The Schola Dominicana is the resident, fully professional choir of the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena. Its select members are dedicated to beautiful music-making within and outside the context of liturgy. Each singers’ unique background, rooted in an enthusiasm for music, helps their audiences to experience a realm that is spiritual and transcendental.
With excellence as its hallmark, the Schola Dominicana adds to the beauty of Sunday liturgies at noon, during cardinal feasts and solemnities, and at concerts. Their sounds infect those around them with a thirst for life and truth, experienced through the gift of music.
The Schola Dominicana
Cantor, Choral Librarian, and Alto of the Schola
Cantor, Alto, and Choral Librarian
Mezzo-Soprano Emily Stauffer was recently heard as Waltraute in Die Walkϋre with New York Lyric Opera. Prior to that she sang with NYLO as Bradamante in Alcina, and this fall she will return to sing Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Other partial roles include Annio (La Clemenza di Tito), Juno (Semele), and Dorabella (Cosὶ fan Tutte). She is kept quite busy in her role as sole Cantor at St. Catherine of Siena Church on New York’s upper east side. She also serves as a Choral Scholar with the Oratorio Society of New York. She recently completed an undergraduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where she sang Kamilla in Schubert’s Die Verschworenin. She is currently a first year master’s candidate at MSM.
Soprano Elisa Singer enjoys a versatile career, ranging from opera to contemporary, early, and sacred music. She has sung with the Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Cleveland, New York Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic, among others. Elisa made her New York debut as soloist for the world premiere of Jorge Martin’s Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking, with Cantori New York. She has also appeared as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Monmouth Civic Chorus, and soprano soloist with Essential Voices in Schmidt’s The Composer Speaks series. Upcoming performances include an appearance as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Amor Artis. Roles of note include Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, La Fee in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Fire in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, title role in Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol, and Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Elisa is also an active collaborative artist, working regularly with ensembles such as Musica Sacra, New York Choral Artists, Concert Chorale of New York, Orpheon Chorale and Little Orchestra Society. Elisa is absolutely thrilled to return for her third season with St. Catherine of Siena, and looks forward to once again interacting with the warm, passionate community that encompasses the church.
Danya Katok, soprano, is a doctoral student in Voice Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has sung with New York City Opera, the Boston POPS, Tanglewood Music Center, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Chelsea Opera, and with the Mark Morris Dance Group. An active performer of contemporary music, she has collaborated with numerous composers, including Libby Larsen, John Musto, Tom Cipullo, Richard Hundley, James Sproul, Whitney George, Jessica Rudman, and Christian McLeer. Danya is grateful to St. Catherine of Siena for the great friendships she has made within its walls.
Soprano Barbara Paterson is thrilled to be part of the musical and spiritual community at St. Catherine of Siena. She hopes that the musical efforts of the Schola Dominicana provide inspiration to the wonderful congregation at St. Catherine’s. Barbara grew up in Delhi, NY, and recently returned from Tours, France, where she was a Fellow at L’Académie Francis Poulenc. She debuted at the Kennedy Center in March, singing composer Larry Alan Smith’s ‘Ozone’ with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company. Barbara debuted with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra in April, singing Dvořák’s Bb-Minor Mass, and returns to sing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the CSO in October. Barbara’s wide-ranging operatic roles include Musetta, Fox Goldenstripe (The Cunning Little Vixen), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Despina, Gretel, Donna Elvira, Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Mme Silberklang (The Impresario) and Elle (La Voix Humaine). Barbara has sung for NIMBY Opera (as Resident Artist and Co-Producer), Vital Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival, SongFest, Opera Modo of Princeton, the NBR New Zealand Opera (as an Emerging Artist) and the CoOPERAtive Program. She is a keen recitalist and has presented song recitals in New York City, Toronto, Paris, Princeton, Oneonta NY and Wellington, New Zealand, with repertoire ranging from Scarlatti to Kaija Saariaho. Barbara has taught diction at the CoOPERAtive Program and Westminster Choir College, where she completed her M.M. in 2011, and private voice lessons at Hartwick College. She has a B.M from the New Zealand School of Music and a B.A. in German from Victoria University of Wellington.
Nora Ryan is a singer, arranger, and improviser with an affection for collaboration and co-creation. Ryan was recently featured in New York Foundation for the Arts’ “Bootstrap Festival” as an interdisciplinary artist performing her original works. Other performances include Berio’s Sinfonia with vocal ensemble Yorkvox, appearances at New York venues such as The Cell Theater, The Elizabeth Foundation, Issue Project Room, Douglass Street Music Collective, Goodbye Blue Monday, and work with a diverse range of chamber groups in North America and Europe including Ergodos Voices, Bottlegreen Improvisation Collective, and Harmonium, as well as her own projects with interactive sound designers, and Tryst a chamber band she founded comprised of players from jazz, rock, folk, contemporary, and classical backgrounds.
Ryan was one of fifty artists from across the visual and performing arts selected to the 2011 NYFA Artist as Entrepreneur program. She also attended the 2010 Dartington International Summer School on bursary, was a researcher in performance at the University of York, England and has studied under the tutelage of renowned English singers John Potter and Linda Hirst as well as American mezzo-soprano Milagro Vargas.
An ensemble musician at heart, Ryan appreciates the opportunity to make beautiful and evocative vocal chamber music each week with the talented members of Schola Dominicana at Saint Catherine of Siena.
“Vibrant” (Boston Globe) soprano Adrienne Pardee has been praised for her “lovely tone, impressive control, and rapt attention to the score’s myriad details” (ChamberMusicToday). Recent appearances include the title role in Milhaud’s opera L’enlèvement d’Europe (directed by Mark Morris) and the First Priestess in excerpts from Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with Susan Graham and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She also performed Milton Babbitt’s chamber work No Longer Very Clear, for which The New York Times praised her ability to sing the work’s “athletic soprano line . . . with an urbane charm.”
A great lover of art song, Adrienne has been privileged to study and perform this repertoire at music festivals such as Tanglewood, Songfest, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Crane School of Music’s Fall Island Institute, where she was one of six singers selected by mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe. She has worked with leading interpreters in the field, including Dawn Upshaw, Stephanie Blythe, Graham Johnson, and Lucy Shelton, among others. She was most recently seen giving performances of French and Japanese art songs as part of the 2012 Chelsea Music Festival in NYC.
Adrienne has been singing choral music since the age of 10, when she became a member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (coincidentally, Schola’s music director, Daniel Sañez, also sang in this choir!). She is thrilled to have become a member of St. Cahterine’s Schola Dominica, which has given her the opportunity to sing and make music on a weekly basis together with a group of truly excellent singers and musicians.
Daniel Molkentin enjoys an active schedule performing solo and ensemble works ranging from the 16th to 21st centuries. Highlights of past seasons include Schubert’s Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin, Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Wolfgang Rihm’s Das Rot, Marschner’s Der Vampyr (Gadshill), Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schönberg).
Daniel also teaches English and German diction in the Mannes College Extension Division and has served as the German diction coach for many ensembles, including the Bard Summer Music Festival, Berkshire Choral Festival, Clarion Music Society, Liederkranz Opera Theatre, Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus, Oratorio Society of New York, and Westchester Choral Society. Through his work with these ensembles he had the opportunities to collaborate with conductors Leon Botstein, Stephen Fox, Vance George, Jane Glover, Liz Hastings, Frank Nemhauser, Stephen Smith, and Kent Tritle on a wide range of works. Daniel’s passion for teaching diction led him join forces with Trudy Weaver Miller to co-found and develop SingersBabel, a website dedicated to providing singers and musicians with lyric diction resources and tools for preparing texts in foreign languages. His translations and pronunciation guides of German choral and solo works such as Matthäus Passion, Die Schöpfung, Ein deutsches Requiem, Dichterliebe, and Winterreise, are being used with increasing frequency around the United States.
Daniel is delighted to start his second full year with the Schola Dominicana.
“Having the opportunity to work with the dedicated and talented musicians of the Schola Dominicana on a weekly basis is a rare gift. I’m proud to be a part of this ensemble because we do more than make pretty music; we strive each week to improve ourselves as individuals, our ensemble, and our art in order to bring more beauty into world.”
