The Team

Julia Lagahuzère

Co-founder / General Director

Working at the highest level, Julia Lagahuzère was previously Deputy Casting Director of Opéra National de Paris in the two theatres of Opéra de Bastille and Palais Garnier. She is currently artistic consultant to the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in Oslo, Norway. Julia has a passion for finding and helping to nurture young talent, and established a concert series in order to strengthen relations between the QSMIC and the top international young artist programs; notably in collaboration with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

She has previously worked at the San Francisco Opera, Scottish Opera and Opéra de Limoges. She is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and Sussex University, a musicology scholarship recipient at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Masters degree in Opera and Visual Performing Arts from King’s College London, in collaboration with the BBC Proms.

Dmitry Vdovin

Co-founder / Artistic Director

Founder and artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre Young Artist Program since 2009, Dmitry Vdovin is hailed as the world’s leading vocal coach. He was artistic director and teacher at the Moscow International School of Vocal Art which made it possible for leading opera teachers and specialists from Russia, USA, Italy, Germany and Great Britain to come to Moscow to work with the most talented young singers.

He has also been resident guest teacher at the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Program (HGO Studio) and Opernhaus Zürich. He is regularly asked to serve as a jury member on international music competitions. Among his students are leading soloists in the greatest opera houses, such as the Bolshoi La Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, amongst others.

Paolo Petrocelli

Co-founder / Director of Institutional Relations & International Affairs

Paolo Petrocelli, PhD, serves as the Cultural and Music Diplomacy Officer for the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. He has become a leading member of some of the most prestigious international organizations, including the United Nations, UNESCO, and the World Economic Forum. He is also the Co-Founder and Honorary President of the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO.

As a Music Diplomacy Ambassador, he serves in institutional roles to forge bonds through music in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the US. Mr. Petrocelli is the founder and President of EMMA for Peace (Euro-Mediterranean Music Academy for Peace).

Former Board member at Rome Opera House, he is a Board Member at Opera Lebanon,  International Advisor at Royal Opera House Muscat and Cultural Advisor for Coldplay, the multi Grammy award-winning British band.

Jenna Wolf

Co-founder / Development and Communications Consultant

With more than ten years of experience working in the performing arts, Jenna Wolf brings a devoted passion for music and diversity in the arts to her many endeavors. She is currently the Publicity and Digital Media Manager at Lenny’s Studio, a renowned female-founded international public relations and digital firm, which collaborates with an acclaimed roster of artists and performing arts organizations. Previously, she worked in Development and External Relations for Minnesota Opera, and has consulted on fundraising and communications strategies with a number of arts organizations throughout the continental United States.

Jenna was an inaugural member of Arts Midwest’s Future Leaders Network, and served on the board of the Tempo Young Professionals Organization. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Horn Performance) from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and a Master’s degree in Music (Horn Performance) from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Kamal Khan

Co-founder / Artistic and Musical Advisor

Kamal Khan combines a passionate commitment to the globalization of operatic training with an active career as a recitalist and conductor. He was the Director of the Opera School at the University of Cape Town for nearly a decade, where he took students starting from their late teens and prepared them to win top prizes in such prestigious competitions as the Belvedere International, Montserrat Caballe Competiton, OPERALIA, Neue Stimmen, and many others.

He is currently affiliated with the Royal Opera Covent Garden Jette Parker Young Artists Program, the iSING Operatic Training Festival in Suzhou, China, the Voices of South Africa Festival and Competition, and is Director of the Taller de Jovenes Cantantes in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He has worked at the Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music in New York, Chautauqua School of Music, Ravinia Festival and Glimmerglass Opera. Kamal Khan is an active recitalist in leading international venues.

Valentina Starova

Operations Manager in Russia & CIS

Valentina Starova graduated from Moscow Linguistic University with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and translation. Her first two jobs were with U.S. major media networks. First, she worked at the Moscow bureau of the United Press International, an international news agency, which provided news for major international media outlets. She started as a translator but then moved to contributing stories to the wire and subsequently got her own by-line. Later on she landed a job with CNN as a TV producer at the Moscow bureau of CNN. In this capacity she was involved in producing daily news stories, from start to finish.

At the turn of a new millennium she took a new challenge, starting her career in the hospitality industry, first as a PR director for three Moscow Marriott Hotels and then as PR consultant for Marriott International in charge of Russia and CIS, while remaining a PR consultant for one of Moscow Marriott hotels. She was directly involved in establishing partnerships with the Bolshoi Theatre, the Moscow State Stanislavsly Music Theatre, the Kremlin Museums, the Golden Mask Theatre festival, among many others.

Jennifer Quintard

Manager of Artistic Operations USA & Executive Assistant

Born in Anderson, South Carolina, Jennifer first began her musical career by playing the flute in her school orchestras and bands.  But her musical interest turned professional when she accepted her first operatic contract at the age of 21 with The Fort Worth Opera, singing Frasquita in their production of Bizet’s Carmen. Afterwards, she went on to enjoy a 20-year career as a lyric soprano, singing both in Europe and in various regional houses in the United States, including Arizona Opera, Kentucky Opera, The Dallas Opera, and others. Signature roles for her included Gilda in Rigoletto, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, the title role in Massenet’s Manon, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Jennifer has also enjoyed work in opera administration, namely for The Dallas Opera as their Artistic Services Associate from 2016-2020.

