JOURNEY TO 

JUILLIARD

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By Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA - Alice Tully Hall, CC BY 2.0

My
Story

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Arriving to Miami, Florida from Cuba

It is truly an honor to be admitted into the prestigious Juilliard School and a dream come true for me and my family. I was born in Camagüey, Cuba and was four years old when my mother and I came to the United States in search of the "American Dream". Coming from a family of doctors, engineers, and architects, one can imagine the shock when my mother realized I had a talent for singing, and more so, when I told her I wanted to be an opera singer.

After high school, I completed my undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at Florida International University and then went on to pursue my Master’s Degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Following my studies, I completed two seasons as an Artist in Resident at Pensacola Opera in Pensacola, Florida. Here, I learned all of the practical things about the business of singing, the sorts of things that they just don’t teach you in school. It was the first time that I was truly on my own, without the safety net of my teachers and community, but it was an incredibly valuable growing experience for me both as as a person and as an artist.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was thanks to this experience that I met the person that prepared me and encouraged me to apply to the Juilliard School, my voice teacher Manny Perez. He promised me that with his guidance and my discipline and consistency, we would find something special in three years time. He was right. That was three years ago, and with his help, I am now getting ready to embark on the next chapter of my training and career. 

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Performing with Pensacola Opera

Post performance at Carnegie Hall - May 2022

Masterclass with international opera star Renée Fleming at the Eastman School of Music 

About the Program

The Juilliard School is known by many as the world's best university for the study of performing arts. The Artist Diploma in Opera Studies offers a combination of the highly specialized acting training, rigorous study of vocal and physical technique, and career concentration – all at the epicenter of the music world – making the Artist Diploma experience truly unique. 

After a rigorous screening process of 400+ applicants, approximately 20 candidates were invited to fly to New York City and audition for the Juilliard Vocal Arts Faculty. Auditions were held over the course of three days and three rounds. By the end of the audition process, five singers were chosen to join the Artist Diploma program.
 

Artist Diploma singers in the last few years alone have been offered, while still in the program, contracts at some of the leading opera houses in the world including Frankfurt Opera, Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera, the Semperoper in Dresden, Leipzig Opera, English National Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, the Aix en Provence and Glyndebourne festivals, and many other international companies; contracts at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, and many other Northern American companies; engagements with major symphony orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic, The San Francisco Symphony, the New World Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and others; and management with IMG Artists, Opus 3 Artists, Columbia Artists, and many others. Artist Diploma singers have also won or placed in most of the top competitions and appeared in spoken theater productions in the U.S. and Europe.

Why Help?

I’m encouraged by the support I’ve already received not only from the school but also from friends and family. Because of the selective nature of the program, all students who are invited to complete the Artist Diploma Program recieve a full- tuition scholarship. However, ​room and board and other living expenses are not accounted for. This is why I need your help. 

All donations will help cover my relocation expense, room and board, transportation costs, and audition fees among many other things. 

Ways to get involved

Join me Sunday, August 14, 2022 for an evening of music making. I will be putting together a fundraising concert that will feature operatic favorites as well as popular music from around the world, including works by some of the most famous Cuban composers. ​If you are unable to attend, but would still like to donate to my cause, please feel free to reach out to saavedrasoprano@gmail.com or donate directly via:

VENMO APP: evelynsaavedr (no fee)

PAYPAL: saavedrasoprano@gmail.com (processing fees apply)

ZELLE: saavedrasoprano@gmail.com (no fee)