Marta Aznavoorian, pianist

Marta has performed in Chicago’s most prestigious venues and concertized throughout the United States and abroad. She has soloed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, New World Symphony, Aspen Concert Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. She has worked with renowned conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Lukas Foss, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Her solo recitals have included performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sydney Opera House, Steinway Hall, Weill Hall, Caramoor Festival, Tanglewood Festival, Music in the Loft, Dame Myra Hess Series, and Green Lake Music Festival.

She has won first prize in numerous national and local competitions, including the Seventeen/General Motors National Competition, Aspen Music Festival Competition, at the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, and by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, which made her a Presidential Scholar. She has enjoyed collaborative performances with top artists including the Pacifica Quartet, Julian Rachlin, Robert Chen, Colin Carr, Stefan Milenkovich, and Jennifer Frautschi.

Mathias Tacke, concert master

mathiastacke-200x247Mathias Tacke was the second violinist of the acclaimed Vermeer Quartet, Chicago from 1992 until 2007. He is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Northern Illinois University and Guest Lecturer for String Chamber Music at Northwestern University.

Mathias Tacke was appointed Concertmaster of Camerata Chicago in the summer of 2008.

With the Vermeer Quartet Mathias Tacke gave performances in practically all of the most prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood, Taos, Ravinia, South Bank, Lucerne, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Edinburgh, to name a few. Three of the Vermeer Quartet recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award. Mathias Tacke appears internationally as a soloist and chamber player, performing a wide range of repertoire from the Baroque to music of our time.

A native of Germany, Mathias Tacke studied with Ernst Mayer-Schierning in Detmold, Germany, with Emanuel Hurwitz and David Takeno in London, and with Sandor Vegh in Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He won first prize in the German National Youth Competition and graduated from the Musikakademie Detmold, where he was later appointed to the faculty.

From 1983-1992 Mr.Tacke was a member of the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, one of the most important professional groups specializing in the performance of contemporary music. In this capacity he gave countless first performances, including works by most of today’s leading composers. He has made numerous recordings for such labels as Sony, ECM. Harmonia Mundi, Naxos and Cedille.

Istvan Loga, Viola

Istvan Loga has followed his passion for classical music across borders. At the George Enesco School of Music, under the guidance of Professor Alexander Gavaller, he won numerous prestigious awards. His talent was noticed by the famous prof. Ervin Schiffer, who proposed to him to continue his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 2010 he continued his studies with the Cordis Quartet at Nederland’s Strijkkwartet Academie in Amsterdam under the guidance of Stefan Metz (Orlando Quartet) and Marc Danel (Quatuor Danel). Istvan had frequent concerts across Europe, such as France, Switzerland, Germany and many more.

In April 2011, following the devastating earthquake in Japan, Istvan performed at a charity concert held in Brussels alongside world-renowned pianist Martha Argerich and Japanese violinist Yuzuko Horigome. Istvan also became a full-time member in several orchestras both in Europe and the United States, such as the Charlemagne Orchestra in Belgium, the Ars Viva Symphony, Camerata Chicago in Wheaton, Oisktrakh Symphony and Chicago Philharmonic in Chicago.

Throughout his career, Istvan Loga collaborated as a recording artist with renowned musicians in the industry. Most recently, he collaborated with Maroon 5 keyboardist and solo R&B artist PJ Morton through Matt Jones Orchestra. He was the principal violist on all the MJO recordings and live performances, including the Grammy-winning track “How Deep Is Your Love” and critically-acclaimed Tiny Desk Concert NPR Radio Headquarters.

Mr. Loga played one of the leading roles in the orchestra as the first chair for Pj Morton’s Valentine’s Day show at the Kennedy Center in DC. Istvan also worked with artists such as Austin Mahone, Dorinda Clark-Cole (Grammy Award winner), Benjamin Wright Jr., Will Downing, Gerard Singh, Eric Benet (Grammy Award nominee), Ruslan Sirota (Grammy Award winner), BJ The Chicago Kid, Guy Sebastian, Myron Butler (Grammy Award winner), Percy Bady (Grammy Award Winner), Spike Lee, Kirk Franklin (Grammy Award Winner), Brandon Williams and Big Sean (Grammy Award nominee and BET Awards winner).

Furthermore, Istvan Loga worked with nationwide broadcasting channels such as ABC/Disney. He was on the television show Betrayal. He was selected out of over 90 applicants to play the violin for the show’s ninth episode. Being selected from such a competitive pool for national television proves that he has come to national level.

Aside from these prestigious experiences, he played in national concerts such as Warner Bros. Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Johnny Mathis Show at Akoo Theater and Andrea Bocelli in Concert at Allstate Arena.

