Folxtales - Cast/Creative 
BIOGRAPHIES

FOLXTALES DIRECTORS

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Sarah Kaufold, Music Director

Sarah Kaufold is a conductor, singer, and music educator who strives to interweave the teaching of vocal pedagogy into the choral experience and exploring the role of social justice in choral music.  Sarah has directed choirs for singers of all ages, range of abilities, and in a number of settings, which include: church choral programs for children and adults, teaching middle and high school, collegiate choirs, adult community programs, and at the professional level.  As Founding and Artistic Director of Consonare Choral Community, a nonprofit organization working to build community through choral music in Connecticut, she directs Voices of Concinnity, Choir Matrix, and Consonare Community Choir, in addition to serving as Executive Director of the organization.  Sarah holds a M.M. in Choral Conducting from UConn with extensive graduate study in choral conducting from Cal State University, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Psychology from Cal Poly Pomona.  She currently sings with two professional chamber choirs, Collegium Ancora and Alchemy, and is the recipient of CT Artist Responds Grant for 2020 and 2021. Conducting operas for Hartford Opera Theater’s productions is always a joy and career highlight. Although music is her passion, she loves photography, traveling, and hiking with her family. 

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Michelle Ong-Hendrick, Stage Director

Michelle Ong-Hendrick has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity College teaching acting in the Theater and Dance department since 2007. From 2012- 2018 she was the Stage Director for UCONN Opera, directing over ten operas including Albert Herring, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Hansel and Gretel, L’elisir d’amore, H.M.S. Pinafore, Die Fledermaus, Cendrillon, Suor Angelica, Le Nozze di Figaro, Bessie and Ma, Dido and Aeneas. She has also directed La Traviata for Pan Opera, Mr. Burns for The University of Massachusetts, Romeo and Juliet and Eurydice for Trinity College. Michelle was a member of Hartford Stage Company from 1998-2012 seen each year as Belle in A Christmas Carol directed by Michael Wilson. Formerly a championship figure skater ranked third in New England and 6th on the East Coast. Michelle is a member of AEA and graduated with an MFA in Acting from the University of Chapel Hill, Professional Acting Training Program.

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Composer, Ellen Gilson Voth

A resident of West Hartford, Dr. Ellen Gilson Voth is widely recognized for her work as both conductor and composer.

Her leadership of the Farmington Valley Chorale, since 2007, has led to performances ranging from Handel's Esther to Mendelssohn's Elijah to Corigliano's Fern Hill, and fostered collaborations with a wide range of arts organizations in the region. For seven years she also served as Artistic Director of Novi Cantori, a professional chamber choir of greater Springfield, MA. In past years she has served on the faculty at Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, CT); Westfield State University (Westfield, MA); Western New England University (Springfield, MA); Gordon College (Wenham, MA); and Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY). Active as a guest conductor and adjudicator, she sings regularly with CONCORA, and performs frequently as a pianist and organist.

As a composer, Voth’s compositions and arrangements are published by ECS Publishing, Oxford University Press, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Colla Voce, and Graphite Publishing, and have been premiered or commissioned by many professional and amateur choirs. Voth was the winner of the 2022 ACDA Pearl Prize, for "Standing Tall"; the 2022 co-winner of the Robert Campbell Endowed Composition Prize at Ithaca College, for "I had no time to hate"; the 2020 Cincinnati Camerata Composition Prize, for "Above gravity"; a finalist in the 2020 ACDA Brock competition for professional composers for her nationally recognized work, "Across the empty square"; and the 2020 winner of the Michigan Choral Commission Consortium, for "Seeing the same stars". Her opera Owl Moon, based on Jane Yolen’s award-winning book, was premiered by Hartford Opera Theater in 2015 and later featured at the national Music by Women festival (Columbus, MS) in 2018. Her wide-ranging interest in poetry is reflected in her art song settings - including "As night and morning meet", on the album Every Tiny Thing, released by Albany Records in 2020.

Voth received her doctoral degree (DMA) from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, her MM degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and her BME from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. 

