William Billingham

William Billingham

Pianist William Billingham has served as an Assistant Conductor at the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1995. He has assisted in the preparation of over 75 productions, playing for rehearsals, coaching singers, conducting offstage musicians, and performing on the piano onstage, organ in the loft, and harpsichord in the pit.

William has also worked as a coach and accompanist for the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Cleveland Orchestra, Florentine Opera (Milwaukee, WI), Los Angeles Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Active as a chamber musician, he is a frequent collaborator with singers and instrumentalists.

A native of Syracuse, NY, Billingham earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, a Master of Music in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in accompanying from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Brooks Smith. After brief teaching tenures at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Ithaca College, he began his opera career in Germany, working for five years as a repetitor at the opera houses in Heidelberg and Düsseldorf. He has recorded for Cedille Records and Hal Leonard.

Eric Weimer

A veteran of 33 seasons at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Eric Weimer has served as Assistant Conductor for some 130 mainstage productions there, as well as preparing an additional 120 productions for the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Bayreuth Festival. In this work has collaborated with, coached, accompanied and assisted most of the world’s great opera maestri and singers of the past 35 years. While famous as a German specialist—he has prepared no less than seventeen complete cycles of Wagners’s Der Ring des Nibelungen – he is known also for the breadth of his experience with other repertoires, particularly the Baroque and the Italian. A former musicologist, Dr. Weimer holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is the author of Opera seria and the Evolution of Classical Style —he is also in great demand as a coach of young singers. He has been a member of the music staff of Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center since 1992 and has also held numerous residencies with the other principal opera training programs in the US. Increasingly active also as conductor, recent seasons saw him on the podium for two performances of Der fliegende Hollaender with the Washington National Opera as well as runs of L’elisir d’amore, La fille du regiment and Carmen.

Rebecca Swan, Viola

Rebecca Swan (BM The Juilliard School ’04) is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. A native of the Chicago area, Rebecca recently moved back after several years in Charlotte, NC, where she played Principal Viola for Charlotte’s Broadway Series and subbed regularly with the Charlotte Symphony. She has studied under Itzhak Perlman, Peter Slowik, Toby Appel, and James Dunham, as well as members of the Juilliard and Brentano Quartets. Before her time in Charlotte, Rebecca played with Iris Chamber Orchestra under Michael Stern, New World Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, and The Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was the youngest member ever to be accepted into the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Daniel Barenboim when she was 16. Some of her favorite freelance opportunities have been playing in the orchestra for Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, and Andrea Bocelli. Rebecca currently is a member of the Elgin Symphony and is Principal Violist with the Rockford Symphony. This year she has played with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and has served as guest principal of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.

Julieanne Tehan, Cello

Cellist Julieanne MacLean Tehan is a member of the Camerata Chicago Academy Faculty and has a vibrant musical career in the Chicago area. She is a professional member of the Elmhurst Symphony, subs with the Rockford Symphony and New Philharmonic Symphony, plays in churches around the Chicago area, and is a valued chamber musician for many community events.

An active and passionate teacher, Julieanne is a certified Suzuki Method instructor, having completed certification in all ten Suzuki books with Tanya Carey. She was on faculty member at the Wheaton College Community School of the Arts from 2004 – 2019. There she founded the chamber ensemble program in 2007. She also taught at the Wheaton College Conservatory for several years.

Julieanne received her bachelorís degree in cello performance at the Wheaton College Conservatory. She then received her masterís degree at the DePaul University where she studied with Steve Balderston. Julieanne also continues to work closely with Tanya Carey in her teaching and performing.

Balancing her performing and teaching schedule with her family and their needs is a constant endeavor. She is thankful for her children and husband’s love and support. Above all else, she remains thankful to God for blessing her with the gift of music that she may share with and bless others.

Lyudmila Lakisova, pianist

Lyudmila Lakisova graduated from the School of Music for Gifted Children, affiliated with the Belorussian State Conservatory of Music, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in 1988. She earned her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance, Pedagogy, and Chamber Music in 1993 with a Ph.D in Piano Accompaniment in 1995, both from the Belorussian State Conservatory of Music in Minsk.

In 1989, she became a recital pianist and accompanist for the Belorussian State Philharmonic Chamber Choir and performed with the Belorussian State Symphony. Lyudmila has been a featured soloist and ensemble performer with many orchestras in the Chicago area, including the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Wheaton Symphony, West Suburban Symphony, Camerata Chicago, and the Landolfi Piano Trio.

She has performed in many well-known venues, such as Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Harris Theater in Downtown Chicago, Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Lyudmila has also given performances in the Steinway Society Concert series, Stradivary Society, and was featured on WFMT with Kerry Frumkin and in the Myra Hess Concert Series at the Cultural Center Downtown Chicago.

In previous years, she toured extensively in England with violinist Drostan Hall and on the continents of Africa and Asia with Trio Chicago & Friends. In addition to her successful solo and chamber career, Lyudmila has become well known in Chicago music circles as a collabarative pianist, accompanist, and chamber coach. She collaborated with conductors Drostan Hall, Alexander Platt, pianist Irina Lupines, singer Don Caasch, as well as violinists Yossif Ivanof, Olga Kaler, Julian Rachlin, and more.

As an accompanist and collabarative pianist, Lyudmila provides her skills to the students of Chicago’s well known violin and piano teachers. Lyudmila is also a chamber music coach at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, Illinois and a rehearsal pianist for the Chicago Master Singers.

Jonathan Johnson, Tenor

This season, American tenor Jonathan Johnson makes his debut as The Prince in The Love for Three Oranges at Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O19, as Beppe in I Pagliacci at Opera Colorado, and Matthew Gurney in Emmeline at Tulsa Opera. In concert, Johnson appears as a soloist with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri as the Young Man, with the Detroit Symphony for Messiah, and in recital with the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. Johnson is also an Emerging Artist for Opera Philadelphia, where he will be singing in community recitals and special events throughout the 2019-2020 Season.

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 Troyens, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Merry Widow, Der Rosenkavalier, Capriccio, The Magic Victrola and Mieczysław Weinberg’s Holocaust opera The Passenger. Other recent engagements have included his debut of the title role of Bernstein’s Candide with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera. He made his debut at Canadian Opera Company’s production of Anna Bolena, 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, Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri at the Portland Opera, La Damnation de Faust at the Grant Park Music Festival, Le Fils in Les mamelles de Tirésias with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and concert version of Don Giovanni with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, a performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe as part of a Liederabend in Chicago, and various appearances in the Harris Theater’s Beyond the Aria series, the 125th Anniversary Gala for the Auditorium Theater, and on WFMT radio as part of the Ryan Opera Center Recital Series. He also enjoys a touring relationship with Chris Botti, which has taken him through many cities in the US and abroad.

Hailing from Macon, GA, Mr. Johnson 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 Bachelor’s degree in music from Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music.