With Michael Lester on piano.
Dione Parker Bennett's voice has been described as rich, fluid, silvery and powerful. Her interpretative qualities and stage presence consistently enchants audiences in such roles as Micaela ("Carmen"), Bess ("Porgy and Bess"); Mimi ("La Bohéme"). Her repertoire includes soprano soloist in Handel's "Messiah" and Kurt Weill’s "Cry the Beloved Country" and Faure’s "Requiem." After performing at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, a newspaper critic described her as "the discovery of the evening."
Bennett performed with such orchestras as the Akron Symphony, Warren Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, Eastern Illinois Symphony as well as Cleveland Opera and Opera Western Reserve. Her recital repertoire consists of diverse works from art song to spirituals. As a master teacher and clinician, Bennett serves both universities and churches.
Bennett is now the director of vocal and choral studies at Ohio Christian University. She also maintains a private voice studio as well as a thriving voice studio at Capital University Conservatory of Music. Previously, Bennett served at Kenyon, Ashland University, Illinois State University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She recently served as artistic director of Opera Project Columbus.
Bennett earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois. She earned the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Akron.
Michael Lester is a native Texan and graduate of Baylor University. While earning his bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance, he studied with Russian pianist and artist-in-residence Krassimira Jordan. Following graduation, he studied at the Borsendorfer International Piano Academy in Vienna, Austria.
Upon moving to Columbus, Lester served as vocal coach at the Ohio State University, was on the piano faculty at Ohio Wesleyan and Columbus State Community College and joined the faculty at Otterbein College where he taught both piano and voice.
Currently, Lester is the full-time minster of music and arts at Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, Ohio, where he is able to incorporate all the aspects of his musical background: gospel, sacred, classical and instrumental music and opera, spirituals and choral music. He continues to perform regularly with voice and instrumental faculty at colleges and universities across the country. Also he has been a pianist/coach for the American Institute of Music Singing (AIMS) in Graz Austria during the summer months.
Sunday, February 16 at 3:00pm
Brandi Recital Hall, Storer Hall
105 College Drive, Gambier, OH 43022