2021-2022 Guest Artists

2021-2022 | Season 16 Guest Artists

Simone Dinnerstein

Simone Dinnerstein is an American pianist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, son and dog, less than a mile from the hospital in which she was born.

Simone has a distinctive musical voice. The Washington Post has called her “an artist of strikingly original ideas and irrefutable integrity.” She first came to wider public attention in 2007 through her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, reflecting an aesthetic that was both deeply rooted in the score and profoundly idiosyncratic. She is, wrote The New York Times, “a unique voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.”

Since that recording, she has had a busy performing career. She has played with orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Rai. She has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Seoul Arts Center and the Sydney Opera House. She has made ten albums, all of which topped the Billboard classical charts, with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Ravel.

This season, Simone takes on a number of new artistic challenges. She gives the world premiere of The Eye Is the First Circle at Montclair State University, the first multi-media production she has conceived, created, and directed, which uses as source materials her father Simon Dinnerstein’s painting The Fulbright Triptych and Charles Ives’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (Concord). In addition, she premieres Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic, a tribute to those affected by the pandemic, in a performance on multiple pianos placed throughout Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. She also joins Renée Fleming, the Emerson String Quartet, and Uma Thurman for performances of André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

From 2020 to 2022, Simone releases a trilogy of albums recorded at her home in Brooklyn during the pandemic. A Character of Quiet (Orange Mountain Music, 2020), featuring the music of Philip Glass and Schubert, was described by NPR as, “music that speaks to a sense of the world slowing down,” and by The New Yorker as, “a reminder that quiet can contain multitudes.” Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic (Supertrain Records, 2021), surpassed two million streams on Apple Music. The final installment in the trilogy, Undersong, will be released in January 2022 on Orange Mountain Music.

In recent years, Simone has created projects that express her broad musical interests. Following her recording of Mozart in Havana, she brought the Havana Lyceum Orchestra from Cuba to the United States for the very first time, raising the funding, booking the concerts, and organizing their housing and transport. Together, Simone and the orchestra played eleven concerts from Miami to Boston. Philip Glass composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 for Simone, co-commissioned by twelve American and Canadian orchestras. She collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to create New Work for Goldberg Variations, which was met with widespread critical acclaim. Working with Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet, she premiered André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at the Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen music festivals. Most recently, she created her own string ensemble, Baroklyn, which she directs from the keyboard. Their performance of Bach’s cantata Ich Habe Genug in March 2020 was the last concert she gave before New York City shut down.

Simone is committed to giving concerts in non-traditional venues and to audiences who don’t often hear classical music. For the last three decades, she has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to the widespread dissemination of classical music. It was for the Piatigorsky Foundation that she gave the first piano recital in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. She has also performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Simone founded Neighborhood Classics in 2009, a concert series open to the public and hosted by New York City Public Schools to raise funds for their music education programs. She also created a program called Bachpacking during which she takes a digital keyboard to elementary school classrooms, helping young children get close to the music she loves. She is a committed supporter and proud alumna of Philadelphia’s Astral Artists, which supports young performers.

Simone counts herself fortunate to have studied with three unique artists: Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin, very different musicians who shared the belief that playing the piano is a means to something greater. The Washington Post comments that “ultimately, it is Dinnerstein’s unreserved identification with every note she plays that makes her performance so spellbinding.” In a world where music is everywhere, she hopes that it can still be transformative.

Caitlin Felsman, mezzo-soprano

Caitlin Felsman, mezzo-soprano, has been praised for her “velvety low register” and “bright, ringing top” [Boston Music Intelligencer]. She is a dynamic, passionate performer, equally at home on the opera stage and in intimate recital venues.

Caitlin made her professional opera debut in November 2011 with Austin Lyric Opera as Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Her recent performances have included the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (NEMPAC), Stephano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Maryland Lyric Opera), Cousin Hebe in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore (Natchez Festival of Music), and Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte (NEMPAC, Opera del West). Caitlin has been a young artist at the Natchez Festival of Music in Mississippi and at Sugar Creek Symphony and Song in Illinois.

Caitlin is a frequent soloist with ensembles in the Greater Boston Area such as the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, the Cambridge Community Chorus, and Tufts University Chorus. She has twice appeared as a soloist at the Monadnock Festival of Music in collaboration with the Harvard Summer Chorus and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Favorite performances have included Corigliano’s Fern Hill, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, the NY premiere of Jose Maria Vitier’s Misa Cubana. 

Caitlin has a great enthusiasm for art song from around the world. In the spring of 2012, she returned to her childhood home to perform as a recitalist and featured soloist at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe. Caitlin received the Espacio Abierto grant from Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, which supported the recital tour Canción/Canção: An Evening of Spanish and Portuguese Song, featuring music from Cuba and Brazil.

Caitlin is the Co-Director of Opera on Tap Boston, whose mission is to bring classical music to non-traditional performance spaces.

Cailin Marcel Manson, baritone

Baritone and conductor Cailin Marcel Manson, a Philadelphia native, has enjoyed an international career as an operatic/concert soloist, conductor, and master teacher with many organizations, including the Radio- Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, SWR Sinfonieorchester, Taipei Philharmonic, Bayerische Staatsoper – Münchner Opernfestspiele, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Teatro La Fenice, Teatro San Carlo, Konservatorium Oslo, and the Conservatoire de Luxembourg.

Mr. Manson has also been a guest cantor and soloist at some of the world’s most famous churches and cathedrals, including Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and La Madeleine in Paris, San Marco in Venice, Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, San Salvatore in Montalcino, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, and Wieskirche in Steingaden.

