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2020 Cleveland Conference

NOA's 65th Annual National Conference, "Opera Rocks!" was held at The Hilton Cleveland: January 8-11, 2020.

Conference Program

Review the conference program booklet to see all of the events offered at this conference:

Conference Schedule

2020 Cleveland Conference Highlights

Libby Larsen and the Dominick Argento Connection
Libby LarsenDominick Argento

Renowned America composer Libby Larsen joined us as a headliner. Ms. Larsen presented a plenary session entitled "Libby Larsen and the Dominick Argento Connection" which included a discussion, video recordings, and live performances of scenes and arias from Argento and Larsen works.

David Bamberger
NOA Lifetime Achievement Award

David Bamberger was honored with NOA's highest award, a Lifetime Achievement Award, at the banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11.

DAVID BAMBERGER – director, educator, librettist, author, administrator – has staged over 250 productions with stars including Roberta Peters, Sherrill Milnes, and Jerome Hines. After co-founding Cleveland Opera, he was its General Director for over 28 years, growing it into one of America’s major regional companies. For its 25th Anniversary he secured José Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti to perform in concert at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The opera he created for the 75th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  

From 2004 to 2018, he was Artistic Director of the Opera Program for the Cleveland Institute of Music. His students have appeared in major roles with companies around the world.  Mr. Bamberger’s staging has been enjoyed throughout America, from the New York City Opera to the Los Angeles Music Center. His international credits include the National Opera, Santiago, Chile, and the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, Tel Aviv.

In 1990, OPERA America selected him to represent the opera industry before Congress in the year’s successful effort to garner support for the National Endowment for the Arts. Bamberger’s many awards include honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College (his alma mater), Cleveland State University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

"Lift Every Voice" Legacy Award

Howard Watkins received the "Lift Every Voice" Legacy Award at the banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Howard Watkins

HOWARD WATKINS is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Far East. In recent seasons, he has appeared in concert and on television with Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecien, Michelle DeYoung, Natalie Dessay, Diana Damrau, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Elizabeth Futral, Anthony Dean Griffey, and violinist Sarah Chang. Under the aegis of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Mr. Watkins has performed in recitals and educational residencies in the US, and has also appeared in the Horne Foundation gala New York recital.

Mr. Watkins has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In addition, he has appeared with the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel Halls under the baton of James Levine. Mr. Watkins has served on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center where he was the Vocal Arts Program Co-Coordinator, and he has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Meadowmount School of Music, North Carolina School of the Arts, International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, and he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Michigan. In 2004, he was honored as the recipient of both the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan and a Special Achievement Award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton.

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