JoAnn Kulesza, Conductor and Music Director
Ms. Kulesza is the Music Director and Interim Chair of the Opera Department at the Peabody Conservatory and began her career at the Hochschule Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as coach/accompanist in opera and Lied. Professionally, she has worked as rehearsal accompanist, chorus master and assistant conductor for the Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Baltimore Opera Young Artist Program, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Compania Lirica Nacional (Costa Rica), and the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. She has also assisted Maestro Loren Maazel for two of his Chateauville Chamber Opera Projects.
While much of her work inevitably takes place in the background, coaching singers and preparing productions for other conductors, she made her Peabody opera conducting debut in 2003. She continues in that capacity today, and has many productions and several world premieres to her credit. Most recently, JoAnn conducted the U.S. premiere of Svadba: A Wedding for Peabody Chamber Opera and Robert Ward’s The Crucible for Peabody Opera Theatre. She will travel to South Africa in May, 2014, to conduct a chamber version of Verdi’s La Traviata.
A recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Excellence in Teaching award, Ms. Kulesza has conducted master classes and guest residencies at various institutions around the country and is much in demand as a clinician and educator. She has served as guest faculty at the Pittsburgh Opera Center, vocal coach at the University of Connecticut, as well as the Baltimore Opera Young Artist Program.
As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Kulesza has played chamber music and vocal recitals throughout Europe and the United States, as well as accompanying master classes for such artists as Walter Berry, Edda Moser, Renata Scotto, and Placido Domingo.
She presently serves as Head of Opera for Music Theater Bavaria, a month long summer training program in Oberaudorf, Germany. She spent six summers as Music Director of the Opera/Musical Theatre section of the two-week Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (AK). Ms. Kulesza has also been Chorus Master for the Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, as well as assistant for the Lyric Opera Chorus (Chicago).
A choral music enthusiast, she feeds her love of choral music as director at Eastport United Methodist Church in Annapolis, MD, and as director of the Arundel Vocal Arts Society.
Diane Kinsley, pianist and accompanist
Ms. Kinsley has been an active performer and teacher in the Baltimore-Washington area for nearly 20 years. She has been the rehearsal accompanist and performed with Opera Vivente, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale, and Young Victorian Theater Company. Ms. Kinsley has also performed with Arundel Vocal Arts, Annapolis Symphony, New Moon Theater, Opera Odyssey Theater. Music Series that she has performed on include Washington Performing Arts, Cello Speak, Live Arts at St. Anne’s Church and St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis, Long Green Pike Music Series (Hydes, MD), and St. Cecilia Society (WV). Ms. Kinsley has also performed at Artscape (America’s largest free art festival), An Die Musik and Germano’s.
Ms. Kinsley has been on the faculty of Anne Arundel Community College’s music department since 2001 as piano instructor (class and applied), faculty accompanist, rehearsal accompanist and coach for Opera AACC, organ instructor, co-teacher of Opera Workshop and chorus accompanist. She was featured with the AACC Symphonic Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in the spring of 2012. In the fall of 2012, she was the music director for Opera AACC’s production of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Schubert’s The Conspirators.
In October 2013, Ms. Kinsley began the position of Assistant Organist at the United States Naval Academy.
Ms. Kinsley earned a Master of Music degree in Ensemble Arts from the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with Robert MacDonald and Boris Slutsky. Prior to that, she was a student of Lee Luvisi at the University of Louisville, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree while studying both piano and organ and performing solo recitals on both instruments. She also has a private studio in her home in Arnold, MD.