Leroy Davis , Baritone
In 2018, baritone Leroy Davis was a resident studio artist with the Florentine Opera where he sang Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Adonis in Venus and Adonis and Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He performed the roles of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Mandarin/Ping in Turandot at the Shreveport Opera, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte as a guest artist with the New England Conservatory. Leroy made his role and company debut as Maximillian in Candide with Chautauqua Opera. 2019 engagements include Leporello in Don Giovanni with Boston Opera Collaborative, Forrester in Cunning Little Vixen, Joe St. George in Dolores Claiborne, and his company debut as a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theater of St. Louis in Rigoletto and Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
In 2017, Leroy sang several roles with the Florentine Opera including Imperial Commissioner/Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Ivan in Die Fledermaus, Maitre D’/Farley in the world premiere and cast recording of Sister Carrie and Masetto in Don Giovanni. He also performed a concert of new American operatic works from the Florentine Opera’s recording anthology at the National Opera Center in New York City. As a young artist in 2016 at Central City Opera his roles included Benny in The Ballad of Baby Doe and Sacristan in Tosca, and was awarded the Iris Henwood Richards Memorial Award. In concert, Leroy was the bass soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Davis attended the Mannes College of Music as an undergraduate, and earned his Master’s degree at Bard College. He was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Competition in 2015.
Orson Van Gay II
Orson Van Gay II, Operatic Tenor
“Orson Van Gay II was an ardent Alfredo…his sound was fluent and his high notes golden.”
- Maria Nocking, Broadway World
Operatic Tenor, Orson Van Gay II, possesses a unique voice that captivates the audience with his charisma and command of the stage for a singer of his generation. His performances showcase vocal talents that have brought him constant recognition in Southern California and across the United States. In 2018, Orson made his debut in the title role of Bernstein’s Candide at “A Noise Within” Theatre. He joined the Cal Philharmonic Orchestra’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary and Beethoven’s ninth symphony as a tenor soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall where Orson’s performance was reviewed by George van Wagner as being “beautifully sung and strongly acted…audience members were visibly moved.” He made his debut as tenor soloist with Pacific Symphony at the Segerstrom Concert Hall. He premiered the title role in LA Opera's touring production of Orpheus. He took on the brilliantly crass role of Bernard Curson (Cherubino) in LA Opera’s Figaro 90210! He notably performed the lead role of Ben in Todd Goodman’s Opera, Night of the Living Dead. He has sung the haunting role of Orlando in the nationally acclaimed production of Hopscotch and the dashing role of Dick Johnson in LA Opera’s touring production of The Prospector and reprised the role in 2017. During the same year, Orson made his Pacific Symphony debut as the tenor soloist to a sold out concert at the Segerstrom Concert Hall under the baton of maestro Carl St. Clair to a standing ovation. In 2018, he debuted with Center Stage Opera as the charismatic, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. In addition to performing in the romantic and Germanic languages of Opera, Orson has been sought after to perform in Mandarin. Last year he made his debut with SINO U.S. Performing Arts Organization as tenor soloist for their 2018 concert series in Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona. “The climax of the show was by Van Gay, whose performance won thunderous applause.” (XinhuaNet)
Orson recently debuted his role as Alfredo in Pacific Opera Project’s production of La Traviata, to a standing ovation. He premiered Golden; a composition based on the life of Polish composer, Igancy Paderewski by Nathan Wang in Los Angeles. In addition to several concert performances over the winter in Los Angeles, Orson voyaged to Alabama as tenor soloist in a 60-year commencement concert of Händel’s Messiah. This January Orson made his Carnegie Hall debut. He is delighted to make his Long Beach Opera debut as Raymond Santana in the world premiere of The Central Park Five – a passionate opera by Anthony Davis that encompasses issues that still rock America today. Orson then takes flight to Kansas City to premiere the role of The Young Man in Joe DiPietro’s, The Last Romance.
Orson remains involved in community projects to showcase Opera at the local community level; some of which include the Italian American of Los Angeles (IAMLA), Jimmy Kimmel’s annual Italian Festival in Hollywood, California and the Voices of Hope Benefit Concert to name a few. Orson has a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Performance from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He performed the role of Prince in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. Orson was also honored as a state and regional winner in the Mid-Atlantic NATS competition for two consecutive years. Orson is not only able to sing classical music but effectively sings other styles as well. This versatility has proven to be a strong commodity with today’s increasing musical demands on Opera singers. A classical arts publication out of Virginia - - Artsongupdate - - described Orson's voice as: "there is a liquid silver tone in his lyric tenor voice and confident clarity of text"... "There is a compelling urgency in his tone that wins the listener's heart."..."Top notes were perfect and the vulnerability and beauty throughout caught us in the thrall of anticipated greatness for this young vocalist as he builds a career."
