Annie Bergen, narrator

Annie Bergen, narrator

Annie Bergen is the midday host at Classical New York, 105.9FM, WQXR. Her classical radio career began in New York City on WNCN and continued on WQXR in 2004. In between, she was an award winning arts reporter for Bloomberg Radio and Television. An avid music lover, her interests include jazz, dance and world music. Annie has been featured on broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. As a voice artist, she and can be heard on underwriting on WNYC, on audio guides at the Metropolitan Museum, and announcing stops on the number 7 subway line in NYC.

Annie grew up an Air Force brat in various cities in Europe and the USA and attended Boston College. An eclectic interest in music and the arts keeps her out and about at the latest theater and performing arts events.

Stephanie Gregory, soprano

Stephanie Gregory, soprano

A native of Mississippi, Stephanie Gregory made her debut as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine with the Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. She has sung the role of Tosca with Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the title role in Suor Angelica with the Mississippi Opera. She sang her first Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Ischia, a role she reprised with Mississippi Opera, and was featured in the roles of Micaëla in Missouri and South Carolina, as Musetta with the Opera Theater of Connecticut, and Violetta in South Carolina and with the New Opera Festival di Roma, in Rome Italy.

In 2004, she completed a concert tour of South America with the Yale Alumni Chorus as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater. She made her debut in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with the Orquesta Filarmônica de Buenos Aires. Other cities included were Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and La Plata, Argentina.

Other operatic roles for the 2001 ‘American Jenny Lind’ include Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, Nannetta in Falstaff, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Ilia in Idomeneo and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Opera engagements in 2008 and 2009 included Violetta in La Traviata, as well as reprising the title role of Suor Angelica for Opera Theater of Connecticut.

Her solo work includes Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and ‘Great’ Mass in C Minor, Samuel Adler’s Stars in the Dust, and Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.

Her first recording, Stars In The Dust, music by Meira Warsheaur, was recorded by the Slovak Radio Orchestra in Bratislava and was released by Albany Records.

Ms. Gregory received a master of music degree in opera performance as well as an artist’s diploma from Yale University. She also graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor of music education degree, specializing in piano and choral conducting.

Laura Winslow, soprano

Laura Winslow, soprano

Laura Winslow has been passionate about music since birth, and has a particular affinity for music of the Baroque era. She has performed as a soloist with the NJ Masterwork Chorus, Choral Art Society of NJ, Princeton Pro Musica and Harmonium Choral Society, with whom she recently toured Greece and Turkey.

Laura graduated with honors from Westminster Choir College, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Education. A Massachusetts native, she has taught piano and voice lessons in New Jersey for eight years and has worked with singers aged 5 through 85 in church, school and community settings. She currently teaches vocal and instrumental music in Marlboro, NJ.

Carl Erik Fisher, baritone

Carl Erik Fisher, baritone

Carl Erik Fisher obtained a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where he won several state and regional singing competitions. He briefly sang in the Kim Cha Kyung Opera Company in Seoul, South Korea, before going to Columbia University to pursue medical training. He is now a psychiatrist at Columbia, where he studies ethical and legal issues related to neuroscience and mental health.

He sings regularly with NYC’s Occasional Opera Company (most recently Pizarro in Fidelio) and in occasional recitals (most recently Winterreise). He also recently appeared as a zombie in a reading of the new opera, Night of the Living Dead by Todd Goodman, with the Center for Contemporary Opera.

Corrine Byrne, soprano

Corrine Byrne, soprano

Hailed for her “beautiful vocal timbre” and versatility, (Classical Singer Magazine 2013 competition) Corrine Byrne has been singing all over the country on the opera and concert stage, singing cross-over repertoire and premiering new music.

She holds a masters from Manhattan School of Music and is currently a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University. Her most recent opera roles include Gilda (Rigoletto), and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) with Stony Brook Opera, and Ensemble/Almira (cover) in the North American stage premiere of Handel’s Almira with Boston Early Music Festival. Corrine is a founding member of Ensemble Musica Humana, an international ensemble which seeks to shed new light on music from volatile times in human history.

