2017 Fellows Profiles

Herman Aguirre, visual artist
Born and raised in Chicago, Herman Aguirre’s U.S. citizenship not only sheltered him from the impoverished, crime-filled area in Mexico that was home to other members of his family but it also provided him with opportunities for education and training. As a public school student in Chicago, he won prizes for his painting, then received an undergraduate scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and finally a merit scholarship in the MFA program in painting. His work has been shown at Yollocalli, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, and The Mad Center Gallery. His Fellowship will cover the substantial costs of materials, studio rental, and travel, including trips to Madrid, New York City, and Mexico City. He also intends to send proposals and portfolios to various institutions throughout the U.S. and Mexico to gain exposure for his work with an international audience.
Ato Blankson-Wood, actor
Ato Blankson-Wood is multi-talented -- an actor, singer, and dancer -- who is capable of deftly blending poetry, story-telling and music in performance. The third of five children born to Ghanaian parents, his childhood home was filled with dancing, laughter, story and song. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, he earned early-career professional credits with the Broadway revival of Hair (2009-10) and Lysistrata Jones (2011). Eager to expand his abilities and range, he enrolled in the MFA Acting program at the Yale School of Drama. After receiving an MFA degree, he was selected for the lead role in the musical The Total Bent at The Public Theater, and Spike Lee has cast him in She’s Gotta Have It for Netflix. The Fellowship will put him that much closer to his artistic and professional goals: continued training (on-camera classes, voice lessons, audition coaching), activities to advance his career (trips to Los Angeles for pilot season, a trip to Ghana and its National Theater to study storytelling traditions, a weekend songwriting retreat), and investments in other professional services.
Emily Erb, visual artist
Teachers and critics agree: Emily Erb is a courageous artist who takes on large and often difficult topics. “For me,” she explains, “it’s always been to make pretty things to make people think” and “I like to make art about things that I want people to care about.” To this end, she uses silk as the medium for her large-scale watercolors, creating beautiful and accessible paintings to highlight subjects such as the role of women and slaves in American history, and gun violence, thus encouraging viewers to look closely and reflect on important issues. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she earned a BFA at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 2005, and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2012. She has had solo exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Museum of American Finance in New York City. Her work also has been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She was a 2015 TEDx speaker in Richmond. Hoping to benefit from both the creative and career opportunities associated with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, she plans to attend art fairs in Miami, Chicago, and New York City, present her work at galleries, art institutes, and museums in a dozen cities, rent separate studio space, purchase equipment and supplies, and participate in an arts residency in Japan.
Samantha Hankey, opera singer
Mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey has a dream: “to keep opera alive and share its relevance with audiences today.” Passionate about singing and performing, she began studying music at a young age, enrolled in The Walnut Hill High School for the Performing Arts, and pursued undergraduate and graduate studies at The Julliard School. She will graduate from Julliard in May 2017 with a Master of Music degree as a Kovner Fellow. In her final year at Julliard, she received awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation Opera and Lieder/Art Song Competitions, Opera Index, The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and The Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship Foundation, and the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. She will use the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship support to prepare for major engagements in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway, and to cover various start-up costs for her career, including European auditions, pianist fees, travel, performance attire, scores, demo recordings, application fees for competitions and training programs, and professional photography.
Khari Joyner, musician
A cellist with a long list of honors, awards, and important performances, Khari Joyner earned both his Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. While studying in the School’s Accelerated BM/MM program, he pursued a concentration in Mathematics in an exchange program with Columbia University. He is currently completing his degree in Juilliard’s prestigious Doctor of Musical Arts program. In addition, he has served as a Fellow for the Perlman Music Program, appeared as a soloist with many orchestras (including the New World Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Atlantic Symphony Orchestra), and he has given solo recitals both here and abroad. He has performed with chamber music groups, and he was featured in performances for President Barack Obama at The White House, Coretta Scott-King at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, and two of Hank Aaron’s birthday celebrations (D.C. and New York). With his Fellowship, Khari will make a solo debut recording, embark on a recital tour that “would combine aspects of community engagement and educational opportunities for various communities across the U.S. (e.g., churches, hospitals, college campuses, concert halls, community centers), and invest in a range of career needs (e.g., a Sartory bow for his cello, professional headshots, travel, and fees for international/national competitions and various orchestral auditions).
Jia Kim, musician
Associated with the Perlman Music Program since 2003, cellist Jia Kim attended PMP’s Summer Music School for high school students and then participated in the Chamber Music Workshop. In addition, PMP invited Jia to travel to Israel for its 2010 residency in Jerusalem, and she worked as a Summer Music School Fellow. She graduated from The Juilliard School with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. She has had solo performances both here and abroad, orchestra engagements, chamber music concerts, summer festivals and masterclasses. She served as a tone judge for the Violin Society of America’s International Competition in 2016. As Artistic Director of a unique nonprofit called International Music Sessions, she is committed to ensuring that music is the universal language that makes connections beyond language and words. IMS’s mission is to bring music students from third world conflict areas around the world to the U.S. as a means of bridging the gap between cultures through the communicative power of music.
Ruibo Qian, actor
Ruibo Qian is a versatile actress. She starred in the plays Tiger Style! (Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, and Alliance Theatre Company, Atlanta), Water by the Spoonful (The Old Globe, San Diego), and Henry IV, Part 1 (The Pearl Theatre Company, New York City), and will appear this year in a new play, Bull in a China Shop (Lincoln Center Theater 3). She also appeared in the television series Broad City (Comedy Central, 2014) and Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon, 2014-16), and the Oscar-nominated film Manchester by the Sea (2016) and Viral Beauty (2016). With the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, she plans to continue her artistic studies at the Dell-Arte School of Physical Theatre, participate in on-camera workshops and take private voice lessons. In addition, she will cover career development costs, including a professional demo reel, professional equipment, wardrobe, and headshots.
Cassandra Trenary, ballet dancer
A native of Lawrenceville, Georgia, American Ballet Theatre Soloist Cassandra Trenary began training at Southern Ballet Theatre in 2006, studying not only ballet but also jazz, tap, modern dance, and hip-hop. After attending ABT’s Summer Intensive programs as a National Training Scholar, she joined ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in 2009. In 2011, she was offered an apprenticeship with ABT and, in November of that year, a corps de ballet contract. She was promoted to Soloist in 2015. With assistance from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund, she can reach “outside the comfort of the only company I have ever known” and stretch her artistic experience with coaching from three major companies: The Mariinsky, The Royal Ballet, and The Netherlands Dance Theatre -- her “three destinations for learning.” She also plans to take acting classes to aid her in telling stories “with the utmost clarity and conviction,” focus on strength and conditioning, and create an abstract art film.

