Cynthia Elkins, GPD1
Cynthia Elkins, mezzo soprano, is a native of Amherst, Virginia. She completed her BM in vocal performance at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and has undertaken graduate studies in Voice at the University of Maryland College Park, and currently is a first year GPD candidate in Voice at Peabody. Ms. Elkins has appeared in operas, operettas, and musical theatre since beginning her musical endeavors in high school as Mother Superior in The Sound of Music, and Nancy in Oliver. While at Cincinnati, she performed the roles of Antonia’s Mother in The Tales of Hoffman and Vera in The Consul, which won the National Opera Association’s Award for Best Opera under the direction of Sally Stunkel. During the summer, Cynthia enjoyed roles with the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, Massachusetts, as Dame Carruthers, in Yeomen of the Guard, First Bridesmaid, in Trial by Jury, and Mother Burnside in Mame, and, with the Brevard Music Center Opera, in NC, Cynthia was Katisha in The Mikado. Locally, Cynthia has performed the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto, with the Baltimore/ Washington Metropolitan Repertory Opera Company, and will be seen as The Prioress in The Dialogue of the Carmelites November 15th and 17th 2013 at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric with Peabody this Fall. In addition to performing roles, Cynthia has given recitals and appeared in concerts in the greater DC/ Baltimore area as well as in Terrytown, NY. Cynthia currently studies voice with Marianna Busching.
Kristina Gaschel, MM2
“Displaying a powerful and thrilling voice”, soprano Kristina Gaschel is a dynamic and versatile performer, championing both the American music of her present, and the Eastern European traditions of her family past. Recently, she performed the role of the bride, Milica, in the United States premiere of Svadba-Wedding, an a capella Serbian opera by Ana Sokolović.
Kristina has performed along the east coast, most recently featured on the Thursday Noon Recital Series at Peabody Conservatory, performing contemporary American art songs. This season, Kristina will perform the role of Gretel in the Peabody Opera Outreach production of Hansel and Gretel. This fall, she was the winner of the 2013 NYSMTA Empire Competition. As an ensemble singer, Kristina has performed all over the world, touring throughout Europe with American Music Abroad and China with the Crane Touring Choir. Proud of her Estonian heritage, Kristina is excited to share the stage with 25,000 singers this summer at the 2014 Laulupidu [Song Celebration] in Tallinn.
Kristina graduated summa cum laude from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory, studying under Marianna Busching.
Megan Heavner, BM3
A native of Baltimore Maryland, Mezzo Soprano Megan Heavner is currently a sophomore attending the Peabody Conservatory of music. Megan was a distinguished scholar nominee in the state of Maryland and received superior rankings three years in a row at the Maryland Solo and Ensemble festival. Performing internationally since the age of 15, Megan was selected as soloist in Concert Soloists program at the International Lyric Academy of Rome and Viterbo. As one of the youngest artists ever to attend, Megan performed the alto role in the Pergolesi Stabat Mater and was featured in the program’s prestigious Concert tour. Megan has also attended the Washington National Opera Institute and was a selected soloist for the Sanford Concert Series “Sounds of Tomorrow” concert program. At Peabody, Megan performed the role of Susanna Walcott in Peabody’s production of “The Crucible” her freshman year and is studying with Marianna Bushing. Recently Megan attended the Amalfi Coast Music festival in Maiori Italy where she performed the role of Third Spirit in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” and was a soloist in their Arie d’Opera concert, New Festival Voices concert and the Canzone d’Amore concert. When Megan is not performing she enjoys Disney movies, vintage fashion, and baking.
Kathleen Schmidt, MM1
Kathleen Schmidt is in her first year as an early music graduate student in the voice studio of Marianna Busching at the Peabody Conservatory. Since graduating from the Colorado College in 2006, Ms. Schmidt has been an active professional performer of sacred music. Most recently, she was chosen to be the cantor for the annual Chrism Mass for the Archdiocese of Denver, leading sung worship for attending priests and bishops from all over the region. She was also chosen to perform for the Installation of His Excellency Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver in the summer of 2012. She has been an apprentice and private student to the resident conductor for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Scott O’Neil, since 2008. Before entering Ms. Busching’s studio, she studied under acclaimed baritone Robert Gardner. In 2006, she appeared as Jenny in Colorado College’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”. She was a participant of the Vocal Arts Symposium of Opera Theatre of the Rockies in 2005, where she appeared in several productions including “The Music Man” and “Quilters”. Ms. Schmidt specializes in early music and sacred music, holds a Bachelor’s degree in medieval history from the Colorado College, and is also an experienced performer of early instruments including Renaissance and Baroque recorder.