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Season Soloists

The Season Soloists

Season Premiere: Sunday, October 2, 2016 | 2:00pm

William H. Chapman Nyaho, piano

Ghanaian-American William Chapman Nyaho received his degrees from St. Peter's College, Oxford University (UK), the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, Switzerland. Chapman Nyaho is the recipient of prizes from international piano competitions.

William Chapman Nyaho's performing experience includes recitals in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Caribbean. His recitals have typically included standard repertoire and piano music by composers of the African Diaspora. He has also been guest artist with orchestras in the United States. Chapman Nyaho has been featured on radio and television broadcasts in Ghana, Switzerland, and National Public Radio in the USA. He has released critically-acclaimed recordings SENKU: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent, ASA: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent and Aaron Copland: Music For Two Pianos.

Chapman Nyaho has also compiled and edited a five-volume graded anthology Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora, published by Oxford University Press. He is a regular guest clinician, giving presentations, lecture-recitals and workshops in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities. He also serves as adjudicator for national and international piano competitions in North America, Europe and Africa.

Messiah: Thursday, November 17 | 7:30pm and Sunday, November 20, 2016 | 2:00pm and
Season Finale: Sunday, April 2, 2017 | 2:00pm Tickets

Alexandra Picard, soprano

Comfortable in the concert hall as well as on the opera stage, Alexandra Picard is most notable for her portrayals of the Queen of the Night, Konstanze, Musetta, and Lucia. The Seattle Times speaks of her "bell-like clarity" while Classical Voice comments on her "charisma and spot-on singing" and, of her performances of La Bohème, the Everett Herald comments that she "makes a big impression... and knocks it out of the ballpark." As the Queen of the Night, the Spokesman Review raves "...her singing was arresting... Alexandra Picard tossed off the notorious series of high F’s with complete assurance and at a dauntingly high speed."

She has sung Queen of the Night in Die Zauberfloete for Tacoma Opera, Rogue Opera, the New Opera Festival in Rome, Italy, for the Willamette Concert Opera, and for Spokane Opera in Washington, and most recently, with Pacific MusicWorks. She has sung Lucia di Lammermoor, and has performed Musetta in La Bohème in the Kammersaal in Graz, Austria, for Skagit Opera in Washington, and for the Russian Opera Centre in San Francisco. Other stage roles have included Pamina in Die Zauberfloete in Rome, Italy, and in Seattle, Washington, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Bellevue Opera in Washington, and Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera in Oakland, California.

Alexandra earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, and received her Masters in Music from the San Francisco Conservatory. Ms. Picard is in her third year as a Doctoral Candidate in Vocal Performance at the University of Washington. Upcoming projects include concerts with Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Verdi's Requiem, as well as a return to Brazil for an exciting concert series. Her CD of lullabies with Northwest Symphony Orchestra entitled Dream Songs can be found on Amazon.

Holiday Concert: Sunday, December 4, 2016 | 2:00pm

Shannon Cassady, piano

Music is an integral part of the life of Shannon Cassady, a senior at Interlake High School. Her mother, Yunbo Cassady, is an accomplished piano teacher and influenced her love of music from the start. At age seven, Ms. Cassady started her piano studies under the direction of Mrs. Michi North. She excelled in local competitions, especially the Bach festival and the Chopin festival of the northwest, at which she is a regular finalist. At age 11, she began instruction under Dr. Sasha Starcevich, her current teacher.

Ms. Cassady has performed two times as a soloist in Benaroya Hall’s Ten Grands gala concert, and strives to enrich the community with classical music outside of her performances. Together with a group of her friends, she founded and is a director of Instruments for Change, a student led non-profit organization aimed at harnessing the power and influence of young musicians to give back to the community and inspire classical music in others. This organization has raised upwards of $5,000 for causes such as the Washington State Music Teachers Association Student Enrichment Fund, Oso mudslide relief efforts, and more. She’s currently working on a project with local middle schools to encourage teamwork, rather than competitiveness, in young musicians through collaborative composition.