2016 Fellows Profiles

Robyn Bollinger, violinist
Violinist Robyn Bollinger is intent on finding new ways for audiences to engage with classical music. To this end, she has developed an original concert model that incorporates multi-media historical presentations and personal narratives with live performances. As a Leonore Annenberg Fellow, Robyn plans to demonstrate this model in a concert format on a national stage in New York City.  Robin is currently working on her debut album CIACCONA: The Bass of Time, which she will follow with a national tour, including engagements at the Isabella Garden Museum in Boston, and the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington.   A graduate of the New England Conservatory (Bachelor of Music with honors in 2013, Master of Music in 2015), she has performed with many orchestras throughout the U.S., including the Grand Tetons Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival.  A soloist for the Boston Pops since 2014, she also will perform at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont for the next three summers.  Her mentor in the Fellowship program, Miriam Fried, identifies her as a “citizen-musician” by which she means that Robyn is “highly aware of the problems facing the music world today and is fully engaged in trying to figure out what needs to be done about it and how she can participate in the process.”
Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone
In mid-2016, when he completed his third year of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, bass-baritone Brandon Cedel relocated to Frankfurt, Germany as a member of Oper Frankfurt. The performing experience he is gaining through his Fest position in the opera company will take him one step closer to his long-term goals.  He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music (Bachelor of Music in 2010, Master of Music in 2013), won Grand Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2013), and received a Richard Tucker Career Grant (2015), the Sullivan Award (2013), George London Award (2012), and Grand Prize in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition (2011).  Brandon is using his Fellowship funds for lessons, coaching, German Language study, travel and other costs associated with European auditions, materials (scores, recordings, DVDs, librettos).  In 2016, he debuted at Carnegie Hall with the New York Choral Society.
Jeremie Harris, actor
In high school, Jeremie Harris considered the possibility of a career in the NBA.  As a freshman at New York University, he began taking courses to prepare him for a career in business.  It was a summer stint in a college preparatory acting program at the Harlem School of the Arts, however, that whetted his appetite for a future in the arts.  With the guidance of actors from the Classical Theater of Harlem, he applied to The Juilliard School and enrolled in its Drama program.  Since graduation, he has worked in theater (King Liz at the Second Stage, Father Comes Home from the Wars at The Public Theater, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear at Classical Theater of Harlem), film (A Walk Among the Tombstones, Pariah, Orange Bow), and television (Bessie, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest).  He is also set to appear in the upcoming movie Coco. He is using the Fellowship resources for technique classes in preparation for his current and upcoming roles, and for a trip to Los Angeles for auditions during pilot season.  He is currently performing as the character Ptonomy Wallace on the FX television series Legion.
Miriam Hyman, actor
A native of Philadelphia, Miriam Hyman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the Yale School of Drama.  She received additional training at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford, England, Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, and New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. A hallmark of Miriam’s artistry is her versatility.  She has acted in films (e.g., Breathe, Bereavement, Congressman, and Most Beautiful Island), television (The Blacklist, Hostages, 30 Rock, Law & Order, The Wire, Conviction), theater (McCarter Theatre, Two River Theater, The Public Theater, LaMaMa), commercials (Holiday Inn, Comcast, Time Warner Cable), voice overs (Campbell Soups, and a Tide commercial featuring Simone Bales) and audio books (Queen Sugar). She has a vision for the future of Hip Hop which focuses on “education through entertainment” by blending classic text with colloquial lyrics, and in 2016, she released her EP For Higher. She continues to use her Fellowship for vocal and drum lessons, on-camera classes, and travel to Los Angeles to meet with casting directors, agents, and film producers.  She has a recurring role on the CBS drama Blue Bloods.
Nico Olarte-Hayes, cellist and conductor
Nico Olarte-Hayes is academically accomplished, multi-talented, and service-driven.  He graduated in 2012 with honors from the Harvard/New England Conservatory Joint Program, simultaneously earning an A.B. in Physics from Harvard College and his Master in Music from NEC.  He also completed pre-college studies with distinction at The Juilliard School and studied for eight years at the Perlman Music Program.  As a cellist, he has given solo recitals at Lincoln Center, in Memphis’ Artists Ascending Series, and New York’s Young Musician’s Forum, and throughout the Netherlands and Japan.  Nico played on Live from Lincoln Center (PBS) and the Kennedy Center Honors (CBS) in tribute to violinist Itzhak Perlman, his long-time mentor.  He is also a conductor, winner of the 2015 Vincent C. LaGuardia Conducting Competition, participant in the Tanglewood Festival Conducting Seminar, and music director of New York’s IconoClassic Opera.  As an educator, he served as music director of New York’s East End Youth Orchestra, an intensive workshop in ensemble playing for talented public school students.  For many years, he toured as an ambassador for New York’s Midori and Friends, giving performances for under-served children at inner-city schools. The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship provided Nico with the time to focus on his preparation for recitals, promotional recordings and competitions.  He was able to purchase artistic equipment and conduct workshops with the New World Symphony.  Nico’s talents were recognized when he was one of three conductors selected to participate in a conducting workshop with renowned conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
David Pegram, actor
As a teenager growing up in Houston, David Pegram attended the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, benefiting during those formative years from the strong professional commitment and individualized support of his teachers.  After graduation, he attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, went on to do a regional show, and was cast for two years in War Horse, the highly lauded production at Lincoln Center Theater.  In War Horse, he alternated between two roles: one of the three actors-puppeteers playing parts of the lead horse Joey, and as Private David Taylor, the best friend of Albert (the British boy who originally owns Joey) during the war.  It was in that latter role that he caught the attention of his Fellowship mentors:  “David was touching and brave as the hero’s best friend and his death from an enemy shell was truly sad and shocking to the audience.  This was David’s first real professional job, and he succeeded way beyond his years or experience.”  In 2016, David appeared in the Lion in Winter at the Guthrie Theatre.  The Fellowship provided David with the opportunity to take on-camera classes, prepare for auditions, and become adept with industry-related software.  Click here for more information on David Pegram.
Nyugen Smith, multimedia artist
Nyugen Smith is an American multi-media artist of Caribbean descent whose work has been described as “informative, universal and humanistic.” Graduating in 2016 with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Seton Hall University, with additional training at the Drawing and Painting Studio of the Art Center International in Florence, Italy.  He has delivered lectures and participated in panel discussions at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and other institutions.  His works appear in the collections of the Newark Museum and Seton Hall University, and he has had fifteen solo exhibitions as well as sixty group exhibitions.  The Fellowship not only will enable him to take his work in new directions but it will also give him the time and financial support to pursue three projects which he has hoped to realize for years: creating a mixed-media sculpture for a traveling exhibition next year of works by artists connected to the Caribbean region and its diaspora, along with a related series of public discussions; developing a series of mixed-media drawings highlighting historical and mythical figures from Caribbean and American literature; and preparing a labor-intensive body of work consisting of his large-scale mixed-media works on paper.  In 2016, he participated in the PRIZM Art Fair at Art Basel/Miami.  
Devon Teuscher, soloist
A Soloist at American Ballet Theatre, Devon Teuscher already has great technical ability.  What the Fellowship term will provide is an opportunity for her to grow as an artist.  To this end, she plans to take acting classes, learn more about the art of choreography, engage a dance coach to prepare for new productions and challenging roles, and work with directors, companies, and artists overseas.  She intends to visit three prominent ballet companies  --  the Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet  --  to learn more about their training styles and repertory, and to experience professional ballet environments outside of her own long-time company.  With a “strong desire to stretch her mind through college courses,” she is also pursuing a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree at Saint Mary’s College through an existing arrangement which takes into account the working schedules of ABT dancers.
Daniel Walden, musician and musicologist
Daniel Walden is both a musician (keyboardist) who expects to use his Fellowship for recording projects and performances, and an academic (musicologist) who does research on contemporary and historical repertoire. He received an undergraduate degree at Oberlin with a major in piano performance, reflecting his musicianship.  A master’s degree (with distinction) from the University of Cambridge in music studies, and a current appointment as a third-year Ph.D. candidate and Presidential Scholar in Music Theory at Harvard University, align with his academic interests. During his Fellowship term, Daniel intends to move forward with a recording project that couples historical keyboard repertoire with commissions by both established and emerging composers; travel plans to participate in competitions for historical and contemporary performance (the International Competition Musica Antiqua in Bruges, and the Prix Annelie de Man in Amsterdam); and a collaboration with a harpsichord builder on the reconstruction of one of the sixteenth-century microtonal harpsichords that inspired the Renaissance avant-garde.  Daniel proposes to use the enharmonic harpsichord in the CD recording project to “demonstrate the continuing relevance of early music to today’s practice while uncovering the deep historical legacy of microtonal experimentation.”

