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My personal and musical journey has taken me halfway around the world and back. Born in Belgium to American parents, I exhibited an affinity for music from a young age – I sang before I could speak and at 3 years old, after seeing Joshua Bell in concert, I picked up a pair of chopsticks to mime playing violin while singing the piece I’d heard. With musically enthusiastic parents, whose diverse tastes ranged from Madame Butterfly to Iron Butterfly, and a budding pianist for an older sister (who often began her day at 6 am with piano practice), it seemed inevitable that music would always be a part of my life. I began with violin lessons, followed quickly by piano, flute, voice, and eventually viola lessons. I spent my formative years in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where I was fortunate to receive private instruction in all of these instruments as well as participate in band and choir programs in my school and community.
I completed my formal training in 2009 at Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and geology. While at Lawrence, I was an active member of the university’s Treble Choir Cantala; we were honored to be chosen as one of five choirs from our region to sing at the North Central-American Choral Directors Association convention in 2006. In my final year with Cantala, I was a Soprano II section lead and Vice President of the board. Despite my musical inclinations, I had every intention of pursuing a career in geology and thus decided to spend one of my final terms at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in The Netherlands as a “farewell to singing” program. Those plans somewhat backfired, or perhaps more accurately, I realized the truth that my life would not be complete without singing and I abandoned my geological ambitions. Post-graduation, I sought further training through vocal programs in North America and Europe.
In 2013, I emigrated to Israel in order to study voice with the internationally renowned Professor Tamar Rachum-Roth. Professor Rachum instilled a deep love of Lieder and art song in me and through this study, I discovered the joys and challenges of creating authentic musical expression. This intensive study culminated in 2016, when I participated in the International Robert Schumann Competition (Zwickau, Germany). I prepared an hour-long program of Lieder by Schumann and his contemporaries; my beloved sister (a collaborative pianist in her own right by this point) accompanied me to Zwickau for moral and musical support. This experience spurred my decision to wholeheartedly pursue a musical career and I began seeking opportunities outside of Israel, eventually landing in Toronto, Canada.
As a soloist, I love to introduce unfamiliar repertoire to my audiences, with a love of languages at the core of my programming. In 2015, I released my debut recording “Alma Mahler in the Mediterranean ” with my sister, Adriana Teodoro-Dier (pianist). This live concert recording features works inspired by and from the Mediterranean and is available in CD and DVD format (contact me to purchase). In 2017, I created “The Eternal Feminine” concert series, which explores women’s dreams, lives, and creativity through their words and music. The first iteration featured noted creators like Debussy, Sara Teasdale, Lori Laitman, John Duke, Alma Mahler-Werfel, and Ricky Ian Gordon. I released the second incarnation in a limited edition CD with pianist Suzanne Yeo in 2018 (contact me to purchase). The most recent edition of “The Eternal Feminine” featured works by contemporary Jewish composers, which I created for Beth Tikvah Synagogue’s 2022 Music Concert Series.
I launched The Art Song Podcast in 2020 with Suzanne; our inaugural series “The Eternal Feminine Podcast Series” explores the lives and creations of women composers and poets. In addition to performing and discussing works by such creators as Clara Schumann, Augusta Holmès, Poldowski, and Amice Calverley, Suzanne and I also researched and wrote original articles for each person whom we featured. Also in 2020, I joined forces with Suzanne, Stephanie DeCiantis (soprano) and Nicole Whitney Dubinsky (coloratura soprano) to found Opera Sustenida, a collaborative ensemble dedicated to bringing the timeless art form of opera to a wider audience using virtual and online platforms. During my time with Opera Sustenida (2020-2023), I served as the company’s audio editor (syncing and sound effects), primary translator for contemporary English subtitles, content writer for our website and newsletter, website designer, and administrator. Our hybrid livestream/digital event “Date with the Divas (vol. 2)” was selected as a finalist in Opera America’s 2023 Awards for Digital Excellence in the Education/Enrichment Category. Opera Sustenida transitioned from virtual to hybrid live shows with our 2022 production of Verdi’s Il trovatore, made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Now initiative. From this production, we created “Il trovatore: THE MOVIE,” which we released on YouTube in Spring 2022.
In addition to my work with Opera Sustenida, I’ve also appeared in productions and concerts with Toronto Masque Theatre (as Alto I in the Chorus of Dido and Aeneas/Aeneas & Dido, 2017), Toronto City Opera (as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, 2018), Opera by Request (as Unulfo in Rodelinda and as Idamante in Idomeneo, 2017), and Opera for All (various concerts, 2017-2019). As a professional ensemble member, I have held lead positions in the Toronto Oratory Choir at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, Beth Sholom Synagogue’s High Holidays Choir (Toronto), Beth Tikvah Synagogue’s High Holidays Choir (Toronto), and the Etobicoke Centennial Choir. I also enjoy performing in more intimate settings and have given house concerts with Suzanne Yeo (pianist) and co-created meditative soundbath events with Linda Lonseth (pianist, lightwork facilitator). I am currently the Alto Lead and soloist at St John’s United Church in Oakville, Ontario.
I live in Oakville with my husband and fellow musician David Finneran, our cat friend, and an ever-growing array of houseplants. Together, Dave and I are the primary owners, instructors, and performers for D&D Music, which offers in-home and online music lessons in piano, voice, guitar, and theory as well as live music for private events.
Updated October 2023.