Biographies of the artists
Artistic Director Donald Neuen is in his fifth season with the Angeles Chorale. He is also Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Activities at UCLA, a position he assumed in the Fall of 1993. For twelve years prior to his coming to California, he was on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
He has been a member of the Robert Shaw Chorale, Assistant Conductor for Mr. Shaw, and Director of Choral Activities for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. His extensive choral and orchestral guest conducting activities have taken him to Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada, and nearly every state in the Union.
At UCLA he conducts the University Chorale, teaches courses in conducting and directs a doctoral program in choral conducting.
Neuen also serves as Director of the Cathedral Choir at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.
Michael Piontek appeared on Broadway as Cinderella's Prince/Wolf in Into the Woods, the Baron in Grand Hotel, and as the stand-by for Sting in The Threepenny Opera. As a member of the Circle Rep Company in New York, he created roles in Reckless, Florida Crackers, and Dalton's Back. In Los Angeles, Michael was seen as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He toured Japan as El Gallo in The Fantasticks and has worked extensively in regional theaters around the United States, including starring roles in One Touch of Venus at the Goodspeed Opera House, Gigi and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Northshore Music Theatre, and Brigadoon at the Sacramento Music Circus. Michael has sung as a guest artist with several symphonies including those in San Antonio and Charlotte, and is a featured soloist on several CD's including Jerome Kern in London and Hollywood and Dream With Me. He made his feature film debut in Longtime Companion and has numerous television credits including Knots Landing and Cybil. He is married to Paige O'Hara, the voice of Belle in Disney's film classic, Beauty and the Beast, and its two sequels. Currently, Michael and Paige are living in Las Vegas where Michael is appearing as the Master of Time in the EFX show at the MGM Grand.
Born in Los Angeles, California. Guest artist at the Metropolitan artist, debut in 1986, and in following seasons. Principal guest artist with the LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, Florentine Opera, Minnesota Opera, Dallas Opera, Arizona Opera, Washington Opera, Oper Kln (in Kln and on tour in Japan), Frankfurt Oper (in Frankfurt and on tour to Israel), Oper Braunschweig, Pfalztheater, Royal Opera (de la Monnaie), Royal Opera (Antwerpen), Royal Opera de Wallonie (Lige), Opera de Paris (Bastille), Opera de Montpellier, Welsh National Opera, Scottish National Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera New Zealand, Teatro Real (Madrid), and Teatro Municipal (Santiago).
Roles have included: Wagner: Tristan, Tannhžuser, Siegmund (Die Walkre), Parsifal, Erik (Der fliegende Hollander), Loge and Froh (Das Rheingold); Strauss: Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), Aegisth (Elektra); as well as Florestan (Fidelio), Enée (Les Troyens), Don Jos (Carmen), Jimmy (Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny), Agrippa (The Fiery Angel), Rudolph Valentino (The Dream of Valentino), Canio (I Pagliacci) and Enzo (La Gioconda).
Work under conductors James Levine, James Conlon, Sir Charles Mackerras, Edo de Waart, Kent Nagano, John Mauceri, Joseph Silverstein, Lawrence Foster, Sylvan Cambreling, Christoph Perick, John Cage, Joseph Resigno, Gustav Meier, Lior Shambadal, Zoltan Kocsis, Dean Byron, and Stefan Minde, as well as pops concerts with John Green, Harry Rabinowitz and Lucas Richman.
Soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl, the American Symphony at Carnegie Hall, Minnesota Orchestra, Utah Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Opera Orchestre de Lyon, Festival de Radio France, Orchestre de la Monnaie, Tokyo Symphony, Osaka Philharmonic, VARA Radio Symphony at the Concertgebouw, Frankfurt Oper Orchester at the Jerusalem Festival, Kölner Philharmonie, Budapest Spring Festival, Cincinnati May Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Los Angeles County Art Museum Series.
Concert repertoire includes Das Lied von der Erde, Kindertotenlieder, Gurre-lieder, Les Illuminations, Dvorak and Verdi Requiems, and concert versions of Act II of Tristan und Isolde,and Act I of Die Walküre. Recital repertoire includes American works of Ives, Rorem, Copland, and Bachlund, as well as lieder from Schoenberg and Stravinsky.
Education: BA in music, Immaculate Heart College; MA and PhD in music, University of California at Los Angeles. Coaching with Jack Metz, Martial Singher (Music Academy of the West), and Walter Taussig (Metropolitan Opera).
Juliana Gondek is Professor of Applied Voice and Opera Studies at UCLA. She began her career by winning back-to-back gold medals in the Geneva and Barcelona International Singing Competitions. She has since performed throughout Europe and North America with opera companies, symphony orchestras, on countless radio and television broadcasts, and in solo recitals and chamber concerts in the world's most celebrated concert halls and festivals.
A favorite of American composers, Ms. Gondek has premiered over two dozen new works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Albert, John Corigliano, Bright Sheng, Richard Hundley, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jerzy Sapieyevski, Donald Crockett and Morten Lauridsen. She premiered the role of Sabina Bigelow in David Diamond's opera, The Noblest Game.
Equally respected for her work as a baroque, Mozart, and bel canto specialist, Ms. Gondek has recorded leading roles in four Handel operas on the Harmonia Mundi label with conductor Nicholas McGegan. She has performed many Mozart operatic roles, including Fiordiligi, Countess Almaviva, Vitellia, and Donna Elvira.
Ms. Gondek was the soprano soloist in the world-premiere concert last June of Rosarium.
Peter Atherton earned his undergraduate degree from the Juilliard School and an MM in vocal performance from the Thornton School. He has performed on concert stages throughout the United States and Europe. A versatile singer of considerable range, Mr. Atherton has appeared in featured operatic roles with companies such as at Wolf Trap Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Atelier - Toronto and the Los Angeles Opera. As an oratorio and concert soloist he has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Belgique and the Basel Chamber Orchestra, among many others. Mr. Atherton has also performed musical theater on Broadway, the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center and in national touring companies. As a session singer, he has contributed to the soundtracks of feature films, including Dances With Wolves, Home Alone, A Leap of Faith and Inspector Gadget.
Mr. Atherton is presently a Visiting Assistant Professor in USC's Thornton School of Music.
The Angeles Chorale
The Angeles Chorale, formerly the Valley Master Chorale, was founded in 1975 by Bill and Ada Beth Lee. Mr. Lee served as Music Director during the first two seasons. He was followed by other conductors, including Allan Davies and Gerald Eskalin, who continued to lead the Chorale in achieving its musical goals.
In the fall of 1987, John Alexander became Artistic Director and the Chorale merged with the Masterworks Chorale at California State University, Northridge. Under Alexander's leadership, the Chorale established a reputation, both locally and nationally, for musical excellence. The Chorale has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Glendale Symphony, and Pasadena Symphony, among others. In the summer of 1993 the Chorale performed Mendelssohn's Elijah in China and Hong Kong, with the Shanghai Symphony, the Central Philharmonic of Beijing, the Guangzhou Philharmonic and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
In 1996 Donald Neuen took over as Artistic Director of the Chorale and has led the singers to new precision and musical excellence. Neuen's interest is in extended works for chorus and orchestra.