Cara Bender is pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance at The New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Jane Eaglen. She completed her bachelor of music last spring at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Daune Mahy. She most recently performed in the highly selective Liederabend concert series at the New England Conservatory where she performed songs by Richard Strauss. Last spring she performed the role of Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Oberlin Opera Theater.
Other roles performed include Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Oberlin in Italy, La Bergère in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges with the Miami Summer Music Festival, and The Wife in Wargo’s The Music Shop with Oberlin Opera Theater. She has also portrayed Marguerite (Faust), La Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly), and Alice (Falstaff) in Oberlin Opera Scenes. She has made chorus appearances in productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Bernstein’s Candide at the New England Conservatory, Massenet’s Cendrillon at the Oberlin Conservatory, and Puccini’s La Bohème with the Miami Summer Music Festival. In 2017, Cara had the honor of singing as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria with the Oberlin Conservatory’s Musical Union and Arts and Sciences Orchestra.
She was also a soprano soloist in Haydn’s The Creation in 2016 with the Oberlin Mozart Players. Upcoming engagements include performing the role of Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) with LAH-SOW in Bloomington, Indiana, as well as portraying Elettra (Idomeneo) and the title role in Thaïs in New England Conservatory’s opera scenes program.
Leona Cheung is a native of Hong Kong. As a collaborative pianist, she has performed extensively in Oxford Lieder Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Songfest, CoOPERAtive program, Liederabend series at New England Conservatory, and Hong Kong SingFest in the past few seasons. Her piano playing and interview has been broadcast in the RTHK Radio 4 in Hong Kong.
During her training, she has played in the masterclasses with pianists Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles, Julius Drake, Eugene Asti, Susan Manoff, Craig Rutenberg, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Alan Smith, Warren Jones, Kayo Iwama, John Moriarty; singers Thomas Hampson, Véronique Gens, Frans Huijts, Roberta Alexander, Christoph Prégardien, Wolfgang Holzmair, to name a few.
Leona has a strong interest in choral accompanying. She has collaborated with conductors Helmuth Rilling, Rolf Beck, Wolfgang Katschner, Richard Kaufman, Ko Matsushita and William Weinert in chorus rehearsals and conducting masterclasses. She was a founder member and pianist with Cantoria Hong Kong, and can be heard on the 2015 choral music album entitled “Half Moon Rising”, presented by the Edition Peters.
She received her Master of Music Degree (Collaborative Piano) from New England Conservatory of music in Boston under the tutelage of Tanya Blaich and Cameron Stowe. In summer 2019, she will participate the Franz-Schubert-Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria) to study German Lied with many renowned artists.