VAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: Adjudicators

Rick Church, Traverse City, Michigan (Musical Theatre & Contemporary Voice)

Rick Church has been the Conductor and Musical Director for the summer High School Musical Theater Production at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he was involved in programs there for over 20 years. Previously, he was the Music Director and Conductor for the Musical Theater program at Elon University in North Carolina. Prior to his appointment to Elon, Rick was on the Music Theatre Faculty as Music Director/Conductor at Wright State University and Faculty Adjunct in Musical Theatre at New York University (Steinhardt). Rick is also one of the founders of the Interlochen Center for the Arts Music Theatre Intensive Institute. As a Conductor and Music director, he has performed in theatres in Romania, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark and on Cruise Ships with Regent Seven Seas, Royal Carribbean, Holland America, Princess and Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition, Rick has been the Music Director for Peter Grey Terhune Productions, producing shows for many different ships. Rick was awarded recognition from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts as an outstanding teacher that influenced lives of young artists. He is a Proud Member of Local 802, the Musicians Union of New York City, NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), MSVMA (Michigan Schools Vocal Music Assocation) and NAfME (National Association for Music Education). Recently Rick and his wife, Lynne, have opened the new business, RNL Studios, in Leelanau County and are proud members of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce.
Lynne Church, Traverse City, Michigan (Classical Voice)

Lynne Church has enjoyed a varied career as a soprano in the worlds of opera and musical theater. A frequent soloist with Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Lynne has been heard in leading roles across the country with opera companies including the Chautauqua Opera, Connecticut Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Dallas, and Nevada Opera. While successful as an opera artist, Lynne has also performed the role of “Carlotta” in Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber’s hit musical, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA throughout Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and in residence for one year in Singapore and Hong Kong. Lynne was recently featured on another National Public Radio with the Dayton Philharmonic as soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem. With her husband as music director and conductor, she can be heard on the recording of Placido Domingo Jr.s musical, VLAD in the female lead role of Mina produced by the great operatic tenor and conductor, Placido Domingo. Together with her husband, Lynne regularly performs aboard the Regent Seven Seas cruise line in a variety of concerts, both in Opera and Musical Theater styles. Lynne most recently served on the Music Faculty at Elon University, the Musical Theater Faculty at Wright State University, the University of Michigan Musical Theater program at Interlochen, and currently is on faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summer while also maintaining private studios in Traverse City, MI, and New York City year round. Lynne is a proud member of MSVMA (Michigan Schools Vocal Music Association), where she serves as an adjudicator and clinician.
Sophie Arbuckle, New York, NY (Violin and Viola)

Violist Sophie Arbuckle (MM ’93, violin) has appeared in many prominent U.S. chamber music series including Music@Menlo (Calif.), where she co-directed the young performers program, and Bargemusic (Brooklyn). Extensive chamber music appearances in Europe include St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London); Festival des Arcs, Fetes musicales de Savoie, and Petit Palais (France); Mainz Kammerorchester chamber music series (Germany); Royal Flemish Philarmonie chamber music series (Antwerp); numerous other series and festivals in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Monaco, and the Channel Islands; and radio broadcasts with Radio France. She has played with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and Sudbury Symphony and has recorded with Le Chant de Linos.

An avid performer of contemporary music, Arbuckle has worked with such composers as Giya Kancheli and premiered multimedia works by Christopher Kaufman and dancer/choreographer Ann Carlson at Jacob’s Pillow and the American Dance Festival. With her husband, violinist Arik Braude, Arbuckle co-founded the ensemble JVNY, Inc., made up of young professional musicians, many of whom have studied for over a decade with Braude and Arbuckle. The ensemble tours extensively; participates in community outreach work, including with New Alternatives for Children; mentors the next generation of musicians (Junior JVNY); and is in residence in France and Portugal for two weeks each summer.

