Artistic Advisory Board
In a career spanning more than five decades, Kathleen Chalfant’s performances on stage, screen and television have been widely praised by critics and audiences alike. Her shattering portrayal of Vivian Bearing, a scholar battling cancer, in Wit garnered her the Obie, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Ovation, Connecticut Critics Circle, the Garland and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.
She made her Broadway debut in Dance With Me, followed by M. Butterfly. She went on to star as Hannah Pitt and Ethel Rosenberg in the original cast of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, receiving nominations for both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the Drama League Distinguished Performance Award and the Sidney Kingsley Award, both for her body of work.
Ms. Chalfant has been seen extensively in film and television, where she is most recognizable in her role as “Margaret Butler” on the Showtime series The Affair.
Monica Huggett was born in London and began playing violin at age six. At age sixteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music and at age nineteen, she was given a baroque violin to try and was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings and became a fervent champion of all things baroque. Early in her career she was concertmaster and co-founder of Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and then artistic director of various orchestras and ensembles. In 2009, she was appointed the founding Artistic Director of the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program where she continues as artistic advisor. Monica is Artistic Director of Portland Baroque Orchestras and performs as a solo violinist and guest director all over the world. Monica lives in Portland where she enjoys cycling and gardening.
Kevin Nathaniel Hylton graduated Yale University in 1982 as Scholar of the House for Fine Arts. Since his time there, where he also was awarded the William Clyde Devane Award for Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship, Mr. Hylton has devoted himself to African music. He is Founder and Artistic Director of Afro Roots Tuesdays, a pioneering organization that brings live World Music in its infinite variety to New York audiences every other week.
As a recognized composer of African-inspired contemporary music, he writes songs, lyrics, poetry, and essays on music and instruments, and has composed and recorded for the audio version of Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, for the film Beloved, as well as several documentaries. His workshops and lecture/demos have been presented at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, University of Michigan, Wesleyan University, and several other institutions. In 2005 he and Hasan Bakr were commissioned by Carnegie Hall to write and direct the fall Family Concert titled “DIndinyaa”. As an advocate for African culture he has been called the “Johnny Appleseed” of the mbira because he has taught tens of thousands of people all over the world the art of mbira making and playing.
Trained musically in the ancient master-disciple tradition, Kevin is an accomplished percussionist and well-known specialist on the mbira and the shekere. He performs on several traditional African instruments and builds them as well. He worked extensively with Zimbabwe’s mbira legend Ephat Mujuru, and with master drummer Chief Bey. Along with 9 recordings he has produced, his music is also available on the Narada collection “African Voices”, and the Ellipsis Arts release “African Dreams”.
Born in New York in 1946, Hopkinson Smith graduated from Harvard with Honors in Music in 1972. In his early career he became involved in numerous chamber music projects including the founding of the ensemble Hespèrion XX. Since the mid-80’s, he has focused almost exclusively on solo repertoire, producing a series of prize-winning recordings for Naïve. His numerous recordings have been awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’Année award and garnered lavish praise from The New York Times, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and many other media outlets.
Smith has performed and given master classes throughout the world. In 2007 and 2009, he gave concerts and workshops in Palestine under the auspices of the Barenboim-Said Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council. In 2010, he received the music prize from the Italian Region of Puglia with the inscription “maestro dei maestri, massimo interprete delle musiche per liuto dell’antica Europa Mediterranea”, and he is the 2015 winner of the Music Prize from the city of Petrer in the province of Alicante in Spain. In 2018 he was honored by the International Festival of Taxco in Mexico.
Recently appointed Director of Opera Studies at Manhattan School of Music, Tazewell Thompson is an internationally acclaimed opera and theater director, award-winning playwright, librettist, teacher and actor. His opera Blue with composer Jeanine Tesori, won the 2020 MCANNA Award for Best New Opera in North America, and was listed as Best in Classical Music for 2019 by The New York Times. He has more than 150 directing credits, including 30 world and American premieres, in major opera houses and theaters across the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, Japan and Canada, including Glimmerglass, New York City Opera, Teatro Real, La Scala, L’Opera Bastille, Cape Town, Tokyo, Vancouver and San Francisco Opera.
His award-winning play, Constant Star has had 16 national productions, garnering 9 Barrymore Awards, 5 NAACP Awards and 3 Carbonell Awards; Mary T & Lizzy K, commissioned and produced at Arena Stage, is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award; author of Jam & Spice: The Music of Kurt Weill; an adaptation of A Christmas Carol; and a contributing writer to Our War, short plays for Washington DC. His a cappella musical
Jubilee: Fisk Jubilee Singers had its world premiere spring of 2019 and played to SRO audiences at Arena Stage.
He has play commissions from Lincoln Center Theatre, South Coast Rep and People’s Light & Theatre Company. His production of Porgy and Bess, broadcast Live from Lincoln Center, received EMMY Award nominations for Best Director, and Best Production: Classical Music. He holds the record for directing three productions: Appomattox/ Philip Glass, Lost in the Stars/ Kurt Weill, and his American premiere production from Glimmerglass Festival of Cato in Utica/ Vivaldi all in the same season in three different theaters at The Kennedy Center. He is commissioned by Seattle Opera to write a song cycle and his opera Blue is rescheduled for future productions at Washington National Opera, Chicago Lyric, Minnesota Opera and Mostly Mozart Festival.