2015 Fellows Profiles

Julia Bullock, soprano
A soprano hailed in the New York Times as a “mesmerizing performer” who has demonstrated “ravishing, impassioned artistry,” Julia Bullock won First Prize at both the 2014 Naumberg International Vocal Competition and the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.  She was also a recipient of Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, and the 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.  After earning a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, she received a Master’s degree at Bard College’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program and an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School.  Cast by director Peter Sellars in the title role of Henry Purcell’s The Indian Queen, she performed at the Perm Opera House, Teatro Real, and the English National Opera.  She also appeared in Kaija Saariaho’s La passion de Simone and the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait at the Ojai Music Festival in the summer of 2016.   This season she is performing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony.  Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ms. Bullock integrates her musical life with community activism.  She has organized and participated in benefit concerts in support of the FSH Society, which funds research for Muscular Dystrophy, the Medicine Initiative for New York’s Weill Medical Center, and the Shropshire Music Foundation, a non-profit that serves war-affected children and adolescents through music education and performance programs in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Uganda.  She used her fellowship for voice lessons and coaching as well as travel expenses.  Click here for more information on Julia Bullock.
Sean Chen, pianist
As the third-prize winner at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013, Sean Chen became the first American to reach the finals since 1997.  He also won the 2013 American Pianists Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship.  A graduate of The Juilliard School with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he earned the Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music.  Chen has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras, performed in recitals, and released CDs under the Parma, Harmonia Mundi, and Steinway labels. Sean used his fellowship for a down payment on a concert-quality piano, travel expenses related to his recitals, and a two-week trip to Germany for professional introductions and study.  Click here for more information on Sean Chen.
Caitlin Cherry, visual artist
Caitlin Cherry, a Brooklyn-based visual artist, combines painting, sculpture and installation art. Describing her work to Interview magazine, she said, “It’s sculpture trying to mold into painting, painting trying to mold into sculpture.” In the work “Hero Safe” in a 2013 solo show at the Brooklyn Museum, Cherry built life-size wood-and-rope weapons of war inspired by Leonardo da Vinci – a catapult, a crossbow, a trebuchet – that use her own paintings as their ammunition. Cherry brings “humor, complexity, aggression and virtuosity” to works that meld “the historical with the present, the fabricated with the actual, in order to fight an ongoing social battle of past and present, powerful and powerless,” says Shelly Silver, chair of Visual Arts at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, which sponsored Cherry and from which she received her master’s degree. Cherry, who was born in Chicago, used her funds to collaborate with tech specialists at MIT to create a more interactive art experience.  In 2016, she received a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fellowship Residency.  Click here for more information on Caitlin Cherry.
McKenzie Chinn, actor
McKenzie Chinn, an actor, writer and filmmaker in Chicago, used her Fellowship to write, co-produce, and star in an original, ultra-low budget feature-length movie called Olympia.  Chinn noted that directors Ava DuVernay and Lena Dunham each made their first feature film for $50,000. Her film is currently in post-production, and once her film is complete, she will distribute it to film festivals.  The multi-talented Chinn, nominated by The Theatre School of DePaul University, has acted in productions at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens. “Luminous and captivating,” is how Steppenwolf’s artistic director, Martha Lavey, describes her. “In every step of the acting process,” wrote John Culbert, dean of DePaul’s Theatre School, “she demonstrates talent, organization, focus, detail, rich listening, diligence and grace.”
Christine Shevchenko, soloist
Christine Shevchenko joined ABT’s Corps de Ballet in 2008 and became a Soloist in 2014. She has performed in the roles of Polyhymnia in Apollo, Summer in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, and the pas de trois and the Italian Princess in Swan Lake. She created roles in Principal Dancer, Marcelo Gomes’ acclaimed AfterEffect, Benjamin Millepeid’s Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, and Demis Volpi’s Private Light. The youngest recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 2003, she also received the Gold Medal Title of Laureate at the Moscow International Ballet Competition, and won a Bronze Medal at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, the George Zoritch of Ballet Russe Award for Talent Recognition, and the Margaret King Moore Dance Award. With support from the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship Fund, Christine focused on acting taking classes and learning the Meisner technique.  She traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to work the world-renowned Mariinsky Ballet, and she took classes at the Paris Opera Ballet and the Mariinsky Ballet, which she describes as “a lifelong dream.”  Christine is secure in her commitment to ballet, and she is passionate about her work: “You have to find that thing that you love, and if you are 100% sure that it is what you want to do, then you have to go for it all the way and work hard for it.”