Arbuckle is a jury member in the viola and chamber music categories of the International Johannes Brahms Competition. She has been a visiting guest professor of viola at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, since 2016, and gives master classes throughout Portugal. She is also an artist-faculty member at the Killington (Vt.) Music Festival. Arbuckle’s students have served as principal violists in the New York Youth Symphony and National Youth Orchestra and have soloed at the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts and Little Orchestra Society. Her prep students have gone on to such conservatories as Juilliard and NEC and Royal College of Music in London as well as Harvard and Princeton. Arbuckle’s viola mentor at Juilliard was Karen Tuttle; she also studied with Sally Thomas, Josef Gingold, Arnold Steinhardt, Edith Peinemann, and Mauricio Fuks. Her chamber music coaches included Gingold, Robert Mann, and Pierre Amoyal. She plays a Ferdinando Gagliano viola made in Naples in 1783, joined the Pre-College faculty in 2009, and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and daughter.
Eric Wilson, Vancouver, BC (Cello)

Eric Wilson was awarded the Bronze Medal (1971) in the Geneva International Competition and co-winner of the Morris Loeb Prize for Strings (1973) at the Juilliard School. Eric Wilson was solo cellist of the Ensemble of New York in residence at the Lincoln Centre, New York. He was also a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet that won in 1978 the prestigious Walter W. Naumberg competition Prize for Chamber Ensemble.

Wilson has performed with such eminent artists as Menahem Pressler and Walter Trampler and with the Boston Chamber Soloists, New York Chamber Soloists, Lyric Piano Quartet, Quartet Canada, Pro Arte Quartet and the Melos Quartet. As guest artist, Wilson has appeared at the Wolf Trap; Newport (R.I.); Katonah (N.Y.); Banff, Alberta; Scotia; Meadow Brook and Vermont Mozart Festivals among others.

With pianist Patricia Hoy, Professor Wilson has performed extensively and received critical acclaim with the release of their CD of Rachmaninov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano and Stephen Chatman’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. In March 2004, Wilson gave a series of masterclasses and recitals in Taiwan including lectures at the National Teacher’s University in Taipei and a recital at the Taiwan National Theatre, also in Taipei.

Wilson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a family of musicians. His father, baritone Kerr Wilson, and pianist mother Thelma, had their own radio program on CBC while still in their teens. As a boy, he performed from memory with his brother Carlisle and sister Kerrine. His niece Kerri Lynn Wilson has an international career as a conductor. Why so much music from this Winnipeg family? “Beats the heck out of freezing!” as Winnipegers would say.
Liz Parker, Toronto, ON (Junior Piano)

Liz Parker is an experienced piano teacher specializing in teaching children. She loves working with kids to achieve great marks in the RCM exams. She combines a sense of fun (with big smiles) and instilling discipline for maximum results (her stern glare, nowadays right into the camera phone, is legendary). No slouching or flat fingers! To compensate (when there isn’t a pandemic), treats are handed out after student recitals.

Liz graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music at 15 with a Gold Medal for the top mark in Canada; she holds her Licentiate from England’s Trinity College of London; and her Bachelor of Music from the University of British Columbia. She is also a writer and photo shoot stylist for musicians. Interests away from the keyboard include pop culture, fashion, and food. She has a tomcat, Momo, which is named after the Tibetan dumpling.
Lenka Petrovic, Budapest, Hungary (Harp)

Harpist Lenka Petrović is the first prize winner of the prestigious 20th International Harp Contest in Israel in 2018 and is the first Serbian to win this prize. Additionally, she was awarded the Irina Kaganovsky prize for the best performance of Bedřich Smetana/Trneček: Moldau at the same competition. Lenka is principal harpist of Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra in Hungary.