Mr. Manson has built a sterling reputation over an extensive 20-year career, encompassing both baritone and tenor repertoire, for his exceptional musicianship, keen dramatic instincts, and vocal flexibility. Critics have praised his performances as “arresting” and “revelatory,” making consistent note of his “ringing projection,” “commanding tone,” (MassLive.com), “lively, original acting skills” (Hudson-Housatonic Arts), and his “ability to bring the internal drama of the music to life” (Scranton Times-Tribune).

Mr. Manson has held positions as Music Director of the Vorarlberger Musikfest, Music Director, and Conductor Laureate of the Chamber Symphony of Atlantic City, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra, Chair of Vocal Studies at the Hazleton Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and as Director of Music at The Putney School. He has also served as a member of the faculty of the Vermont Governor’s Institute on the Arts and the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary. Mr. Manson also found and directed the Germantown Institute for the Vocal Arts and the Germantown Concert Chorus. Mr. Manson is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, presenter, panelist, and adjudicator for conventions, conferences, competitions, and music festivals.

Mr. Manson is currently Associate Professor of Practice in Music and Director of Music Performance at Clark University, Music Director of the Bennington County Choral Society and Music Director of Barn Opera in Vermont, and Music Director of The Keene Chorale in New Hampshire.

A recognized advocate for community-based classical music organizations, Mr. Manson serves on the boards of Choral Arts New England, the Wagner in Vermont Festival, and the Gift Passion Purpose Project. He is a member of the Black Opera Alliance, the International Society of Black Musicians, the International Conductors’ Guild, the League of American Orchestras, Opera America, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association of Negro Musicians.

Mr. Manson studied voice performance at Temple University, and opera performance and orchestral conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.

Mark Mummert

Mark Mummert, harpsichord is Cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, MA where he leads the worship music of the congregation, conducts the Trinity Choir, the Trinity Choristers, the Trinity Bells, and is the Artistic Director of the Music at Trinity fine arts series. Mark is also Assistant Director / Accompanist for the Worcester Chorus, directed by Dr. Chris Shepard.

Prior to moving to Massachusetts in 2016, he was the 2015 Distinguished Visiting Cantor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. He was Director of Worship at Houston’s Christ the King Lutheran Church, the home of Bach Society Houston (2008-2015). He was the Seminary Musician at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (1990-2008), where he led the music for the daily chapel, conducted the Seminary Choir, and taught courses in hymnology, liturgical practice, and church music. His many musical compositions for worship are published by Augsburg Fortress.

As an organist, Mark has appeared at the conventions of the Societas Liturgia in Würzburg, Germany, the National conventions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, and the American Guild of Organists (AGO). He served as the Dean of the Worcester Chapter of the AGO (2018-2020). Mark’s recording Reformation Chorales Reformed including organ works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Distler, and Clarke was released in March 2017. 

As a harpsichordist and continuo group performer, Mark served on staff of the Bach Society Houston, playing in seven years all of the major passions and oratorios and many cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Mark performs on his Zeidler & Quagliata harpsichord, built on a Portuguese model.

As a choral conductor, Mark led the Christ the King Lutheran Church Choir tour throughout Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia (2013). His conducting of Arvo Pärt’s Passio in 2016 and the North American premiere of Robert Koolstra’s reconstruction of J. S. Bach’s St. Mark Passion in 2017 in Worcester has been highly praised by his peers. In 2019, Mark produced and served as organist for the New England premiere of James MacMillan’s St. Luke Passion with the Trinity Choir, Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Festival Chorus, and the Worcester Children’s Chorus. In March of 2021, Mark is scheduled to conduct J. S. Bach’s beloved St. Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday with the Trinity Choir and Orchestra.

As a professional singer, Mark has performed with the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, Worcester Chorus, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, the Bach Choir Houston, Houston Chamber Choir, CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) and St. John’s Schola Cantorum. Mark is on the voice faculty at the Hanover Theater and Conservatory for the Performing Arts.

Artistic management for Mark is provided by Seven Eight Artists: www.seveneightartists.com/mark-mummert

Milad Yousufi photo

Milad Yousufi is a pianist, composer, conductor, poet, singer, painter, and calligrapher. Yousufi’s work is deeply inspired by his country and culture. Born in Afghanistan in 1995 during the civil war, he expressed an early interest in playing the piano. It was during this time that music was banned entirely by the Taliban.

After five years, the Taliban rule was lifted, the arts flourished in Afghanistan. Yousufi took advantage of every opportunity to learn and study music and art. By the age of 12, he was teaching painting and attended the one and only music school in Kabul. After three years of formal piano training, Yousufi was one of four students accepted into a music program in Denmark. He was also chosen to represent Afghanistan at various music festivals in The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Germany. He placed third in the International Golden Key competition in Frankfurt, Germany.

Yousufi concentrated on teaching piano, theory, and a music notation program at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music after his return to Afghanistan. In 2011 The Afghan Youth Orchestra was formed. Yousufi was the pianist and then became the first Afghan conductor and arranged music for their performances. In 2013 the Afghan Youth Orchestra made a U.S. tour playing sold-out concerts in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and New England Conservatory, where he performed as a pianist.

Upon moving to the United States, Yousufi was awarded a full scholarship to attend Mannes School of Music as an undergraduate and studied piano with the world-renowned pianist Simone Dinnerstein. Yousufi is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in composition under Dr. Dalit Warshaw’s mentorship at Brooklyn College.

Yousufi’s compositions have been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Refugee Orchestra Project, Kronos Quartet, Music Worcester, the Terezin Music Foundation, Winsor Music, and Worcester Chamber Music Society. His works have premiered in some of the world’s finest concert halls, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Barbican Center in London, and Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Milad Yousufi serves on the board of directors of Musaics of the Bay and The VISION Collective. He is an ambassador for Arium TV and a faculty member at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

Milad Yousufi has a dream to impact the future of music and culture in Afghanistan.