1996 was an important year for baritone Stephen Salters. He won First Place Winner of the 1996 Queen Elizabeth International Competition of Singing, a First Place Winner of the 1996 International Puccini-Licia Albanese Competition, a National Finalist of the 1996 Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, and a George London Foundation Award recipient in memory of Bruce Yarnell.
On the opera stage, his roles have included Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Silvio in I Pagliacci, and the title role in the world premiere of Elena Ruehr’s Toussaint Before the Spirits.
He has performed concert and operatic repertoire with orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. In addition Mr. Salters has sung at leading Festivals worldwide, including Aldeburgh, Banff, Edinburgh, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Vail, and BAM’s Next Wave.
In 2005, Mr. Salters triumphed in Mendelssohn's Elijah and the Brahms Requiem. A world premiere of Elena's Ruehr's Toussaint Before the Spirits was met with international critical acclaim as well as sold-out performances and 20 minute standing ovations. A celebrated recitalist, known for his musically distinctive and intensely involving performances, Mr. Salters has thrilled and engaged audiences all over the world, including leading venues in New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Cleveland, San Francisco, Milan, Tokyo and throughout Benelux. Mr. Salters, first prize winner of the Walter W. Naumburg International Competition, has made several CD's. His recordings include a CD of French mélodie, German lieder and spirituals with pianist Shiela Kibbe for Cypres, and Telarc’s award-winning recording of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. A recording of Elena Ruehr's Toussaint Before the Spirits will be released in 2004.
Mr. Salters is a sought-after interpreter and an advocate of ‘New Music’ and often engages composers to write music for him to enrich the vocal repertoire. Some recent collaborations have included the commission of a cycle by William Bolcom, and a song cycle by French composer Pierre Ruscher.
French pianist David Zobel earned a Master of Music Degree in accompanying from The Juilliard School in 1996 (recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and the Sony ES award of music excellence) and in singers coaching from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in 1993. During two summers (1994-95), he appeared at the Tanglewood Music Festival where he was awarded the CD Jackson Memorial Prize and worked in the summer of 1996 as a young coach for the Merola Opera Program. He has also collaborated with the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Gilmore Young Artists Festival and the Juilliard Opera Center.
With baritone Stephen Salters he was invited in 2000 to take part in the Steans Institute Program of the Ravinia Festival (Chicago) and returned the year after as a staff member. Meanwhile he has been achieving a career as an opera coach and pianist at venues such as the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, le Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, l’Opéra Français in New York, the Opéra de Tours, the Festival de Loches and the Festival Lyrique de St Céré.
David Zobel regularly appears in recital with young singers (Stephen Salters, Yann Beuron, Joyce DiDonato, Sinead Mulhern, Brian Asawa) in France, Italy, Belgium, Russia, in the Netherlands, on the Caribbean Islands and in the US. He made his acclaimed debut at the Alice Tully Hall, New York City with baritone Stephen Salters in the spring of 2002 and at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with countertenor Brian Asawa next winter. He accompanies singers at world renown competitions such as the Domingo competition, le Concours de la ville de Paris, le Queen Elisabeth in Brussels or the Belvedere in Vienna. In July 2000, David Zobel won the First Prize at the first edition of the Belvedere Competition for Accompanists in Vienna. In 2002 and for two seasons, he has been engaged as a permanent coach for French repertoire at the Wiener Staatsoper. He‘s now living in Paris working at the moment on Wagner’s Ring, conducted by Maestro Eschenbach.