Noted for her ‘powerful flair’ and ‘elegant exactitude’, conductor HANNAH SCHNEIDER is the founder and music director of Oxford Alternative Orchestra. She began her musical career in violin performance at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in the studio of Vladimir Ivanov and Alyena Chvertok. Turning her attention to conducting, she was mentored by Valery Gergiev while working as his personal assistant at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2016, she was elected as a Rhodes Scholar and moved to the UK, where she earned a master’s degree in music from the University of Oxford, and also won the conducting competition which awarded her the music directorship of Oxford University Philharmonia for 2017-2018. In her first year in Oxford, she founded Oxford Alternative Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to exploring the intersection of new music, social impact, and marginalised communities. Acclaimed for its ‘norm-defying performance contexts’, the orchestra has given charity performances across Oxfordshire and on tour in Scotland. Schneider is an avid conductor of opera, and has recently conducted the Oxford premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Corridor with 472 productions, and Verdi’s La Traviata. Highlights of the upcoming season include debut performances with the Maykop Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia), the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Ballet Hartford (USA), Lviv-INSO Orchestra (Ukraine), and two collaborations with The People's Opera: Mozart's Don Giovanni and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, as well as concerts with Oxford Alternative Orchestra. Schneider is currently pursuing a doctorate in music at the University of Oxford, specialising in Soviet Opera.
Caleb Mitchell was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where he received early ballet training at the age of 16 under Rose Marie Floyd. After graduating cum laude in 1998 with a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona, Caleb joined the Houston Ballet under Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.-emeritus and later Stanton Welch, artistic director. During his tenure with Houston Ballet (1998-2007), Mr. Mitchell performed many featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., Glen Tetley, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Christopher Bruce, Ronald Hynd, Lila York, Natalie Weir, Julia Adams, Trey McIntyre, StantonWelch, James Kudelka, and David Parsons. In 2007, Caleb was awarded a Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship (Helen Russell Scholar)at the University Of California- Irvine. While pursuing his degree at UCI, Caleb danced in featured roles by Professor Jodie Gates (Joffery Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet) and William Forsythe. In June 2009, Mr. Mitchell received a MFA in dance, and soon after became full-time dance faculty at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. Currently, at Belhaven University, Mr. Mitchell serves as *tenured Assistant Professor of Dance. Guest teaching and choreographic projects include works set on Neos Dance Company, Hosannah Sacred Arts, dancers from the Houston Ballet, Houston Ballet II, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Ad Deum Dance Company, Le Lien Ballet Theater, Masterworks Art Festival, and University of California, Irvine. He has also served as guest faculty teacher for the Cecchetti SummerInternational Festival at Hope College and Elvis Cirque du Soliel. During his tenure at UCI, Mr. Mitchell was Ballet Master for Professor David Allen (former National Ballet of Canada, Diamond Project), and in 2008 was awarded the Medici scholar grant to do choreographic research with world renowned choreographer Alonzo King (Lines Ballet)and Jacopo Godani (Frankfurt Ballet) for his thesis. Caleb’srecent choreographic project "Sanctuary", a world premiere, was a collaborative with world renowned choreographer Dr. Donald McKayle and performed by the Etude Dance Ensemble and the UCI Symphony Orchestra at UCI Irvine in April 2009. Creations and guest teaching also include SERPA (2013), Adelphi University, Dance Arts Conservatory, Uptown Dance Company, Brigham Young University, and Southern Methodist University.
Born in California, Leyna Doran began her ballet training at the age of twelve at a local studio on scholarship. At fourteen, she was selected to be privately coached by a former dancer of American Ballet Theatre, Christina (Gibbs) Lyon. Under Lyon’s tutelage, Doran attended American Ballet Theater’s Detroit Summer Intensive (2006) and Kirov Academy of Ballet’s Summer Intensive (2008). A generous sponsorship to attend these intensives was provided by David Howard. In 2009, Doran was hired by the Crystal Cathedral to perform as a dancer in the Glory of Christmas productions. From 2006-2010, Doran founded and directed a small troupe of dancers, called Rejoice Ballet Troupe, which ministered to nearby nursing homes and churches. Most recently, Doran received further training and dance education at Belhaven University where she graduated in 2014 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Here she studied under the instruction of Laura Morton, Caleb Mitchell, and Ravenna Tucker. She was awarded the Bezalel Award (2010) and the Daniel Award (2014) and represented the university at two American College Dance Festival Associations (ACDFA). In 2012, she accompanied a group of Belhaven students and faculty to perform and host outreach events in South Korea.
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