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Festival Artists

View artist profiles below.

Maria Thompson Corley was born in Jamaica and raised in Canada. She has appeared on radio, television, and/or concert stages in Canada, the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Europe, both as a solo and collaborative artist, including performances in Budapest at the Liszt Academy, and in Carnegie Recital Hall, Aaron Davis Hall and Alice Tully Hall, all in New York City. She has collaborated with such artists as Metropolitan Opera soprano Priscilla Baskerville, Juno Award-winning clarinetist James Campbell, Grammy-winning clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati, Grammy-nominated baritone Randall Scarlata, and members of the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras. Her appearances include a collaboration with countertenor Darryl Taylor in a concert sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and a solo recital at the Epidaurus Festival in Cavtat, Croatia. Her performances as soloist with orchestra include engagements with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gunther Schuller. She has also performed and recorded with the Philadelphia-based Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, directed by Jeri-Lynne Johnson.

She is also a composer and arranger, with pieces commissioned and/or recorded by Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Florida A&M University Concert Choir, MUSE: Cincinnati’s Womens Choir, the Tallahassee Boys Choir, Xavier University in New Orleans, California State University East Bay, tubist Daniel Rowland, countertenor Darryl Taylor and sopranos Sequina Dubose, Louise Toppin and Randye Jones. Her music has been sung by artists such as mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, who has performed at La Scala, and soprano Nadine Benjamin, who has performed at Glyndebourne. Dr. Corley’s arrangement of “Mary Had a Baby” is published by Walton Music Corporation. Her song cycle Grasping Water has been added to the curricula of courses about art song at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Jackdaws Music Education Trust in the U.K., and University of California (Irvine). Dr. Corley’s cycle For Terry is published by Classical Vocal Reprints. Her art song “Big Yellow Taxi” was featured on the Hampsongs Foundation website on July 4, 2020, a few weeks after she participated in a livestreamed panel discussion that included Thomas Hampson, Louise Toppin, Bill Banfield and Mark Clague. Her debut mini-opera, The Sky Where You Are, commissioned by An Opera Theatre in 2020, is part of the Decameron Opera Coalition’s award-winning online production, Tales From a Safe Distance. The entire series was added to the Library of Congress in 2021. She was commissioned by Lyric Opera of the North to write The Place for the DOC’s second online anthology, Heroes, which premiered in October, 2021. Two of her spirituals have been choreographed by Katlyn Addison, a prima ballerina with Ballet West. The Canadian Art Song Project has also commissioned her to write art songs for soprano Jonelle Sills, to be premiered in 2022. She was also the co-recipient of an Opera America IDEA grant, along with librettist Diana Solomon-Glover, for The Boy from Troy, an operatic work to be completed by the end of the same year which is scheduled to premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2023.

Her first CD, Dreamer, released internationally on Naxos, contains collaborations with then-tenor Darryl Taylor. Subsequent discs, on Albany, include a recording of the first twelve of African American composer Leslie Adams’s etudes for solo piano (seven of which she world-premiered) and Soulscapes, consisting of music for solo piano by African American women. Maria Corley’s recordings of selections from Valerie Capers’ Portraits in Jazz, included in Soulscapes, were featured in the HBO Family documentary, Kebreeya’s Salad Days. Her performance of Leslie Adams’s Etude in C sharp Minor is included in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. She was featured twice in the 2020 African Composers London virtual concert series, once as a solo performer and once as a pianist/writer. Her recording Soulscapes 2 (MSR Classics), fearing music by Black women from all over the diaspora was released in November, 2021. Soul Sanctuary, a disc of her arrangements of spirituals and hymns, with Maria Clark, soprano and Ismail Akbar, cello, was released by Navona Records in February, 2022

Dr. Corley’s undergraduate work was completed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where she studied with Alexandra Munn, a pupil of Irwin Freundlich. Maria Corley received both master’s and doctorate degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School, where she was a student of renowned Hungarian pianist, Gyorgy Sandor. Maria Corley was the only pianist admitted into Juilliard’s doctoral program for the period of two years. She was also chosen to represent her alma mater in a tour of Central America, where she gave performances and master classes.

Aside from being an accomplished pianist, Maria Corley is a voice actor who has done spots for Santander, University of Pennsylvania, Unisys, Suntrust and others, an award-winning poet, and an author. She has contributed to Broad Street Review, an online arts magazine, and blogged for Huffington Post. Her novels include Choices (Kensington), Letting Go (Createspace) and More Than Enough (Kindle Vella). Her poems and short stories have appeared in Chaleur, Fledgling Rag, Kaleidoscope, Midnight and Indigo, and The Write Launch.

Maria Corley is also half of Duo Chiaroscuro (with Sara Male, cello). Their endeavors include “Silence Optional” concerts for people on the autism spectrum, or others who can't attend classical concerts because of difficulties with remaining absolutely still.

Described by the New York Times as a "talented and entrepreneurial pianist" and an "able and persuasive advocate" of new music, Nicholas Phillips' playing has been praised for its "bejeweled accuracy" (Fanfare) and as "razor-sharp yet wonderfully spirited" (American Record Guide). He is active as a soloist and collaborative artist, having performed all across the United States, as well as Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.