Alan Paddle, originally from Detroit, Michigan, sings tenor in the Schola Dominicana. After graduating from Kalamazoo College and gaining a Masters degree from Yale University, Alan spent most of the next 25 years in Europe as a professional opera and oratorio singer. He performed opera at the Theater am Gaertnerplatz in Munich, the Royal Opera in Brussels, the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, the Bayreuth Wagner Festival and Teatro La Scala in Milan, Italy, among other venues. Among the conductors he sang with are Niklaus Harnoncourt, Neville Marriner, Herbert von Karajan and Riccardo Muti. Earlier in his career he was the tenor soloist at the Salzburg Cathedral and, beginning in 1999, he was the tenor soloist at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City for ten years.
After returning to America in 1996, Alan studied at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and presently teaches theology, comparative religion and church history at Manhattan College. Recently Alan founded a translation business, PolyglotUSA, specializing in German, French and Italian translation. Alan looks forward to singing with the Schola Dominicana, and helping to build the ministry of music at St. Catherine of Siena.
LEO PAOLO LUCIANO LEAL, an alumnus of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, finished his degree in Bachelor of Music in Voice at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2011, he performed the role of Beppo from Daniel Auber’s Fra Diavolo with the Bronx Opera. He has also sung the roles of Basilio and Curzio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Ben Budge in Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera and Little Bat in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. He has also performed as a soloist in Handel’s “Messiah”, Bach’s “B-minor mass” and Dubois’ “Seven Last Words,” to name a few. He has also performed with the Carnegie Hall Professional Choral Workshop with Helmuth Rilling featuring Haydn’s Creation, the National Chorale of New York at the Lincoln Center, Die Liebe Der Danae for the 2011 Bard Summerscape with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra and was a scholar for the Oratorio Society of New York with Kent Tritle.
“I enjoy singing at Saint Catherine’s because of Schola’s high level of musicianship and the exquisite selection of music in the service. But apart from the music, I enjoy it more because of the wonderful people I sing with; and this I think what makes us a great team!”
Jared Sampson has performed with numerous ensembles in styles ranging from chant to barbershop, from vocal jazz to contemporary a cappella, but brings with him a particular fondness for Renaissance motets. He spends his days as a research technician in a lab at the NYU School of Medicine with a focus on HIV vaccine design, and many of his evenings rehearsing and performing as an actor and singer.
Baritone DENNIS BLACKWELL has received critical acclaim for his work in opera, operetta, musical theater, concerts, and cabaret. His many performance credits include New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, the Kennedy Center, City Center Encores!, NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Caramoor Opera, Commonwealth Opera of Massachusetts, the Washington (DC) Savoyards, Empire Opera, and Little Opera Theatre of New York. He is an active recitalist, and has been presented throughout the United States showcasing music of black American composers. He earned degrees from Yale University and the Eastman School of Music, and is currently finishing his doctoral degree from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he studies with soprano Nancy Gustafson. He is a proud member of Actors Equity and the American Guild of Musical Artists. Dennis is a lifelong Roman Catholic, and is happy to join the music ministry at The Church of Saint Catherine of Siena.
Described by the NY Times as an “oceanic bass” Tom McNichols continues to garner praise for work ranging from internationally acclaimed premiers/original cast recordings to standard concert repertoire. His voice has been heard on five continents in live performance, live and recorded radio broadcasts and eleven studio recordings, highlights of which include a tour narrating “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with the Boston Pops, the Monte Carlo world premiere of Death and the Powers (reprised – Chicago Opera Theater, American Repertory Theater), full time touring in the acclaimed ensemble CANTUS as well as a yet to be released film adaptation of La Boheme and features on the Gotham/Naxos release of In Parasdisum with the South Dakota Chorale.
Recent and upcoming operatic engagements include The Magic Flute (Sarastro) with Opera Omaha, Opera Grand Rapids and Boheme Opera as well as Macbeth (Banco) and Il Trittico (Talpa/Simone) with Baltimore concert opera and the premier of The Mark of Cain (God) with Chelsea Opera.
A 2008 grand semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, Tom holds a MM from The Peabody Institute, resides in NYC and is proud to claim Norman Bailey, John Shirley Quirk and Michael Paul as his mentors. Tom chooses to sing at St. Catherines due to the high caliber of ensemble.