Appearing Dec 9

Kaley Karis Smith

Kaley Karis Smith works as a stage director and assistant director across the country, most recently as the revival director for La traviata at Houston Grand Opera. In 2023, she directed Rusalka at Opera Idaho and La traviata at Opera Delaware and Opera Baltimore, as well as being the assistant director of La traviata, Werther, and El Milagro del Recuerdo at Houston Grand Opera. She completed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh Opera as the Resident Artist Stage Director in May of 2022, where she directed Soldier Songs and The Rose Elf, and was the assistant stage director for the world premiere of Cerrone and Fleischmann’s In A Grove, directed by Mary Birnbaum. Other directing credits include: The Telephone (Pittsburgh Festival Opera), Le Nozze di Figaro (Augusta University), The Crucible and Turn of the Screw (Chicago Summer Opera), Goldie B. and The Three Singing Bears and Opera for the Young: The Elixir of Love (Virginia Opera). This fall, she is teaching Opera Stagecraft at Oberlin conservatory, and returns to Houston Grand Opera in 2024 for Madame Butterfly and Don Giovanni.

Linn Obery, “The Inspector”

Linn is delighted to be working again with The Suburban Symphony Orchestra. He’s been active in community choirs and theatre for over 40 years. Recently he was the Captain of the S.S. American in Anything Goes.
Linn is hot on the trail – sleuthing clues – and will greatly appreciate your help in solving The Composer is Dead.

Appearing February 11

Martin Kessler, Guest Conductor

Martin Kessler’s return to our podium completes a span of more than forty years of music making with this ensemble. During his tenure as music director, the SSO grew in size, stature,and stability, while expanding its repertoire far beyond the traditional reach of an adult avocational orchestra. Besides important anniversary concerts at Severance Hall, Maestro Kessler led the SSO in eight major oratorios with his other adult ensemble, Choral Arts Cleveland. His last concert with these groups was the Bernstein Centennial Concert at the Maltz Performing Arts Center in 2018. He retired from both organizations as Music Director emeritus.

Mr. Kessler was also the Director of Music at University School’s Hunting Valley Campus for 32 years. This position included the conductorships of the school’s orchestra, its glee club and over 30 musical theater productions. Since leaving US, he has also served as an adjunct professor for Cleveland State University’s Department of Music.

In 2005, Trinity Cathedral of Cleveland presented “Life Lessons and Carols–Twenty Years of Original Christmas Carols by Martin Kessler.” For this, and for his contributions to the cultural life of his native city, he received the Award of Achievement for Classical Music from Northern Ohio Live Magazine in that year. He has also received similar honors from the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Beachwood for his endeavors in the field of music.

Since his retirement from full-time conducting, Mr. Kessler has begun a second career as a writer. He has had articles published in Provincetown Arts and ChorTeach, and in 2022, he published his memoir, The Podium Papers with Outskirts Press. He lives with his wife, Joyce in Cleveland Heights and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Marian Vogel, Soprano

Hailed as, “thrilling” ,“surprisingly powerful”, and “bursting with dramatic  intensity” , lyric soprano, Marian Vogel has been recognized as a gifted performer both on the concert and on the operatic stage.  She has debuted in Carnegie Hall under the baton of composer/conductor John Rutter performing both the Mozart Requiem and Rutter’s Magnificat. Ms. Vogel has performed on several occasions with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall and on their recent European tour to Vienna and Luxembourg performing  in their groundbreaking production of “The Cunning Little Vixen”.   Other notable concert appearances include: the complete Egmont Incidental Music of Beethoven, the Requiems of  Verdi, Brahms, Mozart, Faure, and Rutter, The Peacemakers (Jenkins), The Seasons (Haydn), Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4,  Bach Cantata No. 191, La Petite Solenelle (Rossini), Regina Coeli (Mozart), Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor, the Poulenc Gloria, Exsultate Jubilate (Mozart),  Les Nuits d’Ete (Berlioz),  Knoxville Summer of 1915 (Barber), Four Last Songs (Strauss),  Concert Suite from Porgy and Bess (Gershwin), and Carmina Burana (Orff).  Ms. Vogel appeared with the Summit Choral Society in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at E.J. Thomas Hall and in Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity”.  

 Regarded as “resplendent both vocally and dramatically,” Marian is quite at home on the operatic stage and had frequent appearances with Cleveland Opera.  She made critically acclaimed performances as Violetta in La Traviata, Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Micaela in Carmen, Donna Elivira in Don Giovanni and Tosca in Tosca.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer described her as “magnetic” and “ a glamorous and poignant Violetta who responds to every nuance in the score.“  Of La Boheme, Cleveland Classical wrote that, “Marian Vogel’s sparkling performance… ignited the production.“ Her rendition of Elvira’s aria in Don Giovanni was described as, “superlative.”   A versatile performer, Ms. Vogel has performed such roles as Mimi and Musetta (La Boheme), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Pamina (The Magic Flute), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), the Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and a wealth of Gilbert and Sullivan heroines such as  Josephine (H.M.S. Pinafore) , Yum Yum (Mikado) and Patience (Patience).

 Described as “exquisite”, “vocally alluring”, and “irresistible“,  Marian has toured extensively as a soloist, both  in the United States and in Europe.  Ms. Vogel is a two-time first prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and the winner of the Belle O. Morse Young Artist Award given by Cleveland Opera and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.

Appearing April 7

Antonio Pompa-Baldi
and Emanuala Friscioni, piano

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, piano

Born and raised in Foggia, Italy, Antonio Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and embarked on a multifaceted career that continues to extend across five continents. A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France, Antonio Pompa-Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. 

With a concerto repertoire including more than 60 works, Mr. Pompa-Baldi regularly performs cycles of all the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, the five Beethoven Piano Concertos, both Brahms Concertos and many other staples of the piano literature, while also championing neglected or lesser-known repertoire, with leading orchestras around the world.


Mr. Pompa-Baldi appears at major concert venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, and Paris’ Salle Pleyel, to name a few. He has collaborated with leading conductors including Hans Graf, Krzysztof Urbánski, James Conlon, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Theodore Kuchar, Benjamin Zander, Louis Lane, and Keith Lockhart. He has performed with ensembles and colleagues such as Takacs String Quartet, trumpeter Alison Balsom, cellist Sharon Robinson, violinists Ivan Zenaty and Ilya Kaler, and principals of the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Juilliard Quartet.


Among the many stops on his tours, he performed in Vienna (Austria), London (UK), Paris (France), New York (USA), Auckland (New Zealand), Jerusalem (Israel), Kiev (Ukraine), Cape Town (South Africa), Poland, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Spain, and many other places around the globe. 


In China alone, Pompa-Baldi has toured extensively in the most prestigious venues of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and all other major cities, and is a regular returning guest artist at the Lang Lang piano festivals of Shenzhen and Hangzhou.  


Mr. Pompa-Baldi has recorded 35 CDs to date, for various labels including Centaur Records, Harmonia Mundi, Steinway, TwoPianists, Azica, and Brilliant Classics. Among them, the complete piano and chamber music works of Grieg, the Josef Rheinberger Piano Sonatas, the complete Hummel Piano Sonatas, and CDs dedicated to Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Respighi, and Rachmaninoff. For the Steinway label, Pompa-Baldi recorded songs by Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf, arranged for solo piano, as well as a CD titled “Napoli”, which features new piano versions of famous Neapolitan songs, elaborated by Roberto Piana. Among his latest releases are his transcription for solo piano of the Respighi B minor Violin Sonata, and Suites by Debussy, Luca Moscardi and Barber for piano duo. Recorded with his wife, pianist Emanuela Friscioni, this latest album was published with the title “Suite Nothings” by the Steinway label.


