“The most musically astute collaborator working today.” Wiener Tagesblatt
“The gold standard of accompanying.” New York Times
"Martin Katz must surely be considered the dean of collaborative pianists," said the Los Angeles Times. One of the world's busiest collaborators, he has been in constant demand by the world's most celebrated vocal soloists for four decades. He has appeared and recorded regularly with Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Karita Mattila, David Daniels, Jose Carreras, Cecilia Bartoli, Kiri Te Kanawa, Kathleen Battle, and Sylvia McNair, just to name a few. Season after season, the world's musical capitals figure prominently in his schedule.
Mr. Katz is a native of Los Angeles, where he began piano studies at the age of five. He attended the University of Southern California and studied the field of accompanying with its pioneer teacher, Gwendolyn Koldofsky. While yet a student, he was given the unique opportunity of accompanying the master classes and lessons of such luminaries as Lotte Lehmann, Jascha Heifetz, Pierre Bernac, and Gregor Piatigorsky. Following his formal education, he held the position of pianist for the US Army Chorus for three years before moving to New York where his busy international career began in earnest in 1969.
In more recent years, conducting has played a more significant role in Mr. Katz’s career. He has partnered several of his soloists on the podium for orchestras of the B.B.C., Houston, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, New Haven and Miami. His editions of Handel and Rossini operas have been presented by the Metropolitan, Houston Grand Opera and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He has also been pleased to conduct several staged productions for U-M’s Opera Theatre, the Music Academy of the West, and most recently, San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola program.
Finally, the professional profile of Martin Katz is completed with his commitment to teaching. Since 1984, Michigan has been his home, where he has been chair for the School of Music's program in collaborative piano, and has played an active part in operatic productions. He has been a pivotal figure in the training of countless young artists, both singers and pianists, who are working all over the world. The University has recognized this work, making him the first Arthur Schnabel Professor of Music. In addition to his work there, he is a regular guest at Santa Fe Opera, Songfest Institute, San Francisco Opera, Chicago College of Performing Arts, and the New National Theatre of Tokyo. Mr. Katz is the author of a comprehensive guide to accompanying, “The Complete Collaborator,” published in 2009 by Oxford University Press.
Brent McMunn is currently Conductor/Music Director of Opera at USC’s Thornton School of Music. His professional operatic conducting debut was with the New York City Opera National Touring Company in La fille du regiment. Shortly after, he made his Lincoln Center debut with the New York City Opera in Les contes d’Hoffmann, and subsequently conducted in five separate seasons for that company. McMunn came to opera after an established career as a pianist, known especially for his collaborations with a number of eminent string players, including Lynn Harrell, Cynthia Phelps, and Ronald Copes, now of the Juilliard Quartet, with appearances in the major Southern California venues as well as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Carnegie Hall. His work in, and love for opera began when he joined the music staff of the Los Angeles Opera in its early days.
Concurrently, he was made Director of Opera at California State University, Long Beach, where he began conducting and produced a wide repertory of operas. After his New York conducting success, he went on to guest conduct at a number of North American companies, such as Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Lake George Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and spent several years as Co-Artistic Director of the Ridgefield Opera Company in Connecticut. In addition to his conducting, his work as assistant and cover conductor on the music staffs at LA Opera, New York City Opera, and six seasons at the Santa Fe Opera, has given him a repertoire of over eighty operas, including Handel, Mozart, Puccini, the major Strauss operas, and a number of new works and premieres, with a special emphasis on the Bel Canto repertoire. He has continuously enjoyed working with young singers, in the young artist programs of the major companies, and as a coach at the Juilliard School, and a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival.
ACCOMPANIST CATHERINE MILLER, a native Californian, is currently in her twelfth season as a member of the Music Staff at Los Angeles Opera. She is the artistic consultant for the Pasadena Opera Guild, and accompanist for the National Children’s Choir. Internationally, she has worked in Italy at the Opera Festival of Lucca and the Spoleto Festival, and also at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. She has worked with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Opera Pacific, the Santa Fe Opera, the San Diego Opera Ensemble. As an apprentice coach with the San Francisco Opera Centers’ Merola Program, she participated in the Western Opera Theater’s National Tour.
Active as an audition pianist, she has played for the Operalia World Voice Competition, the José Iturbi International Voice Competition, and is the official accompanist for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera District Auditions. In addition to her work as an operatic vocal coach and piano teacher, Ms. Miller is also an organist. A graduate of the U.S.C. School of Music and the Juilliard School, she was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.