This week, we're featuring Connor Cochran, playing the role of Dr. John Watson! A young but talented vocalist, Connor relishes the opportunity to perform new works by living composers. "I'm excited to be portraying Watson in the premiere performance of this chamber opera," Cochran says. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to sing such beautifully crafted music and to be the first singer to share this work with the world. Singing new music provides the singer with such a unique opportunity, as I am able to create my own unique interpretation of this music. Hopefully my performance will be looked on as a model by future singers performing in this role."
With the exciting premiere of my chamber opera coming up fast, I will be featuring a principal singer cast in the opera every week, as well as interviews and sneak peeks of music from the work. First up is Marques Jerrell Ruff in the role of Sherlock Holmes! Eager to perform new music, Marques says "When you consider the fact that just over a century ago Puccini (and his contemporaries) were considered new music, there arises a responsibility as a professional musician to continue the tradition that those long before me began. Particularly with operatic repertoire, with so many opera houses performing the standards season after season, it is refreshing to step into a new role that has never been occupied before believing that, hopefully, you are leaving a mark that future generations will one day take note of."
American bass-baritone Marques Jerrell Ruff has performed across the globe, gracing the stages of the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Weiner Musikverein in Vienna, the Rudolfinum in Prague, and the Mariinksy Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. A former member of the Grammy® award-winning ensemble, Chanticleer, Mr. Ruff has traveled to more than 25 countries, performing well over 500 concerts, and numerous masterclasses. As a featured soloist with the Hartford Symphony, Hartford Chorale, and VOCE, Inc., he has distinguished himself as a versatile, dynamic performer who excels in oratorio, musical theater and the music of the African-American experience. Marques Jerrell Ruff has been the featured soloist on several recordings, including a world premiere by the talented young American contemporary classical composer, Nico Muhly, entitled ‘Three Moon Songs.’ The Hartford Courant marveled, “Ruff has a voice that has power, clarity and brilliant shades of color.” Following an international debut at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, GoldenPlec Music Magazine wrote, “Ruff steps out front, his voice powerful, acrobatic, and full of soul.” In addition to a 2010 recording of a new song cycle, ‘Guided Imagery,’ composed by Staff Sergeant Daniel J. Campolieta, Marques also appears on ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ with famed American composer, Morten Lauridsen (both recordings available on all digital music platforms). A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Mr. Ruff was the University Singers Scholarship recipient, under the direction of Dr. Pamela J. Perry, and is currently pursuing his Masters of Music Degree in Choral Conducting, at the University of Missouri, under the tutelage of Dr. R. Paul Crabb.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Hans Bridger Heruth is an award winning composer pursuing a degree in musical composition and vocal performance at the University of Missouri, Columbia. His works have been performed by various ensembles, both educational and professional. In addition to composing, Heruth is an accomplished pianist, violinist, singer, and conductor.