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Steve Vasta

After receiving a liberal arts degree at Columbia University, STEPHEN FRANCIS VASTA has spent much of the last twenty years as a conductor, vocal coach, and keyboardist, both with companies in and around his native New York and with prominent regional performing arts organizations. In New York, he conducted "The Accomplish'd Maid" - a contemporaneous English-language version of Gaetano Piccinni's "La buona figliuola" - and Cimarosa's "Il matrimonio segreto" with the Vineyard Theatre Opera, subsequently bringing the latter production to Berkshire Opera in Massachusetts. More recently, he has appeared as guest conductor with the Filharmonie Hradec Kralove in the Czech Republic, and as Music Advisor to the new Brooklyn Repertory Opera, he has conducted "Cosi fan Tutte" and "Fidelio." Previous credits include "Die Fledermaus," "The Merry Widow," and "The Mikado" for the touring company Opera Northeast; "Orpheus in the Underworld" at Indiana's Ball State University, during a one-semester stint as Assistant Professor of Theatre; Handel's "Rinaldo" at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; "Carmen" for the Belleayre Festival Opera, New York; and "Trial by Jury" for Opera Naples (FL). He was also chorus master for the New Jersey Association for Verismo Opera for two seasons, and has assisted prominent conductors including Sarah Caldwell, Cal Stewart Kellogg, Anton Coppola, and Gunther Bauer-Schenk.

An accomplished classical accompanist, Mr. Vasta has appeared in that capacity at venues including NeW York's Weill Recital Hall and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. In his capacity as guest coach, he presided over the 2004 vocal master class for the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was the staff pianist for the International Workshop for Conductors for two years. He also has supplied harpsichord continuo for Vineyard Theatre Opera, the Bronx Opera, and the North Arkansas Symphony.

Mr. Vasta is equally adept as a conductor of musical theatre, with extensive credits including "Damn Yankees" with Jamie Farr at the Cape Playhouse, Massachusetts; "Godspell" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; "Camelot" at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; "The Best Little W****house in Texas" at Ball State University; and the 1992-3 international tour of "Peter Pan" which played throughout the U.S., Canada, and East Asia.

He has been reviewing professionally since 1993, when "Stereophile" magazine tapped him for a repertoire survey (Mahler's Second Symphony) on six weeks' notice. After three years as a Contributing Editor there, he served in the same capacity at "Listener" magazine, and is currently a regular contributor to "Opera News" as well as to several websites. His feature-length discussion of the Symphony in E by Hans Rott, a classmate of Gustav Mahler's, appears on the Hans Rott website (www.hans-rott.de).

In 2007, Mr. Vasta joined the faculty of the prestigious Colorado College Vocal Arts Symposium, rehearsing and performing scenes from "Lucia di Lammermoor," "Manon," "Little Women," "Semele," and "Gypsy." Upcoming engagements include Massenet's "Cherubin" for the University of Arkansas, and "La Clemenza di Tito" for Brooklyn Repertory Opera.

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