Elizabeth Peña, Narrator and Co-Director of the Piano on the Rocks International Festival, is currently the director of the Spanish
Language School in Philadelphia. After studying in Cali, Colombia, where she was born, she immigrated to the United States in
1991. Her interest and love for languages took her to a different path. She specialized in the field of languages and became an
expert in teaching Spanish as a second language. With a great talent in prose and narrative, Elizabeth Peña received a proposal to
work with artist Sandrine Erdely-Sayo. In 2010, she narrated Platero y Yo in New York City for the annual NPR conference,
repeating it in 2014 in Carnegie Hall. Since then she has performed it in many different states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
California, Texas and Arizona.
In 2012 Elizabeth Peña, made the recording of Platero y Yo in Texas with pianist/composer Sandrine Erdely-Sayo followed by a
second recording called "Intelligent Series" of The Dove and the Jaguar. With her lyrical voice, she brings words to life and life to
Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, pianist, composer and Artistic Director of the Piano on the Rocks International Festival, began piano
studies at age four and has won numerous prizes across a career that began in Perpignan, France. She continued her musical
studies with Denyse Rivière in Paris and with Christian Manen at the Paris Superior Conservatory where she received first prize
for specialization in solfège. There, she pursued special studies in harmony, counterpoint and fugue. At fourteen she wrote Three
Pieces for Chamber Orchestra that were played at the Chatelet Theater in Paris.
She became the youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Prize at the age of thirteen, and four years later won first prize
at the Scène Française International Piano Competition in Paris. She was also a prize winner at the Ibla International
Competition in Italy.
In 1990 she came to Philadelphia to study with Susan Starr at the University of the Arts, receiving a master's degree in piano and
composition. Her Chicago debut took place at Preston Bradley Hall for the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert in 1999, and in
2014 she made her Carnegie Hall debut. She has played the major repertoire by Poulenc, Messiaen, Bartok, performing as a
soloist, in chamber music and with orchestras in Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, the United States, and for radio and television in
An active composer and recording artist, Sandrine has recorded the integral piano music of Primitivo Lazaro for Randolfo
Records, as well as music by Poulenc, Liszt, Thalberg, Scriabin, Debussy, Christian Manen, and Piazolla. She made the first
recording of Poulenc's early Trois Pastorales (discovered by Dr. Schmidt), that she played at Towson in 1995. As a composer,
she has written a number of works including Platero y Yo for piano and narrrator and the Hymn to Sedona that was nominated for
the American Song-Writing Award. She is also a member of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry and of the Mega
Society. From Bach to Liszt, from Fauré to Yiddish and Contemporary music, Sandrine Erdely-Sayo is an eclectic pianist who
handles a range of styles and emotions with the greatest of ease. She has been described as "electrifying" (Philadelphia
Inquirer), and as "A pianist with idealism, passion and lyricism" (La Prensa, Spain).
A b o u t t h e A r t i s t s
© 2021 Piano on The Rocks
Sara Catarine is a Venezuelan soprano, graduated from Conservatorio Nacional de Música Juan José Landaeta under the
guidance of Venezuelan mezzo Aída Navarro Baldivián. She received her postgraduate degrees from The Manhattan School of
Music, New York (Professional Studies Certificate in Voice Performance), under mignon Dunn’s guide, and the Master’s Degree of
Music (Opera Emphasis) from The University of The Arts, Philadelphia, USA, where she studied with the late Vivian Wagner. She
made her debut in USA with the 1992 Merola Opera program at San Francisco Opera Center, singing title roles in Cimaros’as Il
Matrimonuo Segreto and La Bohème, touring the United States twice with them and a tour with the New York City Opera National
Company in 1997 as Mimi in La Bohème.
Her operatic repertoire includes the title roles in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Puccini’s Le Villi, Tosca, La Bohème, Madama
Butterfly, Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges by Maurice Ravel, Zarzuelas and a wide repertoire of
symphonic works, among them Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder, Berio’s O King, the Requiem masses by Mozart and Verdi,
symphonies by Gustav Mahler 2, 4 and 8; 115 performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, 65 performances of Carmina
Burana by Carl Orff, and extensive repertoire of masses, oratorios and motets by Bacha, Mozart; Stabat Mater by Rossini and
Pergolesi, Jazz, Hebrew, and contemporary music. She has sung under the baton of conductors Giuseppe Sinopoli, Joseph
Colaneri, Helmuth Rilling, Michal Nesterowicz, Michelangelo Veltri, George Cleve, Patrick Summers, Gustavo Dudamel, Carlos
Riazuelo, Alfredo Rugeles, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Christian Vásquez, María Guinand and Alberto Grau, among others. She teaches
Voice at the Universidad Central in Bogotá, Colombia since 2007. In Colombia, she performs constantly with Ópera de Colombia
since 2018, as Marianne in Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”, conducted by Josep Caballé Domenech, and the role of Berta in
Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia de Rossini, under maestro Alejandro Roca.
Anna Rubin’s lyrical and dynamic music has been heard on four continents. Among a variety of chamber and orchestral works, she
has created several pieces which integrate acoustic instruments with live electronics as well as electroacoustic text/sound works.
