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OUR TEAM

Stephen Scovasso M.M. - Founder and Artistic Director

Maria Giorgio - Associate Artistic Director

Alberto O. Benitez - Director of Operations

Thomas Ramos -Director of Marketing and Finance

KS Tichina Vaughn - Young Artists Advisor

Board of Directors

Stephen Scovasso M.M. - Chairman of the Board

Alberto Benitez - Vice Chairman

Thomas Ramos - Treasurer

Maria Giorgio - Member at Large

Cristina Ispas Charron  - Member at Large

Artistic Advisors

Luana DeVol

Dr. Isola Jones

Deborah Surdi

KS Tichina Vaughn

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Stephen Scovasso M.M.
Artistic Director and Founder

Conductor/Director/Coach

Stephen Scovasso is a musicologist, conductor, director and author. He has directed operas including, Carmen, Tosca, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, Cosi fan Tutte as well operetta's such as The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus. He has also directed American Musical Theater pieces such as Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Bernstein’s Candide. In the dramatic theater, Stephen has directed Garcia Lorca’s La Casa del Bernarda Alba, Oscar Wilde’s Salome.

In conjunction with SAS Performing Arts Company, he has produced and directed 6 full length virtual streams including Dracula: The Radio Play, Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as many virtual concerts and holiday concerts.

Stephen studied Operatic and Symphonic conducting under the tutelage of the late Vincent La Selva. Among the works he has conducted are Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in D minor, Handel’s Messiah, Puccini’s Tosca, and Mozart's Don Giovanni

During his years at Arizona State University,  he taught classes on the Baroque Style, Opera, American Musical Theater, and Stephen Sondheim.
He has authored Puccini's Il Trittico and the end of Italian Opera and The Musical Worlds of Henry Mancini.

Mr. Scovasso currently serves on the Executive Committe of the New York Opera Alliance.

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Paul Ferrara

Italian Coach

Paul Ferrara is delighted to volunteer as Italian Language Coach for SAS Performing Arts Concert of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.  Paul earned his Ph.D. in Italian from the University of California, Berkeley.  He lived two years in Florence, Italy, where he sang with the Coro del Quartiere 14.  He also performed with the Madison Opera Chorus (Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci) and served as its Italian Language Coach (Madama Butterfly).  In addition, he has served as Italian Language Coach for numerous productions with Amore Opera (Un ballo in maschera, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La bohème, Tosca, La traviata, La zingara).  Paul holds J.D. and LL.M. (Taxation) degrees from NYU School of Law.  He is a Managing Director/Wealth Strategies Advisor at Bank of America Private Bank.

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Maria Giorgio

Coach - The Great American Song Book

Maria Giorgio is lead vocalist and song writer of her band MG & the Orbs since 2011. Her musical forte is in the genres of Blues, R&B, Jazz, and the American Songbook all in her own personal style. Her vocal range is 3.5 octaves and she began studying in the classical Bel Canto style.  During the Pandemic, she appeared on Bernie Furshpan's "Live from the Metropolitan Zoom" and has also appeared in 3 concerts with SAS Performing Arts. Maria has also made special appearance in our production of Alice in Wonderland as a very jazzy Cheshire Cat

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Jonathan R. Parks

Coach/Collaborative Pianist

Jonathan K. Parks is a Manhattan-based music director, vocal coach and pianist, equally versed in musical theatre and opera. Broadway: Chicago. National Tours: Chicago, Young Frankenstein. Regional: Barrington Stage Company, Ogunquit Playhouse, Gateway Playhouse, Northern Stage, New London Barn Playhouse, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Amarillo Opera. Favorite past shows include: West Side Story (New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Musical), Hair (Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Musical), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Colorado Theatre Guild Nomination for Best Music Direction), Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, Gypsy, and Street Scene. He is a proud graduate of Florida State University and is currently on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College.

