We are pleased to introduce you to our soloists for the December 2017 concert!


Possessing an exciting versatility that is equally at home on opera, concert and recital stages, Serena Benedetti’s voice has been heralded as “a pure-toned soprano that soared radiantly in the high climaxes.” She has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, and many other orchestras internationally. She has performed as a soloist or in recital at Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Ludwig van Beethoven Festival (Warsaw,) Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Benedetti has collaborated with luminaries such as John Rutter and Dave Brubeck, and was Awarded a Marian Anderson Career Grant in a ceremony honoring Oprah Winfrey, Kathleen Battle, Lionel Richie, and other living legends. She has performed leading soprano roles in operas of Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Beethoven and more. A testament to her versatility, Benedetti will star next year as La Sua Compagna in Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza, a 12-tone opera, with the American Symphony Orchestra led by Leon Botstein, at Carnegie Hall.


Mezzo-soprano Chloë Schaaf is a Samling Scholar. She holds her undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School and her masters degree from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has performed chamber music at venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Harris Hall, and The New York Society for Ethical Culture and has appeared in concert at the Leeds Lieder Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. Operatic roles include Demoiselle d’Honneur in Chabrier’s l’Étoile (Dutch National Opera), Ruggiero (OperaRox Productions), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Dutch National Opera Academy 2014 and New Jersey State Repertory Opera 2016), and Don Ramiro in Mozart’s La Finta Gardiniera (The Juilliard School).  In summer 2016, Chloë was a New Young Artist with the Victoria Bach Festival and in summers 2016-17 she was a Professional Fellow at Songfest in Los Angeles. Upcoming engagements include Handël’s Messiah with the Helena Symphony (2017), John Harbison’s Mottetti di Montale with the Orchestra of the League of Composers (2018), and The Queen in John Harbison’s Full Moon in March at The Fischer Center (2018). Chloë is currently a member of the Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory.


Countertenor Daniel Moody has garnered widespread acclaim for his commanding yet expressive vocal timbre and his breathtaking musicianship.  Daniel enjoys singing opera, contemporary and early music alike, performing the title roles in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Rinaldo, Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and most recently Arsamene in Handel’s Xerxes.  He has sung at the Boston, Indianapolis and Washington Early Music Festivals, and his concert work includes Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Handel’s Messiah with the Charleston Symphony and Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestras. Recent highlights include the American premiere of George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song at the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood Festival, two operas with Mark Morris Dance Group, engagements with Apollo’s Fire and Canadian debut with Les Violons du Roy with Bernard Labadie conducting. Upcoming performances include engagements with Apollo’s Fire, Portland Baroque Orchestra, GMGS series at St. John the Divine in New York City, Charleston Symphony and Illinois Symphony.


British-American Tenor, Joshua Blue from Aurora, Illinois is a second year Masters student at The Juilliard School, studying with Dr. Robert White. Mr. Blue was recently a Gaddes Festival Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, performing in the American Premier of The Trial by Philip Glass and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore as a vocal fellow with Music Academy of the West. Mr. Blue received the Ellen Lopin Blair award for first place at the 2017 Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition. This season, Mr. Blue makes his Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah, a Merkin Concert Hall debut with NYFOS, and an Austin Lyric Opera debut as Scaramuccio in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.


Michael Maliakel is a New York-based singer-actor who enjoys a diverse career in musical theater, opera, and sacred music. A native of New Jersey, Michael received his earliest vocal training as a treble in the American Boychoir and did his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University and the Peabody Institute of Music. Michael’s musical theater credits include Roger in A New Brain, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and Curtis Ricks in the world premiere of Will the Circle Be Unbroken? On the operatic stage, Michael recently sang the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Hiss recent oratorio performances have included the Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and Fauré’s Requiem The 2014 First Prize winner in the NATS National Musical Theater Competition, Michael recently won the Gold Medal at the 2016 American Traditions Competition. He was also awarded Third Prize at the International Lotte Lenya Competition, an Encouragement Grant from the Liederkranz/Gerda Lissner Lieder-Song Competition, and was a finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Alfred M. Greenfield Competition.  Michael’s 2016-2017 season includes a debut as soloist with the Savannah Philharmonic, Brahms’ Ein deutches Requiem with the St. George’s Choral Society, and Britten’s Curlew River with the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Michael will appear this spring at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in the world premiere production of a new musical, Monsoon Wedding. He serves as the principal cantor for the parishes of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena in Manhattan, where he sings in the professional Schola Cantorum.