To learn more about Ellen and her music, visit her website: www.ellengilsonvoth.net

OWL MOON
COMPOSER & LIBRETTIST

 

OWL MOON PRODUCTION AND PERFORMERS

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Jessica Rost, The Girl

Jessica Rost is a classically trained soprano and voice teacher. She has sung throughout Italy and France, as well as with the Boston Early Music Festival, Madison Lyric Stage, Opera Connecticut, Hartford Opera Theater, and Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In one of her favorite concerts, Jessica performed excerpts from Roméo et Juliette (Juliette), Rigoletto (Gilda), Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia), and La Traviata (Violetta) with pianist Stephen Scarlato. Most recently, Jessica sang the Dew Fairy/Gretel (cover) in Hansel and Gretel with Madison Lyric Stage, as well as a scene as Micaëla (Carmen) with Opera Connecticut at the historic Hill-Stead Museum.  When she’s not singing opera, Jessica greatly enjoys singing her favorite Disney and Broadway showtunes, as well as cantoring and assistant directing the children’s choir at the Church of St. Timothy in West Hartford.  Jessica is a graduate of New England Conservatory (BM) and The Hartt School (MM).

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Thomas Woodman, The Father

American Baritone Thomas Woodman’s unique versatility in opera, orchestra and recital repertoire has helped him enjoy a varied and successful career throughout North America and Europe. Highlights of Woodman’s career include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera. Woodman's European engagements include performances with Opera de St. Etienne, Opera Nice, Deustche Oper am Rhein-Duisberg and Theater Hagen, Theater Augsburg am Roten Tor; and further performances as resident baritone with the Staatstheater Darmstadt to include such roles as Marcello, Guglielmo, Harlekin, Rodrigo in Don Carlos, Dandini in La Cenerentola and Ravenal in Showboat. Recent performances include Scarpia in Verdi’s Tosca with Chelsea Opera and the bass solos in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Schubert’s Mass in G with the Festival Chorus at First Congregational Church of Old Greenwich. He has also recently undertaken the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Amarillo Opera and appeared in performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Norwalk Symphony, the Fairfield County Chorale, First Church Congregational Old Greenwich and the Stratford Congregational Church; and also in performances of the Duruflé and Fauré Requiems with the Connecticut Chamber Choir. Other recent performances include the Mozart Requiem with the American Classical Orchestra, the Fairfield County Chorale and Kingston Chorale (UK), and Mahler’s 8th Symphony at Carnegie Hall with the Canterbury Chorale. In addition, he performed at Lincoln Center with the Little Orchestra Society’s presentation of Amahl and the Night Visitors.  Mr. Woodman also sang Mahler's 8th Symphony with the Orchestra National de Lyons. In the United States he has appeared with the opera companies of Austin and Fort Worth (Texas), Hawaii, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina, Anchorage, Mobile, Buffalo as well as Triangle Opera (North Carolina and Wildwood Opera (Arkansas) and Opera North (New Hampshire). 

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Gonzalo Cortes, Flute

A native of Chile was formerly Principal Flute of the Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Chile. He studied with Alberto Harms at the Catholic University of Chile and earned an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University with Robert Langevin, Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic, as his teacher. As a soloist and orchestral musician, he has toured South America and the USA with different ensembles such as the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile, Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Chorus Angelicus and
Gaudeamus, UCONN Opera Orchestra and the Symphony of South East Texas.


He has performed at numerous festivals and venues such as the Orford Arts Centre's Academy of Music in Canada, Primer Festival Internacional de Flauta in Rio de Janeiro, the Western Slope Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar, Chile, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT, The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts among others. In addition to Mr. Cortés' classical training pursuit, he is a proponent of World Music, particularly flutes from around the world. He has recorded with the internationally acclaimed Chilean folk group Inti-Illimani as well as the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC for the Naxos label. In 2006, Gonzalo released his CD, Valle, featuring an amazing collection of original music composed and performed by him. He is also a skillful improviser, he has explored other musical genres such as flamenco and Latin jazz.


Currently, he teaches flute at Trinity College, the Community School of the Arts at the Mansfield Parks and Recreation, Miss Porter’s School and the Jazz and Popular Music sector at Hartt Community Division. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Hartford Flute Ensemble, Atacama Ensemble and a member of Kalmia Ensemble and Blue Madeiras.

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Sena Hornby, Harp

Described by the Connecticut Critics Circle as having “exquisite musicianship,” harpist Sena Hornby has been committed to spreading her beautiful sound throughout the New England area. Based in Connecticut, she has performed from an early age, expanding her repertoire from early baroque all the way to the avant-garde works of today. As a soloist, Ms. Hornby was a finalist for the Anne Adams Awards in 2012 and has served to accompany several choirs, such as the Trinity Boys Choir. She regularly plays for private events such as weddings and parties. As an orchestral harpist, Ms. Hornby has the privilege of serving as the principal harpist for the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra as well as the Connecticut Lyric Opera. In the past she has graced such venues as Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, and has participated in multiple world premieres of new works, such as the musical A Connecticut Christmas Carol with Goodspeed Musicals.