2014 Fellows Profiles

Molly Bernard, actor
A versatile and highly skilled actress hailing from Las Vegas, Molly Bernard longs to have an extensive career in the theater and to perform with multi-disciplinary artists. She aspires to collaborate on new plays. Moreover, she has equally large dreams for film and television. A graduate of Skidmore College and the Yale School of Drama, she has also trained at the Moscow Art Theater School and SITI Company. She has undertaken roles ranging from Celia in As You Like It to Dinah in The Philadelphia Story. She has also offered a hilarious and moving portrait of Edward (a boy living a lie) in Caryl Churchill’s masterwork Cloud Nine, gave a compelling account of Ethel Rosenberg in Angels in America, and appeared in the comedy Alpha House. She made her Yale Repertory Theatre debut in 2013 in Dario Fo’s farce Accidental Death of an Anarchist. She used her Leonore Annenberg Fellowship resources for travel and study abroad, training, and classes (Alexander lessons, Martha Graham dance classes, on-camera classes), coaching, audition expenses, and career and professional development requirements.  She appeared in the movies Sully and The Intern, and she is a series regular on TV Land’s Younger.  Click here for more information on Molly Bernard.
Francesca dePasquale, violinist
Raised in Philadelphia, violinist Francesca dePasquale comes from a family of distinguished musicians, including her father William, co-concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and her mother Gloria, a member of the cello section. She attended the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles for her Bachelor of Music and she graduated in 2014 from The Juilliard School with a Master of Music degree. At Juilliard, she served as the Starling Fellow teaching assistant to Itzhak Perlman from 2013-2016 and is currently teaching assistant to Catherine Cho. The first prize winner of the 2010 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, Francesca is committed to a career that balances solo, chamber, and orchestral music performance with pedagogy and outreach. Francesca used the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship to prepare for competitions and auditions, and learned how to develop her artistic voice through a recording project.  She undertook a US recital tour, and developed an educational outreach program for the purpose of introducing classical music to future generations.  In 2016, she released her debut CD Francesca dePasquale, and she joined the Heifetz Institute Program for the Exceptionally Gifted faculty.  She is a member of the faculty at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. Click here for more information on Francesca dePasquale.
Ryan Speedo Green, opera singer
After seeing bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green perform as the Commendatore in a production of Don Giovanni at the Juilliard School, a reviewer for The New York Post commented that he had “the magnetic presence of a superstar.” Ryan, who grew up in low-income housing in Suffolk, Virginia, benefited from the support and encouragement of a teacher who steered him to the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk. At the age of 14, he saw Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera and that experience was transformative. Ten years later, after earning a Bachelor of Music from the University of Hartford and a Master of Music from Florida State University, Ryan won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and he was invited to apply for the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In fall 2014, Ryan joined the Vienna Staatsoper as a company member. Fellowship funds covered the costs of his move to Vienna and provided vital resources for voice lessons and coaching for new roles, including his first major role at the Metropolitan Opera in The Death of Klinghoffer and a new production of Il Trovatore at Opera de Lille.  In 2014, Ryan also won a grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation First Prize, a Gerda Lissner Foundation First Prize, and a Grand Prize in the Opera Index competition.  In addition, he reached the semi-finals of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.  In 2016, Little Brown published Sing for Your Life by New York Times journalist Daniel Bergner.  The book recounts Ryan’s journey from his challenging early years to opera stardom. Ryan returned to the Metropolitan Opera in late 2016 to perform as Colline in Puccini’s La Boheme.  He is scheduled to make his debut at the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival in August 2017.   Click here for more information on Ryan Speedo Green.
Tessa Lark, violinist
With a repertoire of both classical and cutting-edge works, violinist Tessa has wide-ranging musical interests. Hailing from Richmond, Ky., she was the first American violinist to win the prestigious Walter W. Naumberg International Violin Competition (2012) since 1960. Her previous accomplishments include first prizes at both the Johansen International Violin Competition (2006) and the Irving M. Klein International String Competition (2009). A native of Kentucky, she brings an American folk perspective to classical music, doubling as a bluegrass fiddler. Tessa graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music in 2010 and a Master of Music in 2012. In September 2014, Tessa Lark was awarded the Silver Medal at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.  This win placed her higher in the competition than any other American violinist since 1982.  Tessa also won the prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. With support from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, Tessa recorded and commercially produced (on the Naxos recording label) her 2017 debut CD of Telemann’s Twelve Fantasias for Solo Violin.  In 2016, she received the Avery Fisher Career Grant.  In early 2017, she performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series.  She will appear in two tours with Musicians from Marlboro in 2018.  She holds a Jerome L. Greene Fellowship and the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship in Juilliard’s Artist Diploma program. Click here for more information on Tessa Lark.
Mia Rosenthal, visual artist
A native of Cranston, R.I., Mia graduated from Parsons the New School for Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts. Mia specializes in drawings on paper, employing a multitude of tiny sketches that one critic has likened to the method of pointillism. An intriguing combination of science and art, her works are included in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Progressive Art Collection in Cleveland, and Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. In the ink and graphite drawings for her first solo show, American Landscapes, at Gallery Joe in Philadelphia, she paid tribute to the tradition of American landscape painting while celebrating the biological diversity of the land. The landscape drawings depict more than 3,000 animals and plants (“organisms by the thousands forming the contours of the natural world”) found in the Hudson River Valley. The centerpiece of her second solo show at Gallery Joe, titled every day, was a large spiraled drawing of 1,000 creatures, beginning with a single-celled organism and moving through time to early ocean life, plants, mammals, dinosaurs, primates, and the domestication of plants and animals through genetically modified organisms and synthetically created life forms. In 2014, her work was included in the 12th National Drawing Invitational at the Arkansas Arts Center, which purchased a piece for its permanent collection, and she had a solo show titled Welcome to Earth! At PULSE Miami Beach. As the demand for Mia’s work grew, the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship enabled her to expand her art studio, purchase art supplies to complete additional drawings and participate in art fairs and exhibitions.  She was able to cover travel costs to meet with collectors, curators, and dealers.  She also took the opportunity to travel to Geneva to visit the Large Hadron Collider, which became the inspiration for her solo exhibit Paper Lens at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  In 2015, she received a residency fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Click here for more information on Mia Rosenthal.
Calvin Royal III, corps de ballet
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Calvin is a member of the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre. He joined ABT’s pre-professional school after being discovered at the Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York City in 2006. His innate ability and passion for dance was clear, and he was swiftly promoted to ABT Studio Company and then into the Main Company in 2010. Since then, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has featured him in Piano Concerto #1, and Marcelo Gomes created a role for him in Aftereffect. The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship gave him access to “tools” for a deeper involvement in the classics, including research into the history and dramaturgy of the classics, and additional training at the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden in London and Ballet de l’Opera de Paris.  The improvements in his classical technique allowed Calvin to perform as a Fairy Cavalier in The Sleeping Beauty, land a leading role in Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, and dance in After You and AfterEffect.  Calvin can be seen in the GAP ad for a new dance-inspired fitness line GAP Fit.
Sarah Sokolovic, actor
A Milwaukee native and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Sarah has an uncanny ability to command the audience’s attention in musicals, comedy, drama, and the screen. Peers, coaches, and casting directors alike have remarked on her fearlessness, her original voice, and the immediacy of her work. In her final year of training at Yale, Sarah was recognized with the most prestigious scholarship the School has to offer, the Jerome Greene Fellowship. She received a Drama Desk nomination for her work in the Playwrights Horizons production of the musical The Shaggs, and appeared again at that theater in a successful production of Detroit; she was a cast member in Relatively Speaking on Broadway; she appeared in two television shows on CBS (The Good Wife and Unforgettable); she had a supporting role in the film Every Secret Thing; she had a leading role in the independent film La vida inesparada; and appeared in the main cast of Season 5 of the Showtime series Homeland. She has completed work on one screenplay and is at work on two others. The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship provided Sarah with artistic and technical training (voice lessons, dance and acting classes, music theory and basic piano instruction) and career development opportunities (private film mentorship, networking and audition trips, a creative writing retreat, a screenplay workshop and presentation). In 2017, she had a recurring role in HBO’s Big Little Lies, and she will also appear in the Sci-Fi thriller Omphalos. 

2013 Fellows Profiles

Isabella Boylston, principal
A native of Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella began her training as a twelve-year-old at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, and in 2003 she entered the prestigious Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2007, Boylston was accepted to the ABT Studio Company. Her career at ABT has been marked by rapid ascension: she joined the Main Company in 2007, was promoted to Soloist in 2011, and was promoted to Principal in 2014. She has performed several leading roles during the past two years, including the Ballerina in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Bright Stream, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri in Don Quixote, and the Firebird in the premiere of Mr. Ratmansky’s all-new Firebird. Isabella has achieved additional recognition with the Gold Medal in Youth America Grand Prix (2001), Reuger Award (2005), Princess Grace Award (2009), Benois De La Danse Nomination (2010) and Clive Barnes Award (2011). Andrew Blackmore-Dobbn, writing for Huffington Post Arts & Culture, extols her as the “the current odds on favorite to be the next Great American Ballerina.” She created the role of Diamon Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and had leading roles in Citizens, Chamber Symphony and Dumbarton, Private Lights, and Diversions.  In summer 2017, she will curate her own show, Ballet Sun Valley, in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho.  Click here for more information on Isabella Boylston.
Crystal Gregory, sculptor
Crystal Gregory is a multi-media installation artist whose work offers a provocative mix of traditional handmade objects, textiles, architecture, and technologies. Hailing from public schools in California, Gregory spent several years working as an artist in New York City before eventually moving to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA program in Fiber and Material Studies, where she was awarded the department’s only full merit scholarship. Gregory specialized in textiles, studying cloth construction in eight cities and four countries. Following graduation, she relocated back to New York, where she has shown in galleries, participated in exhibitions, acquired private and public commissions, and participated in prestigious artist residencies. Heirloom, presented at the DUMBO Arts Festival in 2010, is her largest installation to date, a merger of lace and architecture.  Crystal holds an adjunct faculty position in the Fiber and Material studies Department at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Click here for more information on Crystal Gregory.
Korey Jackson, actor
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Korey performed in a number of school theater productions, including the world premiere of Tony Kushner’s Henry Box Brown Play, before making his professional debut and working in several renowned theatres. Korey made his Off-Broadway début at The Public Theater in Colman Domingo’s Wild With Happy. He has appeared in the broadcast network series Law and Order: SVU, and in the premium cable series Homeland and Nurse Jackie. Korey also participated in a workshop alongside George C. Wolfe and the late writer and director Nora Ephron. He portrayed young Alex in the movie 5 Flights Up with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.  Korey has been praised in press coverage for his “broad and expansive imagination” and for creating characters with “real gravity and authority.”  He will appear in Bayou Tales.
Emalie Savoy, soprano
Recognized as a talent on multiple levels – vocal, musical, intellectual, and dramatic – soprano Emalie Savoy is gaining momentum in what will surely be a major operatic career. Raised in Albany, New York, Emalie completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance at The Juilliard School.  She studied with Edith Wiens, a Canadian soprano and esteemed teacher. The daughter of two professional musicians, Emalie has a full-bodied, dramatic voice and personality that demands leading roles in operas by Wagner, Verdi, and Strauss. Emalie participated in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, and she made her Met debut during the 2011-2012 season in the role of Krista in The Makropulos Case. She is a recipient of the 2012 Hildegard Behrens Foundation Young Artist Humanitarian Award and is a 2011 George London Foundation Grand Prize recipient. Emalie has earned critical praise. Musical America calls her “a fresh young voice of great promise.” The New York Times lauded her as “the star of the evening” following a 2010 oratorio; other reviews in professional publications have described her singing as “velvety” and “luminous.” Emalie performed in the role of Countess Ceprano in the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto in February 2013, which was broadcast as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. She joined the Opera Studio at Salzburg State Theater in Austria for the 2014-15 season.  In 2015, she won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Germany.  In 2016, she released her debut CD Emalie Savoy: A Portrait. Click here for more information on Emalie Savoy.
Hayley Treider, actor
Hayley Treider is a graduate (B.F.A. in Acting) of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Represented by Leading Artists, Inc., she has begun to diversify her work with appearances in plays, television, and film. Hayley boasts a particularly strong record in theater, having acted in numerous on and off Broadway productions as well as in several regional festivals and tours. Hayley reached a larger audience with her first television spot as a court witness on the NBC series Law & Order SVU. She boasts a wide range of training in acting, speech, voice, dance, stage combat, and film and audition techniques. One of her valuable talents is her singing, which has earned for her the opportunity to sing backup for James Taylor at Lincoln Center. The New York Times’ theater critic Ben Brantley, in a review for The Best of Everything, wrote glowingly of Hayley’s “torchy number”. It is also evident from various reviews that Hayley possesses the often intangible charm that sparks an audience’s connection with a performer. She wrote and developed a new play with music, Dawn.  A stage reading of Dawn was presented last year at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York. Click here for more information on Hayley Treider.