A passionate soloist, she is committed to performing a mixture of the traditional harp repertoire alongside transcriptions of non-harp works, showcasing the versatility of the harp. She has performed in Israel, China, USA, Russia, Argentina, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and was also featured at the Young Talent Concert at the 2017 World Harp Congress in Hong Kong. As a soloist with orchestra, Lenka has performed concertos with musicians of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, The Handel Festival Orchestra in New York, Ensemble Metamorphosis in Belgrade, Summer Philharmonic Orchestra of Indiana University and Symphonic Orchestra of Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.

Lenka is a laureate of numerous competitions including the 2016 Bronze Medal and Willy Postma Composition Prize for the Best Performance of Jeremiah Siochi’s Sublimation at the 10th USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington. She is also the 2015 winner of the first prize and a special prize from HarpMasters Academy in Switzerland at the 20th International Competition Petar Konjovic in Belgrade. Lenka was a New Horizons Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 2017 and also attended the International Summer Harp Academy “HarpMasters” in Switzerland in 2014 and 2015.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1995, Lenka began learning the harp at age 8. In 2017, she received a Bachelor’s degree in harp performance from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, where she studied with professor Staša Mirković Grujić. Lenka received a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School in 2019, studying with New York Philharmonic’s principal harpist Nancy Allen.
Matthew McAllister, Glasgow, Scotland (Classical Guitar)

Widely regarded as one of the most exciting and talented guitarists in Europe, Matthew has been delighting audiences worldwide with his insightful performances and effortless presentation in a concert career spanning well over a decade.

Matthew has performed at major venues across the world such as The Concertgebouw Amsterdam, The Purcell Room & St Martin in the Fields, London, Teatro Britanico, Lima, The Sage, Gateshead, Cenart, Mexico City, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Eugene O’Neil Theater, San Jose and Dom Armije, Sarajevo to name a few. Matthew has toured extensively throughout North & South America, Canada, Europe and Asia both as a soloist and chamber musician and has also produced an extensive discography with Baros Records.

As an educator, Matthew holds the posts of Classical Guitar Lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and is the Director of the Classical Guitar Retreat.

Matthew enjoys keeping in touch with fans and guitarists worldwide and has a very wide-reaching internet presence. You can follow him easily on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
Dr. Christopher Foley, Toronto, ON (Senior Piano)

Christopher Foley is a pianist dedicated to the fields of pedagogy, opera, contemporary music, art song, and chamber music. At the Eastman School of Music, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1994, majoring in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music as a student of Jean Barr and David Burge. He is on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music and serves as Senior Examiner for the RCM's Certificate Program. He spent fourteen summers as Resident Accompanist at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine. In 1989 at the Eckhardt-Grammaté Competition for the Performance of Contemporary Music, he won first prize for the performance of the commissioned work and third prize overall. In 1991, he won first prize in piano at the Kneisel Competition for the Performance of German Lieder in Rochester, New York.

Dr. Foley is highly active as a clinician, with recent webinar appearances at NCKP, The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, The Aspen Music Festival, Collabfest, Tom Lee Music Canada, Trinity Western University, and Millionaire Musician. As author of the Collaborative Piano Blog, he writes about issues of importance to the collaborative pianist, as well as current musical events in Toronto and elsewhere. Recent projects include Foley Music and Arts, a blog about productive creativity in the arts, as well as The Suleika Project, an art song initiative with Edmonton-based mezzo soprano Alia Amad.

As pianist and repetiteur for Tapestry New Opera, he has been involved with numerous productions, as well as being on the creative team for Tapestry's unique Composer/Librettist and Director/Musical Director laboratories. In 2010 he was the first Leadership Legacy Intern at Tapestry, where he created the Tapestry Songbook program, a workshop and recital program aimed at educating emerging singers and pianists in the new opera development process. Some of the many venues at which he has recently performed include the Eastman School of Music Faculty Concert Series, the University of Western Ontario, Cleveland State Composers’ Forum, Vancouver International New Music Festival, April in Santa Cruz, Sonic Boom, Toronto Arts Week, Word on the Street, Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, Toronto Dance Theatre, Algoma Fall Festival, and the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music.
Anthony Brackett, Amherst, Massachusetts (Woodwinds and Chamber Groups)

Anthony Brackett, who was born in Sitka, Alaska, is a former bass clarinetist with the New Orleans Symphony who has performed with New York City Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Goldman Band, and Singapore Symphony. He has also collaborated with the Emerson String Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet, Borealis Wind Quintet, Dorian Quintet, Blue Door, and VentiCordi.