Ms. Hornby’s passion lies with musicals and operas, loving nothing more than to contribute to the majesty of the stage.

She has recently appeared at the Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre and the Ivoryton Playhouse, with an upcoming performance at Waveny Park’s Powerhouse Theatre in September. As a teenager, Ms. Hornby had the honor of attending the Interlochen Arts Camp. In the following years, she received her Bachelor of Music in 2011 at the University of Connecticut as an Honors Scholar and her Master of Music in 2013 at The Boston Conservatory.

THE GREEN CHILD

COMPOSER AND LIBRETTIST

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Ashi Day’s vocally-driven works explore the intersections between music and theater; strategic humor and absurdity; and the interplay between the experiences of performers, audiences, and the canon. She also writes a lot of songs about animals.

 

Her two short mono-operas, For Whom the Dog Tolls and The Green Child, intentionally provide sopranos with the rare opportunity to be playful and victorious for most of the plot, while subtly exploring who is allowed to move freely through the world. She received a 2022 Opera America Discovery Grant for Women Composers award to develop her third opera, Waking the Witch, a one-act piece for countertenor and Pierrot ensemble in which the audience is investigated for suspected sorcery. Her art songs, choral pieces, and theatrical works have been commissioned or performed by Artifice, Whistling Hens, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Calliope’s Call, N.E.O. Voice Festival, Capital Fringe, American University, Washington State University, Denison TUTTI, StageFree, District New Music Coalition, and more.

 

Ashi is a 2021 DC Arts and Humanities Fellow. A former elementary school music teacher, she now manages several education programs for the Kennedy Center and the Washington National Opera.

 

To learn more about Ashi and her music, visit her website: ashi-day.com

Composer & Librettist, Ashi Day

THE GREEN CHILD PRODUCTION AND PERFORMERS 
 

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Olivia Wallace, The Village Girl

Olivia Wallace is a coloratura soprano with her M.M. in voice performance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford and her B.A. from Carthage College. Wallace is a native of Canton, MI, currently residing in Hartford, CT where she is an active performer. Her favorite role that she's performed is Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, which closed just two weeks ago in Hartford at the Bushnell with Connecticut Lyric Opera. Her most recent roles include Laura in Having Guests for Dinner by Nicholas Bentz, premiered live in-person for Hartford Opera Theater’s 11th annual New in November festival, Rosalinda in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Caterina in Biennale by Paul Richards. She also had the opportunity to cover the role of Nanetta in Falstaff by Verdi for the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia.

 

In addition to opera performances, Wallace worships at her church Calvary Fellowship in West Hartford, CT, as well as consulting as musical director for Farmington Public Schools. She teaches privately with Falcetti Music in Simsbury, CT - inquiries for teaching and consulting opportunities can be sent to oliviawallace43@gmail.com.

 

Wallace’s next Hartford performance is scheduled for August as the soprano soloist for J.S. Bach’s Magnificat with Connecticut Virtuosi.

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Alexander Kollias, Clarinet / Voice of The Green Child

Alexander S. Kollias is a clarinetist devoted to exploring the multitude of characters within the clarinet voice. As a chamber musician, he is the principal clarinetist with the Hartford Independent chamber Orchestra (HICO), as well as a founding member of Kalmia Ensemble. On multiple occasions he was a featured guest soloist with the string ensemble, Cuatro Puntos. He is a founding member of the traditional jazz ensemble, French 75, and the jazz trio Blue Madeiras. He performs regularly with the Juniper Hill Jumpers and Corinthian Jazz Band. Kollias is a founding member of HuaTian Ave, a trio of musicians dedicated to creating a new wave of unispherical jazz. Each member brings a unique voice (guzheng, clarinet, and guitar), rooted in their own cultures, by melding jazz, klezmer, and Chinese music traditions.

 

Kollias recorded on two previously released CDs with the GVSU New Music Ensemble, Music for 18 Musicians and In C Remixed, both receiving much critical acclaim. He premiered multiple works by composers such as Susan Botti, David MacBride, Jessica Rudman, Thomas Schuttenhelm, and Ken Steen.

 

Kollias has a continuous commitment to pedagogy. He is on faculty at The Hartt School Community Division, The Hotchkiss School, Miss Porter’s School, and Holyoke Community College. His pupils are competitive at the district and state levels, and many continue to study music at the collegiate level.

Kollias holds both a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA 2018) and a Master of Music (MM 2013) degree from The Hartt School, where he studied with Ayako Oshima.

