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Artists - 2016-2017 Season

Featured Artists

David Billings

David Billings

David Billings has been Accompanist and Organist of the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale since 1989. In addition to these positions, he is Director of Music Ministries and Organist at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. Formerly, Dr. Billings was Director of Music at Oakmont Presbyterian Church, Minister of Music at Parkwood United Presbyterian Church and also Adjunct Professor of Organ and Sacred Music at Duquesne University. As a recitalist he has performed throughout North America and Great Britain. Dr. Billings is a past dean of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and a former chairman of the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh. His organ recitals have been featured on WQED-FM’s “Performance in Pittsburgh.”

Dr. Billings earned a Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, where he studied organ and harpsichord with June Miller. He received his Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of the renowned American organist David Craighead.

In honor of David Billings' twentieth anniversary as accompanist, (1989-2009), the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, during its twenty-fifth season, dedicated the “Gloria” concerts to him as a tribute to his faithful and untiring efforts on its behalf.

Guest Artists

Katy Williams

Katy Williams

Katy Williams, soprano, has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Pittsburgh Opera, Civic Light Opera, Quantum Theater, the Mendelssohn Choir, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and River City Brass Band. Ms. Williams has also sung with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria of Syracuse and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Williams was a featured soloist for the PSO Holiday Pops concert series and made her Pittsburgh Symphony debut in September 2005 with Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. She has been a frequent guest artist with the PSO ever since. Spring 2013 she was the soloist for the Singing City concert where she sang the soprano solo in the Mahler Resurrection Symphony #2 with two thousand voices and the Pittsburgh Symphony. She is the special guest vocalist for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for their Fiddlesticks Children's concerts, chorister with the Pittsburgh Opera and artist in residence at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Notable solo engagements include singing the National Anthem for Vice President Joe Biden, performances of Honegger's King David, Theofanidis' The Here and Now, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Vaughan Williams' Dona nobispacem, Handel's Messiah, and Bach's St. John Passion. Operatic roles include Adina in Elixir of Love, Adele in Die Fledermaus, First Mother in Dead Man Walking, Love in Orfeo and Eurydice, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, and Sandmann and Taumann in Hansel und Gretel. In 2012 she performed the leading role of Margarita Xirgu in Osvaldo Golijov's opera Ainadamar and then returned in 2016 to play the 'Wife' in The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat with Quantum Theater Pittsburgh.

Upcoming engagements include singing with NEPA orchestra with Larry Loh in February, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem in March and a recital dedicated to her mentor, Dr Robert Page on May 22 at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt Lebanon. Please visit her beautiful website katywilliamssings.com for more information.

Eva Rainforth

Eva Rainforth

EVA RAINFORTH, mezzo-soprano, originally from Sayville Long Island, is no stranger to Pittsburgh audiences, having sung as a soloist with the Mendelssohn Choir, The River City Brass Band, The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, and The Pittsburgh Opera Chorus. In 2004, Eva sang with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in The Lord of the Rings concert, and recently returned to the PSO as the mezzo soloist in The Lord of the Rings and more: The film music of Howard Shore.

Regional Theatre includes The New England Lyric Opera, Opera Northeast, The American Light Opera (co-founder), Opera Ignite, Gateway Theatre (Nat'l tour of Me and My Girl), and The Florida Studio Theatre. You can see her in the PBS broadcast of "Showboat," produced by The Papermill Playhouse, and she has sung the role of Pitti-Sing in the Mikado at City Center in NYC.

Ms. Rainforth has a vocal performance degree from State University of New York (Fredonia), and has the highest certification in Somatic Voicework(tm), The LoVetri Method. She currently teaches voice in the conservatory at Point Park University. Eva started her musical studies in composition, and is a member of MTAP (Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh), a group that supports artists in producing new musical and theatrical works.

William Ottow

William Ottow

William Ottow, a tenor from La Crosse, Wisconsin and Graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is currently a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon Univeristy studying with Jennifer Aylmer.

In Pittsburgh he sang Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with CMU Opera and will participate in CMU and Pittsburgh Opera's CoOperative collaboration featuring new works by student composers.

While in Madison, William served as Studio Artist with Madison Opera during the 2015-16 season, singing Parpignol in La Bohème, covering the role of Laurie in Adamo's Little Women and singing the role of Nathanaël in The Tales of Hoffman. Also during 2015-16 he sang the role of #6 in Conrad Susa's Transformations with UW Opera, was a concert soloist with Madison Bach Musicians and sang with the Madison Choral Project.

