Concert of Famous Opera Highlights

Chelea Guo, Soprano and José Luis Maldonado, baritone with Benedicte Jourdois, pianist


January 20th & 21st, 2025


Winner of the 2022 YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, Chelsea Guo is one of the rare talents equally formidable as both a vocalist and a pianist. Chelsea was also proud to be included in “Classic FM’s Rising Stars: 30 Brilliant Musicians We’re Celebrating in 2022”. An artist who has already attracted international attention as a pianist and soprano of remarkable gifts, her dual artistry is featured in her 2021 debut recording on the Orchid Classics label, “Chelsea Guo: Chopin in My Voice”, which includes beloved Chopin solo repertoire, along with two Chopin songs and one Rossini aria in which the artist accompanies herself. The inclusion of the Rossini aria is typical of many of the concert programs Chelsea offers, which include both piano and vocal works, enriching the opportunity for her audience to experience music in a broader context and displaying the influence that singers had on composers of their time. Gramophone Magazine included the recording in their Essential New Albums and Classic FM featured Chelsea for an entire week as a “Young Classical Star”. The album reached #7 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart and received five stars from BBC Music Magazine, which wrote, “A very fine pianist with a beguiling voice; Here is a rare talent”. In China, all of the major digital music platforms prominently displayed the recording on their homepages. Both WQXR and Naxos China highlighted it among “The Best Albums of the Month”.

Chelsea has appeared as both pianist and soprano soloist with the Moritzburg Festival, the Stamford Symphony with Michael Stern, the New Jersey Symphony with Maestro Xian Zhang at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Sociedad Filarmonica La Coruña, New Haven Symphony, Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra with Michael Francis, and Oregon Mozart Players with Kelly Kuo. Having won a top prize in the 2020 National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami, Chelsea has performed recitals in Florida for the Chopin Foundation of the United States, the Grand Piano Series, and the Miami International Piano Festival.

Additional recent recital appearances have included recitals in Cremona, Italy, at the invitation of the Fazioli family as part of the Cremona Musica and Fazioli Piano festivals and appearances on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase. She has also participated in a live filming in London with Sky TV, which featured a group of young artists chosen by Classic FM as their “Rising Stars for 2022”.

Chelsea’s solo piano performances have taken her to Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as prominent venues throughout the United States, England, Austria, France, Poland, Italy, Spain, China, Japan, and Canada. A guest artist of the Leeds Inaugural Piano Festival, she was also featured in Europe in solo recitals presented by the Mozarteum Summer Series in Salzburg, and in China, in a six-concert tour under the auspices of the Shenzhen Piano Music Festival. Her orchestral appearances have included the Ft. Worth Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Barry Douglas, and the Torun Symphony Orchestra in Poland. Chelsea was honored to be a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang Foundation, a young artist of the Artemisia Akademie at Yale, and a recipient of the US Chopin Foundation scholarships for four consecutive years.

During the 23-24 season Chelsea will make concerto appearances with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Longwood Symphony (Boston), Gorzow Philharmonic (Poland), Orchestra LUMOS (formerly Stamford Symphony), and the Colgate University Orchestra. She will give recital and chamber music performances with the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and will also participate in the inaugural chamber music ensemble of YCA on Tour in performances at the University of Florida Performing Arts and BIG ARTS Sanibel Island (FL). As part of Young Concert Artists’ special season finale performance Chelsea will also make an appearance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in May 2024.

Chelsea’s passion for piano was mirrored by her love of singing from an early age. Having debuted as a pianist with the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra at age nine, she returned in 2018 as vocal soloist under the baton of Maestro Muhai Tang. She has been recognized for her vocal gifts as a 2019 National YoungArts winner, the first prize winner in the 2019 Schmidt Voice Competition, and recipient of scholarships from the George London and Gerda Lissner foundations.

Chelsea graduated with honors from The Juilliard School’s Pre-College as a double major in piano and classical voice, studying with Hung-Kuan Chen, Tema Blackstone, and Lorraine Nubar. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in piano at Juilliard under the tutelage of Hung-Kuan Chen and continuing her vocal studies with Jason Ferrante. She has welcomed the opportunity to be mentored by renowned soprano, Barbara Bonney, over the past five years.


