Benjamin Williams – Voice Teacher
H ouston – based Tenor Benjamin S. Williams has performed across the U.S. and Europe in diverse venues ranging from Trebah Gardens in the United Kingdom to concert halls in Florence, Italy. He currently sings with First Presbyterian Church in Houston where he has performed solos from Mozart’s Requiem, Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living and many others. He was a finalist in the Christopher Newport University School of Music Concerto and Aria competition in 2012, and has participated in numerous music festivals both abroad and in the United States. These include the Bay View Music Festival, the New York Opera Studio with Nico Castle, the Cornish American Song Institute, and the Institute of Bel Canto Singing. Additionally, he has performed in masters calluses with George Shirley, Nico Castel, Dimitri Pittas, and Stanford Olsen, among others.
Committed to sharing music with his community, Mr. Williams often performs for churches, and retirement communities. He has give interactive lectures to High School and Elementary students about opera and classical singing.
Mr. Williams is a 2012 inductee of the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society and has received numerous merit based scholarships as both a graduate and undergraduate student.
Mr. Williams holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from the Moore’s School of Music at the University of Houston, where he studied with Dr. Timothy Jones. He studied abroad in Florence Italy where he attended L’Academia Europa and studied with Italian soprano Susannah Rigacci. He graduated Cum Laude from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance where he studied with Dr. David Sadlier.
Brianne Kollmorgen – Voice Teacher
Brianne Kollmorgen, soprano, is a native of Oklahoma where she graduated with aBachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma State University.During her time at OSU, Brianne was featured in a multitude of roles, which included Countessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Mother in Amahl and the Night Vistors, as well as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Mimì in La Bohème in OSU
Opera’s production of Love, Lust, & Death: Four Tragic Acts of Love. Brianne received
her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of
Houston, where she continues studying under her teacher, Melanie Sonnenberg. While
attending UH, Brianne performed in a wide variety of versatile roles, which included
Alide Slade in Roman Fever, Agafia Mihailovna in Anna Karenina, Ann Putnam in The
Crucible, and Elisetta in Il matrimonio segreto. Brianne has also performed as the
Princess in L’enfant et les Sortilèges while studying as an Apprentice Artist in Greece at
the Greek Opera Studio Summer Program.
In January 2019, Brianne won the Encouragement Award at the Houston District
Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In 2016, she also won the Concerto
Competition at the Moores School of Music where she was awarded the opportunity to
perform her piece, Beethoven’s Ah, perfido!, with the Moores School of Music Chamber
Orchestra at their fall concert. Brianne was also featured as a finalist in both the Kristen
Lewis Foundation Scholarship Competition and Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento
Vocal Competition. Brianne has been awarded several scholarships during her time at
Oklahoma State University and University of Houston, such as the Winifred and
Maurice Hirsch Memorial Scholarship and the Sunny F. Van Eaton Scholarship.
This summer, Brianne attended Opera Susquehanna as an Emerging artist, where she
covered the title role of Suor Angelica. She will return this winter with Opera
Susquehanna to perform scenes as the title role of Tosca. Brianne currently resides in
Houston, TX, where she actively performs with the Houston Grand Opera Chorus, and
can be seen performing in Aida in January-February 2020. She is also currently an
Adjunct Professor of Voice at Lone Star College-Tomball.
Virginia Hesse – Voice Teacher
C oloratura-soprano Virginia Hesse is a native of Houston, Texas. Ms. Hesse recently debuted the role of Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance with Opera Ithaca. Virginia recently joined the Natchez Festival of Music as an Young Artist to perform the role of Frederika Armfeldt and cover Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music in May 2018. She then spent the summer as an Apprentice Artist with Charlottesville Opera where she covered Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, covered Rapunzel in Into the Woods and performed as Florinda. Virginia is delighted to be returning to Charlottesville Opera this summer as a featured Young Artist to sing Nimue in Camelot. Virginia made Lonestar Lyric and Operativo Houston debuts in the summer of 2017, performing as Luigia in Donizetti’s Viva La Mamma and as Elvira in L’Italiana in Algieri respectively. Other notable stage credits include Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto, Mary Warren in The Crucible, and Kitty Scherbatsky in David Carlson’s Anna Karenina with Moores Opera Center. Additionally, she has appeared as Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods with the Seagle Music Colony, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with American Singers Opera Project, and Adele in Die Fledermaus with the University of Louisiana Opera Theatre. She was recently a finalist of the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition with the National Opera Association in New Orleans and a finalist Grand Concours Competition in Austin, Texas. Virginia also competed in the 2017 Edward M. Murray Competition of Voice in Ithaca, New York and was an award winner. In 2016, Virginia was the winner of the Bill and Mary Morton award in the Kristin Lewis Competition. Virginia was also the winner of the Opera Cultura Canto Competition and performed an artist recital in San Jose with compositions by renowned Latino composer Hector Armienta. Ms. Hesse has performed as a soloist with various ensembles including the Lafayette Concert Band, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, The American Institute of Musical Studies Orchestra in Graz, Austria, University of Louisiana Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Lutheran Choir where she performed the soprano solo in the Charpentier Messe de Minuit pour Noel.
Mr. Talley – Voice Teacher
I am a retired high school and college choir director and music professor with 35 years of teaching experience. Degrees include: Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University, Master of Music in Conducting from Sam Houston State University, and extensive post-graduate work at the University of Houston. I now working as free-lance accompanist for choirs and soloists, voice teacher, piano teacher, Director of Music Ministries at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, and Director of the Houston Lutheran Chorale.
I will be at Tompkins on Mondays and Tuesdays. If we should need to make-up a lesson, I can do that on Fridays, or we can meet at my house over the weekend.If you have to miss a lesson, please notify me within twenty-four hours of your lesson.
I am looking forward to working with you this year,