Naomi Lewin to Host New York’s 92Y ‘Unsung Heroes of the Opera: Vocal Coaches’

By Chris Ruel

New York City’s premier cultural and community organization, 92Y, will present “Unsung Heroes of the Opera: Vocal Coaches,” an online and in-person class featuring three heavy-hitters of the opera and classical music world.

The vocal coaches includes Pianist and Associate Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera Howard Watkins, Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Myra Huang, and newly appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, pianist, conductor, and educator, Carrie-Ann Matheson. The trio of guests join Naomi Lewin, former radio host of New York’s WQXR weekday afternoon music, for a discussion about the crucial role collaborative pianists play in helping artists explore musical and linguistic nuances.

The class runs 90 minutes, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET.

Lewin hosted afternoon music on New York’s classical radio station, WQXR, and the podcast “Conducting Business.” Prior to her stint at WQXR, Lewin created the award-winning weekly program “Classics for Kids” at WGUC in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Classics for Kids” airs on radio stations across the United States. Lewin has also produced music programs and arts reports for National Public Radio, intermission features for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and several podcasts.

Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout the Americas, Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Far East.

Huang performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. Last season Huang performed in recitals throughout the U.S., including The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center, The Aspen Music Festival, Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan, Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University, and The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Her recital with tenor Lawrence Brownlee at Carnegie Hall was chosen by WQXR as one of 2018’s best classical recitals of the year, and Huang was chosen as the recipient of The Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award for 2019 by The Classical Recording Foundation for her consummate artistry.

Matheson is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Opera Center and begins her tenure in January 2021. A native of Canada, Matheson began her career at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a tenured member of the full-time music staff as assistant conductor, prompter, pianist and vocal coach. In 2014, she was invited by General Music Director Fabio Luisi to join the staff at Opernhaus Zürich, which led to the expansion of her performing career in Europe. She has performed with many of the world’s most renowned opera singers, including Rolando Villazón, Jonas Kaufmann, Piotr Beczała, Benjamin Bernheim, Diana Damrau, Barbara Bonney and Joyce DiDonato.