Istvan was selected for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as a regular member for the 2014-2016 season. In addition to working with Yo-Yo Ma and CSO musicians, and performing at the CSO’s historic Orchestra Hall with distinguished conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Semyon Bychkov, Nicholas Kraemer, Daniel Boico, Matthew Aucoin, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Cristian Macelaru, and George Daugherty, he also had opportunities to participate in various education and community engagement programs of the CSO’s Institute for Learning providing music education to local students. He won first prize and audience prize with the Tito Quartet at The 7th Plowman Chamber Music Competition in Missouri, USA.

Christopher Ferrer, Principal Cello

Christopher Ferrer is a member of Lakeshore Rush and principal cellist of Camerata Chicago, originally joining the orchestra in 2006.

Christopher has toured, recorded and performed internationally as an orchestral and chamber musician. His recording credits include the soundtrack for Spike Lee’s Chiraq and music for the 2020 film Dreaming Grand Avenue. He has performed with bands such as My Morning Jacket and Chance the Rapper – as well as with ensembles such as the Chicago Children’s Chorus, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, The Florida Orchestra and Picosa. Christopher traveled as solo cellist for the Broadway North American Tour of West Side Story, giving performances throughout the United States and Canada. He is also featured as a guest artist on the award-winning album American Melting Pot as part of the premier recording of Ilya Levinson’s Shtetl Scenes for piano trio.

As a member of Lakeshore Rush, Christopher presents classical chamber works alongside the music of living composers, including premiers and new commissions by Laura Schwendinger, Beth Bradfish, and Amos Gillespie. Projects over the past seven seasons include residency at Avaloch Farms Music Institute and performances for Merit School of Music, Thirsty Ears, the Chicago Composers’ Consortium, New Music Chicago and the George Crumb festival at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Born in Valencia, Venezuela, Christopher began studying cello through the Community School for the Arts in Wheaton, IL at the age of seven and was later a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Hall School Baroque Festival Orchestra. He attended the Royal College of Music in London and Northern Illinois University, studying with many cellists in private lesson and master class including Ann Griffin, John Sharp, Cheng-Hou Lee, Yehuda Hanani, Alastair Blayden and Alexander Boyarsky.

Christopher Polen, Principal Bass

Bassist Kit Polen performs regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including joining them on tours through Europe, Asia, and the US. Since 2015, he has been Principal Bass of Camerata Chicago as well as the Associate Principal Bass of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, in addition to performing with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has performed with many artists including the Kontras Quartet, Chai Collaborative Ensemble, and Leon Fleisher. Equally comfortable outside the traditional symphonic setting, Polen has collaborated with CSO’s MusicNOW series, the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, and has also been a part of multiple Grammy nominated R&B recordings.

Polen has been based in Chicago since 2011, when he joined the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as Assistant Principal Bass. Prior to moving to Chicago, he earned his Master of Music from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, near his hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. He has spent summers studying and performing at multiple festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival. His most influential teachers and mentors include Bruce Bransby, Lawrence Hurst, Craig Brown, Andrew Raciti, and Alexander Hanna.

Sacred Music 2023 Soloists

Olivia Doig, Soprano

Olivia Doig, SopranoChicago-based soprano Olivia Doig performs a range of classical and musical theater repertoire across the midwest. Most recently, Olivia spent the summer of 2019 as a resident artist with Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. Other recent performance highlights include Josephine in HMS Pinafore (Ohio Light Opera), Zaneeta in The Music Man (Ohio Light Opera), Amor in Ariane et Bachus (Haymarket Opera), the title role in Patience (Gilbert and Sullivan Company, Inc.), the soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria (Hinsdale Chorale), and Gabriel in Haydn’s Creation (Tallahassee Chorus). Olivia holds a Bachelors of Music from Wheaton College and a Masters of Music from Florida State University, and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois. She has received awards from the American Opera Society of Chicago, the Musicians Club of Women, the Chicago Bel Canto Foundation, the Orpheus Music Competition, the Tallahassee Music Guild, the Chicago Italian Cultural Center, various NATS chapters, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She teaches a private voice studio, taught voice, and currently teaches as a Guest Lecturer in voice at Wheaton College.

Kathleen Felty, Mezzo-soprano

Kathleen Felty, Mezzo-sopranoMezzo-soprano Kathleen Felty, from Lubbock, Texas, was a member of the Lyric Opera Ryan Opera Center. She holds Bachelor Degrees in Music and Business Administration from Texas Tech University and a Master of Music from the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Her Fletcher performances include Charlotte/Werther, Angelina/La Cenerentola, Unulfo/Rodelinda, Miss Jessell/Turn of the Screw, Geneviève/Impressions de Pelléas, Dinah/Trouble in Tahiti, Komponist/Ariadne auf Naxos, and Paula/Florencia en el Amazonas. Felty is a former Apprentice Artist of The Santa Fe Opera, where she received the Katharine Mayer Award and covered Composer/Ariadne auf Naxos. She also participated in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute Program for Singers and, more recently, the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto fellowship program in Italy. Felty made her North Carolina Opera concert debut as Clotilde/Norma and her Dayton Opera debut in the role of Maddalena/Rigoletto. In Chicago she recently performed for the Harris Theater’s Beyond the Aria series. The mezzo is a four-time District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition and a winner of the Charlotte Opera Guild Vocal Competition (2018) and the Heafner Williams Vocal Competition (2019).