Brackett received a BM and Artist Diploma from the Hartt School of Music and completed graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music. He participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, Waterloo Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival—Yale Summer Schools of Music and Art, and the Monteux School & Music Festival in Hancock, Maine. His Broadway show credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King & I, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, Cole Porter’s Can-Can, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He has recorded for Sony, Sarabande, QRecords, and Telarc labels and for television, radio, and films.

A member of the faculties of Juilliard Pre-College and Amherst College, Brackett formerly taught in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, was a consultant to the Morgan Library and Museum’s Family Concert Series; adjudicated for CMEA; served as president, orchestra manager; and adjudicator for the New England Music Festival Association, and was manager of NAfME’s National Honors Orchestra. His students have participated in all-state festivals and honors bands, summer programs, Juilliard Pre-College, and Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Program.

Brackett lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he teaches, performs with the Valley Winds, and serves on the group’s executive board. Brackett’s arrangements for clarinet ensemble have been performed all over the globe and have been featured at the International Clarinet Association’s annual conferences and Amherst Orchestra’s Orchard series.
Rudin Lengo, Toronto, ON (Intermediate Piano)

Rudin Lengo’s piano playing has been described as “profound, imaginative and exceptionally communicative”. As a soloist, he has recently performed Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Georgian Bay Symphony conducted by François Koh and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3 with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and maestro Kristian Alexander. Other engagements include performances with the University of Toronto Symphony and Choir, Hart House Orchestra, West Coast Symphony, Deep River Symphony, Toruń Symphony, Greater Toronto Philharmonic, Royal Conservatory Orchestra and Orchestra London.

Mr. Lengo has traveled and performed across Canada and the United States, and has also appeared in concert halls in Poland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Albania, North Macedonia and the Netherlands.

He has been the recipient of over 50 awards and scholarships for his musical and academic accomplishments. In 2008, he completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at Western University on a National Scholarship. Mr. Lengo received his Master’s Degree in 2010 from the Manhattan School of Music on a President’s Award and completed an Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School on a prestigious Ihnatowycz Emerging Artist Scholarship.

Winner of the 2017 DMA Competition at the University of Toronto, the 2012 Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition, the 5th Knigge Music Competition and the 2010 TD Elora Competition, he was also the 2nd prize winner at the 40th William C. Byrd International Competition and winner of the Mary Winston Smail Memorial Award for Best Pianist at the 2011 WAMSO Minnesota Competition.

A recipient of a Performance Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Simmonds Graduate Fellowship, and the John and Barbara Vivash Scholarship in Piano Performance, Mr. Lengo is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Toronto with Enrico Elisi. He maintains a piano teaching studio in Toronto; he also is a senior examiner with the Royal Conservatory and an active adjudicator in provincial as well as national and international festivals and competitions.
Dr. Valerie Whitney, Vancouver, Canada (Brass)

Dr. Valerie Whitney was appointed to the faculty at the UBC School of Music in 2018, where she is now Assistant Professor, Horn and Brass Area Coordinator.

Dr. Whitney has been performing in and around the Chicagoland area for over a decade. She regularly appears with some of the nation’s most esteemed performing organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In 2010, she was invited to serve as guest principal horn with the Florida Orchestra for two weeks. From 2013–2016, she served as hornist of Fifth House Ensemble, during which time she performed and led masterclasses at nationwide universities as well as educational programs in various Chicago public schools and community centers.

In 2017, Dr. Whitney was the first candidate to earn a DMA in Horn Performance from Northwestern University. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and Northwestern University.