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Alexa Kettledon, The Green Child

Alexa Kettledon is eight and half years old and in third grade at Aiken School in West Hartford.  Alexa studies Suzuki violin with Christie Felsing at the Hartt Community Division, and piano with Martha Child.  She also plays softball on her West Hartford softball team, the Rays, and takes ice skating and gymnastics classes.  Most of all Alexa loves to spend time with her family, especially her younger sister Sydney.  

STARSONG

COMPOSER AND LIBRETTIST

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Elliot Yokum (b. 1996) is an Armenian-American composer and sound designer. Elliot's artistic practice currently investigates the intersection of music, performance, and intimacy. Their music has been performed and recorded by Hartford Opera Theater, Compos-It Opera Company, Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Carpe Diem String Quartet, and Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. Elliot holds an MFA in Sound Design from the CalArts School of Theater and a BFA in Music Composition from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music.

 

To learn more about Elliot and their music, visit their website: elliotyokum.com

Composer, Elliot Yokum

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Librettist, Sarah Florence Barker

Sarah Florence Barker is a writer, poet, and classically trained soprano. Having recently completed her BFA in Vocal Performance at Carnegie Mellon University, with a minor in Creative Writing, Barker is now working on her MM in Voice at Mannes School of Music and searching for the next big idea. A native of Carroll County, Maryland, Barker has been enamored with music and storytelling since early childhood. She began formal voice study at age 13 and quickly became enamored with classical styles of music. She began writing far earlier, using the art of poetry and short story to depict the beauty and mystique she saw in the world around her. But then, of course, she discovered fantasy and took a sidetrack to work on writing the same high fantasy series for nine years running... watch for Feilan hitting bookshelves in 2029, if we’re lucky! She first began to combine the art forms during her undergrad, creating a song cycle titled ‘DAWN’ out of old poetry from high school for her senior recital. Starsong is her first real libretto.

STARSONG

PRODUCTION AND PERFORMERS

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The Girl, Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson happily returns to Hartford Opera Theater for Folxtales, having previously appeared as Laurie in The Tender Land, Alexa in Secret Life of Siri (NIN 11), Girl in Starsong (NIN 10), and Holly in Rapture (NIN 7). Recent performance highlights include An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein with New Haven Symphony Orchestra Pops and Sarah in Ragtime with Brief Cameo Productions at the Ivoryton Playhouse. She will soon be seen in Salt Marsh Opera’s annual Opera at the Lighthouse and as Micaëla in La Passion de Carmen with Opera Theater of Connecticut. Lisa has sung with opera companies and orchestras across the U.S. including Washington National Opera, Portland Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Missoula Symphony, and Hartford Symphony, and was previously the vocal soloist with the United States Coast Guard Band. She holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, Yale School of Music, and UConn. 

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The Star, Nadia Aguilar-Steinberg

Nadia Aguilar-Steinberg is a soprano born in Torreon, Mexico. Ms. Aguilar-Steinberg started her voice studies at

the School of Music and Dance in Monterrey, Mexico. She has a Bachelor’s degree from The Hartt School and a Master’s degree from The University of Connecticut. Her operatic roles include Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Mrs. Fiorentino in Kurt Weill's Street Scene, The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Gretel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, and Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme. Nadia has a broad oratorio repertoire including Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat.

Nadia is a current DMA student at the University of Connecticut, where she holds a Teaching Assistantship. Fun fact: She performed the national anthem during president Biden’s visit to UConn in October, 2021.

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Kathleen Callahan-Hardman, The Mother

Kathleen Callahan-Hardman is a lyric soprano who enjoys a career performing opera, oratorio and song repertoire. Most recently Kathleen sang the role of Mother in “Star Song” as part of HOT’S NIN in 2019 and  Violetta in Panopera’s “La Traviata” in Northampton, Ma. Some of Kate’s other roles include Mary Todd Lincoln in Richard Chiarappa’s “Lincoln and Booth”,  Mimi in “La Boheme”, Cio Cio San in “Madama Butterfly” and  the Marschallin in “Der Rosenkavalier”.  Kate has sung with the  Santa Fe, Harrisburg, CT Lyric, CT Grand Opera, Opera Maine, Longview, Aspen and Juilliard Operas. Active in concert rep, Kate has sung with the Tucker Foundation, Met Opera Guild, Vallis Musicae, New Haven and West Hartford Symphonies, Garmony Foundation, Mid America at Carnegie Hall and at  Hofkirche St. Leorgard in Lucerne.  Kate has presented song recitals at the Woodstock Fringe and Marlboro Music Festivals, the Ferris-Burtis Foundation and the Wood Library. Kate’s awards include Top Prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation, winner of the  Jenny Lind and Paul Robeson Competitions and  2nd place winner, NY Region Met Council auditions. Kathleen has a BM from Eastman, an MM from Juilliard and did apprenticeships with Santa Fe Opera, Aspen and Marlboro Music Festivals. Kate lives in CT with her husband Ray Hardman and their 2 amazing boys, Ben and Jack, where she teachers voice privately. She is cantor and section leader at St. Brigid’s Church in West Hartford, CT.  

