Tamara Acosta

The New York Times has called Tamara Acosta’s soprano “solid…her singing clarion-toned and ardent.” Most recently, Ms. Acosta appeared as the soprano soloist in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, first with the Symphony of the Mountains in Bristol, TN followed by a performance with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra at Cornell University both under the baton of Cornelia Laemmli Orth, having previously performed the same piece with Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa in Xalapa, Mexico. Prior to that, she was seen as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem first with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and then with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca College’s Ford Hall. Other recent performances include Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and a return to Sarasota Opera to take part in the annual Verdi Concert, singing the role of Amelia in the Grand Counsel Scene and trio from Simon Boccanegra. Continuing to focus on the concert repertoire, Ms. Acosta has recently appeared as the soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria and Stabat Mater and Verdi’s Requiem. In addition, she has appeared with numerous opera companies including Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Pacific and Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she appeared in the world premiere of Judith Weir’s The Vanishing Bridegroom.

Tamara holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (BM) and New England Conservatory (MM). In addition to her work at Ithaca College, she has been teaching at Cornell University since 2015. Motivated by a need for diversity in the classical vocal repertoire and inspired by the Life and Work of composer Florence Price, Tamara is a co-founder of an initiative at Cornell entitled ONEcomposer. ONEcomposer is a commitment to the celebration of musicians whose contributions have been historically erased. By providing a platform for the study, performance, and discussion of a single, underrepresented composer’s life and legacy for the duration of an entire academic year, ONEcomposer promotes a more complete understanding of musical histories.


Hana J. Cai

Hana J. Cai is a conductor known for her elegant conducting style and efficient and engaging approach to rehearsals.

As a conductor, Hana was selected to assist with preparing the chorus for a performance of the Penderecki St. Luke Passion at Indiana University where the composer was in attendance.  Additionally, she assisted with preparing the chorus for performances of Steve Reich's The Desert Music and Wagner's Parsifal for the Indiana University Bicentennial.  In March 2019, Hana was the winner of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conducting Competition in Kansas City, MO.

Hana's classical approach to teaching music, theatricality, and keyboard ability have also made her a popular music director with amateur and professional theaters alike.  In Philadelphia, Hana served as a music director, accompanist, and vocal coach in the Department of Theater at Temple University.  In Bloomington, she served as the music director for Indiana University Summer Theatre and the assistant musical director under Lawrence Yurman for Stardust Road as part of the Indiana University Bicentennial, directed by Susan H. Schulman.  She also regularly served as a music director for Cardinal Stage, Bloomington's professional theater company.

A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, Hana has presented her research on tokenism in choral music programming at the ACDA and Indiana Choral Directors Association conferences.  Her final doctoral project is a Mandarin Chinese diction guide for choral conductors and vocalists.

Hana holds a BM in piano performance and a BA in Chinese from the University of Maryland, an MM in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, and a DM in choral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University


Grant Cooper

Grant Cooper, Conductor

Born in New Zealand as the son of a professional opera singer, Cooper sang and acted in his first opera at age four and studied piano and music theory prior to college.

After completing his degree in pure mathematics at the University of Auckland, he traveled to the United States for further studies in music.  His initial opportunities as a conductor grew from his colleagues’ invitations to lead them in larger chamber ensemble performances.  Since then, his many guest conducting engagements have included the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, The Florida Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and Syracuse Opera, among many others.  Recently, he has made successful debut appearances with the Kennedy Center Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Malaysian Philharmonic.

Cooper has just completed 17 seasons as artistic director and conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.  Prior to this, Cooper served as resident conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for 10 seasons.   He currently serves as artistic director of the annual Bach & Beyond festival in Fredonia, New York and as a resident conductor at the Eastern Music Festival. 

A commissioned composer, Cooper’s concert works include A Song of Longing, Though…, for soprano and orchestra and a ballet, On the Appalachian Trail, which was premiered in 2010 at Chautauqua.  His original film scores for two Charlie Chaplin movies  have been performed around the world and he recently composed a chamber work on commission from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.  Cooper is especially passionate about creating works designed to introduce young audiences to the orchestra and has created a substantial body of works for this purpose. 

Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings, and has the unique distinction of having CD recordings of himself as conductor, performer, and composer, all currently available in the catalog.

Cooper’s dedication to serving the West Virginia arts community was recognized in the spring of 2012 with his receiving the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.  Fairmont State University conferred a Doctor of Letters degree in 2017 in recognition of Cooper’s dedication to the education of listeners of all ages.

Cooper previously served as Professor of Music at Ithaca College from 1993 - 2003.


Morgan Jolley

Morgan Jolley earned her Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of South Florida in Spring, 2020. She has recently been appointed as an Assistant Professor in Music Education at Ithaca College for the 2020-2021 school year. She previously taught chorus for grades 6-12 at Berkeley Preparatory School, and prior to that served as the Interim Director of Choral Studies at the University of South Florida. She began her career in 2007 at West Hernando Middle School, and was then tasked with opening a new school, Weeki Wachee High School, where she served as the Director of Vocal Music for six years. Dr. Jolley has experience in teaching from the elementary to the university level and beyond with community choirs. She is an active choral clinician, adjudicator, and provides professional development to music educators. Morgan has an MME from Florida State University and a B.S. in Music Education from the University of South Florida. Her research interest is in vocal health and pedagogy across genres, music cognition, curriculum development, and student leadership. She has been married to her husband Eric for 21 years, and has three children, Katherine, Niko, and Conner.