Antonio Pompa-Baldi is a Steinway Artist. He is also a Steinway Recording Artist, as well as one of the most prominently featured artists in the Spirio recording catalogue. He is often invited to judge international piano competitions such as the Cleveland, Hilton Head, E-Competition (Minneapolis), BNDES Rio de Janeiro, Chopin USA (Miami) and Edward Grieg (Bergen), among many others. He serves as president of the jury and artistic advisor for the San Jose International Piano Competition since 2005.


Pompa-Baldi is on the Piano Faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he also serves as Head of the Piano Department. His students have been prizewinners in important competitions such as Marguerite Long, Hilton Head, Isang Yun, and Gina Bachauer. He is regularly invited to teach masterclasses in countless Universities, Music Schools, and Festivals in the US and all over the world, and is honorary professor at various institutions including the Beijing China Conservatory, and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. 


Antonio Pompa-Baldi also serves as Vice Director of Education for the Lang Lang Art World organization in Hangzhou, China, and is on the advisory board of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation of New York.


In 2015, Pompa-Baldi founded Todi International Music Masters, where he is Artistic Director and Faculty Member. This summer festival takes place every August in the beautiful Italian town of Todi. It features 15 concerts in 15 evenings, with internationally renown faculty members, and students from all over the world.

 Emanuela Friscioni, piano

Emanuela Friscioni was born in Cantu’, Italy, where she started studying piano at the age of five. She earned a graduate degree in Piano Performance in 1997 at the “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatory in Milan, with full marks, and then went on to study with famous professor Annamaria Pennella in Naples, Italy. Important musicians such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Aldo Ciccolini, and Bruno Canino have also provided guidance in her formative years.


Still in her teens, she had her debut recital at the prestigious “Carducci Society” in Como, of which music critic Maria Terraneo wrote: “Emanuela Friscioni’s depth reaches the true essence of expression and musical meaning”.


Since then, Emanuela has concertized regularly, performing both traditional and contemporary repertoire. Notable performances took place in Italy (Milano, Roma, Como), Switzerland (Lugano), England (Birmingham) and France (Paris-Salle Cortot). In the US, she performed both solo recitals and concertos with ensembles such as the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall, the Canton Symphony, the Tupelo Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra among others. She appeared at prestigious venues under the direction of Maestros such as Carl Topilow, Gerhardt Zimmermann, Steven Byess, and Theodore Kuchar. She played for the South Shore Music Festival in Westport, CT and performed for Boston’s WGBH radio in a live broadcast. 

Emanuela has played extensively in ensembles such as trio, quartet, and quintet with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and other notable musicians. She also regularly performs with her husband, Antonio Pompa-Baldi. Among recent performances, the duo played Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, K365 with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of the Ukraine-Lviv under the baton of Theodore Kuchar. Their performances have gained them many prizes, and wonderful reviews. 

Together with Antonio, Emanuela recorded piano duo repertoire of Schumann and Rachmaninoff on two Centaur Records albums. Their latest CD, released in December 2023 by the Steinway label, is titled “Suite Nothings”, and features three Suites for piano four-hands by Claude Debussy, Luca Moscardi, and Samuel Barber.

In addition to her performing career, Emanuela is an accomplished professor of piano. Still in her teens, she built a private studio in Italy, with many of her pupils there winning prizes and scholarships. After moving to the United States, Emanuela was offered a position as artist-in-residence at Cuyahoga Community College West, where she again met with significant success.

Emanuela was on the piano faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music for 15 years. She is now Director of the Creative Arts Academy at Cuyahoga Community College, as well as founder and Artistic Director of the Tri-C Piano Series, the first concert series in Cleveland entirely devoted to the piano.

Emanuela is a Steinway Artist, as well as a Steinway Spirio Recording Artist. She was inducted in the Steinway Teachers Hall of Fame in 2023.

Appearing May 19 -Young Solost Winners

Cole Flores, Flute

Cole Flores (16) is a flute/ piccolo player from Strongsville, Ohio. He studies privately under Jacqueline Wood, and is part of the Strongsville High School Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of Brian King and Andrew Hire. Cole is the principal piccolo (and alternating 1st/2nd flute) player of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), and also plays flute/piccolo in the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony (CYWS) and Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra (NOYO). Additionally, Cole was selected as first chair flute in the District 4 Honors band and Ohio Band Directors Conference Honor Band (OBDC). He was also a first-place winner in his age division for the Charleston International Winter Music Competition. Cole is very dedicated to his music and is extremely honors to have been selected to perform the Chaminade Concertino with the Suburban Symphony Orchestra.  

