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, principal
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.”
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