Nicki Harper

Project Director

Born in the Bay Area, Nicki started her musical life as a flute player, and graduated with a BA in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to Paris, France. She has extensive experience in Artistic Administration, working at Cal Performances, first in the Director’s office, and then as manager of the Wheeler Auditorium. She has also worked at San Francisco Opera as rehearsal administrator and supernumeraries coordinator. She is currently Associate Artistic Administrator for the Los Angeles Opera, USA.

Sumi Jo, soprano

Advisor / UNESCO Artist for Peace

Praised for the remarkable agility, precision and warmth of her voice, and for her outstanding musicianship, Sumi Jo has established herself as one of her generation’s most sought-after sopranos. She is the highest-selling Classical singer in the world, with over 50 recordings to her credit, including a Grammy-winning Die Frau ohne Schatten with Sir Georg Solti for Decca London and Un Ballo in Maschera for Deutsche Grammophon under Herbert von Karajan. Sumi has performed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, at the International Olympic Games in Beijing, and appeared, performing as herself, in the film ‘Youth’ by Paolo Sorrentino starring Michael Caine. Sumi’s performance of the film’s signature song, “Simple Song #3” won her an Oscar in the “Music – Original Song” category.

Upcoming plans include a concert tour with the English Concert in Korea and in Europe, judging the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, and numerous other international recitals and concerts. Born in Korea, Sumi Jo studied in her native country before enrolling in the Conservatory of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Her many prestigious awards include the international Puccini Award and First Prize at international competitions in Seoul, Naples, Enna, Barcelona, Pretoria and the Carlo Alberto Cappelli International Competition in Verona. She was elected UNESCO ‘Artist for Peace’ in 2003.

Thomas Hampson, baritone

Advisor / Education & Technology Artist for Peace

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” and a recipient of the famed Concertgebouw Prize, Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America.

Hampson is an honorary professor at the University of Heidelberg, and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Wiener Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France. He was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences and the Hugo Wolf Medal. He is the Artistic Director of the Heidelberg Lied Academy, and collaborates with the Barenboim-Said Academy Schubert Week in Berlin each year. 

Fabio Luisi

Advisor

Fabio Luisi is the Music Director of the Dallas Symphony, General Music Director of the Zurich Opera and Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He was Principal Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 2011 to 2017, prior to this he served as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (2005-2013), General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Saxon State Opera (2007-2010), Music Director and Principal Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig (1999-2007) and Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1997-2002) and of the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna (1995-2000).

Fabio Luisi is also Music Director of the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca (Apulia, Italy) and he is guest conductor of several major ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the NHK Tokyo, the Munich Philharmonic, the Filarmonica della Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Saito Kinen Orchestra and in all major opera houses worldwide. He has conducted Richard Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae and Die Ägyptische Helena for the Salzburg Festival; and his work for the Zurich Opera has included new productions of three Bellini operas along with Rigoletto, Fidelio, Wozzeck and Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.

Sondra Radvanovsky

Advisor

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is a globally celebrated artist. The depth and exquisite color of her voice are matched by her dramatic acting ability and versatility across a remarkable range of repertoire, from the title roles in Rusalka and Lucrezia Borgia, to Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and the title role in Manon Lescaut. She is widely regarded as one of the premiere Verdi sopranos alive today, as well as one of the premiere interpreters of bel canto.

She has performed in every major opera house in the world, including the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Opernhaus Zürich, and numerous others. Her signature interpretations of Verdi’s heroines include the title roles in Aïda and Luisa Miller, Elvira in Ernani, Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, and Lina in Stiffelio, among others.

She trained at the Metropolitan Opera in the late 1990s in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. After performances in smaller roles there, Radvanovsky caught the attention of critics as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and was singled out as a soprano to watch. On the concert platform, she has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, both with James Levine; with the Chicago Symphony and David Zinman; with the San Francisco Symphony and James Conlon, and with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zubin Mehta.

Ludovic Tézier

Advisor

One of the world’s leading baritones, Ludovic Tézier, makes regular guest appearances at many of the world’s great opera venues: Metropolitan Opera in New York, Staatsoper in Vienna, Opéra National de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Scala in Milan, Liceu in Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Summer and Easter Festival of Salzburg, Bregenz and Glyndebourne, and Chorégies d’Orange – just to name a few.

He has sung under the baton of numerous conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Myung-Whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Philippe Jordan and Zubin Mehta.

His repertoire includes the title roles in HamletEugene Onegin, Don Giovanni Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Werther (baritone version), Renato (Un Ballo in Maschera), Ford (Falstaff), Yeletsky (The Queen of Spades), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Germont (La Traviata), Chorèbe (Les Troyens), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Posa (Don Carlo), Don Carlo di Vargas (La Forza del Destino) and Simon Boccanegra.