Orson is also an actor in several nationally recognized television series. He has been featured in major television commercials and starred on a variety of shows for Netflix; including foreign film and television. Orson is a Southern California native. For his latest upcoming engagements, please visit www.orsonvangay.com
Jasmine Habersham, Soprano
American soprano Jasmine Habersham is a versatile and dynamic performing artist. She most recently performed the role of Pip in Moby Dick with Utah Opera, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of St. Louis: Opera on the Go, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Cincinnati Opera, Yum-Yum in the The Mikado with Kentucky Opera, Esther in Intimate Apparel with Cincinnati Opera Fusion, and Clara in Porgy and Bess with Utah Festival Opera. She has also performed the roles of Papagena in The Magic Flute and as an Apparition in Macbeth at The Glimmerglass Festival.
Ms. Habersham has performed as a featured soloist in numerous concert productions including Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel's Messiah, and Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music.
Performances for the 2018-2019 season include Pip in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose, Katie Jackson in the world premiere of Joel Puckett’s The Fix with Minnesota Opera, and Clara in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Future seasons include a return to Minnesota Opera and her debut with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
A finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition, she is well-versed as a crossover artist in opera and musical theater. She has performed the roles Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with Atlanta Opera, Susannah in The Musical: Tintypes with Janiec Opera Company, and Pearl in Morning Star with Cincinnati Opera Fusion. She has won numerous awards including 2nd Place in the 2018 Southeast Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Strauss Award in the National Orpheus Competition, the John Alexander Memorial Award from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Young Artist Guild Award from Central City Opera.
Ms. Habersham has participated in several esteemed young artists programs including The Glimmerglass Festival, Central City Opera, Kentucky Opera, and the Brevard Music Center.
As a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Habersham performed the roles Despina in Così fan tutte, Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave, and covered the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Shorter College and her Master of Music and Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music.
Carey Harrison, Orator
CUNY Professor of English, and author of 12 novels and 200 plays and scripts, Carey Harrison is a former undercover activist, in South Africa, for Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. He is a recipient of the Oliver Tambo Award for contributions to the end of apartheid.
Justin Kolb, Concert Pianist
Program: Music of the African Diaspora
Justin describes himself as a pianist. However, from Budapest to Santa Barbara his solo recitals, conservatory “power talks” and motivational “kids clinics” all have shaped a successful 20 & 21st century career.
As a pianist he has premiered compositions by: Robert Starer, (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie-NYC) John Downey,(Lobero Theatre-Santa Barbara, CA) Peter Schickele, (Performing Arts Center- Rhinebeck, NY) Paul Alan Levi, (Merkin Concert Hall-NYC) William Ferris, (Lobero Theatre-Santa Barbara, CA), Giles Malkine, SUNY- New Paltz and Robert Cucinotta, Mohawk Mountain House- New Paltz NY).
Collaborations include solo performances with: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Hamburg Philharmonic, Amernet String Quartet, North Shore Concert Band, William Ferris Chorale, Michael Teolis Singers, Woodstock’s Ars Choralis, and Columbia Pro Arte Chorus. Also actors: Carey Harrison, Mikhail Horowitz, Davis Aston Reece, and Jay Braman, Jr. as well as composers Peter Schickele and Joan Tower.
During a 20 year self - imposed sabbatical Kolb served the corporate world and eventually was appointed as CEO and President of a cellular communications company that he co-founded. The company’s stock traded on the NASDAQ exchange. Clavier magazine featured Kolb on its cover with an inside feature about his motivational "kids clinics". The NY Times [Alex Ross] and Chicago Tribune [John von Rhein] laud his American music performances and Albany Records retains Kolb on its artist’s roster. A Co-Founder, Justin serves as Chairman Emeritus of the "Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice". [“…a destination festival”- Opera News 2016] He also serves as Executive Secretary to the American Liszt Society. In 1969 the Army veteran received the military’s Legion of Merit award and he is a recipient of DePaul University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Justin is self – agented.
Jordan Taylor, Soprano
Has performed as a soloist with the Florence Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Master Chorale and many other Regional organizations. She is a Vocal Performance major with an emphasis in American music at Coastal Carolina University where studies voice with Dr. Ann Benson. She is a native of Florence, South Carolina.