K. Lee Morris, violin

17 year old K. Lee Morris has been studying the violin for 7 years, the last 5 with Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi and Ilkka Talvi. K. Lee is a senior at Shorewood High School, where she is concertmaster of the Chamber Ensemble. She is also concertmaster of the Academy Chamber Orchestra. In 2015, K. Lee performed at Carnegie Hall with her chamber ensemble.

Rachel DeShon, soprano

With a voice that has been called “undeniably fantastic” (Seattle Fine Arts Examiner), Seattle native Rachel DeShon has performed both nationally and internationally. The 2001 winner of Marvin Hamlisch’s Search for a Star competition with the Seattle Symphony, DeShon was since seen as a guest artist with his national symphony tour. Additional performance highlights include the Boston POPS! under the direction of Keith Lockhart at Boston’s Symphony Hall, Seattle Symphony Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, 5th Avenue Theatre, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Federal Way Symphony, Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and the Charming Vietnam Gala at Singapore’s Esplanade Concert Hall.

Rachel is a recurring cast member with Teatro ZinZanni, deemed “Seattle’s Littlest Diva” by the Seattle Fine Arts Examiner. She has performed in Seattle and San Francisco with Norman Durkee, Thelma Houston, Ann Wilson, Joan Baez, and Lilianne Montevecchi. She was recently added to the artist roster for Cirque du Soleil.


Michael Nim, tenor

Mchael Nim, son of international artists Pamela Casella and Craig Heath Nim, is a frequent performer with Lyric Opera Northwest, appearing as Morales in "Carmen," Goro in "Madama Butterfly," the Artful Dodger in "Oliver!" and Angelotti in "Tosca." This is his second appearance as a featured Holiday soloist with the Symphony.

Swing Band: Sunday, January 29, 2017 | 2:00pm

Quinton Morris, violin

Quinton Morris is an innovator, a thought leader and a renowned concert violinist. He is also one of the youngest tenured professors at Seattle University and a popular TEDX presenter. He performs solo concerts, chamber music recitals, and lectures all over the world: the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Middle East. As a soloist, he has already sold out Carnegie Hall 3 consecutive times. But Dr. Morris is also an artist-entrepreneur and a product of the technology infused start up culture of Seattle.

It is this unique combination of native talent and cultural influence that has shaped his vision for a new kind of classical music experience. Surrounded by companies focused on collaboration, engagement and a direct experience with the customer, as well as his daily contact with students; Quinton Morris has constructed a tour that breaks through traditional paradigms of classical music and instead uses a “start up” mindset, and an entrepreneurial spirit to create a totally new interactive experience for today’s audience.

Season Finale: Sunday, April 2, 2017 | 2:00pm Tickets

Haeyoon Shin, cello

Haeyoon Shin is quickly becoming a rising cellist in demand since her return to the Pacific Northwest after graduating from Yale University, where she studied with the esteemed Aldo Parisot. She has appeared on KING FM radio performances, as well as at the Russian Chamber Music Foundation series at Benaroya Nordstrom Recital Hall. She performs regularly with orchestras across the greater Seattle area as well as in chamber concerts and is the most active musician in the newly growing Groupmuse concerts, spreading from New York, Boston, San Francisco, and now in Seattle.

She was an avid chamber musician at Yale as an active member of several chamber groups. Her piano trio won the Yale Chamber Music Competition, performing at the Vista Chamber Concert. She has been invited to the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Great Mountains Chamber Music Festival, and was an inaugural member of the Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival.

She earned her Performers Diploma at Indiana University, Bloomington with the Eva Heinitz Scholarship under the tutelage of Janos Starker. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees with full scholarship from the University of Washington and Hartt University, with teachers Toby Saks and Mihai Tetel. Her awards include 1st prizes in the Marjorie Easley National Strings Competition, University of Washington Concerto Competition, and the Individualis International Competition.

Jonah Spool, baritone

Jonah Spool is a classically trained baritone with experience in many musical styles. While opera is his forté, he has also performed in award-winning vocal jazz ensembles and loves to sing musical theater. In addition to performing throughout his native Northwest, Jonah’s career has taken him to Portland, Boston, and Greensboro, as well as abroad to Salzburg, Austria and Montreux, Switzerland. His favorite roles include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, and the title role in Don Giovanni.