2022 VBA Masterclass Participants L-R Morgan Balfour, soprano; Kristen Dubenion-Smith, mezzo-soprano; Jacob Perry, tenor; and Ryne Cherry, baritone

2022 Masterclass

The Carmel Bach Festival 36th annual Vocal Master Class 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 Master Classes are typically held at the Carmel Presbyterian Church and are free and open to the public.


The Carmel Bach Festival is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Beattie to the position of Director of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass.

Beattie succeeds David Gordon, who has led the program since 1990. Beattie previously served as music director for the Masterclass Showcase Concert. He has performed with the Festival for 10 years.

“Michael Beattie was the natural and perfect choice for this role,” said Festival Executive Director Steve Friedlander. “Already a long-term member of the Festival family, Michael is an exemplary musician, conductor and keyboardist with a particular flair for vocal coaching, and programming. He is a great colleague and collaborator, much appreciated and respected by the artistic leadership team, musicians, and administrative staff.”


In 1984, family and friends of Virginia Best Adams established an endowment fund to honor her 80th birthday. Since then, the endowment has helped underwrite the training and mentoring of more than 100 young professional singers from around the world. Each year the Festival selects four singers from hundreds of international applications. These emerging artists join the Festival and study with Festival principal artists. The busy schedule includes six working sessions which are open free to the general public, dozens of private coachings, and a special Showcase Concert. In the informal working sessions, the audience shares in the excitement as the coaches and young artists explore all aspects of performing Baroque vocal music, including vocal technique, musical style, foreign language skills, and artistic communication.

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.

“Participating in the Adams Vocal Master Class was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” according to 2011 Adams Fellow Kathryn Mueller. “The combination of intense coaching with the teachers and working with some of the best musicians in the country, while surrounded by the beauty of Carmel in the professional, yet loving environment of the Carmel Bach Festival, couldn't be matched anywhere else.”