2012 Fellows Profiles

Paul Appleby, tenor
An exciting and versatile talent, tenor Paul Appleby earned an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at The Juilliard School, a master’s degree from Juilliard, and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and in Music from the University of Notre Dame.  He completed his formal training in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. He is a National Winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a recipient of a 2009 Sara Tucker study grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the 2012 Top Prize by the Gerda Lissner Foundation, and the 2012 Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center. He had the lead role in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2013-14 new production of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, and the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Oper Frankfurt. He returned to the Met in December 2014 in Wagner’s epic comedy Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and in the lead role of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. He has performed in numerous concerts, recitals, and music festivals. Click here for more information on Paul Appleby.
Eric Berryman, actor
A graduate with University and College Honors of Carnegie Mellon University, Eric also received the John Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting. In his freshman year, he traveled to Japan to participate in an intense puppetry workshop. Three years later, he was the first student at the School of Drama to spend a semester at the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul. An appointment as a Resident Company Member of Everyman Theatre provided Eric with valuable performing experience in several different productions, including a featured role in Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, and one of the lead roles in the play Fly, a tribute to the experiences of the African-American pilots in World War II, collectively known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Eric also traveled to Australia to work with the renowned Physical Theater Company Zen Zen Zo and performed as Jason in the Greek tragedy Medea.  He appeared in Barry (2016), a look into the early life of U.S. President Barack Obama, Empathy Inc. (2017), currently in post-production, and After Louie (2017) with Alan Cumming.  Eric received a 2016 Princess Grace Honoraria in Theater.
Austin Durant, actor
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Austin earned recognition for stage acting that is precise, surprising and mature. He performed in the award-winning ensemble production of War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater and in two shows at Yale Repertory Theatre: a new play, American Night and, in the role of Horatio, a production of Hamlet starring Paul Giamatti. In 2014, he was cast in the new Broadway production of You Can’t Take it with You, starring James Earl Jones.  He also appears in the film Sam & Julia (2017), currently in post-production.
Sullivan Fortner, jazz pianist
Building on his first-rate background in music education and training, including a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and graduation with distinction from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner used his Fellowship to study with several “jazz icons” and to tour with the Roy Hargrove/Roberta Gambarini Quintet as well as his own trio.  He also explored the music and culture of other countries (India, Brazil and Ghana), fusing  these influences into a sound which is uniquely his own.  In 2014, he used Fellowship resources to record an EP (short recording) which he submitted to various jazz clubs in New York and abroad.  He also sent a copy to the American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellows Competition and was accepted as one of the five finalists for the prestigious award. On March 28, 2015, Sullivan Fortner won the American Pianists Association’s Jazz Fellowship Awards and was named their 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz. In 2015, Sullivan released his debut CD Aria (Impulse Records), and in 2016, he was invited to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival.  Sullivan will begin touring in spring 2017 with Cécile McLorin Salvant, John Scofield, and the Sullivan Fortner Trio. Click here for more information on Sullivan Fortner.
Devon Guthrie, soprano
Soprano Devon Guthrie suggested that the mantra for this new chapter in her life is “Leap and the net will appear.” With the welcome net of the Fellowship, she took the leap from her structured life as a student — having earned a Bachelor’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, Master’s in Music degree and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School — to work intensively on establishing her career. The Fellowship has allowed her to continue working on technique and to benefit from specialized coaching. She stepped into the limelight in 2011 when she made an acclaimed debut as Susanna in a new English National Opera production of Le Nozze di Figaro.  Since then, she has appeared in productions at New England Conservatory and Tanglewood, Opera Philadelphia, New York Philharmonic, and Santa Fe Opera. She used her Fellowship resources to travel to auditions, prepare for new roles, create a website, and fulfill other professional needs.   Click here for more information on Devon Guthrie.
Alex Lawrence, baritone
As a baritone, Alex’s rise in the musical world has been gradual, steady and measured. To be sure, he expects to continue his gradual career trajectory, counting on the time which is required for the maturation of his voice and artistry. Yet the Fellowship term also signaled his entry into a series of increasingly valuable artistic and professional experiences that will build on the foundations he established during his four-year artistic residency at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and his membership in the studio ensemble of Theater Basel in Basel, Switzerland. In fall 2013, Alex moved to Zurich to join the ensemble of the Zurich Opera. He returned to the renowned Glimmerglass Festival in July 2013 to sing the title role in Verdi’s King for a Day.  In 2014, he was one of forty opera singers worldwide who was invited to participate in the annual Operalia competition, founded by Placido Domingo.  He is set to play Figaro in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro for Vancouver Opera. For more information on Alex Lawrence, click here.
Jeraldine May Mendoza, principal
The Joffrey Ballet welcomed Jeraldine into the company for its 2011-12 New Generation season and she has already made her mark in leading roles, including the world premiere of the Joffrey’s Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, and the North American premiere of Infra. The young prima ballerina danced principal roles in many performances for the Joffrey, including Interplay, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and Lilac Garden. After completing her training at City Ballet School of San Francisco, primarily under the artistic direction of Galina Alexandrova, she became the first American female in the history of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s 236-year history to graduate with honors in a Russian course. As a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellow, Jeraldine studied in San Francisco with Ms. Alexandrova, in Moscow with ballet mistress Margarita Sergeevna Drozdova, and in London and Paris with contemporary master Antoine Vereecken. Jeraldine also continued her training at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. She worked with Yuri Possokhov to create and choreograph an original ballet that was performed at the Joffrey’s 2014 annual Gala.  In May 2015, she adorned the cover of Dance Magazine’s first international issue.
Bryce Pinkham, actor
Within a few weeks of his nomination for the Fellowship, Bryce Pinkham was appearing as one of the four leads in the Broadway production of the London musical Ghost. He co-starred on Broadway in the 2014 Tony Award-winning musical comedy A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Bryce’s performance was recognized with a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.  He also received a 2014 Drama Desk Award nomination. Previously, he performed at Yale Repertory Theater, The Guthrie Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, and Hartford Stage, and he worked in high profile projects such as Horton Foote’s Orphans’ Home Cycle and the Broadway production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Bryce believes that his mission as an artist is continued growth; accordingly, the Fellowship has provided him with opportunities to take advanced training in physical comedy, additional technical training for the stage, and on-camera study for films and television.  In 2016, he was the lead actor in Holiday Inn, an Iving Berlin musical on Broadway, and a member of the cast of the PBS series Mercy Street.  In spring 2017 he co-starred in the Chicago Lyric Opera’s production of My Fair Lady.
Michelle Ross, violinist and composer
Trained as a violinist with Itzhak Perlman since the age of twelve, Michelle also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She received a Master’s of Music degree from The Juilliard School in May 2012. With her Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, she studied and perfected two monumental works — all six Unaccompanied Partitas and Sonatas of J. S. Bach, and Bela Bartok’s Solo Sonata.  Her debut CD of the complete Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach was released by Albany Records. She expects to complete recordings of her own compositions.  She will follow the two releases with “Discover Bach” concerts in New York and other cities.  She also plans to launch a new chamber music series in New York in collaboration with Grand Central Atelier art school in Long Island City.  She is a founder of the Music in the Mountains festival in Utah.  Click here for more information on Michelle Ross.
Eric Tamm
A native of San Francisco, Eric began his dance training with tap and jazz. His ballet training began at age 14 at the Irine Fokine School of Ballet (2000-2003). After further training with American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company (2004-2007), he was invited to join the main company (corps de ballet) in 2007. Eric designated a portion of his Fellowship funds for acting lessons, which enabled him to step back from the technique of ballet and delve more deeply into the emotions and mannerisms of the characters he portrays.  He also created a dance film, titled  On a Grass Field, which had its premiere at the 2014 Chain New York City Film Festival.  With three former dance colleagues, Eric founded Ballet Mentor, a new online mentorship program for dancers.

