Luca Delle DonneLuca 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 PaulJessica Paul, piano and vocal coaching

Jessica Paul, a native of Chicago, holds the Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Northwestern University where she studied with pianist and vocal coach Laurence Davis. She earned both the M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in vocal accompanying and coaching from the University of Illinois as a student of the internationally renowned pianist and vocal coach, John Wustman. Her initial training in opera was as assistant to conductor Tonu Kalam. She studied conducting under Paul Vermel, harpsichord performance with William Heiles, and solo piano with Ian Hobson. Specialized language instruction in Chicago was under tutelage of Lola Rand (German, French), Nell Schaenen (Italian), and Dorothy Uris (English).

She has played in studios of such teachers and coaches as Allen Stone (Artistic Director, Chicago Opera Theatre); Ryan Edwards; Norman Gulbrandsen, Richard Alderson, and Patricia O'Neill (Northwestern University); and William Warfield, Frances Crawford, Mignon Dunn, Nicolas di Virgiglio, Sylvia Stone, and Ronald Hedlund (University of Illinois). Instrumental collaborations were in studios of Chicago Sympohony members, including Vincent Cichowicz, Dale Clevenger, Fred Hemke, Ray Still, Walfrid Kujala, Edgar Muenzer, Dudley Powers, and Robert Marcellus, as well as Howard Klug, Sherban Lupu, David Harris, Laurian Laufmann, and Debra Richtmeyer (University of Illinois), and renowned cellist Raya Garbousova. She has frequently performed in master classes with artists such as Sherrill Milnes and Kurt Adler. During the summers of 1984 and1985, she was a member of the International Institute for Chamber Music Studies in Munich where she studied with collaborative pianist Rudolf Jansen and participated in master classes with pianist Jorg Demus and vocal artists Walter Berry and Elly Ameling.  

Ms. Paul has served as vocal coach/assistant conductor with opera companies such as the Chicago Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Illinois, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, National Opera Company, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera Association, Lake George Opera Festival, and the Cedar Rapids Opera. Conductors include Daniel Kleinknecht, Tonu Kalam, Harold Evans, and Peter Mark, and stage directors Richard Hudson, John Haber, Nicolas Muni, Cynthia Auerbach, Dorothy Danner, Robert Lloyd, William Shomos, and Robert Larsen. 

Ms. Paul is frequently engaged as a collaborative pianist for both vocalists and instrumentalists, and as a guest clinician and adjudicator. Among her collaborators are violinist Sherban Lupu, Chicago Symphony cellist David Sanders and oboist Ray Still, and sopranos Christine Seitz and Beverly O’Reagan Thiele. She has conducted productions at the Pine Mountain Music Festival, The City Opera of the Quad Cities, and Dorian Opera Theater. Ms. Paul came to the Luther College campus in 1985 as vocal coach for the initial season of the Dorian Opera Theatre and Apprentice Artist Program, ultimately becoming Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the company. She has recently completed a second tour with baritone Andrew Whitfield, performing Franz Schubert's master song cycle, Winterreise.

Ms. Paul is currently Professor of Music at Luther College as vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and teacher of the collaborative arts. On-going research projects include the study of the art song of Lithuania and the vocal works of women composers. She is the founder and director of the successful Art SONG JAMboree, a twice-yearly concert series on the Luther College campus featuring art songs by female composers.