Encore Young Artist Program
Samina Aslam, soprano
Samina Aslam is quickly gaining recognition for her superb artistry and unique sound. Samina, whose voice has been described as “finely tuned and warmly registered” has performed throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Aslam has been praised as entertaining with her “bright voicings and agility”.
Ms. Aslam recently completed her studies as a Resident Artist at the Boston University Opera Institute. Some of her performances at BU include Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Zina in Dark Sisters, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen. As Cendrillon, Ms. Aslam was said to have “a velvet tone that can build to a powerful clarion”.
Ms. Aslam completed her graduate studies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she performed Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and is also a High School graduate of the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Ms. Aslam’s professional debut was in 2008 as the Second Spirit in The Magic Flute with Opera Louisiane. She soon ventured to Europe, where she appeared in concerts at CCM Spoleto, and as Hélène in La Belle Hélènewith the Franco American Vocal Academy. In 2012 she was a Young Artist with Opera North as Tuptim in The King and I. Other past professional engagements include performances with Cincinnati Opera, NANOWorks Opera, and the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
Ms. Aslam has performed actively in Boston with Boston Lyric Opera, Masterworks Chorale, and Opera del West. She has recently relocated to New York City and looks forward to her upcoming performances with Ars Musica as an Encore Young Artist. Ms. Aslam has lived all over the United States but was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska.
Allison Gish, Mezzo Soprano
Praised for her “agile and stylish” coloratura (Entertainment Hour), Allison Gish is a mezzo-soprano based in New York. She will debut as an Encore Young Artist with Ars Musica as well as with Bourbon Baroque this season. Ms. Gish recently sang the roles of Giunone and La Natura with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and Medoro in Handel’s Orlando with the Cantanti Project. As professional fellow at Songfest, she appeared as soloist in Bach Cantata 161 with conductor, John Harbison. She has appeared as a soloist with Mannes Baroque in Handel’s Mi palpata il cor, Monteclair’s Pan et Syrinx, Vagaus in Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans (excerpts), Piacere in Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo (excerpts). Ms. Gish is also an avid performer of contemporary music. At Songfest, she performed John Musto’s Enough Rope with the composer at the piano. In a performance deemed “flawless” (Opera News), Ms. Gish sang the role of Green Pants with “fresh shades of self-flagellating nuance” (Log Journal) in a critically-acclaimed new production of Robert Ashley’s 1999 opera DUST at Mannes under the direction of Bill Gustafson and Joan LaBarbara.
A seasoned choral artist, Ms. Gish is a professional chorister with the Brick Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir in Manhattan, and previously she has sung with The New Amsterdam Singers, Schola Cantorum on Hudson, and Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble. She will join The Village Carolers this holiday season. Ms. Gish is a recent graduate of the Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes College and completed her Bachelor of Music at Louisiana State University. In the interim between her music degrees, Ms. Gish completed a masters in communication disorders at Louisiana State University, publishing her master’s thesis “Vocal Warm-Up Practices and Perceptions in Vocalists: A Pilot Survey in Journal of Voice. She worked as a speech-language pathologist for several years before returning to singing full-time. Ms. Gish resides in Harlem with her husband and two orange cats.
Ravon Middlebrooks, tenor
Ravon Middlebrooks returns for his second season with Ars Musica’s Encore Young Artist Program. Last season he was the tenor soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. He was also seen as Borsa in Rigoletto with New York Opera Forum, Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Opera Theatre of Monclair, and this past summer was Le Remendado in Carmen with Opera Breve. Other favorite roles have included Pedrillio in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, Monostatos in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Giles Corey in Robert Wards The Crucible and the title role from Jules Massenet’s Werther.
Ravon Middlebrooks is a native of Newark NJ. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Delaware State University, and a Masters of Music from the University of Delaware. This season with Ars Musica, Mr. Middlebrooks will debut as the tenor soloist in Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil as well as J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor.