classical music, Clarice is one of the founders of Forte! Chicago, an all-women’s opera improv ensemble, and frequently performs concerts consisting of art song, jazz, and cabaret.

Brandi Birdsong (guest artist, Feb 25) has participated in the World Music Video Premiere of “DayBirth” by H. Leslie Adams (2021), was a featured vocalist in the 2021 MLK Day Celebration at the California African American Museum; in the Converse short film, “Variations,” directed by Devontè Hynes; and on Corbin Randall’s debut album, “vii”. Awards include: SEP 2nd Place Division Winner (2020), NATS 2nd Place Division Winner (2019). Recipient of the Jane Smith Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship (2019) and the Anna Ludmila Kruzic Music Scholarship (2019). Brandi received her BM from California State University of Fullerton.

Violinist Adrianna Hulscher (Feb 24, 25) began her studies at the age of 6, inspired by a gift from her parents—a record of Mozart’s delightful opera The Magic Flute. She is currently a freelance violinist in the Seattle area, and a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. She developed her musical skills at the New England Conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Adrianna is a member of the St. Helens String Quartet, and has also performed with Seattle Opera and the Seattle Symphony. As a soloist, she has performed Bartok’s 1st violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony and The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams with the Lake Sammamish Symphony. Adrianna lives in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter, Amelia.

Cellist Soohyun Juhn (guest artist, Feb 14), currently based in Seattle, received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of Bion Tsang. She also got a Master’s degree in Cello Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Steven Doane. As a chamber musician, she was selected to perform at the renowned Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as part of the “Conservatory Project Series.” She has participated in the Banff chamber music residency, and she is a finalist of in the MTNA Competition and Arriaga Competition. Also, she has performed in masterclasses with Leon Fleisher, the Gryphon Trio, Peter Serkin, the Juilliard Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet. In Korea, she graduated from Seoul Arts High School and received her Bachelor of Music degree at Yonsei University. She graduated with honors under the guidance of Sung-Won Yang, and performed as a principal cellist in Yonsei Symphony Orchestra. She received first prize at the Seoul Solist Cello Ensemble Competition and third prize at the Korean Chamber Orchestra Competition.

Andrew Kam (Feb 24) received his BM in Music Education from the University of Miami and an MM in Violin Performance from the University of Oregon. Mr. Kam currently serves as the Orchestra Director at Bellevue High School and conductor for the Cadet String Orchestra with Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Kam regularly adjudicates for both small and large ensemble festivals and has served as guest conductor for honors orchestras in the Puget Sound region. As a professional violinist, Mr. Kam is a violinist with Symphony Tacoma. He is one of the recording violinists heard on Kesha’s 2018 Grammy nominated single “Praying,” and has performed on other movie and popular music productions. Each year, Mr. Kam and his wife Angie (violin) tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra during the band’s stops in Seattle and Portland. Mr. Kam is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. He enjoys rock climbing, skiing, cooking, and traveling. Mr. Kam also loves hiking with his dog Burt.

Pianist Dr. Minju Kim (Feb 14, 24, 25), a native of South Korea, has established herself as a versatile soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. Minju has won numerous awards, including the Sidney Wright Accompanying Competition, Korean Music Association Competition, and Korea-Germany Brahms Association Competition. With her avid interest in chamber music, Minju joined Bowdoin International Music Festival and Music Academy of the West as a fellow in collaborative piano. Currently, Minju serves as collaborative pianist at Shoreline Community College, Seattle University, and Northwest Girlchoir, and works with several private studios for instruments and voice. Minju holds degrees in Piano Performance from Seoul National University (B.M.), Indiana University (M.M./P.D.), and University of Texas in Austin (D.M.A), and in Collaborative Piano from New England Conservatory (M.M.).

Joan Lundquist (Feb 19, 24, 25) has served as a collaborative pianist for Seattle area musicians and organizations for 30 years. Since moving to the area from Humboldt State University in northern California, where she was staff accompanist, Joan has worked with the Northwest Boychoir, Seattle Choral Company, has taught at Seattle University and Northwest University, and has worked with several area private music teachers. Currently, Ms. Lundquist is the Director of Music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle and rehearsal accompanist for the Seattle Choral Company.

Johanna Mastenbrook (Feb 14) holds a B.A. degree in Piano Performance from the University of Washington, graduating in 1950. She studied with the eminent Berthe Poncy Jacobson, with continued study in her master class for many years. She specializes in chamber music and accompanying, working with countless singers, instrumentalists, and choruses for over 70 years. Her chamber music concerts included series at the Seattle Concert Theatre, the Seattle Art Museum, and Seattle Symphony from 1974 through the ‘80s. She joined Ladies Musical Club in 1948 and has performed at many of their recitals throughout her long career.

