Mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen is a tireless promoter of contemporary classical music for the voice. The Baltimore Theatre Journal praised Megan for her “mesmerizing dramatic and musical account of the strange mystic, Mary Magdalen de Pazzi,” in her performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s one-woman operatic drama, “Infinito Nero”, with SONAR new music ensemble in February 2014. Megan is a new music force of nature. Her performances thrive on elaborate sound worlds and fully developed dramatic interpretations.
During the 2015-2016 season, Megan made her debut on the Detroit New Music “Strange Beautiful Music Marathon”, the Works and Process at the Guggenheim series with International Contemporary Ensemble, and on Stone Mason Projects’ “Fury” concert. Her highly regarded, interdisciplinary “Kafka Fragments” project had performances in Maryland and Colorado. Her recording of Garrett Schumann’s “Bound” with Latitude 49 was selected for both the I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Fall 2015 Mixtape and the CarpeDM Seize Des Moines “Music Mix: Volume III” which was featured at the 2016 SXSW Festival.
Megan joined Jennifer R. Ellis (harp) and Erika Boysen (flute) to form the Seen/Heard Trio in December 2015. The trio was accepted into the Avaloch Farm Music Institute residency program for June 2016 and also performs at the Omaha Under the Radar festival in July. The Seen/Heard Trio actively commissions and collaborates with diverse composers to create compelling and immersive performance projects.
Erik Spangler, a.k.a. DJ Dubble8, is a composer and electronic musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Engaged equally with ensemble improvisation, live sample-based mixing, hybrid electronica production, and notated chamber music, Spangler aims to dissolve cultural boundaries while drawing all corners of inspiration into cohesive sound images. Autobiographical audio artifacts, field recordings and found sounds share equal space with newly composed material.
Spangler’s compositions have been performed across the United States and internationally from Canada to China, by ensembles including the Atlantic Brass Quintet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and International Contemporary Ensemble. Performances as a turntablist/electronic musician include collaborations with duYun, EAR Duo, Brian Sacawa, Mobtown Modern, jason.sloan, Out Of Your Head collective, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and Ithaca College Percussion Ensemble. Music released on New Focus Recordings (Brian Sacawa, American Voices), Innova Recordings (duYun, Shark In You), and indie hip-hop label Nonsense Records (S.K.I.P., What They Never Told You).
Spangler holds degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (B.M., Music Composition) and Harvard University (Ph.D., Music Composition), and currently teaches sound classes as an adjunct faculty member of the Interactive Arts department at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
John Callison is thrilled to be joining Rhymes With Opera by playing Don for their production of Heartbreak Express. Mr. Callison’s performances in the last year include Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (dell’Arte Opera Ensemble), Hortensius in La fille du regiment (Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance), Moralès in Carmen (New York Opera Exchange), Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Opera at USC), Falstaff in At the Boar’s Head (Opera at USC), Tom/John in The Face on the Barroom Floor (Chelsea Opera), The Drunken Poet in The Fairy Queen (dell’Arte Opera Ensemble), and Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata (M. Arroyo P. to P.) John recently received his Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he performed Donald Gallup in The Mother of Us All, and was in Thaïs and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny as well. John is a student of Mark Oswald.
Karen Hayden is a versatile performer with a passion for new chamber music. She premiered chamber works with Rhymes With Opera’s Pocket Opera Workshop in the summers of 2014 and 2015. She also performed excerpts from George Lam’s Heartbreak Express with RWO in November 2014, and is thrilled to return now for the full opera’s premiere. As an advocate for new American song, Karen produced a concert of art songs composed by Philip Hayden at The National Opera Center in January 2015. Operatic roles performed include Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Lisetta in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, and Madama Rosa in Donzetti’s Il campanello di notte. She also participated in the southeast premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town, as well as the Act I workshop premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Pride and Prejudice. Karen has performed with Piedmont Opera, Greensboro Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, the Eastern Music Festival, and the Magnolia Baroque Festival. She received an MM from UNC Greensboro and a BM from UNC School of the Arts.
Peter Thoresen a countertenor, voice teacher and writer. His recent New York performances in The Fairy Queen were described by Broadwayworld.com as ‘Spellbinding’ and Opera Magazine stated ‘Peter Thoresen’s countertenor proved beguiling at the top, capable of serious expression.’ He is committed to the creation and performance of new music, and Opera News praised him for his ‘delightful portrayal’ of Lautrec in the world premiere of Vincent. Additional credits include roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and the American Opera Theater. Solo concert and oratorio performances include engagements with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Musicians, Winter Harbor Music Festival, Monterey Symphony, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and Handel Choir of Baltimore. His articles have been featured in Classical Singer Magazine and he previously served as a visiting faculty member at Indiana University. His students regularly appear in productions on and off Broadway and in national tours. www.peterthoresen.com
Allison Clendaniel is on a personal journey to bridge the gap between high art and bar fights.
Sounds that Allison likes: yelling from baseball stadiums three blocks away, cantors inside of a Catholic Church, emergency alerts ringing on a crowded bus, buzzers, running water, organ drones, the Baltimore Symphony.
Allison lives in Baltimore and is currently trying to build beautiful things around her, crafting songs, freelancing as a singing musician, and working permanently with Nudie Suits, The Flowery, and her solo project, Rose Cruz.
Connor Kizer is a Baltimore-based performer and playwright.