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Who's Who in Education

Sue Elliott, Director of Education…

…and the opera’s resident crazy Canuck. On the way to directing Seattle Opera’s education and community engagement programs, I count music lessons, family canoe trips, and farm work among my most formative experiences. Following an OPERA America fellowship in 1999-2000, I made my unintended operatic debut at Houston Grand Opera during curtain calls of Carmen in 2000 and have spent more than 16 years helping make opera matter as an educator, new work producer, community connector, strategic planner, stage manager, event organizer, and idea generator. As a recovering clarinetist and pianist, my investment portfolio includes Music Performance degrees from McGill University, University of Toronto and University of Southern California. I spend my free time on squirrel patrol in the Olympic Sculpture Park with dog Lilly, staring down at the long black line as a Masters swimmer and appreciating the power and beauty of this musical storytelling we call opera.

Mark Allwein, Youth Programs Assistant

When I started my musical training in elementary school, I never dreamed that I would be working for a professional opera company. Throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school I studied percussion. Eventually I went to the University of Denver and earned my Bachelors of Music degree in Percussion Performance, studying under John Kinzie. About that time I also fell in love with teaching. So, I went back to school and earned my Masters of Music Education degree from Colorado State University. All the while I kept performing, most notably with the Colorado Symphony when they needed an extra percussionist, and teaching percussion at Chatfield Senior High School. After graduate school I added ‘Orchestra Director’ to my resume and in the summer of 2014, I found my way to the Seattle Opera. Although I don’t do as much teaching as I used to, I still work very closely with schools, teachers, and students. Here in the education department I am the Youth Programs Assistant and the administrator for Opera Goes to School, the Youth Opera Chorus, and the Teen Opera Players. I am so thankful that my parents exposed me to wonderful music when I was a child so I work day-in and day-out to ensure that today’s children get to experience the magic of live performance like I did.

Andrew Goldstein, Administrative Coordinator

As Sue likes to quip, my role at Seattle Opera is to be the “glue that holds us together”! My first job in the arts was with a symphony orchestra. As their Operations manager, I spent two years trucking around percussion gear and harpsichords, often to remote destinations in the middle of the night to prepare for the next day’s performances. I then dabbled in theatre, working at the New 42nd Street Studios in Times Square, New York. I was snatched up by the chamber music power-couple David Finckel and Wu Han, and spent three years as an Artistic Administrator under their guise. I had the distinct pleasure of planning artists and repertoire for a multitude of their organizations including Music@Menlo (San Francisco), Chamber Music Today (Seoul, South Korea), and ArtistLed Records (New York). At last, I find myself in the field of Opera, and am thrilled to be the administrative powerhouse that keeps this department running!

Kristina Hammer, Opera Goes to School Program Coordinator

The performing arts have always been a passion of mine. Beginning with my first solo, as the Bethlehem Star in the local nativity play at 4 years old, I knew I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about the theater. I sang in school and community choirs all through high school — I even had a short run with the Northwest Girlchoir — and every summer was jam-packed with as many theater camps and workshops as I could possibly handle. Once I graduated high school, I enrolled at Pacific Lutheran University. There I discovered the ingenuity of all of the directors, stage hands, designers, stage managers and musicians to handle props, hang lights, direct music, construct sets, prepare hair & makeup, build costumes, and much more. I learned how much juggling of these different pieces it really takes from behind the scenes to bring a performance to life. During my studies for my BFA in acting and directing, my passion for all things theater led me down the path of Stage Management. I enjoy planning and collaborating with creative minds on all aspects of theater in order to create productions that will engage and inspire audiences. My ultimate goal is that each theater experience will create a fond memory that will last a lifetime for each audience member. I am happy to have found my way into the Seattle Opera Education Team, where I have the pleasure of introducing theater and music to young audiences all over Washington State as we build the audiences of the future!

Barbara Lynne Jamison, Youth Programs Manager

Growing up in a family of musicians, I was very fortunate to learn the joy of music at a very early age. Road trips were opportunities to sing in canon and four-part harmony, and evenings and weekends were dedicated to orchestra rehearsals, piano lessons, and singing competitions…and, oh, yes…practicing! Bach, Handel and Rameau escorted me into a love of Baroque operas and cantatas, and I’ve spent most of my career singing these gems. While my music education began in lullabies and on road trips, it continued with Vocal Performance degrees from Florida International University and Manhattan School of Music. I began working as a teaching artist and choral conductor and found that these gave me insight into performing, and my performance experience guided me in teaching this art to others. Upon winning a Dean's Scholar award to Boston University, I began my pursuit of a doctoral degree in Music Education. Aside from making music, I love to cook. But don't ask me for a recipe—I rarely follow one. I enjoy helping anyone discover a piece of the musician that lives deep within each of us, and am busy helping to cook up new opportunities to do just that here at Seattle Opera.

Nick Malinowski, Community Programs Manager

I had my first foray into the world of opera at age 16 when my rendition of “Pigaro! Pigaro! Pigaro!” took first prize in a local hog calling contest. I have been hooked ever since. I studied voice at Grinnell College as an undergraduate where I sang the national anthem in my basketball uniform as a member of the highest scoring team in college hoops history. During my time at Grinnell I developed my second great passion: education. When a tonsillectomy kept me from auditioning for graduate school in voice, I accepted a position as a Teach for America corps member in rural Arkansas. My passion for opera still called to me, however, and when my Teach for America commitment ended, I enrolled as a master of music candidate at Mannes College in New York City, where I made the dramatic transition from bass baritone to tenor through the arias of Richard Wagner. After two incredible years with the Mannes Opera program, an opportunity arose to create from scratch a music program at a successful public charter school back in Arkansas, and I leapt at the opportunity to return to the world of education. I spent six years at KIPP Delta Public Schools, building the music program from a single choir serving eight high school students into four choirs serving over 150 students. Throughout my career and my education, I have bounced back and forth between the worlds of opera and education. I am delighted to be in a role with Seattle Opera that fulfills both of these passions equally.

Seattle Opera Education Department

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Photo Credit

© Rozarii Lynch photo