Isabelle Aboulker, France’s Greatest Living Song Composer
“I like the theater, the verb, and I also like the sound of the pencil on my music paper, the rustle of the eraser, the little black dots that turn into rhythms and sounds. So, with pleasure and obstinacy – and against all logic – I compose operas.” Isabelle Aboulker
Julia Kogan is an international award-winning American-French opera singer, author, and presenter. She has performed at top venues around the world (Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, etc.), released five solo albums and has had her work featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Opera News, BBC Radio 3 and 4, and many others.
Julia’s BBC Radio 4 documentary, The Lost Songs of Hollywood, was chosen ‘pick of the week’ by the BBC. She is the author of Hipstory, a book of Amit Shimoni’s art with text by Julia, as well as a series of children’s books, essays, and screenplays. For now, she remains the uncredited co-author of feature film Florence Foster Jenkins.
Collaborative pianist Maureen Zoltek enjoys a diverse career working with leading vocalists, instrumentalists, chamber groups, and opera companies across the United States.
Ms. Zoltek currently serves as an Assistant Conductor, Accompanist, and Vocal Coach on the staffs of San Francisco Opera and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In the 2019-2020 season she returns to SFO for productions of Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, and Hänsel und Gretel, and to the Music Academy of the West for Ellen Reid’s Odysseus Cycle and Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles, which she performed last season as part of Opera Omaha’s ONE Festival. An active proponent of new music, she recently served as Coach and Assistant Conductor for the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, and John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, as well as the west coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
A graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Zoltek has also collaborated with the Lyric Opera of Chicago on productions of La clemenza di Tito, Tosca, Idomeneo, and in the world premiere workshop of Jimmy López & Nilo Cruz’s Bel Canto. At the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she served on the music staff for productions of Tobias Picker’s Emmeliene and Puccini’s La rondine.
As an orchestral pianist, Ms. Zoltek has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with major conductors including Boulez, Salonen, Conlon, Dudamel, Gilbert, and Gergiev, in addition to premiering works by composers-in-residence of the CSO Augusta Read Thomas and Marc Anthony Turnage. She has appeared with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Chicago’s Latino Music Festival, and at the 2010 Fischoff Competition, in which she was a semi-finalist.
Ms. Zoltek attended both the Aspen Music Festival and School (2009) and Music Academy of the West (2010, 2012). During her second summer as a fellow at the Music Academy, she won first prize in the pianist division of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Her association with Marilyn Horne also includes participation in the legendary mezzo-soprano’s series “The Song Continues” (2011, 2012), with performances and masterclasses held at Carnegie’s “Marilyn Horne Legacy” program. Among the other star performers with whom Ms. Zoltek has recently collaborated are mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, soprano Alyson Cambridge, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and Welsh singer-songwriter Katherine Jenkins.
Ms. Zoltek completed her D.M.A. degree at the Manhattan School of Music and holds a master’s degree in piano performance and musicology from Roosevelt University in addition to a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from DePaul University. Her teachers include Mary Sauer and Warren Jones. When she is not in rehearsal, Ms. Zoltek enjoys true crime podcasts, baking various and sundry desserts, and going out and about with her standard poodle and travel companion, Henry.