Vocal Soloist Competition Winners for the 2017-2018 Season

In BCCO's first Vocal Soloist Competition, five soloists were chosen from dozens of applicants across the country.

The jury panel included:

  • Brian Thorsett — tenor and Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech
  • Sylvia Anderson — dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Peter Grunberg — former Head of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera, currently Musical Assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas
  • BCCO members
  • Music Director Ming Luke

Emily Skilling, mezzo-soprano (Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, fall 2017)

Emily Skilling, Mezzo sopranoEmili Skilling, soloist for Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, January 2018 concert

Recently graduated from Westminster Choir College, where she studied with Laura Brooks Rice, Emily has performed several leading roles with Westminster Opera Theatre, the highlights of which include Dame Quickly in Verdi's Falstaff and La Zia Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica.

Emily has extensive choral experience, having performed with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, Kinnara Ensemble, and the world-renowned Westminster Choir. This past summer, she sang with The Princeton Festival and was a Fellow at the CoOPERAtive Program. She recently performed as a soloist with the American Bach Soloists Academy in Bach’s Mass in B minor and Handel’s Parnasso in festa, and she has been praised for  her “eloquence” and “tonal beauty” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She looks forward to performing for the first time with the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra.

YoonGeong Lee, soprano (Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio)

YoonGeong-Lee, sorpanoYoonGeong Lee, soloist for Mendelssohn's St. Paul oratorio, June 2018 concert

As a 2014 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions San Francisco District, YoonGeong Lee made her debut as a soprano soloist in Orff's Carmina Burana at Davies Symphony Hall. She also performed at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall as a soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria, with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

YoonGeong was a soprano fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2011 and 2012. She received the Grace B. Jackson Prize, which is awarded to one outstanding vocal fellow in 2012. Her numerous awards include 3rd place in the 26th National Opera Association Vocal Competition and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award in the CCM Opera Scholarship Competition. She performed many cantatas of J. S. Bach with the Cincinnati Bach Ensemble. She is an active recitalist and concert soloist.

In Korea, YoonGeong's voice is familiar to the public from her recording of the “Opening Theme” and “Mishil Theme” on the soundtrack of the Korean historical drama Queen Seondeok, which topped the charts on Korean TV and received widespread critical acclaim.

YoonGeong holds a bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University, where she graduated summa cum laude, and she earned a master's degree in music and a doctorate in musical arts in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College's Conservatory of Music.

YoonGeong is currently a professional AGMA singer in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

Katherine Trimble, mezzo-soprano (Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio)

Katherine Trimble, mezzo soprano
Katherine Trimble, soloist for Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio, June 2018 concert

Katherine holds a master's degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University and a bachelor's degree in music from Chapman University. She has recently appeared in outreach performances with Opera San José, where she portrayed the Mother/Witch in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel and Lilas Pastia in Bizet's Carmen, for which the San Jose Mercury News praised her "agile" performance. Other operatic roles include Ormindo (in Cavalli's L'Ormindo), Public Opinion (in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld), Olga (in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin), Zita (in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi) and Petra (in Sondheim's A Little Night Music).

Along with operatic performances, she has been the alto soloist in Mozart's and Duruflé's requiems, as well as in Saint-Saens's Christmas Oratorio. She has taken first place in competitions held by the SAI Music Fraternity, the San José Woman's Club, and the San Jose Study Club. Katherine was also honored to be the first recipient of the Irene Dalis Memorial Award from San Jose State University. Currently, she is the alto vocalist/soloist for the New Choir and for Kerry Irish Production's national touring shows "An Irish Christmas," "St. Patrick's Day in Ireland," and "The Heart of an Irish Woman," which celebrate traditional Irish song and dance. She loves sharing with others the joy that singing has brought to her life, through teaching and coaching as well. You can find more information at: www.ktmezzo.com.