Jonathan Johnson, Tenor

Jonathan Johnson, TenorIn the 23/24 season tenor Jonathan Johnson returns to Opera Colorado as the Steersman in Der Fliegende Höllander and makes his debuts with Washington Concert Opera in La Rodine and North Carolina Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata. He most recently appeared at Opera Colorado in Die Todt Stadt, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in Harvey Milk, the Tulsa Opera as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicci,and Opera Omaha as Anthony in Sweeney Todd. Other notable recent appearances have included the Prince in The Love for Three Oranges at Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O19, Jonathan Dale in Silent Night at Utah Opera, Beppe in I Pagliacci at Opera Colorado, the title role of Bernstein’s Candide with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera; Anna Bolena at Canadian Opera Company<, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Fenton in Falstaff at San Diego Opera, and Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri at the Portland Opera. A graduate of the Patrick G. & Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s professional artist-development program, he appeared in the house’s main productions of Les TroyensLucia di LammermoorThe Merry Widow, Der Rosenkavalier, Capriccio, The Magic Victrola and Mieczysław Weinberg’s Holocaust opera The Passenger.

Ian Rucker, Baritone

Ian Rucker, BaritoneThe second-year Ryan Opera Center baritone is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. His roles there included Count Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro and the title role/The Barber of Seville. He has also appeared as Papageno/The Magic Flute at Bloomington Chamber Opera. The baritone previously earned his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he was heard in the title roles/Don Giovanni and Sweeney Todd, as well as Officer Lockstock/Urinetown and Ernst Ludwig/Cabaret. Rucker is a former Palm Beach Opera Apprentice Artist and a former Aspen Summer Music Festival Renée Fleming Artist. He recently received an Encouragement Award in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition (Wisconsin District) and first place in the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition.



Katherine Petersen Biography

Ktherine Petersen, sopranoKatherine Petersen is an engaging Soprano specializing in the performance of 21st Century repertoire for Voice/Saxophone and Russian Art Song. Her recent collaborations with Decho Saxophone Ensemble include performances at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Vienna (2022), Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project (2022), Women Composers Festival of Hartford (2022), International Saxophone Symposium (2020) and an ensemble residency at Ohio University and the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho. Her doctoral dissertation “Russian Repertoire: Developmental Perspectives” investigates the paucity of Russian Song Repertoire in the American Voice studio and recital hall.

Based in Chicago, Katherine performs regularly with Folks Operetta, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theater, and Transgressive Theatre-Opera. Recent roles include Margot in Die Kathrin, Bessie Throckmorton in Merrie England, Brigitta in Iolanta, Contessa in Marriage of Figaro, Counsel to the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Lady of the Lake in Masque at Kenilworth, and Sylva Varescu in Csardas Princess.

Previous regional performances include appearances with Opera Columbus, Bay View Music Festival, and the Russian Opera Workshop. Highlights of previous roles include Musetta in La bohème, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Francesca in Rachmaninoff’s Francesca di Rimini, and Micaëla in Carmen. Concert repertoire highlights include soprano soloist in Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915, Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No.5, and Handel’s Messiah.

Katherine Petersen, soprano

Dr. Petersen is also Associate Professor of Voice at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago where she teaches Pedagogy, Song Literature, Studio Voice and Diction for Singers. She holds a DMA in Voice Performance from Ohio State University and a MM in Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. During her time at OSU, Katherine was head of the Swank Voice Lab for Research and Pedagogy and taught several courses including Voice Pedagogy and Advanced Measurement Techniques for Voice. She was a participant in the 2018 Voice Pedagogy Summit II at the University of Southern California and the 2017 NATS Intern Program in Toronto; she was co-host of the International Voice Pedagogy Summit I at Ohio State University in 2015, as well as co-host of the NATS Summer Intern Program in 2014.

She has presented research at several conferences including those hosted by the Central Region NATS (2020 and 2021), the Hawaii International Conference for Arts and Humanities (2019), the Chicago Chapter of NATS (2018), the International Congress of Voice Teachers (2022, 2017), and the Pan American Vocology Association (2017). Katherine has been a board member with the Chicago Chapter of NATS for four years and currently serves as the Director of Auditions.

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.