The Kennedy Center

Vocal Arts DC


The mission of VADC is to nurture and promote the classical voice recital genre and to introduce new audiences to the richness and beauty of the classical art song literature. VADC is the only organization anywhere in North America, and one of the few in the world, that presents a full concert season solely devoted to classical voice recitals. As such, it has made Washington DC a magnet for the world’s greatest stars of the opera and concert stage. VADC presents a season of six to eight recitals, usually in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, occasionally in other venues. These generally feature world-renowned singers, although VADC also attempts to introduce to its audience emerging artists whom it considers to be on the threshold of international stardom.BR>
About the Artists

First prize winner of the 2015 Vocal Arts DC “Art Song Discovery Competition,” Vanessa Vasquez, originally from Scottsdale, Arizona is a second-year Resident Artist of The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America and M.M. in Opera Performance from the University of Los Angeles, California (UCLA). Last season, she made her AVA debut as Mimì in La bohème. This past November she sang the role of Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at AVA. In 2015,, Vanessa won the James Parkinson Opera Foundation First Prize and the Walter and Alice Strine, Esqs. Audience Prize in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, as well as First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in Phoenix Opera's Southwest Vocal Competition. In addition, she was a 2015 Grant Award recipient in both The Giulio Gari Foundation and Puccini-Licia Albanese Vocal competitons. Upcoming engagements include Giorgetta in Puccini's Il tabarro at AVA and competing as a finalist in the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition in Los Angeles. This summer she has been invited to join the roster of selected artists for the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany.

Shabnam Kalbasi, mezzo-soprano, was most recently seen as Mercédès in Carmen with Venture Opera in New York City. She has been a 2016 George London Foundation Finalist and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist and garnered an award from the Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competition. In summer of 2015, she returned to the Santa Fe Opera, in her second consecutive year with the apprentice artist program, singing Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and debuting the role of Olivia in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain.

Danielle Orlando, piano, is an accompanist to many international opera singers, a vocal coach, and an artistic consultant to many prestigious musical organizations. She was accompanist, judge, and artistic coordinator for all of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competitions. She worked with Gian Carlo Menotti and the Festival Dei Due Mondi as artistic coordinator and coach for nine seasons. She was the artistic administrator and head of music staff for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and has served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, S.C.), Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, AIMS (Graz, Austria, ECOV (Belgium), and Curso de Perfecionamiento (Mexico). Ms. Orlando is a guest judge for the annual Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and works with the Junges Ensemble of the Dresden Semperoper in Germany. She has performed with the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, and will return as a master coach for Oberlin in Italy this year. Ms. Orlando has a residency as returning opera coach for the Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program and the WNO Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program of Washington National Opera. She is also a master coach for the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Ms. Orlando joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and will be on faculty at the Young Artist Voice Program as part of Curtis Summerfest 2016.

Andrew Hsu, piano, is a maverick among concert musicians, praised as both a critically acclaimed pianist and an award-winning composer. His piano-playing has been described as “[channelling] Horowitz right down to the brilliant-yet-delicate high-treble sonority” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “incendiary” (New York Times) and “a great storyteller, who listens attentively to what he says and plays with deep conviction” (Kalamazoo Gazette). His compositions have been performed across the United States, interpreted by some of the leading artists of our time. Notable upcoming projects include new commissions for Sasha Cooke, the Miró Quartet and Abigail Kent. He will be a Composition Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and Protégé Project Artist at Chamber Music Northwest in Summer 2016. Hsu has also been named a 2014 Gilmore Young Artist and 2016 Gilmore Rising Star. Hsu’s compositions have also received numerous honors over the years, including several ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a BMI William Schuman Prize. Hsu currently pursues a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School in New York City, studying with Samuel Adler and Steven Stucky. He also studies piano privately with Gary Graffman.
Matthew Morris