Karin McCullough (Feb 17, 19, 24, 25) took the less-traveled road to a music career. A serious pianist while growing up in Illinois, she suppressed her aspirations and instead became a paralegal. One day she was asked to accompany opera singers at a Fremont Bistro—a weekly engagement lasting 5 years. By then her popularity as an accompanist, soloist and piano teacher let her trade her life as a paralegal for that of a full-time musician. Karin is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano. Karin maintains a flourishing piano studio in Ballard and performs frequently in the Seattle area. She is an active volunteer and member of Seattle Music Teachers Association (SMTA), Principal Organizer for the local chapter of Bach in the Subways, of which she is on the Board of Directors, and has served on the boards of SMTA and Musical Experiences, a nonprofit classical music education organization. Karin is the pianist for Third Church of Christ, Scientist, and is the former program Director for Haller Lake Music Series, a neighborhood classical music series featuring local musicians in recital.

Ibidunni Ojikutu (guest artist, Feb 24, 25) made her Seattle Opera debut as Strawberry Woman in their 2011 production of Porgy and Bess. “Opera News” said of her performance, “Ibidunni Ojikutu’s turn as Strawberry Woman was as charming as the lilt in her voice.” A recipient of the 2017 Seattle Opera Guild Training Grant, Ms. Ojikutu is a teaching artist in Seattle Opera’s Community Education and Engagement division. As a teaching artist, she is currently appearing in The Three Feathers as Princess Tilda/The Frog Prince. Career highlights include a concert at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center with Grammy Award winning baritone, Charles Wesley Evans, Much Ado About Music—A SOG Concert at Soma, Summertime—The SOG Porgy Preview and Strawberry Woman/Serena cover in Seattle Opera’s 2018 production of Porgy and Bess. She was a special guest performer for the Mahler Festival’s Women Composer fundraising concert in which she performed the work of Florence Price. Ms. Ojikutu is a current member of the Seattle Opera Chorus.

Valentina Rodov (Feb 14) was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and received her music education as a concert pianist from the famous Moscow Conservatory. She performed solo and in chamber groups prior to emigrating to the United States. Once in the U.S., Valentina decided to become a lawyer, which she successfully accomplished upon graduating from law school in Los Angeles and passing the California Bar. Valentina practiced law as business litigator in Southern California for over twenty years until she and her husband moved to Seattle. With great support and encouragement from the Seattle music community, Valentina came back to piano playing, and soon became a frequent and critically acclaimed recitalist and chamber music performer at various venues in the Seattle area.

Praised for his ringing voice and easy stage presence, Korland Simmons (guest artist, Feb 25) is quickly making a name for himself. A social justice advocate, Korland has been actively engaged in music that speaks for those who have no voice. In 2015 he joined a group of black male artists for an evening of music, poetry and prose at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York). This Freedom Concert, a response to the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and countless others, benefitted the ACLU and included a brief performance on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Korland’s socially aware performances continued in 2016 and 2017 with Chorosynthesis Singers’ (Seattle) Empowering Silenced Voices and two more installments in the growing Freedom Concert series (2016 – Trinity Wall Street and 2017 – Holy Trinity Lutheran Church). As a budding opera performer, he has continued to add new roles to his repertoire. In the past two years his operatic role debuts have included: Don Basilio/Don Curzio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mendoza (Hiram Titus’ Rosina), and Mime (Das Rheingold). Korland’s previous operatic roles include Remus (Treemonisha), Remendado (Carmen), Eduardo Milfort (La Cambiale Matrimonio) and Mayor Upfold (Albert Herring). A frequent interpreter of new works, he premiered Shawn Jaeger’s The Generals, Richard Webster’s Empathy, and sang the role of Conrad in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Goose Girl. His oratorio credits include the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bach’s Magnificat in D. Korland is a native of Little Rock, AR and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Duke University. He continued his vocal studies at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of George Shirley. He currently studies with Neil Semer.

Mezzo-soprano Katie Stevenson (Feb 14, 19) has recently performed with Pacific Northwest Opera as Flora in La Traviata. She has also been seen performing art songs and arias in livestream concerts with the Ladies Musical Club and Epiphany Parish of Seattle’s “Music in Our Community” concert series. Since moving to Seattle she has performed roles and concerts with the Seattle Opera Guild, Puget Sound Concert Opera, N.O.I.S.E., and Seattle Modern Opera Company. While living in NYC Katie worked with Dicapo Opera, Amato Opera, and Riverside Opera performing roles such as Romeo in I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, and Henrichetta in I Puritani. In Philadelphia she performed the title role in Carmen and as Emilia in Otello. While living in Europe, she performed in concerts and festivals in Germany, Ireland, and England. In addition to performing, Katie teaches piano and voice lessons in the Seattle area.