Corrine is also the soprano in award-winning jazz quintet West Side 5, and is the co-founder/co-artistic director of the Tempus Continuum Ensemble. Corrine made her NYC orchestral debut in January 2013 with One World Symphony singing the world premiere arrangement of the Strauss Ophelia Lieder. She is a volunteer with Musicians On Call, where she accompanies herself on guitar bringing live bedside music to patients in hospitals in New York City. She was a finalist for the 2012 Career Bridges Grant Awards, and a national online round winner in the 2013 Classical Singer Magazine Competition.

Richard Slade, tenor

Richard Slade, tenor

Richard Slade, tenor, conductor, and teacher, is a versatile artist, equally at home on concert and operatic stages.

He has sung Tamino in The Magic Flute across New York state, from the Smith Opera House in Geneva to a tour with the Long Island Philharmonic. He has been a regularly featured singer at the Caramoor Festival, with appearances in La Gazza Ladra, Lucrezia Borgia, and Il Pirata. He participated in the Samuel Barber festival at the Kaye Playhouse and was featured on the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase on WQXR.

He has performed in rare revivals of important works such as Donizetti’s Gianni di Parigi and Martin y Soler’s Una cosa rara at the Vineyard Opera, and in Opera Manhattan’s productions of Fauré’s Pénélope, Hahn’s Le Marchand de Venise, and Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. In the 150th anniversary performance of The Bohemian Girl at the Kaye Playhouse, he sang the role of Thaddeus. He made his Town Hall debut in Paisiello’s La Molinara, and his Bronx Opera debut as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. In the world of operetta he has performed in Iolanthe, Princess Ida, and Utopia, Limited with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and a duet cabaret show, Oh Love, True Love! or The Lass That Lov’d a Tenor, with his wife, soprano Cynthia Reynolds.

His concert appearances include the title role in Händel’s Judas Maccabeus, and the tenor solos in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and many of Bach’s cantatas. He was artist-in-residence with the Long Island Choral Society, singing as soloist on all of their concerts. For 11 years he toured and recorded as a member of The Western Wind, America’s pre-eminent a cappella vocal ensemble.

Mr. Slade is very much at home on the recital platform -—-not only does he sing a wide range of classical art songs, but he specializes in the parlor repertory of the Victorian era. In June of 2000 he saved the show at the Caramoor festival by learning and performing Schumann’s Spanisches Liebeslieder on three hours’ notice, substituting for an indisposed colleague.

In addition to singing Mr. Slade conducts the Sound Shore Chorale in New Rochelle and the choirs of the First Unitarian Society in Hasting-on-Hudson and Sutton Place Synagogue in New York City.

Mr Slade maintains a private voice studio, teaching in New York City, New Rochelle, and by Skype. He received his BA from Yale University and his MM from New England Conservatory. He was an apprentice with the Des Moines, Sarasota and Maine Opera companies and has toured the U.S. and Europe with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the New York Ensemble for Early Music, the New York City Opera, and the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.

Mr. Slade is particularly proud to have had a joke used on Prairie Home Companion!

Silvie Jensen, mezzo soprano

Silvie Jensen, mezzo soprano

“The marvelous mezzo-soprano Silvie Jensen,” according to The New York Times, “sings beautifully.” Critics have called her voice “exquisite, floating and expressive, a joy to hear.” A vocalist of great versatility, Ms. Jensen enjoys a wide-ranging career, which includes early and contemporary music, opera and musical theater, and ethnic, improvised, and experimental music. As a soloist, she has appeared with Ornette Coleman at London’s Barbican Centre, with Meredith Monk at Zankel Hall and Teatro Comunale Ferarra, in Handel’s Messiah at Trinity Wall Street, and in classical and contemporary works at Brooklyn Academy of Music with Sir Jonathan Miller and Paul Goodwin, Ash Lawn Opera, Stonington Opera House, Riverside Opera, American Chamber Opera, New Amsterdam Opera, Miller Theater, One World Symphony, Big Apple Baroque, and with The Broadway Bach Ensemble singing Mahler’s 4th symphony. Her performance in Hildegard von Bingen’s chant opera Ordo Virtutum, under the direction of Drew Minter, was critically acclaimed by The New York Times.

