The Judges

Constance Fee, Director of Vocal Studies/Associate Professor of Voice, Roberts Wesleyan College

Eric Townell, Artistic Director, Rochester Oratorio Society

Kevin Nitsch

Constance Fee

Director of Vocal Studies
Associate Professor of Voice
Roberts Wesleyan College

Constance Fee has performed leading roles with the Opéra National de Paris la Bastille, the Opéra Comique, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam; the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv; the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff; l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Ghent, Antwerp and Liège, Belgium; the Vienna Volksoper; the opera houses of Stuttgart, Cologne, Kassel, and Bremen, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Lyon, Toulouse and Angers, France; and in the US with the Houston Grand Opera, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Long Beach Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She has collaborated with conductors Sir Charles Mackerras, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Maurizio Benini, Patrick Summers, John Nelson, Sir Alexander Gibson, and Nicholas McGegan; and with stage directors Colin Graham, John Cox, David Alden, GianCarlo del Monaco, Robert Wilson, François Rochaix, Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser. Described in OPERNWELT Berlin as “vocally brilliant, dramatically spontaneous and thoroughly alive,” her repertoire of over fifty soprano and mezzo-soprano roles includes the title roles in Puccini’s Tosca, Bizet’s Carmen, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Donizetti’s La Favorite, and Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, as well as Brangäne in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, Ascanio in Benvenuto Cellini by Berlioz, Giulietta and Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, Marina in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Augusta in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte and Idamante in Idomeneo by Mozart, and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Isolier in Le comte Ory by Rossini. On the concert stage she was the soloist with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at the Rudolfinum in Prague, in televised concerts celebrating the orchestra’s 100th anniversary; she has also performed as soloist at the Internationale Musikfestwochen in Lucerne, Switzerland; with the Orchestre Symphonique Français at Salle Pleyel in Paris; the Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio Télévision Moscou at the International Festival of Besançon, France; the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center; the Saint Louis Symphony; the Milwaukee Symphony; the Indianapolis Symphony; and the San Diego Symphony in works including the Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer, Rossini Stabat Mater, Poulenc Stabat Mater, La damnation de Faust by Berlioz, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and Symphony No. 9, and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder; and with pianist Rudolf Serkin at the Marlboro Music Festival. In past seasons, she has performed often on the Live from Hochstein recital series on Rochester’s WXXI Public Broadcasting; with the Rochester Chamber Music Society; the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 at Eastman’s Kodak Theater; and she was recently the guest soloist for the Opera Guild of Rochester’s annual donor’s recital. A frequent competition adjudicator, Ms. Fee taught voice and French diction on the faculty of the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Périgueux, France, in the summer of 2013. In May of 2014, she began her term as president of the Westminster Choir College Alumni Council. She joined the voice faculty of the Crescendo Summer Music Institute in Tokaj, Hungary, in 2014, where she returned for the 2015 season, performing works by Bartόk and Gounod. Constance Fee is Director of Vocal Studies and Associate Professor of Vocal Performance on the music faculty of Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. She received the Performer’s Certificate in Opera Performance from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington; and Bachelor of Vocal Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ, from which she also received the Alumni Merit Award for Distinguished Achievement in Vocal Performance.

Kevin Nitsch

Pianist Kevin Nitsch, performer, collaborator, teacher, and composer in the Rochester area, is a member of the piano and music theory faculty at Nazareth College of Rochester and Music Director at the Baptist Temple in Brighton. In collaboration with Rochester artist, Kathleen Nicastro, Kevin is the pianist for Labyrinth of Sound and Light, a series of concerts that offers the audience a creative way to interact with art and music. Kevin has been composer-in-residence at Webster Thomas High School, sponsored by The Commission Project to compose music for the performing ensembles and to afford the students the opportunity to observe and participate in the composing process.

Now in his sixth year as pianist for the Rochester Oratorio Society, he has served as Music Director for several Rochester Lyric Opera productions and as Accompanist for the Oratorio Society’s Rochester International Vocal Competitions since 2014. Kevin holds a BM in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and a MM and a DMA in Performance and Literature in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music. Kevin recently completed Yoga Teacher Training at Open Sky Yoga in Rochester and teaches yoga at Nazareth College and the Baptist Temple. Pianobenchasana is his favorite pose.