Phillips is an active recording artist and champion of living composers. In 2011, he released two CDs on Albany Records: Portals and Passages (TROY 1246), which features the works for solo piano by American composer Ethan Wickman, and Boris Papandopulo: Piano Music (TROY 1274), which features music by the famous Croatian composer. Recent releases include American Vernacular: New Music for Solo Piano (New Focus Recordings, 2014), which features commissioned works written for him on that theme by ten American composers, and Impressions (Blue Griffin Records, 2016), a collection of 21st-century character pieces by living American composers. Shift (Panoramic Recordings) releases in March, 2019, and features world premiere recordings of works by eight living women composers.

A native of Indiana, Phillips began formal piano lessons at Indiana University at the age of ten. He holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music (Doctor of Musical Arts), Indiana University (Master of Music), and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude). His teachers include internationally-renowned pianists and pedagogues Karen Taylor, Paul Barnes, Karen Shaw, and Robert Weirich.

Phillips is currently Professor of Piano at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is a Yamaha Artist.

Pianist Amy Dorfman has enjoyed a wide variety of musical collaborations throughout her career. For more than 20 years, she accompanied American bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, performing in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, as well as on NPR’s St. Paul Sunday Morning and The Lonesome Pine Special. She also joined Meyer in his 1990 recording Work in Progress for MCA Records.

Dorfman has performed with the Blair String Quartet and was a member of the Dorfman/Katahn piano duo with pianist Enid Katahn. She has also collaborated with pianist Mark Wait, Dean of the Blair School of Music, in piano duet and duo recitals.

In 2002, she and colleagues Carolyn Huebl, violin, and Felix Wang, cello, formed the Blakemore Trio. The trio performed their New York debut in Merkin Hall in 2010. In 2013 the trio released two recordings, The Blakemore Trio plays Beethoven and Ravel (Blue Griffin Records), and Gates of Silence, composed by Susan Botti and commissioned for the Blakemore Trio (Albany Records). Critics wrote, “another chamber ensemble has arrived to claim the limelight...for Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio, they don’t come any better than this one.” The American Record Guide hailed their performance of the Ravel trio as “Impressionism at its best.” The trio is currently at work on a recording of solo and chamber works of American composer Adam Schoenberg, which is slated for a 2019 release on Blue Griffin Records.

Dorfman's students have been prize winners in national divisions of MTNA chamber music competitions, the Vanderbilt Concerto Competition and the Curb/Nashville Symphony concerto competition. Her college students have continued on in many prestigious graduate music programs around the country. She served as coordinator of the Blair precollege chamber music program from 2006-18.

Dorfman received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Indiana University School of Music, where she studied with Alfonso Montecino and James Tocco. She also worked with Edith Oppens and Rosalyn Tureck at the Aspen and Banff festivals. She serves as artist/teacher at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and spent several summers at the Sewanee Music Center.

Hailed by the London Times as a “pianist of powerful physical and imaginative muscle”, Tanya Gabrielian has captivated audiences worldwide with her gripping performances. She has performed on four continents in acclaimed venues including Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sydney Opera House, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, and the Salle Cortot in Paris, with such orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Boston Pops, and London Sinfonia. 

Tanya shot onto the international stage at the age of twenty with back-to-back victories in the Scottish International Piano Competition and Aram Khachaturyan International Piano Competition. Since then, performance engagements have included Alice Tully Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, Edinburgh International Festival, Seoul Arts Center in Korea, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, an eleven-city tour of China, and a return recital engagement at Wigmore Hall in London. Tanya’s Southbank debut recital in the Purcell Room in London, presented by the Philharmonia Orchestra, was chosen as “Performance of the Year” by Seen and Heard International. Her Wigmore Hall debut, as winner of the coveted Wigmore Prize awarded by the Royal Academy of Music, was reviewed as “revelatory, a feast of romantic pianism which held us enthralled” and “an astounding achievement by any standards, and one I cannot imagine being bettered… Remember the name—Tanya Gabrielian—you will be hearing a lot more from her I feel sure.” Tanya’s latest recording, Remix: Bach Transcriptions, was released on MSR Classics and was selected as Album of the Week by radio stations in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She has also been featured on the cover of the magazine Clavier.

In addition to the traditional concert stage, Tanya is passionate about inspiring new generations of musicians and music lovers in diverse settings, dedicated to community engagement, education, and activism through art. Projects have included collaborations with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in programs featuring composers with mental illnesses, highlighting the stigma around mental health issues; founding an interactive performance series for patients at the New York State Psychiatric Institute; an installation with the artist Fran Bull for the exhibit In Flanders Fields: A Meditation on War; and a multidisciplinary collaboration combining Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross with final statements from executed death row inmates. Tanya was awarded the Pro Musicis International Award, McGraw-Hill Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach, Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, and the S&R Washington Award for her work.

Please visit www.tanyagabrielian.com for more information.