Tenor Dr. James Hall joined the voice faculty at the University of North Florida in 2011. A graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the Maryland Opera Studio, Hall enjoys an active and varied career that includes opera, oratorio, chamber music, and solo recital. A specialist in high tenor and haute-contre repertoire, Dr. Hall is frequently called upon as tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. He has performed the work to rave reviews in some of the nation’s most prominent concert halls, including Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center, and Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
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Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki established strong reputation as a powerful performer, versatile stage director, and talented pedagogue. Born and raised in Poland, his professional credits include opera, oratorio, concert, and recital performances in Canada, United Sates, and Europe. Dr. Biernacki holds degrees from University of Manitoba (B. Mus.), University of Western Ontario (M. Mus.), and University of British Columbia (D.M.A). He holds the position of Assistant Professor and Head of Applied Voice at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.As a singer Dr. Biernacki has appeared in principal roles with Vancouver Opera, Manitoba Opera, Calgary Opera, Orchestra London Canada, Theaters of Jablonec and Usti nad Labem in Czech Republic, as well as opera ensembles of University of British Columbia and University of Western Ontario. Highlights of his operatic engagements include "Eugene Onegin," "Barber of Seville," "Madam Butterfly," "La Boheme," "Cunning Little Vixen," "La Fanciulla del West," "Rigoletto," "Carmen," "Dido & Aeneas," "The Crucible," "Merry Widow," "Die Fledermaus," "Der Freischütz," "Un Ballo in Maschera," "Don Pasquale," "Gianni Schicchi," and "Merry Widow."Dr. Biernacki's commitment to contemporary music is highlighted by world premiere performances heard on CBC Radio and CBC Saturday Afternoon at the Opera including a highly acclaimed production of "Filumena" co-produced by the Calgary Opera and Banff Centre for Performing Arts. Last summer Dr. Biernacki made his Carnegie Hall debut with UNF Wind Ensemble (now Wind Symphony) performing works of Tchaikovsky and Tosti. In October 2009 he was reengaged for a recital of opera arias and duets at Carnegie Zankel Hall.Praised for excellent musicianship and respected as a solo recitalist, Dr. Biernacki frequently performs song recitals ranging in repertoire from Haydn to Szymanowski, Shostakovich, and Britten. His concert and oratorio appearances include Vancouver, Winnipeg, Okanagan, and Calgary Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Vancouver Bach Choir. His summer 2009 engagements included solo recitals in Italy and Poland, concerts with North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and two opera engagements at the European Music Academy in Czech Republic. Additional stage directing accomplishments include establishment of UNF Opera Ensemble which produces complete opera productions, engages in community outreach, student recruitment, and propagation of operatic arts in the Jacksonville community. In 2010, Dr. Biernacki's student Opera Ensemble toured the Czech Republic performing Mozart's "The Magic Flute."Dr. Biernacki is often engaged as an adjudicator, competition judge, Master Class presenter, and clinician. He is in high demand as a voice teacher and his students have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs including Manhattan School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, University of Michigan, Boston Conservatory, and New York University.
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Dr. Cara Tasher, soprano, has served as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at the University of North Florida since 2006. She has performed and recorded with conductors Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Robert Shaw and Sir Georg Solti. As a singer, chorus master and/or conductor, Tasher has been professionally associated with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Conspirare, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Mexico City's Opera deBellas Artes, Portugal's Vocalizze Festival, Trinity Choir-Wall Street, Xavier University and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Proficient in several languages, Tasher's engagements as both a singer and a conductor have brought her to nearly ten states and twenty countries for concerts, festivals, workshops, or as a featured soloist. International awareness is a focal point of her teaching. Her training took place in the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, at the University of Cincinnati College’s Conservatory of Music, University of Texas at Austin, La Sorbonne, and Northwestern University. Dr. Tasher is active within the national and global community as an adjudicator, author, guest clinician, conductor and recitalist, and is affiliated with ACDA, IFCM, JSCA, MENC, NATS, and NCCO in varying capacities. She was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of North Florida and her students continue to thrive under the mentorship of the School of Music in Jacksonville.
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Marilyn Smart's musical career has been both active and diverse. She has worked with such luminaries as Robert Shaw, Seiji Ozawa, and Dave Brubeck, and has sung in unique venues in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Smart’s singing has delighted audiences not only in public and university concert halls, but also in rural American schools, special cultural outreach venues in Japan, and even Eskimos villages in northern Alaska.Awarded a special citation by the Ford Foundation's Contemporary Music Project, she has long championed the work of contemporary composers and, with her husband, composer-pianist Gary Smart, is recognized for their performances of American art song. A former student of Margaret Harshaw, Josef Metternich, and Phyllis Curtin, Smart has taught at the University of Wyoming, Kobe College, and Osaka University. Since joining the faculty of UNF in 1999, she has performed as soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, for the Friday Musicale, the St. Cecelia Society, and many other local musical organizations. At UNF, she teaches Applied Voice, French, Italian, and German Diction, as well as Vocal Literature.
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