2011 Fellows Profiles

Christopher Bolduc, baritone
The reviews are in for operatic baritone Christopher Bolduc – each one fortifying the bright and successful future that Christopher’s vocals will bring him. While attending the Master of Music program at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, he excelled in numerous productions, earning top prizes including the Sullivan Foundation Awards for Voice, the Opera Index Competition, the Julian Gayarre Competition, and the Florida Grand Opera Voice Competition.  He was also a two-time national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. With several professional debuts in leading roles across America, Christopher used the fellowship to assist him in securing vocal coaching for role preparation, as well as the necessary headshots and professional websites required of professional opera singers. He has performed in leading roles at Oper Köln, Glyndebourne, Theater Basel, Fort Worth Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Central City Opera.  He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2013-14 season as Jake in the new opera Two Boys by contemporary classical music composer Nico Muhly.  In March 2017, he made his title role debut in Eugen Onegin at the Hessische Staatstheater Wiesbaden.   Click here for more information on Christopher Bolduc.
Hannah Cabell, actor
Born to a family of stage performers, Hannah Cabell fell into her role as an actor at an early age – five years old to be exact. She walked onstage and threw her arms around an actor playing her grandfather in the play They Knew What They Wanted. She’s been enthralled by the stage life ever since. Hannah attended Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio) and majored in Russian Literature and Theater, spent time in Moscow studying at the Moscow Art Theater, and pursued her dream of becoming a working actor by attending graduate school at New York University. In 2010 she co-starred with Mandy Patinkin in Rinne Groff’s Compulsion at The Public Theater. With the fellowship, Hannah workshopped new plays at Williamstown, Playwrights Horizons, MCC Theater, and the O’Neill; studied on-camera acting; took a character and clown class with one of the top British physical theater actors in London; performed in Boston and New Haven in a new David Adjmi play, Marie Antoinette, co-produced by American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory Theatre; joined a fledgling theater company called Dream Lab headed by Niegel Smith; completed the screenplay for a work of her own; and continued to secure support for a full staging in the West End of another play which she co-wrote. For her work in George Brant’s Grounded, she was nominated for a 2014 Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Solo Performance) and the United Solo Festival Special Award. In 2016, she performed as Laura, opposite Frank Langella, in the Broadway production of The Father.
Steve Daly, photographer
Photographer Steve Daly walked away from nearly 15 years as an investigative reporter and media producer, having risked his life in conflict and disaster zones such as Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Indonesia, to take on a different kind of risk: traveling, exploring exhibition opportunities in Düsseldorf, Colögne, Berlin and Scandinavia, and seeking gallery representation. “The more I make, the more I broaden my visual territory, the more all the pieces converse with each other…I’ve begun to successfully transfer some of my personal melancholy, layers of experience, and obtuse sense of humor into my work in the form of a larger, more complex sense about the time we live in through the process of photography,” Steve says. A resident of Los Angeles, Steve earned a Bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University and a Master’s of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Exhibitions of his work include Reaction:1019 (2013, Inglewood, CA), The Empty Box (2012, Houston), and Second City Psychasthenia (2012, New York City).  In 2012 he was a Visiting Artist at Washington University in St. Louis.
Demetia Hopkins, dancer
It started with a dream, a whisper in her ear of a notion that, while seemingly improbable, lit a fire inside of her. Demetia Hopkins began dancing when she was four in a studio not far from her hometown in Orange County, Virginia. Utilizing her fellowship, she has brought more arts education into rural Virginia.  Demetia made this possible by arranging performances by professional dance companies for the community and master classes for the local dance studio. She was featured in Dance Magazine as one of “25 to Watch” (January 2014). Demetia performed with the acclaimed New York dance theater company, Alvin Aily American Dance Theater from 2010 to 2016.
Nadine Sierra, soprano
Opera News called her the next ‘singer to watch’; The New York Times praised her ‘commanding stage presence’; The Palm Beach Arts Paper predicts a sizable career for her in the world’s opera houses. Clearly, Nadine Sierra has made an impression in the arts and theater scene. The young soprano won the 2007 Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition, the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and, in 2010, she won first prizes at the George London Competition, Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and Loren Zachary Competition. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College for Music in May 2010, and shortly thereafter was accepted into a two-year residency as an Adler Fellow (young artist) with the San Francisco Opera. The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship allowed Nadine the opportunity to participate as an Adler Fellow comfortably, to continue her training and coaching, and to prepare for her débuts at the Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Italy’s Teatro di San Carlo.  In 2013, she placed first at the Neue Stimmen, Montserrat Caballé, and Veronica Dunne International Singing Competitions.  In March 2017, she made her role debute at The Metropolitan Opera in Idemeneo, a performance dubbed by the New York Times as “a high point of the season.” She will appear in late spring as Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor at Teatro La Fenice in Vence, Italy, and as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto at Opéra National de Paris. Click here for more information on Nadine Sierra.