Sidney Outlaw

Sidney Outlaw, Baritone

Lauded by The New York Times as a “terrific singer” with a “deep, rich timbre” and the San Francisco Chronicle as an “opera powerhouse” with a “weighty and forthright” sound, Sidney Outlaw was the Grand Prize winner of the Concurso Internacional de Canto Montserrat Caballe in 2010 who delights audiences in the U.S. and abroad with his rich and versatile baritone and engaging stage presence. A graduate of the Merola Opera Program and the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, this rising American baritone from Brevard, North Carolina recently added a GRAMMY nomination to his list of accomplishments for the Naxos Records recording of Darius Milhaud’s 1922 opera trilogy, L’Orestie d’Eschyle in which he sang the role of Apollo.

In the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Outlaw sang Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird with both Atlanta Opera and Arizona Opera, returned to the Baltimore Symphony as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Minnesota Opera for the world premiere of The Fix, sang Fauré’s Requiem at Augustana College, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem at Cornell University, and made his debut with Mill City Summer Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. The 2019-2020 season includes his San Francisco Opera debut as the First Mate in Billy Budd, Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, Tommy McIntyre in Fellow Travelers with Madison Opera, Dizzy Gillespie in Yardbird with New Orleans Opera, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Colorado Symphony, and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with the Toledo Symphony.

Mr. Outlaw has been a featured recitalist with Warren Jones at Carnegie Hall and performed Elijah with the New York Choral Society. He traveled to Guinea as an Arts Envoy with the U.S. State Department, where he performed a program of American music in honor of Black History Month and in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King. Mr. Outlaw made his English National Opera debut in the 2011-12 season as Rambo in The Death of Klinghoffer and joined the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2014- 2015 also for The Death of Klinghoffer. Recent engagements include Tommy in Fellow Travelers with Minnesota Opera, Frank Lloyd Wright in Shining Brow with UrbanArias, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Madison Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Greensboro Opera, Vaugh Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Fauré’s Requiem and Mechem’s Songs of the Slave with Manhattan Concert Productions at Carnegie Hall, Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Oratorio Society of New York, his Spoleto Festival debut as Jake in Porgy and Bess, Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero with the New York Philharmonic, Schaunard in La bohème with the Ash Lawn Festival, and Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with North Carolina Opera. Other roles include Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Atlanta Opera, the title role in Moses with the American Symphony Orchestra, Malcolm X at New York City Opera, Prince Yamadori in Madame Butterfly at Opera on the James, Ariodante in Handel’s Xerxes and Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the International Vocal Arts Institute, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and his international debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, in both Germany and Israel.

A sought-after concert singer and recitalist, Mr. Outlaw made his Schwabacher Recital debut at the San Francisco Opera center with pianist John Churchwell and collaborates regularly with renowned pianists Warren Jones, Carol Wong, Steven Blier, and Michael Barrett. His concert and recital appearances include debuts of renowned works at major concert halls: Haydn’s The Creation and Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Avery Fisher Hall, Mahler’s Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen with Music Academy of the West and “Wednesday At One” at Alice Tully Hall, John Stevens in the world premiere concert of H. Leslie Adam’s opera Blake at the prestigious Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, and the world premiere of Wayne Oquin’s A Time to Break Silence: Songs inspired by the Words and Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., commissioned by The Juilliard School.

Mr. Outlaw won 2nd Prize in the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Competition, 2nd Prize in the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation Awards, National semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, semi-finalist in the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition, finalist in both Concours International Musical de Montreal and George London Foundation, and grand prize in the Florida Grand Opera/YPO Vocal Competition. He holds a Bachelor’s in music performance from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Vocal Performance from The Julliard School.


John Parsons

John Parsons is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Ithaca College. He will complete his PhD in Music and Human Learning from The University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 2020. While at UT Austin, he taught undergraduate courses in woodwind and brass instrumental methods, and served as a field supervisor for student teachers. Prior to his graduate work, John was a band director in the Austin area for 10 years, teaching a wide array of students and ensembles, including wind ensembles, orchestras, marching band and jazz ensembles. John has his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Music and Human Learning from UT Austin. His research in music education is centered on the effects of attentional focus on motor performance. More recently, he has begun to explore how undergraduate music students studying secondary instruments focus their attention on differing aspects of performance during self-directed practice in the context of online learning. John has co-authored and presented work at the Clifford K. Madsen International Symposium for Research in Music Behavior, the National Association for Music Education and Texas Music Educators Association annual conferences. 


Jacob Wlash

Jake Gunnar Walsh is a composer, performer, and educator from Chepachet, Rhode Island.  A recent graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, he earned a double Masters Degree in Oboe Performance and Music Composition, having previously graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 with a double B.M. degree in Oboe Performance and Music Composition.  Jake is passionate about premiering and commissioning new works for the Oboe and English Horn, and specializes in the performance of contemporary music.  While at Indiana University Jake taught as an Associate Instructor for the Department of Music Theory from 2016-2019, and he also led a series of masterclasses on Oboe Extended Technique and Contemporary Performance Practice. Jake has been on faculty teaching Music Composition and Music Theory at the Ithaca College Summer Music Academy since 2016, and has been the Composer in Residence at the Luzerne Music Center since 2019.  Jake served as a sabbatical replacement for Dr. Paige Morgan on the Oboe Faculty at Ithaca College for the Fall 2019 semester.  He currently holds the rank of Assistant Professor in the Ithaca College School of Music, working as Interim Oboe Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year as well as teaching as a Lecturer for the Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition.