Justin Austin, Baritone
Praised in Opera News as “a gentle actor and elegant musician” and The Wall Street Journal for his “mellifluous baritone,” Drama Desk Award-nominated baritone, Justin Austin has been performing professionally since age 4. Born in Stuttgart, Germany to professional opera singer parents, Austin began his singing career as a boy soprano performing at venues such as Teatro Real, Bregenzer Festspiele, Lincoln Center, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While working with directors such as Gotz Friedrich and Tazwell Thompson, Austin was able to realize his love for music and performance early on.
For the 2021/2022 season, Austin made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Marcellus in the company premiere of “hamlet” by Brett Dean. Austin also made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago singing the leading role of Charles Blow in “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” by Terrance Blanchard. Austin starred as George Armstrong in the return of “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon at Lincoln Center Theater. Austin made his return to the New York Festival of Song for their debut concert at Little Island in NYC. Austin was presented in recital by the Park Avenue Armory.
Justin is a proud graduate of Choir Academy of Harlem, Laguardia Arts, Heidelberg Lied Akademie, and Manhattan School of Music holding the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. Mr. Austin is under the tutelage and mentorship of Catherine Malfitano.
Daniel Mutlu, tenor
Cantor Daniel Mutlu was called to serve as Senior Cantor of Central Synagogue in 2017. Cantor Mutlu is a first-generation American born to Turkish Jewish parents. Raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu attended the Yeshiva Academy Achei Tmimim where he forged a strong Jewish identity and a broad religious perspective. Cantor Mutlu went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 2001. After serving as a cantorial soloist at Temple Emanuel of Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu pursued a master’s degree in sacred music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Upon ordination in 2008 he served as Cantor of Community Synagogue of Rye, New York, until 2011. He was then honored to serve as Cantor of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston, Texas, from 2011 to 2017. In Houston, Cantor Mutlu served on the board of the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region, where he worked with their interfaith committee.
In 2011 Cantor Mutlu joined the faculty of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music where he teaches traditional nusach in the Cantorial Ordination Program. He has also taught a variety of classes in the Cantorial Certification Program.
Cantor Mutlu has performed with many premier musical ensembles including the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Ars Lyrica, Houston Bach Society, Alarm Will Sound, and Park East Synagogue Choir. As a member of NYC’s The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, he earned two glowing musical reviews from the New York Times. Cantor Mutlu can be heard as tenor soloist on Naxos’ eight-disc set The Complete Haydn Masses as well as on Navona Records’ Requiem: For the Living. He was a featured soloist on Musica Omnia and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street’s release Handel: Israel in Egypt, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013. Since 2019, Mutlu has been touring internationally as the main cantorial soloist for the Night Holocaust Project. His recent performances in Russia, Lithuania, and Germany have been nationally televised and future performances have been planned for Latvia and England. Cantor Mutlu walked the red carpet at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where “The Song of Names,” a movie featuring his first role in film, was screened and enthusiastically received. Mutlu will also be featured in the upcoming documentary, “A Cantor’s Head.”
Cantor Mutlu proudly represented Central Synagogue at the 2019 URJ Biennial in Chicago where he led Friday evening Shabbat services for nearly 5,000 worshippers.
Cantor Dan lives in the Upper West Side with his wife Nina and their three children.
David Strickland, Organ
David Strickland, is thrilled to be joining Master Voices for the first time, having previously appeared in concert at Central with Ted Sperling (and Misa Iwama) last summer in: In Sondheim’s Eyes, an evening commemorating Stephen Sondheim. Strickland is blessed to have been Central Synagogue’s Music Director for 1/12th of Central’s 180+ years! Transcontinental Music Publications recently commissioned Strickland to create 13 arrangements of new work for their latest collection, Shabbat Anthology X, subsequently inviting him to serve as keyboardist for the accompanying recording as well. Further arranging and music direction includes work for the American Conference of Cantors; Shtetl Stories: Columbia University’s Miller Theater; the Broadway Baritones (Dallas Symphony Orchestra); and Matt Bogart’s Sky Above Manhattan (National Symphony Orchestra of London). As a composer, his opera Phoenix Park (Librettist Ilsa Gilbert) received awards from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, BMI, The Dramatists Guild, Inc. and from the Andrew Mellon and Aaron Copland Funds. Strickland composed and performed the original score for Deepak Chopra’s audio book A Path to Love, narrated by Chopra. He lives in Harlem with his wife Anna, 2-year-old daughter Rosie, and wonderdog, Eleanor Rigby.
