Leonardo Altino, cello

Born to musician parents in Pernambuco, American-Brazilian cellist Leonardo Altino began his musical studies at the age of five and gave his first performance at age eight. At eleven he gave his first performance with orchestra performing the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1. His national breakthrough came at fourteen when Leonardo was the youngest winner at the Jovens Concertistas Brasileiros, a prestigious competition in Rio de Janeiro, which led to performances with every major orchestra and hall in his home country. At nineteen Leonardo was the first prize winner at the International Cello Competition Dr. Luis Segal in Viña Del Mar, Chile, and has since appeared in concerts in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States.

Praised by the Strad Magazine for his “exceptional musical intelligence and an exceptionally cultivated sound,” Leonardo has performed with orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, Odense Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber, Filarmonica de Minas Gerais, Carmel Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Montgomery Symphony, Symphony Pro Musica, Sinfonica Brasileira, Sinfônica Nacional do Brasil, Sinfonica Nacional de Chile, Sinfônica de São Paulo, and the Virtuosi Festival orchestras among many others, under the direction of conductors such as Elezar de Carvalho, Isaac Karabtchevisky, Carl Saint-Clair, Andrew Sewell, David Bowden and Fabio Mechetti. An avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with Monique Duphil, Victor Asuncion, Ilya Gringolts, Oleh Krysa, Giora Schmidt, Antonio Meneses, Fanz Helmerson, the Ceruti and Miró string quartets. Highlights of the upcoming season include return performances with the Filarmonica de Minas Gerais in Brazil and the Odense Symphony in Denmark performing Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, and with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms’ Double Concerto with his wife, violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino.

A dedicated teacher and mentor, Leonardo has taught in many festivals around the world, including the Brevard Music Center, Masterworks Festival, Academia y Festival Nuevo Mundo in Venezuela, Festival de Inverno Campos do Jordão and Festival Virtuosi in Brazil. Leonardo studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Detmold Musihöchschule in Germany, and his main teachers include Francisco Pino, Aldo Parisot, Laurence Lesser, Marcio Carneiro and Suren Bagratuni. He was a recipient of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Fellowship where he served as artist-in-residence, and he was on the faculty at the University of Memphis for thirteen years. Currently he is an Associate Lecturer in Music at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music where he teaches cello and chamber music. Leonardo resides in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife, violinist Soh-Hyun, and son David.

Rika Seko, violin

After graduating from Tokyo University of Arts, Rika Seko began her professional career in Bogota, Colombia in 1986, first as guest Concertmaster of the Colombia Symphony, then as Assistant Concertmaster in the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra. During that time, she performed over 20 different concertos, from Baroque to Contemporary Repertoire, and gave numerous recitals in Latin America.

Since moving to Chicago in 1994 Rika has appeared with many Chicago-area orchestras including Chicago Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Camerata Chicago. As soloist she has performed with Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra (WI) and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra (IL). She gave the Colombian premier performance of Serenade by Bernstein in 2006.

Currently she is Concertmaster at Elmhurst Symphony and a member of Grant Park Music Festival Symphony, Music of the Baroque, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and Associate Concert Master of Camerata Chicago.

Josefien Stoppelenburg

Josefien Stoppelenburg performed several times for Dutch Royal Family. She is currently performing all over the United States as a specialist of Baroque Music and as a concert singer. Stoppelenburg performed most major oratorio works by Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart, including Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B minor, and many of his cantatas. By the end of this season, Josefien will have performed all Bach’s cantatas for solo soprano.

She frequently performs Mozart’s Requiem, the Mass in C minor, Handel’s Messiah, Dixit Dominus, La Resurrezione and many of Handel’s other vocal works. She performed The Creation and The Seasons by Haydn, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, and appeared as a soloist in countless oratorio works by Schubert, Gounod, Rossini, Fauré, Britten (War Requiem), Poulenc(Gloria), Carissimi (Historia di Jephte) Telemann, Vivaldi (In furore Iustissimae Irae) and Buxtehude.

​Concerts this season include performances with the Dayton Opera, Newberry Consort, Baroque Music Festival Corona del Mar, Fort Wayne Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Bach Festival, St Louis Bach Society, Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, Boulder Bach Festival, Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Bach Ensemble, Evansville Symphony Orchestra, and with Camerata Amsterdam (the Netherlands).

​In October, Josefien performed the role of Anne Frank in James Whitbourn’s oratorio Annelies to great acclaim, with players of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, in the presence of the composer.Stoppelenburg performed as a soloist in Europe, the United States, Asia, South America, and the Arab Emirates.

​Her appearance on Chicago’s classical radio program“Live from WFMT” was selected as one of the 10 best performances in 2016. She won the Chicago Oratorio Award, the National Princess Christina Competition (Netherlands) and second prize in The American Prize Opera Competition.

Josefien gave vocal masterclasses about Baroque Music at Indiana University, (Jacobs School of Music) University of Colorado and Illinois State University and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

From 2005 until 2007, Stoppelenburg was part of the Young Opera Ensemble of Cologne, Germany. Leading operatic roles have included Aci in the Haymarket Opera Company’s acclaimed production of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo and Tirsi in Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine in the International Chamber Opera Festival (The Netherlands). She has appeared with Camerata Amsterdam, Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Haymarket Opera Company, Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana, Fulcrum Point and Music of the Baroque, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project.

