Virginia Best Adams Public Masterclass

The Carmel Bach Festival 36th annual Vocal Masterclass is comprised of Morgan Balfour, soprano; Kristen Dubenion-Smith, mezzo-soprano; Jacob Perry, tenor; and Ryne Cherry, baritone.

In a typical season, the VBA quartet comes to Carmel in July to train with Festival artists, and explore ways to communicate Baroque repertoire more vividly. In a light-hearted atmosphere of discovery, the VBA Master Class participants experience a wealth of vocal music and examine all aspects of style, technique, communication, language, performance skills, and artistry.

The Masterclasses will be held at the Carmel Presbyterian Church. They are free and open to the public.

The Adams Masterclass is distinguished by the Festival’s master teachers. Conductor and harpsichordist MICHAEL BEATTIE is Masterclass Director. Sessions are also led by Festival Associate Conductor ANDREW MEGILL (Director of Choral Activities at the Univ. of Illinois) and by Festival vocal soloists from the US and UK.


Michael Beattie
Michael Beattie

Event Info



Jul 18 2022


12:00 pm


  • Morgan Balfour
    Morgan Balfour
    VBA soprano

    Australian soprano Morgan Balfour has been praised for her “thrilling clarity” (Sydney Morning Herald) and “impressive vocal control and dynamic sensitivity” (San Francisco Classical Voice).

    With a strong affinity for early music, Morgan was the 2019 Handel Aria Competition First Prize Winner, 2021 Colorado Bach Ensemble Second Prize Winner and 2021 Kentucky Bach Audrey Rooney Vocal Competition Encouragement Award Winner. She was scheduled to perform a recital at the London Handel Festival in 2020 and is delighted to attend the Carmel Bach Festival as a Virginia Best Adams Fellow this year. Previously, Morgan has performed the roles of Cephise in Pinchgut Opera’s production of Pigmalion, and Honour in Brisbane Baroque Festival’s King Arthur.

    As a concert singer and performer of oratorio, Morgan has appeared with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Madison Bach Musicians, California Bach Society, Cantata Collective, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia.

    Morgan is currently working as a soprano chorister in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, a position she first took up in 2018. She has also performed as an ensemble member with Jeffrey Thomas’ American Bach Choir, Richard Sparks’ Benedict XVI and Ragnar Bohlin’s Capella SF.

    For the 2019/20 Season, Morgan joined the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as their Soprano Resident Artist. During this time she covered Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Musetta in La Boheme and was scheduled to perform Mrs Grady in The Shining. Additional opera roles include the title role in Rodelinda, Meleagro in Atalanta, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Frasquita in Carmen, Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Younger Alyce in Glory Denied.

    Morgan holds a Master of Music Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She is an alumna of the Melba Opera Trust (Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholar), the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (Professional Fellow).

    Read more on her website:

  • Kristen Dubenion-Smith
    Kristen Dubenion-Smith
    VBA mezzo-soprano

    Recognized for her “velvety legato and embracing warmth of sound” (Washington Classical Review) and “lyric-mezzo of uncommon beauty” (Washington Post) mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith enjoys an active performing career in oratorio and sacred vocal chamber music, specializing in music of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque eras.

    As a concert soloist, Kristen has earned recognition for her performances of the works of the high baroque, especially Bach and Handel. Highlights from recent seasons include Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Dryden Ensemble, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with The Washington Bach Consort.

    In previous seasons, she has appeared as Alto Soloist in works such as Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Praetorius’ Christmas Vespers and Mozart’s Requiem among others, with ensembles including Apollo’s Fire, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Opera Lafayette, The New Dominion Chorale, The Folger Consort, and Chatham Baroque. In the summer of 2019, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended the American Bach Soloists Academy where she was featured in Bach’s Trauerode and Mass in B Minor.

    As a professional choral singer, Ms. Dubenion-Smith performs regularly with Cathedra, Chantry and the Grammy Nominated, NYC based, Clarion Choir. She also sings in the choir on the 2021 Grammy winning recording of The Prison by Ethel Smyth with The Experiential Choir and Orchestra.

    Starting in the fall of 2016, Ms. Dubenion-Smith joined the Choir of Men and Boys/Girls at the Washington National Cathedral as the first woman to be offered a position in this choir. She had previously served as cantor since 2011.

    In 2010, Ms. Dubenion-Smith co-founded the award winning, Washington D.C. based Eya: Ensemble for Medieval Music. Eya has been presented at a number of distinguished venues and series including the National Gallery of Art, The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington National Cathedral, Columbus Early Music, and Dumbarton Oaks, in addition to numerous colleges, universities, and concert series across the east coast.

    Originally from Michigan, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended Alma College (BM) before moving to Maryland to complete her studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music (MM.)

    Read more on her website:

  • Jacob Perry
    Jacob Perry
    VBA tenor

    Jacob Perry, tenor, has been praised for his “gorgeous and stylish” ( interpretations of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. He has been featured as a soloist with Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), Portland Baroque Orchestra (Portland, OR), Tempesta di Mare (Philadelphia), and the Washington Bach Consort (DC). Deeply immersed in vocal chamber music, Jacob enjoys active membership in Les Canards Chantants, a soloist-ensemble based in Philadelphia, as well as engagements with ensembles such as ARTEK (New York City), TENET Vocal Artists (New York City), and Yale Choral Artists (New Haven). Since 2013, Jacob has served as a cantor and member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.).
    As Co-Artistic Director of Bridge, a genre-defying vocal ensemble based in Washington, he draws on his instincts for theatricality and story-telling, as the group explores the connections between early masterpieces and ground- breaking new works.
    Career highlights include multiple tours performing in Roman Basilicas with the choir of the National Shrine, headlining the inaugural festival of Western Early Music at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music with Les Canards Chantants, his Kennedy Center debut as a featured soloist in Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine with The Thirteen, and “English Orpheus”—a tour de force exploration of love songs and poems from the Elizabethan, Restoration, and early 18th-century periods he performed with Tempesta di Mare.

    Read more on his website:

  • Ryne Cherry
    Ryne Cherry
    VBA baritone

    Baritone Ryne Cherry is an opera, oratorio, and ensemble singer based in Boston, MA. Ryne’s opera roles include Forester in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Mustafa in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Tomsky in The Queen of Spades, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Olin Blitch in Susanna, and Mr. Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. His recent oratorio performances include Mozart’s Requiem, Durufle’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and Carissimi’s Jepthe.

    Ryne has premiered numerous new works by acclaimed composers such as Dominick DiOrio’s opera The Little Blue One, Keith Kusterer’s chamber piece Echelon, Nazaykinskaya’s opera The Magic Mirror, and Kallembach’s oratorio The Tryal of Father Christmas.

    Read more on his website:


Carmel Presbyterian Church
Carmel Presbyterian Church
Junipero St &, Ocean Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

Comments are closed.

© 2024 Carmel Bach Festival - WordPress Theme by Kadence WP