Joel Goodloe

Joel Goodloe

Baritone Joel Goodloe, a Richmond, Virginia native, leads a multifaceted career as a singer, conductor, violist, and administrator.

This season, he appears three times with Chatham Baroque as a soloist in Biber's Requiem, St. John Passion, and Messiah. He will appear as the Page in Amahl in the Night Visitors with Resonance Works Pittsburgh as well as serve as the company's chorus master for the season. He is slated to perform Schubert's Winterreise in Pittsburgh and New York, giving the US premiere of Jeremy Sams' new, unpublished English translation.

Last summer he covered Moralès in Carmen and Morbio in Die schweigsame Frau with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Recent engagements have included an all-Bach concert and Handel's Messiah with Chatham Baroque. He premiered two chamber operas, Echo by Davis Good and The Elephants by Xiao Lang at Pittsburgh Opera. He also performed the role of Lockit in The Beggar's Opera with Carnegie Mellon Opera and premiered a song cycle by Pittsburgh-based composer, Robert Schultz. In the summer of 2014, Joel joined the Ash Lawn Opera Festival as an Apprentice Artist performing Elder Ott in Young Artist performances of Susannah and Avram in mainstage performances of Fiddler on the Roof. In the 2013-2014 season, he made his Carnegie Mellon Opera debut as Siroco in Chabrier's L'Etoile. Other roles have included Don Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro and Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as a number of musical theater works. As a concert soloist, Joel has sung the baritone solos in Dubois' The Seven Last Words of Christ, Handel's Messiah, and Schubert's Mass in G among others. In Spring 2014 he was named a winner in the Pittsburgh Concert Society Young Artist auditions.

He currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Joel holds a degree in voice and conducting from Carnegie Mellon University.

Robert Sheffer

Robert Sheffer

Rob Sheffer's music celebrates a balance of classical, rock, and jazz styles. As a guitarist Sheffer has performed for former First Lady Laura Bush, competed as a semifinalist in the First Lancaster International Guitar Competition, and performed Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez as a winner of the 2011 Grove City College Concerto Competition. His contemporary acoustic work "If I Could Fly" was recorded on the 2010 CD "WSAJ & SCA Collaborative." His other compositions have been performed by various ensembles throughout Pennsylvania and New York. As a composer, Sheffer specializes in crossover guitar pieces and choral works, especially for chamber groups and men's choirs. He recently held the title Composer in Residence for the Houghton Singers in Houghton, NY. Currently, Sheffer teaches as Adjunct Professor of Guitar at Washington & Jefferson College and serves as the Music & Worship Associate at Peters Creek Baptist Church.

Sheffer is honored to have been selected to perform in a master class for David Russell, his most recent accomplishment. He has also studied in classes with Jason Vieaux, Joe Negri, and Gary Hoey. His primary guitar teachers have been Anton Machleder and George Churm. For composition studies, he has worked with Sarah Hutchings and Richard Konzen.

Sheffer holds a B.M. in Voice and Guitar from Grove City College and earned his Masters of Music degrees in both Guitar Performance and Composition at Houghton College's Greatbatch School of Music on full scholarship. As a graduate assistant he was the first student permitted to develop and teach his own music theory curriculum as an official class. As an educator, Sheffer's pedagogical prowess extends even beyond the walls of the classroom and the studio. His guitar chord charts have been published in the "Music Master Pro" app for iPhone and iPad.

Rob Sheffer resides in Bethel Park, PA with his wife, Maggie.

Jazz Conspiracy Swingtet

Jazz Conspiracy Swingtet

The Jazz Conspiracy (TJC) Swingtet is an 8-piece sub-group of The Jazz Conspiracy Big Band performing jazz and swing music with a focus on dance tempos. TJC Big Band and Swingtet have been performing concerts and dance shows all around the Pittsburgh area including such club venues as James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on the North Side, Jergel’s Rhythm Grill in Warrendale, and Phipps Conservatory in Oakland.  They’ve performed at school campuses including PSU Beaver, Washington and Jefferson College, and Mt. Lebanon High School as well as at private functions, weddings and dances.

The TJC Swingtet’s mission is to entertain crowds of all ages with accessible music from many different dance styles in the jazz idiom. The “little big band” feel of the 8-piece Swingtet allows flexibility of form while maintaining the sound and style of the full 19-piece TJC Big Band. The Swingtet often employs the vocal stylings of a ninth member for an added flavor and plays dance styles such as Swing, Latin and Funk.