2010 Fellows Profiles

Francesca Anderegg, violinist
Violinist Francesca Anderegg has had orchestral performances with the Juilliard Symphony (as Concertmaster), at Tanglewood Music Center (Orchestra conducted by James Levine), and the Lucerne Festival Academy (Assistant Concertmaster, Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez). She also has performed with chamber music groups, including chamber music collaboration with Itzhak Perlman in the Perlman Music Program, and in solo recitals and concerts. A graduate of Harvard University, she also holds a Master’s in Violin Performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts from The Juilliard School. Francesca used the Fellowship funding to record a CD with pianist Brent Funderburk. The CD was released in 2012 by Albany Records to critical acclaim.   Francesca designed the program on this recording, which consists of works by Mozart, Schoenberg, Perle, Carter, and Schubert. The Fellowship also allowed Francesca the opportunity to tour across the U.S., and in doing so, she was able to give back to each of the local communities in which performed by presenting a free outreach presentation in a public school to introduce students to classical music and inspire them to consider what they can achieve through artistic pursuits. In September 2012, Francesca accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Violin at St. Olaf College.  She also teaches at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In 2016, she was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for the Performing Arts.  In 2017, Francesca released her CD Wild Cities. Click here for more information on Francesca Anderegg.
Amari Cheatom, actor
Theater critic Charles Isherwood in The New York Times (review of Zooman and the Sign, March 25, 2009) describes Amari Cheatom as “vibrant,” a “coldly charismatic murderer [who] provides a sinister but captivating force.” In a review of the same play for Curtain Up, Paulanne Simmons writes that “the cement that holds this play together is the riveting performance of Amari Cheatom.” Amari appeared in Night Catches Us (2010), played Roy in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-nominated film Django Unchained (2012), and made his debut as a leading actor in Newlyweeds (2013).
Charlotte Hallberg, painter
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Yale School of Art, painter Charlotte Hallberg has exhibited her work at Yale, RISD, and Brown University. Charlotte is known not only for her artistic gifts but also her generous spirit: she played a key role in organizing a silent auction in the Yale School of Art to benefit victims of the earthquakes in Haiti. Charlotte used her Fellowship to travel to Europe to study great works of art, visit its most important paint manufactures, and study coloring and lighting.  How light affects color is an integral part of Charlotte’s work and this dynamic is evident through the varying degrees of color she displays in her artwork.  In 2012 she returned to the U.S. and established a studio in Brooklyn, NY. Between 2013-2015, she’s had several group exhibits in and around New York, and in 2016, she had her first solo exhibit, Short Sight: Soft Touch at Crush Curatorial.  Click here for more information on Charlotte Hallberg.
Simone Messmer, principal
Simone trained at Ballet Arts Minnesota and at The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. She joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 2001 and was named an ABT apprentice in 2002. The following year, she became a member of the corps de ballet; in 2010, she was promoted to soloist. She joined San Francisco Ballet as a soloist in 2013. Simone has danced principal roles in ballets including Coralli/Perrot/Petipa’s Giselle (Myrtha), Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias (Prudence), and Nureyev’s La Bayadère (Gamzatti). She created principal roles in Ratmansky’s Firebird (Maiden) and Symphony #9, among others. In the future, she expects to give back to the art form by coaching, teaching, and mentoring the next generation.   She joined Miami City Ballet as a principal in 2015.  
Nyambi Nyambi, actor
Since completing NYU’s Graduate Acting Program in 2008, Nyambi has delivered critically acclaimed performances as Caliban in The Classic Stage Company’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in Lincoln Center’s Broadway production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and in Athol Fugard’s newest play, Coming Home, at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Nyambi used his fellowship to enhance his acting career through additional coaching and cultural studies.  For six seasons, he played Samuel in the CBS hit comedy Mike and Molly.  He performed in the PBS series Mercy Street, and he currently has a recurring role in the CBS legal drama The Good Fight.  
Brenda Rae, soprano
Soprano Brenda Rae received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in 2006. In 2007, she learned new roles as a participant in the Juilliard Opera Center, and was a member of Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artists Program. She also performed at Alice Tully Hall as a winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital, and gave a joint recital at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Currently a member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt, Brenda used the Fellowship to prepare for major professional roles, including Olympia in Tales of Hoffman (premiere at Oper Frankfurt, fall 2010) and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (L’Opéra National de Bordeaux, January-March 2011).  Brenda’s upcoming roles include Gilda in Oper Frankfurt’s new production of Rigoletto and Zdenka in Oper Frankfurt’s Arabella. She will return to the Santa Fe Opera to sing the lead in Lucia di Lammermoor, and she will make her debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Oper Zurich. Click here for more information on Brenda Rae.

2009 Fellows Profiles

Jonathan David Martin, actor
Since receiving his Fellowship, Jonathan has traveled extensively, honing his acting skills and developing his nascent talent as a director. In Florence, Italy, he assisted his faculty mentor, Jim Calder (Tisch School of the Arts, NYU), on his adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, titled Dream a Little Dream. He also remounted his own play, Point of Departure, for the Studio Tisch Festival in New York. Jonathan performed in another Shakespeare adaptation, Pericles Redux, by Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. He performed in the popular Broadway production War Horse. As co-artistic director of Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative, he helped to develop Ndebele Funeral which received the FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Best Play. The Off-Broadway show premiered to critical acclaim in December 2014.  He is associate producer of Theater J in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information on Jonathan David Martin.
Angel Otero, painter
A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, painter/sculptor Angel is a highly sought after contemporary artist, who created a unique style of painting that sets him apart from other artists and results in high demand for his work. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago, and participated on an artist’s panel for a new collector’s group called Emerge. Angel also exhibited his work at the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) during Art Basel Miami Beach, Leyendecker Gallery in the Canary Islands, Spain, the Chicago Cultural Center, and PRISM Gallery in Los Angeles. He had solo exhibitions in the Brand New Gallery in Milan, Italy; Galerie Isa, Mumbai, India; and Istanbul ’74 in Istanbul Turkey. Other recent exhibitions in which his work was featured included Art Basel Hong Kong (May 2014), Expo Chicago (September 2014), Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris (October 2014), and Art Basel Miami Beach (December 2014).  He is represented by Gallery Lehmann Maupin (New York and Hong Kong) and Kavi Gupta (Chicago and Berlin). Click here for more information on Angel Otero.
Constance Stamatiou, dancer
Constance used her Fellowship funds to enhance her craft: she took classes in gyrotonics with master teacher Sebastian Plettenberg to improve core strength, flexibility, and overall technique; ballroom classes to improve her partnering skills, coordination, and versatility; and floor barre classes with Renée Robinson, a veteran of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). A member of AAADT since 2007, Constance undertook these activities either after Ailey rehearsals or while the Company was on its international tour in Paris, Copenhagen and Athens. Constance left Alvin Aily to act and start a family.  She rejoined the company in 2016.