José Luis Maldonado, Jr. was born in Montebello, California and grew up in the city of Whittier. He began his musical studies at age 8 as a saxophonist. He did not begin singing until he was 19 years of age, when he studied Bel Canto with world class soprano, Ann Gresham.​

“In the words of Lotte Lehmann, It is ‘more than singing’; we present our souls to the world through our instrument with words, music and body language. As an artist, I always want to create beauty and profundity through my singing.”

Maldonado has been awarded music scholarships at Cerritos and Rio Hondo College, as well as, California State University, Fullerton. José is a member of the Los Angeles Opera College Advisory Committee and has performed in several LA Opera Masterclasses.  He is a proud member of the professional ensemble, project ERANOS. He was recently the winner of the New Century Singers young Artist Competition and was in Boston as a finalist for Classical Singer Magazine’s Audition Plus Competition.  José has also toured for schools (k-12) across Southern California performing ” Songscapes on Tour,” under the direction of  Ann Gresham. In the Vocal Performance program at CSUF along with his merit scholarship, he received the Jane Smith Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Award and the Opera Award. At CSUF he has performed as Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss’  Die Fledermaus in 2014.  His second operatic role was as Baron Mirko Zeta in The Merry Widow, by Franz Lehar,  in February, 2015. In March 2015, he presented his first professional recital in the city of Whittier titled: “Dulce et Decorum est…” alongside soprano, Kristin Kenaston. In April he performed the role of il Marito in G.C. Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball. Mr. Maldonado went to Italy joining the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in June/July 2015 as a baritone soloist. In April 2016, he peformed the role of JJ Peachum in Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera.  After his senior recital in May, Jose graduated with BM in Vocal Performance from the Cal State Fullerton School of Music. José completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music where he earned a Master’s of Music degree under the tutlelage of  Mailtand Peters.

At the Manhattan School of Music he performed the role of Haraschta in Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and the role of Kalmán Zsupán in the main stage production of Die Zigeunerbaron by Johann Strauss II in 2017. He recently has performed the roles of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, by W.A. Mozart in March 2018 and the role of Don Magnifico in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in April 2018. In July he performed the title role of Falstaff in Falstaff, by Giuseppe Verdi for the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance Opera Festival in New York City. José has performed the role of Poncio Pilatos in the opera El Caminante de Nazaret by Rafael Grulloón with the Mimesis Ensemble in New York City.  He has performed with OperaMaya in Cancun Mexico and the iSing Festival in China in the summer of 2019, where he also sang the role of Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen with the Missouri Symphony.  Maldonado performed La Cenerentola as he reprised the role of Don Magnifico with the Opera Buffs Inc. in December 2019.

He made his operatic comeback after a long pandemic, and also reprised Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with The Opera Next Door in Brooklyn, NY back in May 2021.
Maldonado has been reviewed by Opera News as a “seemingly unlimited baritone”, and he is a recipient of the Opera Buffs Inc. Career grant and was recently awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. He was also a proud member of the  Holland Community Opera Fellowship with Opera Omaha in the fall of  2018.  In 2019, he was a Metropolitan Opera Competition Winner in the state of Nebraska.  In 2020, he was a finalist in the Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain. In 2021,  he won the Audience  Prize in the Opera Ithaca International Competition, and is currently in the Semi-Finals of the Vincerò International Competition as well as a Finalist in the Mario Lanza Legend Competition, taking place in September in Parma, Italy.


Benedicte Jourdois was born in Paris, France. She has worked at Marlena Malas’s voice program at the Chautauqua Institution since 2007, at the Castleton Festival since 2011, and Spoleto Festival USA from 2011-13. Jourdois has performed in numerous venues in Europe and in the U.S., including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, and has worked in major North American opera houses such as the Pittsburgh Opera, Philadelphia Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. She is a faculty member at the Curtis Institute and the Manhattan School of Music. She has worked as a guest coach at the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Jourdois holds degrees from Juilliard, the Conservatoire National de Region de Saint-Maur, the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, and Mannes College. She is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She has been a Juilliard faculty member since 2014.

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