Her work was introduced on the international stage at the Darmstadt Music Courses in 1982. Among her awards are those from the
Delta Ensemble, Amsterdam, Arts councils in Ohio, New York and Maryland, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the
National Orchestral Association. Recent commissions include those from Piano on the Rocks International Festival (2020 Festival
in Sedona, AZ); Washington International Chorus (2019, Washington, DC).
Her work has been recorded on the Capstone, Everglade, SEAMUS, Albany and Neuma labels. Virtuoso performers have
performed her work including Airi Yoshioka, F. Gerard Errante, Madeleine Shapiro, Tom Buckner, Maris Loos, Margaret Lucia, and
Sandrine Erdely-Sayo. Radio Station WNYC, New American Radio, and the Cube Ensemble are among those who have
commissioned her work. Such ensembles as Nash Ensemble, Da Capo, and Relâche have also performed her works. Nationally,
Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Roulette and BargeMusic are venues in New York which have hosted her performances; multiple
performances have occurred on such campuses as Princeton, California Institute of the Arts, New York University, and Wesleyan
University. Her work has been featured at two New York City Electroacoustic Festivals (2016, 2019) and at several conferences of
the Society for Electroacoustic Music, US (2000, 2002, 2010, 2014, 2019).
She has received multiple residencies at the Brahmshaus, Baden-Baden, the Brooklyn College Center for Computer Music and the
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and received annual awards from ASCAP since 1990.
Rubin recently retired from the faculty of UMBC where she taught since 2002. She gained her Ph.D from Princeton University and
her principal teachers included Mel Powell, Earle Brown, Mort Subotnick and Pauline Oliveros.
|Piano on the Rocks International Festival
Barbara Di Toro, soprano, joins us for the fourth season of Piano on the Rocks International Festival. Her operatic roles have
included Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Papagena, First Lady, and First Spirit in various productions of Mozart’s Magic
Flute, Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, Amour in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, among others. Barbara has appeared in local
musical theater productions as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Tuptim in King and I, Robin in Godspell, and Patti in You’re a Good
Man Charlie Brown. Active as a church musician, she is the soprano soloist and section leader at Calvary Presbyterian Church of
Wyncote, and a cantor at both St. Hilary of Poitiers and Our Lady Help of Christians Churches.
Barbara earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music
and Dance. She then completed a doctorate in Higher Education Administration at Temple while working full-time as the Associate
Director of Temple University Music Preparatory Division. In addition to being on the voice faculty at Temple Music Prep and
maintaining a private voice studio, Barbara’s teaching experiences over the years have included being a lecturer in voice, a music
director and co-producer of musical theater productions and a classroom music teacher at the elementary and pre-school levels.
Barbara recently retired from her duties at Temple and is enjoying time with family and friends. She continues to share her love of
singing with her wonderful voice students and with congregations and audiences like you.
Barbara Di Toro
Sonja Bruzauskas received her undergraduate diploma in Voice, Acting and Dance in Germany where she was born and raised
and her Master of Music degree with Marlena Malas in the United States. Sonja made her professional Opera debuts singing
Hänsel in ‘Hänsel und Gretel’ with the Nordharzer Staedtebundtheater as well as Nancy in ‘Martha’ with the Staatsoperette
Dresden, Germany, where she was under a full-time soloist contract for several years prior to her move to the United States. In the U.
S. Sonja made her debut covering Beatrice in ‘Beatrice et Benedict’ and singing the Maidservant in ‘Simon Boccanegra’ during her
stay as Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera.
Sonja’s repertoire embraces a wide range of operatic roles (Rosina in ‘The Barber of Seville’, Hänsel in ‘Hänsel und Gretel’, Nancy
in ‘Martha’, Beatrice in ‘Beatrice et Benedict’, Orlovsky in ‘Die Fledermaus’, The Mother in ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’, to name a
few), Musical Theatre ( Eliza in ‘My Fair Lady’, Anita in ‘West Side Story’, Mary Magdalene in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’), as well as
Concert (Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Händel’s Messiah, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, St. John’s Passion,
Christmas Oratorio, Caldara’s Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Durufle’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass,
Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and many more). Appearances include the Staatsoperette Dresden, the Santa Fe Opera,
Volkstheater Rostock, Nordharzer Staedtebundtheater, Babelsberger Filmorchester, Bochumer Symphoniker, Baton Rouge
Symphony among others. Recent appearances include the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Da Camera, the Bach Society,
Mercury the Orchestra redefined, the Greenbriar Consortium, the Houston Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Chamber Choir, ROCO
and The Roundtop Institute.
Sonja is also an active and passionate recitalist, specializing in German Art Song and contemporary repertoire.
Sonja has sung and lectured at institutions such as Cal Arts, Vanderbilt, LSU, Rice University, the University of Houston, the
Philosophical Society of Houston, Grinell College, as well as numerous health institutions. She has served on the board of directors
for the Houston Chamber Choir, the Philosophical Society at Rice, the Houston Tuesday Musical Club and the German Center
Houston and Ars Lyrica Houston. She teaches collaborative projects for CSSSA at at CalArts, Los Angeles, she serves as director
for the Theatre Forum at Round Top and is the founder and director of pARTnerschools, a project that connects students through the
Arts to empower diversity and strengthen communities.