2018 Fellowship Artists


We are proud to share with you our 2018 Fall Island Fellows!


Rachael Braunstein, Soprano, is at home on both the recital and opera stages. From curating a harp and voice set for a Brooklyn rave party, to cadenza duels with Opera on Tap in Manhattan, Braunstein is constantly looking for new and interesting ways to express art through song. Upcoming projects include cultivating a concert program of Brahms quartets with a new chamber group, and returning to Chautauqua Opera this coming summer as Paquette in Candide.

Braunstein was most recently engaged with Virginia Opera’s production of Der Freischütz as the Agathe cover, her first soprano role. Past opera credits read as Flora in La Traviata and Pitti-Sing in The Mikado with Chautauqua Opera, Opera in the Park concerts and Educational Tours with Virginia Opera, the Witch and Mother in Humperdink’s Hänsel und Gretel with Opera Pomme Rouge and the Kennedy Center Children’s Outreach, Mrs. Ten Brock in Jerome Kern’s Sally with Light Opera of New York, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Ash Lawn Opera’s Young Artist Program, Mrs. Ott in Floyd’s Susannah at Seagle Music Colony, Flora in La Traviata with New York Opera Exchange, Anna Hope in Virgil Thompson’s The Mother of Us All with Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater.

Favorite concert credits include performances with Joan Tower’s Music Alive! series, and Sur la route performances with Orford Academy of the Arts in Québec. Braunstein was a Vocal Arts Fellow at Bard College Conservatory and holds a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music.


Hailed by the Washington Post for her “silvery, pitch-perfect voice” and by Opera News for her “noteworthy acting prowess,” Maggie Finnegan is a versatile soprano, singing repertoire spanning from medieval to contemporary. Awards include the S&R Foundation’s 2017 Washington Award, First Place in the Washington International Competition for Voice, and second place in The American Prize for Women in Opera. Specializing in new music, this season she sang in the world premiere of Lembit Beecher’s Sophia’s Forestmade her Opera Parallele debut in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince, will make her Beth Morrison Projects debut in BMP:Next Generation and will perform the US Premiere of Dutch composer Jacob TV’s Van Grote en Kleine Vogels at the {Re}Happening Festival at Black Mountain College. Last season included premieres with The American Chamber Opera Company,Vital Opera and the Center for Contemporary Opera. She was featured as a soloist in the revival of the play Extraordinary Measures, in which she worked with tony award winning playwright/activist Eve Ensler.

An avid concert performer and recitalist, Maggie made her international concert debut last season at the PyeongChang Winter Music Festival in South Korea. Her recent concert appearances include performances with with the Avanti Orchestra, the Capital Fringe Festival Chamber Series, The New Dominion Chorale, the City Choir of Washington, the Handel and Haydn Society and the Halcyon Stage. This Spring The Broken Consort (of which she is a core member) presented the world premiere of Movement 12 from Maggie’s project Reassemble With Care, a composed and devised song cycle chronicling her own experience with sexual harassment and assault.

Maggie earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory. She currently splits her time between New York City and Boston, where she shares a home with her partner and her three step-kids. Please visit her at www.maggiefinnegansoprano.com


Pianist Tatiana Lokhina, originally from Moscow, Russia, began her first music lessons at the age of six from her mother who graduated from  Moscow Conservatory. At seven, she entered the School of Music in Moscow and at 11 she gave her first solo recital. In 2001, she continued her studies at the State Musical Institute where she received Bachelor’s degree with Mikhail Senovalov and Valentina Pavlova. She continued her education in Musikhochschule Hamburg, Germany with Karen von Bueren and has since worked with numerous world renowned teachers including Nina Bokshanina, Juri Martinov, Lisa Leonard, Anne Epperson and Kevin Murphy.  She also has performed in numerous masterclasses, including with Joshua Bell, Martin Katz, Alan Smith, Sanford Sylvan and Carol Vaness. Tatiana is also a winner of numerous Russian and international prizes.

In 2017 she participated in Songfest and in the Spring 2018 she was a rehearsal pianist for the production of “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Tatiana received her Performance Diploma in collaborative piano with Professor Anne Epperson and Professor Kevin Murphy at Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing DMA in collaborative piano at Jacobs School of Music with a minor field in early music (harpsichord) with Elisabeth Wright.


