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The Little Patuxent Opera Institute is pleased to have the continued guidance of several locally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists as part of our program faculty and staff.


Dr. Lorriana Markovic, Artistic Director, soprano, is an accomplished performer of opera, art song, and oratorio, specializing in the interpretation of Russian vocal music. Dr. Markovic received her D.M.A. in Opera/Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she presented a three part recital series entitled “The Evolution of the Russian Romance Through the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”. She is the recipient and winner of many awards and competitions including Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series in DC, Pittsburgh Concert Society, Concours d’Interprétation de Musique Tchèque et Slovaque in Montreal, a Russian Scholarship to study in Moscow from the University of Pittsburgh, and has been presented in recital by The Steinway Society by WQED-FM, Pittsburgh. Dr. Markovic has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia. Locally, she has performed at the Walters Art Museum, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Music in the Great Hall, and with the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia. Her roles include Fiordiligi, Giulietta, Tatyana, Tosca, Countess, Marschallin, Mimi, and Musetta. Dr. Markovic teaches and is the Artistic Director for LPOI.

Lorriana Markovic, soprano
Braxton Peters, Stage DirectorBraxton Peters, Stage Director. Braxton Peters has performed in the Baltimore-Washington area for the past 40 years. He has performed in or directed over 40 musicals such as Man of La Mancha, Sweeney Todd, Camelot, La Cage aux Folles, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Shenandoah, and Phantom of the Opera. He has also performed in or directed 40 operas including La Traviata, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, The Crucible, and Le Nozze di Figaro. He has served as stage director for the Annapolis Opera Company for the past 23 years. Mr. Peters teaches voice at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, Essex and Catonsville campuses, and serves as the Stage Director for LPOI.

Faculty & Staff

James Bailey, LPOI Artistic Director

James Bailey, tenor. Mr. Bailey has been with The Music Institute as a teacher for nearly a decade and has coordinated the program for the past three years. A native of Baltimore, MD, he has sung leading roles with many regional opera companies including Greensboro, Annapolis, Summer Opera at Catholic University, and National Opera, based in Raleigh, NC. Mr. Bailey has also been featured in secondary roles with the Baltimore, Washington National, and Des Moines Metro Opera Companies. Mr. Bailey has concertized throughout the Baltimore-Washington area in various works by Haydn, Händel, Mozart, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, and Orff. He is a recipient of a Master's Degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied voice with Phyllis Bryn-Julson. Mr. Bailey also has an active private vocal studio. He is the Program Administrator and a voice teacher for LPOI.

 Leneida Crawford, mezzo-soprano. Well known as a soloist in both oratorio and recital venues, Dr. Crawford has championed American music through concerts and masterclasses in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Vienna and Mürzzuschlag, Austria; Mexico City; and throughout the United States. She was acclaimed as "an exceptional new performer" by Andrew Porter in The New Yorker after appearing in the Maryland Handel Festival's production of Agrippina. She has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Recently she appeared as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Hub Opera in Hagerstown, MD., and with Opera Fairbanks as Dame Quickly in Falstaff where she has appeared twice before. Other opera credits include the Juneau Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and others.

Dr. Crawford has recorded on the VOX and Albany (Boris Blacher’s Romeo and Juliet) labels and has appeared on CBS and PBS. Currently she is completing production of a CD of American Art Songs with collaborative pianist, Susan Ricci, as well as a CD of music for voice and guitar with Troy King. Dr. Crawford is a Professor of Voice at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where she teaches applied voice and vocal diction. She also team teaches Vocal Literature and Pedagogy and has been the assistant director for Music for the Stage (opera workshop). In the summer, she has served on the faculty of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. Dr. Crawford is a voice teacher for LPOI.

