Schwab Vocal Rising Stars
Sunday March 11 3:00pm

Schwab Vocal Rising Stars

From Lute Song to the Beatles: Songs of the British Isles

$15, $35 Free tickets for students 18 and under!


Join us as we travel the British Isles! Artistic Director Steven Blier selects four young voices and a pianist for a week-long residency which includes daily coaching, rehearsals, and workshops, culminating in a Music Room performance to bring these songs to life. Assisted by Michael Barrett, Associate Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), and developed in conjunction with NYFOS, this bracing survey of British song will offer four centuries of musical elegance, razor-sharp wit, and refined sentiment.

Schwab Vocal Rising Stars

Madison Leonard, soprano
Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano
Matthew Pearce, tenor
Greg Feldmann, baritone
Adam Rothenberg, piano


Steven Blier, Artistic Director of Schwab Vocal Rising Stars, coach, piano, arrangements
Michael Barrett, coach and piano


Purcell Sound the Trumpet
Campion Beauty, Since You So Much Desire
Storace Be Mine, Tender Passion
Thomas Linley the elder Think Not, My Love
Sullivan If We’re Weak Enough to Tarry
Elgar Where Corals Lie
Vaughan Williams Rolling in the Dew
Parry No Longer Mourn for Me
Warlock My Own Country
Bennett Come Live With Me
— Intermission —
Finzi It was a lover and his lass
Bantock Song to the Seals
Bridge Goldenhair
Bridge Dweller in My Deathless Dreams
Quilter The Bracelet
Britten Midnight on the Great Western
Dove Between your sheets you soundly sleep
Lennon / McCartney Ticket to Ride
Dankworth Shall I Compare Thee…
Coward Alice Is At It Again

Learn more about Schwab Vocal Rising Stars and view a list of program alumni.

Schwab Vocal Rising Stars

Madison Leonard, soprano

Rising soprano Madison Leonard joined Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz young artist program for the 2017-2018 season to sing High Priestess in Aida, The Rose in Portman’s The Little Prince, and Morgana for the young artist performance of Alcina. Additionally, she premiered the role of Little Zegner Daughter in Missy Mazzoli’s new opera, Proving Up as a part of the American Opera Initiative Festival. She also returned to the Florida Orchestra for Orff’s Carmina Burana and joined Dallas Opera for its production of Korngold’s Der Ring des Polykrates. Next season, she will debut at Seattle Opera singing Chrisann in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and Frasquita in Carmen.

In the summer of 2017, she performed at Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Young Artist and sang Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the National Orchestral Institute as well as Madeline in Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher and the Daughter in Glass’ The Juniper Tree. She is a 2017 second place winner of the Northwest region for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and first place winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition.


Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano

Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano, recently graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she is currently studying with William McGraw in pursuit of an Artist Diploma. Following her studies this year, Decker will join the ensemble of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their 2018-2019 season. The 2017-2018 season includes two title role debuts for Decker; La Cenerentola with Queen City Opera, and Ariodante with CCM Opera. During her time in Cincinnati, Decker has sung the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen, Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon, and Idamante in Idomeneo with CCM Opera. In addition, she has sung the role of Peggy with Cincinnati Opera’s, Opera Fusion workshop of Shalimar the Clown, and the Fox in Cincinnati Chamber Opera’s production of The Little Prince.

In past summers, Decker has been a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Utah Festival Opera. In 2015 she was not only a participant in the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy, but also she was one of four young singers in the first Joyce Didonato Masterclass Series at Carnegie Hall, which was streamed live on Decker has been the recipient of several awards including a MacDowell Society Grant, first place in the Three Arts Scholarship Fund Competition, second place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Great Lakes Region, and the Corbett Award in the CCM Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition. In 2015 she graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she studied with Marlene Rosen and Timothy LeFebvre.


Matthew Pearce, tenor

Tenor Matthew Pearce from Union, Kentucky is a first year Master’s Degree student in Voice at the Juilliard School where he studies with Ms. Marlena Malas. This past fall, Mr. Pearce performed La théière in Juilliard’s production of L’Enfant et les Sortilege and performed in the Juilliard Cabaret. In the spring Mr. Pearce has made appearances in The New York Festival of Song under the direction of Steven Blier and in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor as Spärlich. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Mr. Pearce attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School where he performed as Gastone in La Traviata and Le petit vielliard in L’enfant et les Sortileges.

