Voice

   

Tiffany Bizup, Voice Faculty
Originally from Lehighton, Pennsylvania, Tiffany's musical studies began at an early age.  She began with piano at age 7, followed by vocal studies at age 9, and flute studies at age 10.  Tiffany began singing in churches and local productions within months of her initial lessons.   In 2000 Tiffany began her classical studies in voice with Carolyn Marcell, and in 2002 she attended Westminster Choir College's summer vocal institute, where she studied with Sharon Sweet.  During the summer of 2003 she attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts where she studied opera as well as musical theater with Diana Lewis Walters.  She is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music, where she earned her Bachelor's degree under the guidance of Patricia McCaffrey.  

Currently Tiffany is a performer and educator based in Manhattan, and is the Administrative and Academic Coordinator in the Precollege Division of Manhattan School of Music. She has prior experience working with children, and taught at Discovery Programs directly after receiving her degree.   Tiffany has had the pleasure of performing at venues in Pennsylvania, Italy, and New York City, notably, John C. Borden Auditorium, Symphony Space, and the Villa Mazzotti. Some of Tiffany's endeavors have included working with the Martina Arroyo Foundation in New York City,  forming a jazz quartet, and working with the early music quartet The Good Pennyworths.   Tiffany's voice can also be heard in many churches in the New York City Area. 

     
 

Ashley DiFranza, Musical Theatre Assistant Director
Ashley DiFranza is a singer, actress, and director based in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Quinnipiac University.

She has returned to assistant direct at Quinnipiac University after graduation, as well as at Manhattan School of Music’s Camp MSM. Directing and assistant directing projects include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Nine, Beauty and The Beast (Junior), Iolanthe, Twelfth Night, Spring Awakening, Guys & Dolls (Junior), and Carousel.

As an actress/singer, Ashley has had the opportunity to perform in venues across Boston, Connecticut, and New York City. Some favorite past roles include Jackie in Mauritius, Female Greek Chorus in How I Learned To Drive, Virginia in The Clean House, Miss Prism in Ernest In Love, Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man, and Madame De La Grande Bouche in Beauty And The Beast.

     
 

Yara Farahmand, Musical Theatre Assistant Director
Yara Farahmand has been involved in theater and music all her life. Based in Boston Massachusetts, she takes pride in having been engaged in many elements of performing arts. Directing and assistant directing projects have included Arabian Nights, Shadowbox, Guys & Dolls, and Carousel. Having earned her Bachelor's degree from Quinnipiac University, Yara spent much of her time in university participating in a collegiate level acapella group. She also had her plays produced on stages in Boston and New York City. Yara has had the opportunity to perform in various venues in Boston, Connecticut, and New York City. Some favorite past roles include Martha (Spring Awakening), Bananas (House of Blue Leaves), Master of Ceremonies (Chicago), and Velma (Hairspray).

     
 

Laquita Mitchell, Voice Faculty
Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim in eminent opera companies throughout North America and Europe. She has led performances with the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Opéra Comique in Paris, and opera festivals in Poland and Kazan Russia, among many others. Ms. Mitchell opens the season with the Beethoven Ninth Symphony and excerpts from Hannibal's "One Land, One River, One People" with the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC. Ms. Mitchell performed in the 45th Anniversary Sapphire Gala with the Arizona Opera. She will return to Toledo Opera for performances of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in her role debut of the "Countess."  She will also perform with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra in a salute to opera. Ms. Mitchell made notable debuts last season with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the New York Philharmonic in the program "In their Footsteps" with Eric Owens, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra singing Strauss' Four Last Songs and Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop. Ms. Mitchell was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner and was also awarded a Sara Tucker Award. She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music. She has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni award from both institutions. Ms. Mitchell can be seen on the Euroarts DVD release of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera and on CD in David Lang's "Difficulty of Crossing a Field".

www.Laquitamitchellsoprano.com 

     
 

Giuseppe Spoletini, Musical Theatre Director
Canadian baritone Giuseppe Spoletini has performed widely throughout Canada and the United States. Some of his previous roles include the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Escamillo in Carmen, Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment and Papageno in The Magic Flute, to name a few. He has performed with the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, the Opera Company of Brooklyn, Saskatoon Opera Association, the Cincinnati Opera, and Opera Company of the Highlands. Mr. Spoletini is equally at home on the oratorio stage, where he has been the soloist in such works as Elijah, Messiah, The Creation and Brahms’ Requiem.

A member of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege vocal faculty, Mr. Spoletini is also co-director of the musical theater programs of both the Precollege division and MSM’s summer camp. Mr. Spoletini’s students in his private studio have gone on to study in such prestigious conservatories and summer programs as the Manhattan School of Music college division, New England Conservatory, Mannes, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin, the Tanglewood Institute and the WNO Opera Institute. He is also the music director at the Greenville Community Church in Scarsdale, New York.

Mr. Spoletini is also a founding member of the renowned classical crossover ensemble, O Sole Trio. O Sole Trio is a vibrant classical crossover ensemble featuring the lush voices of soprano Erin Shields and baritone Giuseppe Spoletini, as well as the versatile and virtuosic David Shenton on piano and violin. The trio has performed sold-out concerts at major venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Redlands Bowl, CA (to a crowd of 6,000+), Ronnie Scott's, London, and tours extensively all over the United States, Canada, and the UK. For more information please visit osoletrio.com

     
   

Stephanie Tennill, Musical Theatre Director 
Accomplished soprano Stephanie Tennill has captivated audiences in diverse venues across the United States, ranging from the opera stage to cabaret. Since earning her Master of Music in vocal performance at Manhattan School of Music, she has gone on to pursue a career equally fueled by performing and teaching. She is a diverse performer who finds herself at home on the musical theater stage as well as in the classical concert hall. 

Ms. Tennill has sung with the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Encompass New Opera Theatre, and Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater and performed extensively with Union Avenue Opera. Some favorite roles include Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and the venomous Mrs. McLean in Susannah. She recently had the pleasure of making her solo debut with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s in the Vaughan Williams cantata Dona Nobis Pacem under the baton of John Scott. Ms. Tennill has made appearances at Alice Tully Hall and the Metropolitan Room and has been featured on Trinity Wall Street’s Concerts at One series, as well as at Lincoln Center as the Goddess in Johnny Johnson with the Kurt Weill Foundation, with whom she was a finalist in the 2002 and 2003 Lotte Lenya Competitions. As a fellowship artist, she was featured in An Evening of Sondheim with the Aspen Music Festival, where she was hailed by the Denver Post: “Tennill seems to have been born to perform Broadway and was the evening’s unequivocal star.” Additional musical theater credits include a 10-month run as Cornelia in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway American Girls Revue (NYC), Deb in Hot ’n’ Cole, as well as The Cabaret Singer in the world premiere of the Rodgers and Hart ballet Glad To Be Unhappy, with the renowned dance troupe Dances Patrelle. Ms. Tennill is a founding member of the Hyreus Duo, a soprano–piano team performing recitals throughout the U.S., dedicated to exploring, presenting, and premiering innovative vocal repertoire, as well as collaborating with living composers and guest artists. 

A sought-after vocal technician, Ms. Tennill travels the country presenting master classes, seminars, and workshops on vocal health and technique, specializing in the training of young voices. She has been the featured presenter at conferences for AAM and AGO, as well as for the esteemed Choirmasters’ Conference in New York City, which takes place annually at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. Ms. Tennill currently holds the position of private vocal instructor at the world-renowned Saint Thomas Choir School, where she has headed the vocal program for eight years. She is a member of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege voice faculty and co-director of the Musical Theatre Program for Camp MSM, where she has taught acting and voice for over seven years. She also maintains a private voice studio in New York City and has taught privately at the 92nd Street Y, Highbridge Voices (Outstanding Teacher Award), and Stagecoach Theatre Arts School. She has been a member of AEA since 2007. 

Manhattan School of Music Precollege faculty since 2016. 

     
   

Dana Thomas, Musical Theatre Choreographer
Dana Thomas is from Centreville, Virginia. She studied with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dance Institute of Washington, spent summers at Debbie Allen Dance Academy and Mark Morris Dance Group. She is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Dana has performed at various venues such as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Wolf Trap, and The Joyce Theater. She has worked with David Dorfman Dance, Douglas Dunn and Dancers, skybetter and associates, Tze Chun Dance Co, POPmodern, Mark Dendy Dance & Theater Projects, Malcolm Low/Formal Structure, and the Metropolitan Opera, in productions of Faust choreographed by Kelly Devine, Les Troyens by Doug Varone, and Parsifal by Carolyn Choa. She serves as Assistant Artistic Director for Jamal Jackson Dance Company. Dana has choreographed and collaborated for Joe’s Pub DanceNOW Festival, Girl Scouts of the USA National Convention, Dancewave, Manhattan School of Music’s Camp MSM productions, and a Duke Ellington commissioned work with Grace Chorale.

Dana is currently on the dance faculty at the Pierrepont School, Manhattan School of Music’s Camp MSM, and The Ballet School of Stamford. AGMA member.