Monday, May 21, 2018


Clockwise from bottom left: Christine Steyer, Anna Tonna, Emanuel Caraman, Benjamin Howard, David Katz (with music.)
Thank you to EVERYONE who made our Rossini "Stabat Mater" such a resounding success: thanks to every orchestra and chorus member, every soloist, whether vocal or instrumental, every volunteer, ticket seller, program writer, graphic artist, equipment mover, refreshment provider, communication coordinator, librarian, conductor, accompanist, recordist, or audience member. None of us could have done it without all of us.

Here's a selfie of our very happy Rossini quartet, winners of The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award, after the performance, with music director, David Katz.

On to Beethoven's 9th at Orchestra Hall in Spring 2019—and to other great things before and after! (Check back later this summer for announcement of our complete 2018-19 season!)

Friday, April 27, 2018

ANNOUNCING our ROSSINI SOLOISTS: The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award

Gioachino Rossini
The American Prize is pleased to announce the four winners of the Chicago Oratorio Award for 2018. These artists have been selected to perform as soloists with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and CBA Chorus in Rossini's Stabat Mater on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:30pm, in St James Epsicopal Cathedral, Chicago. The performance will be under the baton of the orchestra's founding music director, David Katz. Stephen Blackwelder is the chorus director.

For ticket information, please visit: 

If you would like to learn how you too can utilize the considerable artistic resources of The American Prize to help identify soloists for your ensemble's performances, please contact: 



Christine Steyer, soprano
Christine Steyer, soprano
Soprano Christine Steyer has distinguished herself as artist of great versatility and is the recipient of numerous performances awards. Christine received critical acclaim for her operatic portrayals of the Marschallin, Madama Butterfly and Violetta. A frequent recitalist, Christine sang concerts of Russian and American music with pianist Philip Morehead and Spanish music with classical guitarist Brandon Acker. Recently Steyer sang for the Cuban Ambassador, the American Opera Society of Chicago, Beethoven's 9th at the University of Chicago, Lady Liberty in Kurt Weill’s Johnny Johnson with Chicago Folks Operetta, Mrs. Croft in Persuasion with Chamber Opera Chicago and a recital of Schubert at Unity Temple, Oak Park. She has commissioned and premiered several new works for soprano by composer David Shenton set to contemporary American poetry. As Artistic Director of Bellissima Opera, she is heading the creation of the new opera Future Perfect with a libretto by Chicagoland youth. Christine is an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Concordia University in River Forest, IL.

Anna Tonna, mezzo-soprano
Anna Tonna, mezzo-soprano
“A born star who effectively stole the show” is how the press describes mezzo-soprano ANNA TONNA.  Well known for her commitment to the music of Spain and Latin America, her performances have been depicted as “...full of charm and magnetism with her dark, compact lyric mezzo-soprano, ideally suited for the flamenco-like vocal flourishes of Spanish music”.  In the role of Ernestina in the North American premiere of Gioachino Rossini's L'equivoco stravagante, she was described as "a mezzo heroine who knows how to sing Rossini" by the Rossini Gessellschaft and as "showing off her warm, secure mezzo-soprano to maximum advantage" by the New York Magazine.  Her combination of a highly developed coloratura with a full, balanced, flexible lower register have guaranteed her acclaim as a lyric mezzo, both in familiar roles of Rosina, Carmen, Dorabella, as well as in the more rare repertoire by Paisiello, Vivaldi, Mascagni, Zandonai and Giordano.  She has sung leading roles with Teatro Grattacielo in Lincoln Center, New Jersey State Opera, Opera Illinois State Opera of Brno (Czech Republic), Opera de Santo Domingo among others. As a solo recitalist she has presented at The Casals Festival of Puerto Rico, Festival Iberoamericano de las Artes in Puerto Rico, Música de Cámara of New York, Festival de Segovia (Spain) among many others.  She can be heard on her new disc release Espana alla Rossini with iTinerant Classics.


Emanuel-Cristian Caraman, tenor
Emanuel-Cristian Caraman, tenor
Romanian tenor Emanuel-Cristian Caraman has appeared with opera companies, symphony orchestras and on the recital stage in Europe, South America and North America. Mr. Caraman has performed with Los Angeles Opera, George Enescu International Music Festival in Bucharest, Miami Lyric Opera, South Bend Lyric Opera, Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, Opera in the Heights in Houston, Die Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie, New England Chamber Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and New Philharmonic Orchestra. Operatic highlights include Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Alfredo in La Traviata, Don José in Carmen, Fritz in L’Amico Fritz, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Nemorino in L'elisir D'amore, and Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Lawrence Budmen of South Florida Classical Review: “In the title role, Emanuel-Cristian Caraman displayed a well-schooled lyric tenor that scaled the opera’s peaks impressively. He brought passionate lyricism to Fritz’s melodic outbursts. His aria of despair at losing his beloved Suzel was imbued with real vocal drama, Emanuel-Cristian Caraman’s high notes ringing through the house.”


Benjamin Howard, baritone
Benjamin Howard, baritone
Previously based in Chicago, baritone Benjamin Howard was marked as a “standout in the huge cast” (Chicago Tribune) as Connie Rivers in the Chicago premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Northwestern University. Howard has sung roles with Chicago’s Main Street Opera in Serrano’s La Dolorosa and Rodrigo’s Ausencias de Dulcinea. Recent roles include Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at Opera in the Ozarks and the title role in Don Giovanni at the University of North Texas. As a soloist, Howard most recently sang with the Abilene Philharmonic, performing Broadway love songs. This summer Howard will be a Young Artist at Utah Festival Opera, singing the roles of Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods and the Sergeant in The Barber of Seville. A Los Angeles native, Howard received his BM at Northwestern and currently pursues an Artist Certificate at UNT, where he completed his MM.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


The Barristers Big Band Benefit Ball is coming on April 20!  This is the most important fundraising event of the year to benefit all three CBA music groups.  Please consider donating silent-auction items (contact John Vishneski at

More information about the Ball, including a link to purchase tickets, is here:

To check out some of our fabulous auction items:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Gioachino Rossini
Deadline Approaching: March 31, 2018
for Classical Vocalists:
The Chicago Oratorio Award

2018: FOUR $500 performance prizes: SOPRANO, ALTO (mezzo), TENOR, BARITONE (bass)

PERFORM as soloists in Rossini's STABAT MATER with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of music director Maestro David Katz in May 2018.

Dress rehearsal: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm at St James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago
Performance: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm, same location

Although the Chicago Oratorio Award is open to all qualified professional and college/university applicants for The American Prize nationwide, it is geared primarily to those who live within comfortable travel distance of Chicago and who can make their own housing arrangements.

Complete information and application forms on the website here:

Friday, January 19, 2018