Prior to his studies at Juilliard, Mr. Pearce attended the University of Kentucky where he studied under Dr. Everett McCorvey. While at the University of Kentucky, Mr. Pearce appeared in productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors (Kaspar), Tales of Hoffmann (Nathanaël), and Ragtime (J.P. Morgan) to name a few. Mr. Pearce also performed regularly with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist.


Greg Feldmann, baritone

Baritone Gregory Feldmann, of York, Pennsylvania, is pursuing a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School, under the guidance of Sanford Sylvan. With Juilliard Opera, Feldmann performed the role of Ananias in Britten’s Burning Fiery Furnace, as well as L’horlage Comtoise and Le Chat in a concert production of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges in Alice Tully Hall. Feldmann has appeared in summer festivals nationally and internationally, including SongFest, Oberlin in Italy, and the Chautauqua Voice Institute. He will be a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in May of 2018.





Adam Rothenberg, piano

Pianist Adam Rothenberg is a versatile young artist and sought-after collaborator who has performed throughout the United States and Europe in a wide array of solo, collaborative, chamber music, and orchestral concerts. A native of Syracuse, NY, he is the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at the Juilliard School, where he is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Jonathan Feldman, Margo Garrett, and Brian Zeger. Adam graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University and has also studied at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and the Chautauqua Institution. An avid ensemble musician, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Adam has also worked extensively in opera and musical theatre, including productions with the Philadelphia Orchestra and at Juilliard Opera.



Vocal Rising Stars: Steven Blier

Steven Blier, Artistic Director of Schwab Vocal Rising Stars, coach, piano, arrangements

Steven Blier is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival’s inception, he has programmed, performed, translated, and annotated more than 140 vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia, and Russia. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier “the coolest dude in town.”

Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, and José van Dam, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Many of his former students, including Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Kaiser, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Dina Kuznetsova, Corinne Winters, and Kate Lindsey, have gone on to be valued recital colleagues and sought-after stars on the opera and concert stage.

In keeping the traditions of American music alive, he has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill, and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues, and stride piano evenings with John Musto. A champion of American art song, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, Mark Adamo, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, Lowell Liebermann, Harold Meltzer, and Lee Hoiby, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS.

Mr. Blier’s extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award; Spanish Love Songs (Bridge Records), recorded live at the Caramoor Music Festival with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Joseph Kaiser, and Michael Barrett; the world premiere recording of Bastianello (John Musto) and Lucrezia(William Bolcom), a double bill of oneact comic operas set to librettos by Mark Campbell; and Quiet Please, an album of jazz standards with vocalist Darius de Haas. His latest release is Canción amorosa, a CD of Spanish songs with soprano Corinne Winters on the GRP label.

His writings on opera have been featured in Opera News and the Yale Review. A native New Yorker, he received a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. He completed his musical studies in New York with Martin Isepp and Paul Jacobs.


Vocal Rising Stars: Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett, coach and piano

Associate Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), Michael Barrett started NYFOS in 1988 with his friend and colleague Steven Blier. Mr. Barrett was Chief Executive and General Director of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts from 2003-2012. In 1992, he co-founded the Moab Music Festival with his wife, violist Leslie Tomkins. From 1994 to 1997, he was the Director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Mr. Barrett began his long association with the renowned conductor and composer as a student in 1982. He is currently the Artistic Advisor for the estate of Leonard Bernstein. He has been a guest conductor with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France, among others. He also has served variously as conductor, producer, and music director of numerous special projects, including dozens of world premieres by Bernstein, Musto, Bolcom, Rorem, and D’Rivera.

Mr. Barrett’s discography includes: Spanish Love Songs, recorded live at Caramoor with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Steven Blier, and Joseph Kaiser; Live from the Moab Music Festival; the Grammy-nominated Evidence of Things Not Seen (New World Records); Aaron Kernis: 100 Greatest Dance Hits (New Albion); On the Town (Deutsche Grammophon); Kaballah (Koch Classics) by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie; Schumann Lieder with Lorraine Hunt and Kurt Ollmann (Koch); andArias and Barcarolles (Koch) by Leonard Bernstein (Grammy Award).