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Gonzalo Cortes, Flute

A native of Chile was formerly Principal Flute of the Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Chile. He studied with Alberto Harms at the Catholic University of Chile and earned an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University with Robert Langevin, Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic, as his teacher. As a soloist and orchestral musician, he has toured South America and the USA with different ensembles such as the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile, Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Chorus Angelicus and
Gaudeamus, UCONN Opera Orchestra and the Symphony of South East Texas.


He has performed at numerous festivals and venues such as the Orford Arts Centre's Academy of Music in Canada, Primer Festival Internacional de Flauta in Rio de Janeiro, the Western Slope Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar, Chile, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT, The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts among others. In addition to Mr. Cortés' classical training pursuit, he is a proponent of World Music, particularly flutes from around the world. He has recorded with the internationally acclaimed Chilean folk group Inti-Illimani as well as the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC for the Naxos label. In 2006, Gonzalo released his CD, Valle, featuring an amazing collection of original music composed and performed by him. He is also a skillful improviser, he has explored other musical genres such as flamenco and Latin jazz.


Currently, he teaches flute at Trinity College, the Community School of the Arts at the Mansfield Parks and Recreation, Miss Porter’s School and the Jazz and Popular Music sector at Hartt Community Division. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Hartford Flute Ensemble, Atacama Ensemble and a member of Kalmia Ensemble and Blue Madeiras.

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Alexander Kollias, Clarinet

Alexander S. Kollias is a clarinetist devoted to exploring the multitude of characters within the clarinet voice. As a chamber musician, he is the principal clarinetist with the Hartford Independent chamber Orchestra (HICO), as well as a founding member of Kalmia Ensemble. On multiple occasions he was a featured guest soloist with the string ensemble, Cuatro Puntos. He is a founding member of the traditional jazz ensemble, French 75, and the jazz trio Blue Madeiras. He performs regularly with the Juniper Hill Jumpers and Corinthian Jazz Band. Kollias is a founding member of HuaTian Ave, a trio of musicians dedicated to creating a new wave of unispherical jazz. Each member brings a unique voice (guzheng, clarinet, and guitar), rooted in their own cultures, by melding jazz, klezmer, and Chinese music traditions.

 

Kollias recorded on two previously released CDs with the GVSU New Music Ensemble, Music for 18 Musicians and In C Remixed, both receiving much critical acclaim. He premiered multiple works by composers such as Susan Botti, David MacBride, Jessica Rudman, Thomas Schuttenhelm, and Ken Steen.

 

Kollias has a continuous commitment to pedagogy. He is on faculty at The Hartt School Community Division, The Hotchkiss School, Miss Porter’s School, and Holyoke Community College. His pupils are competitive at the district and state levels, and many continue to study music at the collegiate level.

Kollias holds both a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA 2018) and a Master of Music (MM 2013) degree from The Hartt School, where he studied with Ayako Oshima.

 

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Sena Hornby, Harp

Described by the Connecticut Critics Circle as having “exquisite musicianship,” harpist Sena Hornby has been committed to spreading her beautiful sound throughout the New England area. Based in Connecticut, she has performed from an early age, expanding her repertoire from early baroque all the way to the avant-garde works of today. As a soloist, Ms. Hornby was a finalist for the Anne Adams Awards in 2012 and has served to accompany several choirs, such as the Trinity Boys Choir. She regularly plays for private events such as weddings and parties.

As an orchestral harpist, Ms. Hornby has the privilege of serving as the principal harpist for the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra as well as the Connecticut Lyric Opera. In the past she has graced such venues as Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, and has participated in multiple world premieres of new works, such as the musical A Connecticut Christmas Carol with Goodspeed Musicals. Ms. Hornby’s passion lies with musicals and operas, loving nothing more than to contribute to the majesty of the stage. She has recently appeared at the Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre and the Ivoryton Playhouse, with an upcoming performance at Waveny Park’s Powerhouse Theatre in September.

As a teenager, Ms. Hornby had the honor of attending the Interlochen Arts Camp. In the following years, she received her Bachelor of Music in 2011 at the University of Connecticut as an Honors Scholar and her Master of Music in 2013 at The Boston Conservatory.