Luca Delle Donne, piano
Luca Delle Donne started studying piano at the age of six. He completed his undergraduate and graduate diplomas at the “G. Tartini” Conservatory in Trieste, his hometown, obtaining his diplomas with full marks, honors and special mention under the guidance of Lorenzo Baldini and Gabriele Vianello. In 2008 he obtained the diploma of the three-year specialization course he attended at the Music Academy in Pinerolo (Italy) under the guidance of Laura Richaud and Franco Scala; he continued for 2 years with the pianist Pietro De Maria. He has participated in masterclasses with acclaimed pianists Philippe Entremont, Benedetto Lupo, Sergio Perticaroli, Filippo Gamba, Alexander Lonquich, as well as the Trio di Parma and Trio di Trieste.
Mr. Delle Donne has performed in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands for important musical organizations, chiefly in solo recitals but also in several chamber ensembles (from duo to quintet) and with orchestras. He takes part in several national and international competitions awarding always a prize as at the Italian competition “Viozzi” and at the International Competition “Marizza”. His solo debut with orchestra came in 2005, when he played Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 in the concert hall “Sala Tripcovich” in Trieste, under the direction of Stojan Kuret: the live recording of which has been broadcast several times in programs by RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana).
The critics describe him as a “warm-hearted interpreter” (Il Piccolo), as “poetic, virtuoso and imaginative” (Novi List) and as a “concert artist endowed with great musicianship, sustained by solid technical skill and deep musical knowledge” (La Voce).
Admitted in the well known “Mozarteum Universität” of Salzburg with the Erasmus project for the academic year 2010/2011, he played several times and he performed the complete execution of the Chopin’s Etudes op.10 .
In March 2010 he performed in recital completely dedicated to L.van Beethoven in Torino (Teatro Vittoria for the “Unione Musicale”), Lucca (Teatro del Giglio) and Trieste (Sala Tartini): he continues to give recitals dedicated to Beethoven in order to perform the complete piano sonatas.
His most recent public performances have been in the well known “Wiener Saal” in Salzburg (Austria) and in the Auditorium of the “Conservatoire de Nice” (France), in a tournée in Lisbon (Teatro Nacional de São Carlos), Coimbra (TAGV) and Porto. He has also been guest pianist of the first edition of the International Music Festival of the Adriatic.
Besides performing in concerts, he works as a teacher and has been invited as juryman in the “Città di Empoli” Competition. He also serves as deputy artistic director in the “Associazione Mozart Italia” in Trieste, member of the executive in the prestigious “Società dei Concerti” in Trieste, founder and creator of the website “Portale Beethoven”, the only Beethoven portal in the world.
Jessica Paul, piano and vocal coaching
Jessica Paul, a native of Chicago, holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Northwestern University, where she studied with pianist and vocal coach Laurence Davis. Ms. Paul went on to the University of Illinois as a student of John Wustman, eventually earning the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in vocal coaching and accompanying, her secondary areas of study conducting, under the tutelage of Tonu Kalam and Paul Vermel, harpsichord with William Heiles, and piano with Ian Hobson.
A coach and collaborative pianist in the Chicago area for many years, she performed chamber music under the direction of Chicago Symphony players such as Ray Still, Edgar Muenzer, Dale Clevenger, Vincent Cichowicz, Fred Hemke, with Robert Marcellus, and reknowned cellists Raya Garbousova and Dudley Powers. She worked extensively in the voice studios of Norman Gulbrandsen, Richard Alderson, Allen Stone, Ryan Edwards, and Patricia O'Neill, and in master classes with Sherrill Milnes, Kurt Adler, and Elly Ameling, Rudolf Jansen, Jorg Demus at the International Institute for Chamber Music Studies in Munich. She has also served as site pianist for the regional auditions of the national Metropolitan Opera auditions.
Equally at home in chamber music and vocal repertoire, among her many recital collaborators are violinist Sherban Lupu, cellist David Sanders, and sopranos Beverly Thiele, Caroline Worra, and Christine Seitz, and, recently, baritone Andrew Whitfield, on tour with Franz Schubert's masterpiece, Die Winterreise.
She has held positions with opera companies such as the Chicago Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Illinois, National Opera Company, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera Association, Lake George Opera Festival, Cedar Rapids Opera, and Pine Mountain Music Festival and has conducted at the Pine Mountain Music Festival and City Opera of the Quad Cities. She is the former Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dorian Opera Theatre of Northeast Iowa where she is currently Professor at Luther College, where she hosts a successful, informal concert series, Art SONG JAM-boree, a product of her on-going research of the vocal works of women composers, specifically twentieth century American composers. Additional projects include the exploration of the language and art music of Lithuania.