Ms. Jensen is a frequent collaborator with composers and artists in other genres; she has commissioned and premiered works created specifically for her, and has presented solo recitals and chamber music at Weill Hall, Steinway Hall, Symphony Space, Americas Society, Liederkranz Club, the Cell Theater and Nicholas Roerich Museum. She has appeared as a vocal soloist with Christopher Caines Dance Company for several seasons.

Silvie Jensen has performed with the Philip Glass Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Symphony Chorus under Herbert Blomstedt at Davies Hall, San Francisco Opera Chorus under Christoph von Dohnanyi, Berkeley and Oakland Symphonies under Kent Nagano, American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Voices of Ascension, Early Music New York, Pomerium, Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Foundation for Universal Sacred Music, and at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City Ballet, Hammerstein Ballroom, Bang on a Can Marathon, Sound Res, Bard Festival, and Tanglewood.

Silvie Jensen has made recordings on the ECM, London, Koch, Helicon, and Soundbrush Records labels.

Ms. Jensen is a graduate of Columbia University.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, narrator

Dr. Ruth Westheimr is a psychosexual therapist who helped to pioneer the field of media psychology with her radio program, Sexually Speaking. It began in September of 1980 as a fifteen minute, taped show that aired Sundays after midnight on WYNY-FM (NBC) in New York. One year later it became a live, one-hour show airing at 10 PM on which Dr. Ruth, as she became known, answered call-in questions from listeners. Soon it became part of a communications network to distribute Dr. Westheimer’s expertise which has included television, books, newspapers, games, home video, computer software and her own AOL website, www.drruth.com.

Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to a school in Switzerland at the age of ten which became an orphanage for most of the German Jewish students who had been sent there to escape the Holocaust.

At 16 she went to Israel where she fought for that country’s independence as a member of the Haganah, the Jewish freedom fighters. She then moved to Paris where she studied at the Sorbonne and taught kindergarten.

She immigrated to the U.S. in 1956 where she obtained her Masters Degree in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research. In 1970, she received a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher’s College.

She worked for Planned Parenthood for a time and it was that experience that prompted her to further her education in human sexuality by studying under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. She later participated in the program for five years as an Adjunct Associate Professor. She has also taught at Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Adelphi University, Columbia University and West Point.

Currently Dr. Westheimer is an Adjunct Professor at N.Y.U. and an Associate Fellow of Calhoun College at Yale University. In the Spring semester of 2003 she taught a course on the Jewish Family at Princeton University. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and in addition to having her own private practice, she frequently lectures at universities across the country and has twice been named “College Lecturer of the Year.”

During her days as a college professor, Dr. Westheimer never envisaged that one day she would be making such wide use of the mass media to help spread what she has labeled “sexual literacy.” However, with her unique style, she has been able to communicate effectively through almost every avenue available.

In addition to radio, her television career has spanned both broadcast and cable. Her first TV show aired locally in New York but she soon went national on Lifetime’s The Dr. Ruth Show. Ask Dr. Ruth was syndicated both nationally and internationally by King Features Entertainment so that she became a regular in such places as London and Hong Kong as well as America. The All New Dr. Ruth Show brought her back to Lifetime and with What’s Up, Dr. Ruth she helped broaden Lifetime’s appeal with teens.

“You’re On The Air with Dr. Ruth” brought her back to the format she began with on television with both guests and live phone calls. In the Fall of 1992 she reached out to adult Americans with Never Too Late which was broadcast on Nostalgia Television. Lately she has been reaching the younger set teaching puppets how to read long words on the PBS series, Between The Lions.

Her first video was entitled Terrific Sex and she later did two more for Playboy. In the Fall of 1993 Dr. Ruth had her own weekly series in Hebrew on Israeli television as well as a five minute weekly “strip” on Great Britain’s This Morning program.

Her other foreign ventures have included spots on Radio Television Luxembourg, German Swiss Television and France’s TF-1. In 1991, she donned the title of Executive Producer for a documentary on Ethiopian Jews titled “Surviving Salvation.” Filmed by the Academy Award winning Malcolm Clarke, the documentary aired nationally on PBS. Her second documentary, entitled “No Missing Link”, also received national airing on PBS and was about how grandparents have transmitted values, particularly religious values during the 70 years of communism in Russia. She also has material for another based on a visit to the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea.

In print she circles the globe with her column, Ask Dr. Ruth, syndicated by King Features. She is the author of twenty-seven books, and counting, with two more in preparation. She has her own web page on America Online (http://www.drruth.com.)

There is also Dr. Ruth’s Good Sex Night-to-Night Calendar (1993 & 1994) and a board game, Dr. Ruth’s Game of Good Sex, which Victory Games released in a version for computers.

Unrelated to her vocation was her part in the French film by Daniel Vigne, One Woman or Two, which starred Gerard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver and in which she played the part of a wealthy philanthropist.

She also starred in a pilot for ABC titled Dr. Ruth’s House and appeared in an episode of Quantum Leap. She’s been featured on TV commercials for Clairol Herbal Essence, Honda, Pepsi, Entenmann’s and many other products. She also narrated two children’s stories, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, on a CD entitled Timeless Tales And Music Of Our Time, a project by An die Musik (Oboe, String trio & Piano) for Newport Classics records which received a Grammy nomination (2002).

The National Mother’s Day Committee has honored Dr. Ruth as “Mother Of The Year” and she received a Liberty Medal from the City of New York. She has been nominated for an Ace Award by the cable industry on five occasions and her program,

The All New Dr. Ruth Show won an Ace Award in 1988 for excellence in cable television. What’s Up, Dr. Ruth was awarded the Gold Medal from the International Film and TV Festival for excellence in educational television. People Magazine included her in their list of the Most Intriguing People of the Century.

In May of 2000 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew Union College – Institute of Religion for her work in Human Sexuality and her commitment to the Jewish People, Israel and Religion. In June, 2001 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from CUNY’s Lehman College. In 2002 she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the International Society for Sexual and Impotence Research 20th Anniversary Award and the Leo Baeck Medal.

She is the President of the YMHA of Washington Heights. Dr. Westheimer has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.

Jeff Spurgeon, narrator

While still a teenager in his western Nebraska hometown Jeff Spurgeon’s radio career had what might be called a providential beginning: He was giving announcements in church, and one congregant– who owned a local radio station — heard him and offered an audition.

Since then, Jeff has worked on the radio as an announcer, a news reporter, a newscaster, an interview, and a producer. He got his first New York radio position in 1989. Jeff became a member of the WQXR news department in 1997 and in 1999 was named the station’s Mid-day Host. In 2006 Jeff became WQXR’s Morning Show Host.

One of Jeff’s proudest accomplishments has been his work as a schoolteacher. He recently developed and taught a course in broadcast journalism for Townsend Harris High School one of New York City’s top public schools.

Jeff is also a singer. He has performed with several New York City � based choruses and church choirs, and is a member of a cappella quartet whose repertoire ranges from music of Renaissance masters to original arrangements in modern styles.

Jeff lives Brooklyn with his wife Judy, a high school English teacher.

Christopher Silsby, tenor

A recent NYC transplant from Minnesota, Mr. Silsby appeared as Richard Dauntless in Ruddigore with the Village Light Opera Group. In Minneapolis, MN, he performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company as Strephon in Iolanthe and Marco Palimieri in The Gondoliers.

Christopher holds his B.A. in Theatre from Carleton College, where he received honors with distinction for performing, along with two fellow theatre majors, all three roles in Yasmina Reza’s play Art on sequential nights in six different permutations.

He has also studied in Russia at the Moscow Art Theatre. Christopher has performed numerous musical theatre roles with various theaters in Minnesota, including Migaldi in Evita, Marvin in Falsettos, Zangara in Assassins, and both Pirelli and Sweeney in two different productions of Sweeney Todd.

On the non-musical side of things, he has performed as Sebastian in Twelfth Night; The Chorus in Iphegenia at Aulis; Jim, the Gentleman Caller, in The Glass Menagerie; Brodie in The Real Thing; and Madame Chandebise in the French farce A Flea in Her Ear.

Currently a graduate student in College and Community Educational Theatre at NYU, he is appearing at the Provincetown Playhouse as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde from February 23 to March 4.