ERIN BRITTAIN, Soprano
Described by critics as “exquisite,” “evanescent,” and praised for her “fine clear tone and expressive manner,” soprano Erin Brittain has performed over 30 roles in opera, operetta, and musical theater. As a soloist, she has performed for audiences across the US and in Europe. In recent years Erin’s solo and choral work has included performances with the Princeton Festival, Opera Fayetteville, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Bard Music Festival, and the New York Virtuoso Singers, performing in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. Erin is a founding member of The Perspective Collective, a chamber ensemble that has commissioned, developed, and performed several mini-operas. The group recently premiered Stephanie Leotsakos’s adaptation of Young Goodman Brown as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and will be bringing their production to the United Kingdom this summer. Erin earned her BA in vocal performance from New York University and her MA in classical voice from The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins. Learn more at: www.erinbrittain.com
SUZANNE SCHWING, Alto
Suzanne Schwing first trained for the Shakespearean stage at LAMDA, subsequently receiving her music degrees at Boston University (MusB) and Manhattan School of Music (MM). She has sung with many internationally-known conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle, Manfred Honeck, Jaap van Zweden, and Gianandrea Noseda. As a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the John Oliver Chorale, The New York Virtuoso Singers (NYVS), and as a soloist, Suzanne’s discography includes Bruce Adolphe’s The End of Tonight (St. Urban), Katherine Hoover’s Requiem for the Innocent (4Tay), NYVS’ 25 x 25: 25 Premieres for 25 Years (Soundbrush), With Peace in Mind: Choral Music of Nancy Wertsch (MSR Classics), and A Splash of Pops (RCA Victor). Suzanne is a proud member of Actors' Equity, AGMA, and SAG-AFTRA.
DANIEL REIN, Piano and Composer
Daniel Rein is a New York-based pianist and composer. He grew up in Jerusalem amid a cultural mosaic blending Jewish-Christian-Islamic motifs. As an artist shaped by the cultural diversity of his native city, his influences include a wide range of styles, from Jazz and Musical Theater to Middle Eastern music. He derives inspiration from poetry, and has set to music poems by Edgar Allan Poe, E. E. Cummings, and Shel Silverstein, as well as many Hebrew poems and biblical verses.
Adriana Harrison, Timpani
Adriana Harrison is an NYC-based percussionist pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance with a minor in French at New York University. She served as the principal timpanist (‘22) and principal percussionist (‘20, ‘21) of the Grammy award-winning New York Youth Symphony conducted by Michael Repper. She has premiered a large collection of pieces in collaboration with composers throughout NYC.
She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Percussive Arts Society International Convention (‘21), the Tournament of Roses Parade (‘18, ‘19), Hawaii’s Merry Monarch Parade (‘15), the WULA drum and dance retreat (‘22), and been featured alongside her NYU colleagues in an NFL Countdown’s tribute to Phil Collins on ESPN (‘21). During the summer, she has been a part of the NYU Sandbox Seminar, NYU Broadway Seminar, and Beta Percussion International Institute. She performed regularly in productions at King’s Dominion (Windish Music Productions) and Carowinds (RWS Entertainment).
SHAI WETZER, Percussion
Shai Wetzer has performed and recorded with a wide array of performers across many genres; including, but not limited to, Danny Sanderson, Danny, Gidi & Friends, Alon Olearchik, Yoni Rechter, TeaPacks, Vered Harari Wetzer, Sandcatchers, Diaspora, Canaanite Groove, and the legendary group Kaverert’s album and documentary titled “HaMofa HaAcharon” ( המופע האחרון, lit. “The Last Concert”). Shai also recently played drums, frame drum, and riq on “The Band’s Visit” National Tour, and drums for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at Ogunquit Playhouse. He frequently plays for Romemu Brooklyn. Shai began his study of drums and percussion growing up in Israel and graduated of Berklee College of Music in Boston.
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by legendary American choral conductor Robert Shaw. Under the artistic direction of Tony Award winner Ted Sperling since 2013, the group is known for its versatility and a repertoire that ranges from choral masterpieces and operas in concert to operettas and musical theater. Season concerts feature a volunteer chorus of 100+ members from all walks of life, alongside a diverse roster of world-class soloists from across the musical spectrum, including Julia Bullock, Dove Cameron, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Renée Fleming, John Holiday, Jennifer Holliday, Norm Lewis, Victoria Clark, and Kelli O’Hara. Under Sperling’s direction the group has created cross–disciplinary collaborations with such diverse creative minds as Vogue Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles, fashion designer Zac Posen, Silk Road visual artist Kevork Mourad, illustrator Manik Choksi, stage designer Doug Fitch, and choreographers Doug Varone and Andrew Palermo. Roger Rees was the group’s Artistic Associate from 2003–2015, and in 2021 the group received a New York Emmy Award nomination and a Drama League Award nomination for its multi-genre digital concert production, Myths and Hymns.
Known for its presentation of lesser-known artistic treasures such as Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, and Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, the group has received recent accolades for productions of rarely-heard works such as the 2018-19 season’s Lady in the Dark by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland, the Gershwins’ Let ‘Em Eat Cake, and Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’s Anyone Can Whistle. They also commission and premiere new works; recent examples include choral works by Ricky Ian Gordon, Marisa Michelson, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Randall Eng.
As one of the country’s first interracial and interfaith choruses, MasterVoices (as The Collegiate Chorale) performed at the opening of the United Nations and has sung and recorded under the batons of esteemed conductors including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein, among others. It has been engaged by top-tier orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic, and has appeared at the Verbier and Salzburg Festivals.
For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).