Samuel Oram is a pianist and collaborative musician whose accolades have established him as a musical presence on three continents. Having performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in New York City under Philippe Entremont’s baton, he has appeared with diverse ensembles in the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Carnegie Music Hall, and venues in Germany and France. Under the auspices of Opus Music Arts Management, Oram was recently invited for his fourth concert tour to Taiwan, where he has regularly performed in Taipei, Gaoshiung, and several other cities. Previous concert tours have brought him to South Korea and China, where he was invited for a full recital in the National Shenyang Opera House.

Oram has won awards including the Grand Prize in the Corpus Christi International Competition, Honorable Mention in the International Wideman Competition, and Top Prize in Concours Musical de France. An enthusiastic advocate of collaborative repertoire, he has worked with the international opera singer Rod Gilfry as well as the longtime Metropolitan Opera singer Mildred Miller, whose studio he accompanied for three years. In 2014, Oram joined the production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte in the Lyric Opera Theatre in Arizona as a guest piano staff. He has been invited to play numerous operas in summer programs including Musiktheater Bavaria and Opera in the Ozarks, where he has also received coaching from singers and répétiteurs from European opera houses.

A native of Boston, Oram made his debut in Harvard University at the age of 13. Having begun his education in the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, he has studied with teachers including Ursula Oppens, Jeffrey Cohen, Ilana Vered, and Stewart Gordon. He recently finished his doctoral degree in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of the renowned pianist, Dr. Alan Smith. During his time in California, he was invited to perform songs by Kurt Weill for the “Lift Every Voice” series sponsored by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He currently serves as a staff pianist under the supervision of Dawn Upshaw at Bard College Conservatory of Music.


Soprano Emily Riley is a native to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Recently, she traveled to Berlin to perform Madame Lidoine in a production of the Dialogues des Carmèlites with Balance Arts. She has performed with Baltimore Concert Opera, Little Patuxent Opera Institute, Bethesda Music Festival, Opera Vivente, and Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Ms. Riley performed the role of Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and was reviewed as the “vocal standout… the one unalloyed musical pleasure of the evening, filling the church with beauty.” (Washington Post) Her other opera credits include Governess/Turn of the Screw, Second Lady/Die Zauberflöte, Mother/Hansel and Gretel, Cathleen/Riders to the Sea, and Virtù/L’incornazione di Poppea.

Ms. Riley has been a fellow at SongFest, a participant in the Art Song Festival held at Baldwin Wallace University, where she “…brought a large, operatic voice and expert command of French, German and Russian to passionate songs by Duparc, Strauss and Rachmaninoff” (Cleveland Classical) and received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council DC District in 2014. She has appeared in materclasses with Roger Vignoles, Warren Jones, Richard Hundley, Libby Larsen, William Bolcom, Joan Rodgers, Arlene Shrut, and Christine Goerke. Ms. Riley also serves as the festival administrator for Source Song Festival based in Minneapolis, MN and continues her voice studies with Jennifer Casey Cabot.


Canadian soprano Sara Schabas holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto.​

This season, Sara created the role of Henri in Tapestry Opera’s Bandits in the Valley, receiving two Broadway World Toronto nominations for Best Leading Actress and Best Female Performer in a Featured Role (Musical-Equity). She also sang the role of Krystyna in the Canadian premieres of Jake Heggie’s Another Sunrise and Farewell, Auschwitz, for which her performance was praised as “nothing short of heroic… Schabas’ singing demonstrated her mastery of English lyric diction. She sang each word clearly and with the perfect balance of operatic grandeur and humanity.” (Ludwig van Toronto) Recent concert appearances have included soprano soloist in Messiah with the Mississauga Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic and the Oakville Choral Society, and a solo recital in the Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Sara made her American debut as Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and cover for Pamina with the Dayton Opera, where she served as artist-in-residence. A two-time Fellow with the Aspen Music Festival, her roles there included Juliette cover (Roméo et Juliette) and Candace (William Bolcom’s A Wedding).

Passionate about art song and concert works, Sara has held fellowships with Toronto Summer Music Festival’s Art of Song, the Vianden Music Festival in Luxembourg, and the Castleton Festival, where she studied under the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. She has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, including from the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, the Canadian Women’s Art Association and the International Resource Centre for the Performing Arts. Sara currently lives in Toronto, where she also writes features articles for musical publications.