Dr. Leneida Crawford, mezzo-soprano
Naomi Jacobson, Acting FacultyNaomi Jacobson, Actress. Naomi Jacobson holds a Masters Degree in Acting from Temple University and has been a professional actress and teacher for the last 25 years. A Woolly Mammoth Company Member, she has performed at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, as well as Center Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, The Goodman, Milwaukee Repertory, Delaware Theatre Co, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Naomi has taught acting locally at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Catholic University, Theatre Lab, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. She has coached all kinds of professionals in public speaking from architects, lawyers, preachers and VPs of major corporations, and currently coaches voice over for EDGE Studio out of NYC. Her TV/Film work includes Homicide, Her Father’s Eyes for A&E, and narration for PBS, NPR, Discovery Channel, and Smithsonian. She has received 2 Helen Hayes Awards and twelve nominations for her work as an actress, as well as a Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship and an Individual Artist Grant from the D.C. Arts Commission. She spearheaded the Actors Arena through Arena Stage, a continuing education program for professional actors.

Dr. Deborah Kent, soprano. Dr. Kent is the past director of both The Music Institute and the Department of Music at Howard Community College. She has most recently concentrated on revitalizing the coursework aimed at developing the musicianship skills of the HCC music majors. One of Dr. Kent's major accomplishments during her tenure as Director of Music was the completion of the accreditation process with the National Association of Schools of Music. She is a former president of the Peabody Conservatory Alumni Association, former member of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Council, and former President of the Council for Higher Education in Music, a statewide organization of music department representatives that promotes dialogue and coursework articulation between institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kent has been twice named Outstanding Music Faculty Member by HCC's administration. Dr. Kent received a BM in Theory/Composition and an MM in Vocal Performance from Mississippi College, and the DMA in Vocal Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She is a member of NATS, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is a much sought after voice teacher, attracting students from all over the Mid-Atlantic region. A dramatic soprano who has performed concert and operatic literature from the seventeenth century through today, she considers voice/orchestra literature and the operas of Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner her specialties, as well as more intimate art song literature. She is a voice teacher for LPOI.

Deborah Kent, soprano
Matthew Osifchin, baritone

Matthew Osifchin, baritone. Originally from Doylestown, PA, Mr. Osifchin has enjoyed a rich and diverse career performing opera and oratorio throughout North America and Asia. At Carnegie Hall, he debuted the role of Pontius Pilate in the world premiere of Marcos Galvany’s Oh, My Son. With the Washington National Opera, Mr. Osifchin has performed the role of Minister of the Sanctuary in Iphigénie en Tauride alongside legendary tenor Placido Domingo. His repertoire includes Count and Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Belcore (L'Elisir d'amore), Escamillo (Carmen), Sulpice (La Fille du Régiment) Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), and Lindorf, Coppelius, Miracle, and Dapertutto (Les Contes d'Hoffmann).

In addition to performing, Mr. Osifchin maintains a vigorous teaching schedule and is an active member of NATS. His students have been very successful in National Vocal competitions and he has produced national finalists in both the Classical Singer and the NFAA competitions. Mr. Osifchin, who received his MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park, teaches at the Suitland High School for the Visual and Performing Arts and Gettysburg College. Mr. Osifchin is a voice teacher for LPOI.

 Christine Thomas, mezzo-soprano. Mezzo-soprano Christine Thomas has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin and the minimalism of Philip Glass. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has called her voice “an amazing instrument.” The Washington Post said, “her voice is lovely and her stage presence is natural and full of vitality."

Her performances include appearances with Racine Symphony, Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Washington Bach Consort, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of "The Woman in Red" in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera. Her concert appearances include performances with the Racine Symphony, Wheaton Symphony, Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Choral Artists, Washington Bach Consort, Handel Choir of Baltimore, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She recently performed as the alto soloist in the Hal Leonard Publishers' Showcase at the 2012 NATS Conference in Orlando.

On recordings, Ms. Thomas may be heard on Mark Brymer's Christmas Suite with Milwaukee Children's Choir under the direction of Emily Crocker, Flight Box with Present Music, and in "Cinq Poèmes de Tristan Tzara" with pianist Milton Peckarsky on the CD La Clé de L'Horizon.

Ms. Thomas received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory. She is a certified teacher of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method (Levels I-III). She has been a NATS member since 1997, and was a 2000 NATS Intern, working with George Shirley at Ithaca College. She has been adjunct faculty at Cardinal Stritch University, Carroll University (both in Wisconsin), and is currently on the faculty at Howard Community College. Ms. Thomas is a voice teacher for LPOI.