2008 Fellows Profiles

Nicole Beharie, actress
Nicole received critical acclaim for her first major film, American Violet. She has continued to build an impressive list of film and TV credits, including a co-starring role in the Indie film My Last Day Without You (screened for distributors at Cannes and other film festivals) and Shame (with Michael Fassbender), and she had a recurring role in the CBS series The Good Wife. She also worked with Pam Grier and Blair Underwood on a suspense thriller titled On the Seventh Day, co-starring with Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, T.R. Knight and Lucas Black, and she had a key role in the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42. She starred in the television series Sleepy Hollow (2013-2016) on the Fox network. She will appear next in the movie Jacob’s Ladder with Jesse Williams.  
Misty Copeland, principal
A Principal with American Ballet Theatre, Misty used her Fellowship to explore new avenues of dance with the Balanchine technique. She also gained a better understanding of choreography, and participated in workshops and seminars in arts leadership. Misty is ABT’s first black female Principal in twenty years. She joined the late musician Prince on part of his Crimson and Clover tour and appeared in the music video for the song. A great believer in the value of Boys and Girls Clubs, she was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Misty has authored several books:  her memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina; a children’s picture book, Firebird; and the recently published Ballerina Body.  She served as a guest judge on the Fox network show So You Think You Can Dance.  She was also featured in ads for American Express, Coach, and Diet Dr. Pepper, and the “I Will What I Want” Under Armour campaign.  Misty served on President Obama’s Council on Fitness and Sports.  In 2015, she was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People” by TIME Magazine. Click here for more information on Misty Copeland.
André Holland, actor
In addition to his acclaimed work in playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays, André dedicated time to developing a solo show during a residency at the Ars Nova Theatre in New York; traveled to Florence, Italy to co-create a three-actor production of Romeo and Juliet, which was later performed at Classic Stage Company in New York; participated in workshops and readings with the Shakespeare Society, Red Bull Theatre, and the Alliance Theatre; and played a part in the FOX feature film Bride Wars and the title role in the independent film Sugar. He had a leading role in All’s Well That Ends Well, a production of New York’s Shakespeare in the Park; and had the part of reporter Wendell Smith in Brian Helgeland’s 42, a biographical movie about baseball player Jackie Robinson and the racial integration of Major League Baseball. André’s films include Black and White with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, Selma with Giovani Ribisi, Tim Roth, and Oprah Winfrey; and the Oscar-winning Moonlight with Mahershal Ali.  He also co-starred opposite Clive Owen in The Knick, a series directed by Steven Soderbergh on Cinemax, and in season 6 of American Horror Story with Cuba Gooding, Jr.  He recently appeared on Broadway in August Wilson’s Jitney. He will appear in Ava DeVernay’s upcoming A Wrinkle in Time with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine.
Sarah Lane, soloist
A Soloist with American Ballet Theatre, Sarah used her Fellowship to explore new avenues of dance with flamenco lessons in Spain. She also gained a better understanding of choreography and participated in workshops and seminars in arts leadership. As a teenager, Sarah won first place at the North American Ballet Festival in 2000 and 2001 and received the Capezio Class Excellence Award.  In 2002 she received the highest medal in the Junior Division of the Jackson International Ballet Competition.  During that time she also performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as a presidential scholar in the arts.  Also in 2002, she won the bronze medal at the Youth America Grand Prix Competition and in 2007 she won a Princess Grace Award.  Sarah appeared as a dance double for actor Natalie Portman in the Darren Aronofsky-directed thriller Black Swan. In 2013, she performed in a dance video, On a Grass Field, which made its premiere at the 2014 Chain New York City Film Festival.  The video was created as a Fellowship-funded project of her ABT colleague Eric Tamm.  She is a co-founder of Ballet Mentor, an online mentorship service for dancers.  
Isabel Leonard, mezzo soprano
Now ten years into her professional career, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard has established herself as an audience favorite at the Metropolitan Opera. She has appeared at the Met as Miranda in the company premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by the composer; as Rosina in Bartlett Sher’s Barbière staging; and as Blanche de la Force in a revival of Dialogues des Carmélites. Recently, she performed at the Met as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  She also has performed with several other opera companies and orchestras, and in recitals. Other operatic roles include La Perichole by Offenbach, performed with L’Opera National de Bordeaux; Cenerentola in Fort Worth, Texas; and Cosi fan Tutte at the Salzburg Summer Festival. In August 2012, she made her company début in a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro at Glyndebourne. She received the Beverly Sills Artist Award in 2011 and the Richard Tucker Award in 2013.  A Grammy award winner for Thomas Ades’ The Tempest (Best Opera Recording), she also serves on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall. Click here for more information on Isabel Leonard.
Michelle Mola, dancer
Since receiving her fellowship, Michelle has choreographed and performed several new works by her dance group, The Troupe; danced a solo part in new choreography by Aszure Barton at the Bolero Theater in Santa Barbara, Calif.; taught a workshop on improvisation at Peridance Center in New York City; volunteer-taught movement classes at the International Refugee Committee for children and teenagers from over 21 different countries; continued to take ballet lessons; and completed a residency at the Yard Dance Colony on Martha’s Vineyard. In 2015, Michelle appeared as Madame in Jack Fever’s Chambre.  
Richard Mosse, photographer
TIME Magazine published a 6-page photo essay (“The Tunnel Economy of Gaza,” October 2009) showcasing photographer Richard Mosse’s work in the tiny coastal territory, as well as a 14-page essay (“The Tent Cities of Haiti,” May 2010) in which he captured the devastation from the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. Richard’s travels also have taken him to Iraq, Australia, Thailand, and Argentina. He followed these trips with “The Fall,” an exhibition at Jack Shaiman Gallery in New York City in which he showcased photography undertaken as a Leonore Annenberg Fellow. The work involved shooting with infrared film in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He later continued the work as a Guggenheim Fellow.  Richard’s work is now part of the permanent collection at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. In 2013, Richard represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale which he describes as “one of the greatest honours possible, for an artist.”  In 2014, he won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.  In 2017, Richard won the 7th Pictet Prize award for his work ‘Heat Maps  Click here for more information on Richard Mosse.
Jeremy Strong, actor
Jeremy was trained at Yale, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. As a Leonore Annenberg Fellow, Jeremy began to build a larger and more diverse audience for his work. He had pivotal roles in the Broadway production of Robert Bolt’s classic A Man for All Seasons; in the Off-Broadway production of Theresa Rebeck’s new satire Our House, and the lead role in the LCT3 production of a new play, The Coward, for which he received a Lortel nomination for Best Actor; and a lead role in the movie Robot & Frank, which also starred Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, Peter Saarsgard, Jeremy Sisto, and James Marsden. After participating in numerous workshops and readings, and auditioning in Los Angeles, he branched out from his theater-based work to film, playing opposite Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood, and Adam Brody, among others, in The Romantics. He played an aide to the sixteenth President in Lincoln; he performed as Thomas in Zero Dark Thirty; and he appeared as Lee Harvey Oswald in Parkland. His most recent films include Time Out of Mind with Richard Gere, The Judge with Robert Downy, Jr. and Robert Duvall, Selma with Tim Roth and Cuba Gooding, Jr., Black Mass with Johnny Depp.  
Dan Visconti, composer
Dan was a recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, providing him with the opportunity to associate with other artists, architects, curators, scholars and musicians in a creatively challenging environment. Dan completed commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra and Albany Symphony as well as a new work, Drift of Rainbows, commissioned by the Scharoun Ensemble. His first CD, Lonesome Roads, was released in December 2012 under the Bridge Records label. Recordings of his music are also available from Naxos and Fleur de Son Classics. His compositions have been honored with the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize fellowships, Bearns Prize from Columbia University, Barlow Prize, and Cleveland Arts Prize; awards from BMI and ASCAP, American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Society of Composers, and the Naumberg Foundation. He has also been the recipient of artist fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Copland House, Lucas Artists Program at Villa Montalvo, and Virginia Commission for the Arts. Dan curated performances of his music at the Nuova Consonanza Festival and composed a new choral work for premiere at Rome’s historic Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienze. He completed a multi-year residency with opera companies including Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, and the Metropolitan Opera as recipient of the Douglas Moore Fellowship in American Opera. For his ongoing concert initiatives that address social issues through music, Dan was awarded a TED Fellowship in 2014. In addition, he was selected as the California Symphony’s Young American Composer in Residence. This three-year program (2014-17) will enable him to collaborate with Maestro Donato Cabrera to create, rehearse, premiere, and record three major orchestra compositions. In 2016, Dan was appointed artistic advisor to Astral Artists in Philadelphia in the effort to develop each artist’s unique vision and values and support classical music’s next generation of change-makers. Click here for more information on Dan Visconti.
Jeff Williams, sculptor
Sculptor Jeff Williams was a recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome where he spent a highly productive year — honing his skills as a draughtsman, producing a series of impressive drawings, and creating computer models for several projects.  In addition, he developed a series of installation pieces and collaborated in a number of group arts projects.  Jeff is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Texas at Austin