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Mary Pinto

Coach/Collaborative Pianist

Mary has been accompanying for 25 years and worked as a vocal coach ,instrumental accompanists and vocal accompanist. After receiving a Master's Degree from the University of Illinois with John Wustman I went on to work for the Lyric Opera of Chicago's apprentice Program and coach and accompany for Opera Omaha, Florentine Opera. Augusta Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre and after leaving Chicago working on staff for the Dallas Opera. While in Chicago I accompanied the Met Regional Auditions and played lessons and Masterclasses for Marlena Malas, Edward Zembara, Margaret Harshaw, and Sherill Milnes. After leaving Dallas I worked for the San Antonio Opera and for the last 9 years have been working in New Jersey and the NYC area on faculty as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and William Paterson University preparing recitals, opera workshop and doing vocal coachings. Right now as well as working at the college level I have spent the last year working with famed Soprana Deborah Voight working on preparations for the Met's Ring Cycle of last year and am now coaching a few days in NYC.

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Nick Stamatakis

Coach/Collaborative Pianist

Nick Stamatakis is a pianist, music director and composer who has worked with professional, educational and community organizations, striving to create collaborative environments that foster the exploration, interpretation and execution of music in theater. Credits include work with Pittsburgh CLO, City Theatre, Quantum Theatre, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Carnegie Stage, Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Arcade Comedy Theater and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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Deborah Surdi

Coach/Director/Business

Deborah Surdi, soprano, is an experienced singer, voice teacher and coach, as well as an executive and consultant in the music and concert presenting business.  As a singer, she performed for many years in both local and regional opera companies in the Tri-State area. Her roles include Mimi, Musetta, Fiordiligi, Tosca, Rosalinda and Cio-Cio San, to name a few. She has also performed in Cabarets and American Musical Theater shows and worked with the late Barbara Cook on song presentation and style.

 For the bulk of her working career she held various positions at RCA Records/BMG Classics and Sony Classical, with her last position as Vice President of Artists and Repertoire.   Former Executive Director of The Opera Orchestra of New York, Deborah is currently working in executive capacities with the Martina Arroyo Foundation and The Queens Symphony Orchestra.

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KS Tichina Vaughn

Young Artists Advisor

SAS Performing Arts Concert Opera is honored to welcome KS Tichina Vaughn to  the staff as our Young Artist Advisor,  In that capacity she will give master classes  and advise our young artists with their career development. Grammy Award winning American mezzo soprano Tichina Vaughn has established an important presence among the world’s leading opera houses, concert halls and theaters. In 2023, she began her tenure as a faculty member of the prestigious Indiana University, As an outstanding singing-actress versatile in opera, operetta, musical theater, and jazz, Vaughn continues to gather both popular and critical acclaim. Ms. Vaughn began her operatic career as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program directly after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Ms. Vaughn just completed her debut at the Royal Opera House London as the Witch in their highly acclaimed production of Hansel and Gretel. She returned to the Metropolitan Opera as The Hostess of the Inn in Boris Godunov, Maria in Porgy and Bess, and the first Serving Woman in Elektra. She also debuted with Boston Lyric Opera in Terence Blanchard’s Champion as Emelda Griffith.  In the summer of 2022, she joined the Cincinnati Opera as Amneris in Aida and ended her year in Lyon making her French debut as the Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide.

On the concert stage she appeared with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester at the Lucerne Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival as Maria in Porgy and Bess, as well as with the Landmarks Orchestra Boston in Beethoven Symphony No. 9; and the world premiere of “Many Mansions” by Diane White-Clayton. Tichina opened the 2022-2023 season with Utah Opera as Mary in Der Fliegende Hollander. Further season highlights included Fort Worth Opera as Amneris in Aida and as Monisha in Joplin’s Treemonisha at Opera Theater St. Louis.

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Nick Wilders

Coach/Collaborative Pianist

Nick Wilders is an NYC-based music director, pianist, and vocal coach. NYC/National Tour: Emojiland, Jersey Boys, Smile, The Sound of Music, Medicine: The Musical, musical arrangements and performance for NBC, Disney, and Broadway Backwards/Equity Fights AIDS. He has collaborated on projects with Shoshana Bean, Laura Osnes, Alison Luff, Gavin Creel, and Jarrod Spector, performing at venues ranging from the Rainbow Room to the New Amsterdam and beyond. As a teaching artist, Nick has worked for theatres and schools around the country - in New York, he has worked with New York University, CAP21 Musical Theatre Conservatory, The Growing Studio, Applause NYC, Broadway Classroom and Camp Broadway. He brings a vocals-first attitude as an accompanist, and a focus in pop/rock and contemporary repertoire. Nick is a founding member of Musician Advocacy Group for Inclusion and Change (MAGIC), and graduate of Baldwin Wallace University.

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