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, mezzo-soprano

Master Teachers

Gran Wilson, tenor; Master Teacher

Gran Wilson, tenor. Mr. Wilson, a native of Bessemer, Alabama, has distinguished himself as an interpreter of the "bel canto" repertoire with a performing career spanning more than twenty-five years and four continents. He has sung with companies such as the New York City Opera, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Australian Opera, Oper Frankfort, Netherlands Opera, Vlaamse Oper, Teatro di San Carlo Lisboa, Opera de Nice, St. Paul Symphony, Edinburgh Festival, Spoletto Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, and Mostly Mozart Festival. He has appeared on PBS in "Live from Lincoln Center" with Dame Joan Sutherland and has been featured on NPR. Mr. Wilson can be seen on Kultur Video and heard on the Delos recording label. Maryland audiences have heard him perform with the Washington Opera, the National Symphony, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and most recently, Opera Vivente. He has appeared in six productions with the Baltimore Opera including his 1984 debut in the title rol of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. Mr. Wilson has resided in Baltimore since that season and currently is on the voice faculties of Towson University and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Ruth Drucker, soprano. Viennese-born soprano Ruth Drucker has been an active performer and teacher both nationally and internationally. She has been a soloist with both the Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras. She has also performed leading opera roles with the Harford Opera Theatre, Baltimore Chamber Opera, and Annapolis Opera, and has been soloist in oratorios with major choral groups in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area. With her husband, pianist Arno Drucker, she has performed joint recitals in the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia. She has also been a guest soloist with various chamber music groups such as Festival Chamber Players, Handel Choir, Towson Chamber Players, Contemporary Music Forum and others including performances of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and Shostakovich's Seven Romances. Ms. Drucker attended the Eastman School of Music where she received the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Music as well as the Performer's Certificate in Voice. Further study on scholarship was with Lotte Lehmann at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California and the Academy for Music in Vienna and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria on a United States Fulbright grant. Ms. Drucker has presented Master Classes in the United States, Canada, Indonesia and Europe and was Professor in Residence at Oldenburg University in Germany. She was a vocal consultant at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh, England with several leading singers and interpreters. Ms. Drucker has given Master Classes with Thomas Houser at Marywood University. She co-edited a Collection of Art Songs by Women Composers, and has recorded for Orion and Golden Crest Records. She was faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland for twenty years and is Professor Emeritus at Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

Ruth Drucker, soprano; Master Teacher

Cheryl Woods, soprano; Master Teacher

Sheryl Woods, soprano. Sheryl Woods has built a long and impressive resume since first garnering national attention as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera, when she stepped in to replace the leading lady in Le comte ory in 1978. She has since sung in countless American opera houses including New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, and the Washington Opera, as well as the opera companies of Baltimore, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Central City, Chautauqua, and Lake George. Her career has comprised over seventy-five roles in operas by composers varying from Handel and Mozart to the contemporary Argento, Berio, Picker, and Hegge. On the concert stage, Miss Woods has been heard in Mendelssohn’s LOBGESANG with Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall and with the Richmond Symphony in Mahler’s SECOND SYMPHONY; in the MESSIAH with numerous orchestras including San Fransisco and Baltimore Symphonies, the HARMONIEMESSE with Baltimore Symphony; and with the Indianapolis Symphony, the San Jose Symphony, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, among others. She also performed “An Evening of Gilbert and Sullivan” with the Boston Pops, which was telecast nationally over PBS as part of the GREAT PERFORMANCES series. International credits include the Spoleto Festival in Melbourne, Australia, Teatro de la Zarzeula with the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid, and both the Edinburgh Festival and the Israel Festival. Miss Woods has won numerous professional awards, among them the Dealey Award in Dallas, the Diva Award at New York City Opera, “Artist of the Year” at the Washington Opera, and “Female Artist of the Year at Pittsburgh Opera. She has recorded for CBS Records and for Chandos.