The Solti Foundation U.S. Announces Exciting New Residency Project with Nation’s Sixth-Oldest Opera Company; Young Conductors Vladimir Kulenovic and Sean Newhouse Selected for Residencies in October 2014 and April/May 2015 with Celebrated Florentine Opera Company

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September 10, 2014

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The Solti Foundation U.S. Announces

Exciting New Residency Project with Nation’s Sixth-Oldest Opera Company


Young Conductors Vladimir Kulenovic and Sean Newhouse

Selected for Residencies in October 2014 and April/May 2015

with Celebrated Florentine Opera Company

Evanston, IL – The Solti Foundation U.S. today announced details of an exciting new pilot residency project with the Grammy Award winning Florentine Opera Company to take place this 2014-15 season. The collaboration offers invaluable opera experience to two young conductors. Each three-week residency will provide private coaching and mentorship from Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Joseph Rescigno, and opportunities for conducting staging/orchestra rehearsals, banda and/or off-stage chorus. During their time in Milwaukee, the residents will also attend all music and staging rehearsals and the opening night performance, as well as other duties as assigned.

Solti Foundation U.S. Award recipients Vladimir Kulenovic and Sean Newhouse have been selected for the mainstage production residencies with the Milwaukee based company.

Penny Van Horn, Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. Board of Directors, stated, “The Solti Foundation U.S. is proud to announce this new collaboration, which provides another important opportunity for emerging young conductors. We are honored to enter into this partnership with the Florentine Opera Company, a stellar organization renowned for its artistic excellence. The experience these young conductors will gain from working with such a distinguished opera company and renowned conductor is truly invaluable at this stage of their careers. We are pleased to offer this opportunity to Vladimir Kulenovic and Sean Newhouse, two talented musicians whose potential the Foundation has identified and endeavored to assist with previous awards.”

Florentine Opera General Director William Florescu said, “We are very fortunate and thrilled to have Vladimir Kulenovic in residence for our new production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman in October 2014, and Sean Newhouse in residence for the company’s new production of Donizetti’s Elisir d’amore, in May 2015 working closely Maestro Rescigno, our Principal Conductor and Maestro Stewart, our Chorus Master.

We are thankful for the dedication and investment The Solti Foundation continues to provide for the professional development of young American conductors. We look forward to working with Mr. Kulenovic and Mr. Newhouse on the Florentine Opera’s productions, as they continue to build their conducting careers.”

Vladimir Kulenovic, a three-time Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award recipient, is the Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony and Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic, and the newly appointed music director of the Lake Forest Symphony in Illinois. He has served as principal conductor of the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan. Recent engagements have included performances with the Beethoven-Orchester Bonn at the Beethovenhalle, Deutsche Kammerakademie/Neuss am Rhein, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Slovenian Philharmonic. Mr. Kulenovic will be in residence for the Florentine Opera Company’s new production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (performances October 24 and 26, 2014) conducted by Maestro Joseph Rescigno and directed by Paula Suozz, and starring bass-baritone Wayne Tigges as the tormented Dutchman, British soprano Alwyn Mellor as Senta in her Florentine debut, bass Peter Volpe as Senta’s father, Daland, Danish tenor David Danholt in his debut as Erik, and mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank as Mary.

Sean Newhouse, also a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award recipient, will be in residence with the company in April/May 2015 for Donizetti’s Elisir d’amore. Conducted by Mr. Rescigno and directed by Florentine Opera Company General Director William Florescu, the original production (May 8 and 10, 2015) stars soprano Diana McVey as the flirtatious Adina, tenor Rolando Sanz as the lovesick Nemorino, baritone Kelly Markgraf as Sergeant Belcore, and bass Musa Ngqungwana makes his Florentine debut as Dulcamara. Maestro Newhouse has held posts as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles.  Recent engagements have included the Vancouver, Phoenix, Hilton Head and California symphonies, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, and serving as Assistant Conductor under Music Director David Angus for Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander.

The Florentine Opera Company is Wisconsin’s oldest fully professional performing arts organization and the nation’s sixth-oldest opera company. Over the past decade, the Florentine Opera has premiered several new American operas. It produced the American premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1999. In 2009, the Florentine presented Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry (with a two-time 2012 Grammy Award-winning professional recording). A world premiere (with a 2013 Grammy Award-winning professional recording) of Don Davis’ Spanish language Rìo de Sangre opened in 2010. William Florescu has been General Director since 2005. Joseph Rescigno, an acclaimed conductor who has conducted more than 50 companies on four continents, is the Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, having served since 1981. Scott S. Stewart has acted as the Chorus Master and Associate Conductor since 1978. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra serves as the orchestra in performances by the Florentine Opera.

(Full biographies on Florentine Opera Company, Mr. Forescu, Mr. Rescigno, Mr. Kulenovic and Mr. Newhouse are attached.)

About The Solti Foundation U.S.
The Solti Foundation U.S. was established to honor the memory of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti and his dedication to helping young artists. Since changing its focus in 2004 to helping exceptional young U.S. conductors, the Foundation has awarded over $284,000 in grants to American conductors (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards. The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually: The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award (also known as The Solti Fellow), and the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards. Among the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $25,000 Solti Fellow is given each year to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger, and includes door-opening introductions, ongoing professional mentoring, and introductions to two of Chicago’s most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  The amount of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards varies. The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. 

The collaborative residency project with Florentine Opera Company is an expansion of the organization’s work to help award recipients further develop their talent and careers.

The Foundation will honor its 2014 Award recipients at its annual Benefit Celebration (taking place on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 6pm at The Casino, 195 East Delaware Place, Chicago, Illinois), some of whom may be in attendance, including Christian Macelaru and Vladimir Kulenovic. The 2014 honorees are: Cristian Macelaru, Associate Conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra, $25,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, and Mr. Kulenovic; Shizuo Z Kuwahara, Music Director, Symphony Orchestra Augusta; Conner Gray Covington, Assistant Conductor, Memphis Symphony; Joseph Young, Assistant Conductor, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Yaniv Attar, Music Director, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra; Lee Mills, Assistant Conductor, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra; Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor Arizona Opera, all Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award recipients,


For more information on The Solti Foundation U.S., please visit For more information on the Florentine Opera Company, please visit


Click below to read or upload attached pdf documents:


Vladimir Kulenovic biography
Sean Newhouse biography


Florentine Opera Company biographies



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