Derek Jackenheimer, tenor (Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio)

Derek Jackenheimer, tenor
Derek Jackenheimer, soloist for Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio, June 2018 concert

Derek Jackenheimer has been described as one of the "most gifted young singers" of the Piedmont Triad region in North Carolina. He recently debuted with North Carolina Opera as Don Curzio in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and he covered Le Remendado in Greensboro Opera's production of Bizet's Carmen. He received a masters degree in performance at UNC-Greensboro, where he studied with Clara O’Brien. Roles with UNCG Opera Theatre include Chevalier de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, Micah in Carlisle Floyd's Slow Dusk, Old Galileo in Glass’s Galileo Galilei, Beast in Gianini’s Beauty and the Beast, and Kaspar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. Derek has also performed scenes from Lehár's  Merry Widow, Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, Mozart's Così fan tutte, and Loesser's Most Happy Fella. Derek’s solo orchestral appearances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Greensboro Oratorio Society, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart's Requiem and Great Mass in C minor, Handel’s Messiah, Theofanidis's Here and Now with the UNCG Symphony Orchestra, Vaughan-Williams’s Serenade to Music, Bruckner's Te Deum, Charpentier's Te Deum, and multiple Bach cantatas.

An Ohio native, Derek has also been seen at the Mansfield Renaissance Theatre as Jean Valjean in Schönberg's Les Miserables and Frederick Frankenstein in Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein.

André Chiang, baritone  (Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio)

André Chiang, baritone
André Chiang, soloist for Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio, June 2018 concert

Touted by The Oregonian as “vocally commanding,” baritone André Chiang brings his lyrical voice to  repertoire spanning from Handel to Glass. André’s recent engagements include returns to Virginia Opera as Fiorello/Officer in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Opera Birmingham as Belcore in Donizetti's L’Elisir d’amore. Past season highlights include Falke in Strauss's Die Fledermaus, Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Yamadori/Registrar in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Maximilian/Captain in Bernstein's Candide, Young Galileo/Salviate in Glass's Galileo Galilei, and Argante in Handel's Rinaldo, all with Portland Opera; Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly and King Melchior in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, with Ash Lawn Opera; Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, El Gallo in The Fantasticks, Morales/Le Dancaïre in Bizet's Carmen, and Motorcycle Cop/Guard 1 in Heggie's Dead Man Walking, with Shreveport Opera; Marchese d’Obigny in Verdi's La traviata, with Opera Birmingham; Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, Barone Douphol in La traviata, and Le Dancaïre in Carmen, with Virginia Opera; Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, with the Washington Idaho Symphony; Dottore Grenvil in La traviata and Marco in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, with Mobile Opera; and Ctésippe in Fauré's Pénélope, Il Conte in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and Falke in Die Fledermaus, with the Manhattan School of Music. André is also a graduate of several prestigious apprenticeships, having spent summers as a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and with the Glimmerglass Festival, covering Nathan Gunn as Lancelot in Camelot, as well as performing the role in the festival's Young Artist Matinee.

André is equally comfortable in recital and concert settings. His credits include “A Romantic Evening,” with La Grange Symphony Orchestra; an orchestrated concert of Vaughan Williams's Songs of Travel, under the baton of George Manahan; baritone soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with the Richmond Symphony; baritone soloist in Orff's Carmina Burana, with the New Orleans Symphony Chorus, in the French Quarter Festival; and bass soloist in Haydn’s Mass in D minor, with the Eastern Shore Choral Society and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. André was a Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, fifth place winner in Opera Birmingham's 39th annual competition, the La Grange Symphony  Orchestra Young Artists Competition Winner, finalist in the Liederkranz Art Song/Lieder competition, winner of the Grand Concours de Chant for French song, winner of the
 Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition for Voice at the Manhattan School of Music, and winner of the NFMC Young Artist Competition.

Upcoming engagements include baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul in Mendelssohn’s Paulus with the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra, Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème with Mobile Opera, and Charlie in Heggie's Three Decembers with Painted Sky Opera.