May 27, 2016 – Miya Higashiyama, mezzo soprano, with guests

Friday, May 27th, 2016.
VSO School of Music – Room 412
Miya Higashiyama, mezzo soprano
Carter Johnson, piano
Nicole Linaksita, piano

Repertoire to include: Bach, Mozart, Crumb, Gluck, Schubert, and Schumann!

Mezzo-soprano Miya Higashiyama is currently a senior completing her undergraduate degree of a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington where she studies with James Brown. She is a recipient of the Agnes Berge Smith Music Scholarship while at Pacific Lutheran University where she also serves as a student representative on the SOAC (School of Arts and Communication) board.  She has also sung in Choir of the West for three years and has traveled nationally and internationally with that ensemble in addition to her academic pursuits.

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Photo: Matt Heusmann

In Pacific Lutheran University Opera Productions, she was seen recently as Public Opinion in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina, Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Hermia (u/s) in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 In past summers, Higashiyama has participated in opera workshops all over the state, performing in scenes from Little Women, Le Nozze de Figaro, The Merry Widow, Lucio Silla, The Magic Flute, and operettas/musical theatre as well.

Ms. Higashiyama has been featured as a soloist at Pacific Lutheran University and beyond, singing in Handel’s Messiah, Robert Kyr’s A Christmas Oratorio, Jac Redford’s A Christmas Invitation, and will premiere Sandström’s St. Matthäus Passion this March as part of an Evangelist Quartet at her University. Last April she made her professional debut as a soloist with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra being a song leader for Carnegie Hall’s “LinkUP” program for Elementary Schoolers.

Ms. Higashiyama has also had the pleasure of participating in master classes with Thomas Cooley, Brian Luedloff, Markus Brück and Stephanie Blythe. This January she will be singing at Carnegie Hall as one of four participants in the Joyce DiDonato master classes, streamed live on Medici.tv.

In May of 2017, Ms. Higashiyama will graduate Pacific Lutheran University and hopes to attend graduate school for a Masters in Music. In addition to her vocal talents, Ms. Higashiyama enjoys playing piano and exploring the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.

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Carter Johnson began his piano studies at age five. Progressing quickly, he completed his Royal Conservatory Grade 9 at age 10, Grade 10 at age 12, and A.R.C.T. at age 15 (all with Distinction). Carter has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions and festivals, including Second Place (along with the Baroque and chamber music prizes) in the CFMTA National Competition, Second Prize in the Julia Crane International Piano Competition, the award for the best interpretation of the imposed work at the OSM Manulife Competition, and many awards at Performing Arts B.C., including First Prize in all four Canadian divisions. He was recently selected to compete in the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, where from a pool of over 180 applicants there will be 20 competitors under the age of 30. His extensive concerto repertoire ranges from Bach to Prokofiev, and he has performed with several prestigious orchestras including the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Northern New York.

In 2008, Carter began to study pedagogy and begin teaching under the guidance of Shelley Roberts. In June, 2014, he completed his A.R.C.T. in pedagogy, receiving the highest mark and winning the National Gold Medal.

Carter is in his second year at the University of British Columbia where he now studies piano performance with Mark Anderson. He particularly enjoys the music of J.S. Bach, Schubert, and Messiaen. In a short time he has become a popular collaborative pianist in Vancouver, specializing particularly in art song. In addition to his musical career, Carter is an accomplished actor and speaker: he holds his A.T.C.L. with Distinction in Speech and Drama from Trinity College London, and has won competitions provincially for his performances of Shakespeare.

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Nicole Linaksita began her piano studies with Diana Marr in North Vancouver at age 4, studied with David Vandereyk from 2005-2011, and received scholarships to complete her first year in the University of British Columbia under the guidance of international performer, Dr. Ryo Yanagitani. Currently, she is majoring in Piano performance with Dr. Corey Hamm, and has a second degree in Computer Science.  Nicole has been a recipient of numerous awards and scholarships from local, provincial and  national festivals. She represented the Vancouver Kiwanis and Coquitlam music festivals multiple times at the Performing Arts BC, winning her first prize in the Intermediate Canadian Piano class in 2009 and the Tom Cuff Scholarship for the most outstanding performer in Canadian Piano Classes in 2011. She was twice a national finalist for the Canadian Music Competition and, in 2012, was one of the 30 performers selected to participate in the CMC Stepping Stone. She was awarded an RCM Gold Medal in 2011 for achieving the highest mark in Canada for her LRCM exam. In 2013, she was a semi-finalist at the Eckhardt-Gramatté competition and received the Robert Rogers Prize for the best undergraduate piano performance of twentieth century music at UBC. She won the gold medal for the collegiate division of the Seattle International Piano Festival along with Audience and Teacher’s Prize the same year. Recently, she performed in a series of pre-concerts for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival. In early 2014 she won the June Goldsmith Award for first prize in the Vancouver Women’s Musical Society in the senior category. Recently, she was invited to perform for the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival’s Gala Concert and the Burnaby Clef Awards Concert. She was awarded the Director’s Graduation Prize in Piano Performance in April 2015.

This past August, Nicole traveled to Manchester to study at the Chetham’s Piano Summer School. There, she studied with well-known pianists Catherine Vickers, Eugen Injic, Leslie Howard, and Douglas Finch. She was selected as a semi-finalist for the 2015 OSM Manulife Competition. She will be representing the Vancouver branch in the BCRMTA Provincial Competition in September of 2016.