Ensemble Brothers and Sisters (vocal duo Charlotte and Josefien Stoppelenburg and piano duo Martijn and Stefan Blaak) recently appeared live on Radio 4, the Dutch classical radio station for Classical Music and just made their ensemble debut in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As a vocal duo, Charlotte and Josefien have performed in nearly every concert hall in The Netherlands.
An advocate for new music, Josefien inspired many composers to write especially for her voice. She performed works by Jacob TV, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stacy Garrop, Lita Grier, Eric Whitacre and William Neil, as well as works by Dutch composers, including her father, composer Willem Stoppelenburg.

Stoppelenburg’s second love is painting. She paints frequently on commission. In 2018 the Peoria Symphony Orchestra used her paintings for Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The paintings were shown on a big screen during the performance. Her colorful art has been used as opera sets, cd booklets, music festival posters and as note cards.

Lauren Decker

Lauren Decker ContraltoRising star, Lauren Decker, possesses a booming contralto with “amber low notes” that is in a league of its own. She is lauded for “pouring out a dark, chocolatey sound with a plushness of tone and amplitude of voice rarely heard in a young singer”.

Ms. Decker most recently covered the role of Erda in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, 1st Norn in Götterdämmerung, and performed Schwertleite in Die Walküre as a part of David Pountney’s “brilliantly imaginative”, new Ring Cycle at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Lauren made her Lyric Opera debut as Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and went on to perform as Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking, First Maid in Elektra, Inez in Il trovatore, Enrichetta di Francia in I puritani, and Annina in La traviata. While there, she also covered the roles of Madame de la Haltière in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Hécuba/Anna in Les Troyens, and Marthe Schwertlein in Faust. Outside of the mainstage, Lauren was seen as Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief at the Grant Park Music Festival.

In summer 2019, Ms. Decker made a triumphant debut with the San Francisco Symphony in Elgar’s Sea Pictures, a signature work for her. She has also performed in concert with the South Dakota Symphony in Mahler 8, the Apollo Chorus/Elmhurst Symphony in the Verdi Requiem, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.

Additional roles in her repertoire include Ulrica from Un ballo in maschera, Principessa in Suor Angelica, Azucena in Il trovatore, and Dame Quickly in Falstaff.

Lauren was a quarterfinalist in the 2019 Operalia competition in Prague. She is a recent recipient of the Richard F. Gold career grant and was a national semifinalist in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, having previously been a two-time recipient of an Encouragement Award at their Upper Midwest Region. Winner of the 2019 Edith Newfield Scholarship from the Musician’s Club of Women of Chicago and 2018 Lola Fletcher scholarship in voice with the American Opera Society of Chicago, Decker has been featured in the Harris Theater’s Beyond the Aria series alongside Christine Goerke and Eric Owens and, later, Michael Fabiano and Zachary Nelson.

In addition to her four year tenure at the Ryan Opera Center, Decker has participated in the Britten-Pears Program at Snape Maltings, United Kingdom, Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, the American Wagner Project (Washington, D.C.) and the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto (Italy). The Wisconsin native holds a B.F.A. in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She currently resides in Milwaukee.

Jonathan Johnson, Tenor

Rising young tenor Jonathan Johnson’s many recent engagements have included Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd at Opera Omaha, The Prince in The Love of Three Oranges with Opera Philadelphia (where he was named as one of their Emerging Artists), Jonathan Dale in Silent Night with Utah Opera, Beppe in I Pagliacci with Opera Colorado, the title role in Candide with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera; Hervey in Anna Bolena at Canadian Opera Company, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Fenton in Falstaff at San Diego Opera. He has also appeared with the Detroit Symphony in Messiah and with Cincinnati Symphony for Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri.

Hailing from Macon, GA, Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the Patrick G. & Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He holds a Master’s degree and Professional Artist Certificate from the A.J. Fletcher Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a Bachelor of Music from Townsend School of Music at Mercer University.

Jonathan Johnson performed The Messiah with Camerata Chicago in 2019.

Jonathan Johnson performing with Camerata Chicago in 2019. Photo Credit Dan Andersen.

Gerard Sundberg, Baritone

5B-g-sundberg-lg[11]-400Gerard Sundberg holds both Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Minnesota where he studied voice with Clifton Ware and Roy Schuessler.

He is presently Professor Emeritus of Voice at Wheaton Conservatory of Music (Wheaton, IL), where he taught studio voice and vocal pedagogy. Living in the Twin City, MN area, he is an adjunct voice professor at Bethel University. Dr. Sundberg is also an active church musician, and vocal and choral clinician.

His three recordings are “Singer on a Journey” including four sacred song cycles by Brahms, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams and Carlisle Floyd; “Songs for the Journey” and “Songs Through Endless Ages” including arrangements by Edwin Childs of hymns and gospel songs.

Gerard Sundberg performing with Camerata Chicago in 2019. Photo Credit Dan Andersen.

Performances for this 2021-22 season will include Handel Messiah with Chicago Camerata 12/10,11; Messiah with Atlanta Symphony TBA; Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) with Wayzata Symphony (MN) TBA; Haydn Paukenmesse (Mass in time of War), Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem with Downers Grove Choral Society (Chicago) TBA; and The Peoria Bach Festival (IL), repertoire and dates TBA.

Sylvia Byars, viola

Sylvia Byars is fourteen years old and is educated at Veritas Scholars Academy. She began violin lessons when she was very young and at about the age of twelve she switched to the viola and today’s concert performance marks her official debut as a soloist with the Telemann Viola Concerto. Sylvia studies the viola privately with Drostan Hall and joined the Camerata Chicago Academy Chamber Orchestra in 2018. She is now the Principal Violist of the senior ensemble. Sylvia is an enthusiastic member of the Wayne DuPage Hunt Pony Club and regularly participates in horse competitions and activities.