Pianist Curtis Serafin began piano lessons at age six in his hometown of New Windsor, Maryland. During high school, he studied under Marian Hahn through the Peabody Precollege program in Baltimore, Maryland. While studying there, Curtis received the “Live from Lincoln Center Outstanding Student Performance Award” alongside his chamber music ensemble and the “Dean’s Recognition Award” for his independent studies as a solo pianist. Before beginning his collegiate career, Curtis had already spent two summers studying at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music Piano Academy and one summer at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute. In 2013, Curtis earned scholarships to study piano performance with Karen Ann Krieger at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

While living in Nashville, Curtis was a finalist in the university’s concerto competition, a winner of the school’s student showcase, and rehearsal pianist for the opera department’s production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The summer before his senior year, Curtis was given a scholarship to attend SongFest, where he began pursing further experience in the world of art song. Jake Heggie, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Libby Larsen, and Alan Smith were all inspirational and encouraging figures at the program.

As a Cum Laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, Curtis is currently a first-year graduate student of Warren Jones at the Manhattan School of Music. In his spare time, Curtis is completing the composition of a new song set for baritone and piano, which draws from the published poems of Frank O’Hara. He is also finishing a self-published book of his own poetry, Songs Without Music. Curtis is honored to have accepted a fellowship to continue his study of contemporary American art song at Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar; after Fall Island, he will be attending the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival as a professional fellow and principal pianist in Handel’s Alcina.


Named one of CBC’s 2017 “30 Hot Musicians Under 30”, soprano Alexandra Smither has been making a name for herself in the worlds of old and new music. She made her debut with Houston Grand Opera in as Younger Alyce in their production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, in which she “imbued her solo aria “My Darling Jim” with heartbreaking tenderness” (Texas Classical Review).  She returns to Houston Grand Opera in May singing the role of Diana in the mariachi opera “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna”. Additionally she has appeared on the operatic stage as Gretel (Hansel und Gretel, Rice University), Mrs. Waters (The Boatswain’s Mate, Opera5), Esmeralda (The Bartered Bride, Music Academy of the West), Lydia (Second Nature, Music Academy of the West).

She swept all top prizes in the prestigious 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatée Competition, including the prize for best performance of the commissioned work. She subsequently toured her prize-winning recital of contemporary works across Canada. As a Soprano Fellow, she made her Tanglewood Music Festival debut alongside Emanuel Ax in June of 2017 for a performance of Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen”. She returns as a Fellow again in 2018; performances will include the premiere of a new piece for soprano and wind dectet by Theo Chandler. Also comfortable in early music, she has sung with ensembles Ars Lyrica and Emmanuel Music.

2018 brings performances at the Banff Centre, Melbourne Metropolis Festival, Vancouve​​​​r’s “Music in the Morning”, a recital tour of Japan, and the inaugural tour of PushBack Collective with bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward. Ms. Smither has held fellowships at Songfest, Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre, and Music Academy of the West. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (BMus 2014) and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University (MMus 2016); as a graduate of the University of Toronto she received the music faculty’s highest graduating award, the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Memorial Fellowship. She was a co-founder of Rice University’s student contemporary ensemble Hear&Now, and is currently a member of the Houston based new music ensemble Loop38.


A native of White Plains, NY, Bass-baritone, William Socolof started his vocal and musical training at the Interlochen Arts Academy, in Michigan. During the summer of 2017, William was a Vocal Fellow at the distinguished Tanglewood Music Festival, where he is thrilled to return in the 2018 season to perform in Berstein’s A Quiet Place, as well as various recitals and chamber concerts .Highlights of the season include appearances in “Sondheim on Sondheim” with The Boston Pops under the baton of Keith Lockhart, a concert Bach Cantatas conducted by John Harbison, and the premiere of a new work by Nico Muhly, in Emanuel Ax’s “Schubert’s Summer Journey”,  alongside Mr. Ax.  William made his operatic debut at The Juilliard School in their 2016 production of La Fedeltá Premiata by Haydn as “Melibeo”, performed “The Abbot” in their 2017 production of  Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and continues to be an active participant in showcases and recitals at Juilliard.  Other operatic performances include “Die Sprecher” (Die Zauberflöte) at The Chautauqua Institution,“Guglielmo”(Cosí fan tutte) at Oberlin in Italy, and various scenes/excerpts from Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Zaberflöte, and Cosí fan tutte. William was also named Finalist by the NFAA YoungArts Foundation in 2014 for Voice.

William is pursuing his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Arts at Juilliard, under the tutelage of Sanford Sylvan.