Elora Kares, Cello

Elora Kares is a Josephine Valencic Scholarship student studying cello, voice, and composition in the Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music. As a 2022 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award winner, Elora was featured on NPR’s national young artist showcase From the Top, and has been featured on several episodes of FTT’s Daily Joy.

She has participated in the New World Symphony Orchestra’s Virtual Inclusion Artists program, the Carnegie Hall Weill Institute’s National Youth Orchestra 2, and the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Young Composers Program, amongst others.

In 2022 Elora had a guest role with the Cleveland Opera Theatre Company singing the role of Amahl in their production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and she also joined the baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire as a Young Artist Apprentice, soloing in their “Lift Ev’ry Voice” programs broadcast on She has a recurring feature role in Apollo’s Fire’s Christmas program “Wassail!” and she has performed in concert venues across the Cleveland, Chicago, and in Detroit areas.

In 2023 Elora participated in both the Interharmony Music Festival in Aqua Terme, Italy, and the Rocky Ridge Music Festival. In late 2023 she won first prize overall in the Ohio National Association of Teachers of Singing competition in her age category, and most recently won the Aurora School of Music String Competition and the 2024 Promising Young Composers Competition with her composition for string quartet, “Spaces.”

Elora will be attending the Cleveland Institute of Music in the Fall where she will continue studying cello with Professor Si-Yan Darren Li and will join the voice studio of Professor Dina Kuznetsova-Toliver.

Elora enjoys playing the Irish Whistle, and she’s currently working on a multimedia project adding the text of ancient Greek poems to her own original instrumental score of background Irish whistle, cello, piano and vocal melody tracks

Sabrina Kerze, Piano

Sabrina Kerze is a talented 13 year old pianist, she started playing piano at the age of five, learning from her mother. Currently, she is a student of Prof. Irina Nikolaeva. Sabrina’s dedication and commitment resulted in prizes from various competitions starting from her first years of studying, such as Steinway Piano Competition in Pittsburgh and OhioMTA Graves Piano Competition. Recently, Sabrina participated in the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition Young Artists Institute 2023 and was amongst the 10 pianists selected to perform in the Competition Gala concert. Sabrina’s musical finesse also garnered recognition at the Cleveland Pops Orchestra’s Gordon and Jean L Petitt competition, where she won the first prize and will be performing with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall, Cleveland in June of 2024.

Aside from music, Sabrina also enjoys learning foreign languages, ballet dancing, reading, creating healthy desserts, and playing with her younger siblings.

Appearing March 19

Gerardo Teissonnière, piano
Regarded by international critics and audiences as an artist of extraordinary musicianship and rare sensibility since his acclaimed solo recital debut at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, pianist Gerardo Teissonnière brings to the concert stage an exciting amalgam of the diverse and important musical traditions he represents. From the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, Lincoln Center in New York to concert halls in Asia, Europe, North and Latin America, Mr. Teissonnière appears in recital, with orchestra and chamber music performances in concert series as well as in radio and television broadcasts throughout the world.

Concert season highlights include his solo recital debuts in Munich and Vienna, as well as solo and chamber music performances in Italy, in the United States with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, a performance for an audience of twenty
thousand and a solo recital at the Diaoyucheng International Music Festival in Chongqing, China, his solo recital and concerto debuts in Beijing, and all-Chopin concerts in Poland.

Upcoming season highlights include return engagements in Austria (Barocksaal in Vienna), and his solo recital debut in Paris featuring music by Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy in October of 2022. Mr. Teissonnière’s recording of the monumental last three Beethoven sonatas for the Steinway & Sons record label is released March 4, 2022.

Young Soloist Winners - 2022-2023