Celebrated by The New York Times as “a rare talent that can send chills down a listeners’ spine, even in familiar music,” soprano Jennifer Check is equally at home on both the concert and opera stage. Ms. Check won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and was also awarded the John Browning Memorial Prize and YCA’s Lindemann Vocal Chair. Young Concert Artists presented Ms. Check’s debut recitals in New York at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center. A member of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. Check made her Met debut as Clotilde in Norma, sharing the stage with Jane Eaglen and Dolora Zajick, and sang numerous other roles at the venerable opera house. Ms. Check made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2001, singing Handel’s Messiah with the Oratorio Society of New York, and has subsequently performed Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the Hall. She has performed as a soloist in numerous other oratorio and choral works throughout the United States and at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.Ms. Check studied at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College. During and since completing her studies she has received numerous prizes and grants, including the Zarzuela Prize sponsored by Placido Domingo and second prize in the Palm Beach Opera Competition.
Laura Ward is an accomplished collaborative pianist based in Philadelphia. A strong advocate for art song, she is a founding artistic director of Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, and has been a vocal coach and accompanist at Washington Opera, The Academy of Vocal Arts, The Ravinia Festival, The Music Academy of the West, the Blossom Festival, the University of Maryland, and Temple University. She has also been the official pianist for the Washington International competition for singers and the Marian Anderson Award. She has performed at several international music festivals such as the Spoleto Festival in Spoleto, Italy and at the Colmar International Music Festival and Saint Denis Festival in France.A native of Texas, Laura received her Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University, Master of Music degree in Piano Accompanying at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Accompanying from the University of Michigan with Martin Katz. There she played with the Contemporary Directions, the modern music ensemble, and on occasion with the Ann Arbor Symphony. After the completion of her doctorate she began a long collaboration with the Hal Leonard Corporation. She is editor of Songs of Richard Strauss, Songs of Gabriel Fauré, and Songs of Johannes Brahms. She has also recorded numerous accompaniment CDs for the Hal Leonard Vocal Library Collections.