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The Warren C. Crandell Annual Recital for Donors

Each year we invite our donors to an Opera Guild recital as a thank-you for making our work possible. We have chosen to rename this event in honor of a loyal donor, 

Warren C. Crandell, whose recent generous bequest in his will has enabled us to continue our grants to opera companies in the region, including Finger Lakes Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, and opera at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Our 2024 Annual Recital for Donors will be held at

Asbury First United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 8 at 2pm.

Soprano Gwen Paker, accompanied by Érico Freire Bezerra will perform.

Not a donor?
Simply click the donate button, complete your gift,  and your name will be on the invitation list.

Click on image to see soprano Jessica Moss perform Puccini's much-loved, Quando m'en vo from our 2023 recital.

2024 Performers

Gwen Paker headshot1 (1)_edited.jpg
Freire Bezerra, Érico_ photo_ Amanda Kes


Gwen Paker is an award-winning soprano equally at home on the operatic stage and in the concert hall. Currently part of the voice faculty at The Hochstein School, Gwen is an active performer in the Rochester area and beyond. She is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music, where Gwen won first prize in the 2022 Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition and the 2019 Eastman Voice Department Concerto Competition.


An avid performer of opera, Gwen made her professional operatic debut as Gertrude Stein in Thomson’s The Mother of Us All with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and has starred in several productions with Eastman Opera Theatre. Highlights from her credits with Eastman Opera Theatre include leading roles like Léontine in Bologne’s L’amant anonyme, Dr. Nora Lear in Davis’s Lear On The 2nd Floor, Eleonora in Salieri’s Prima la musica e poi le parole, and Baker’s Wife cover in Sondheim’s Into The Woods. Gwen’s other credits with Eastman Opera Theatre include Erste Dame in a scene from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, La Chauve-Souris in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, and Laura in Pen and Harmon’s Goblin Market. In addition to her work at Eastman, Gwen has spent several summers as a Studio Artist with various operatic training programs, including Opera In The Ozarks, the German Vocal Arts Institute, and Oberlin In Italy. With Opera in the Ozarks, she performed as Maria in Rodriguez’s children’s opera, Monkey See, Monkey Do and was awarded “Outstanding Performance by a Female Studio Artist.”


Gwen has also excelled as a concert and oratorio soloist, seen most recently as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Floriano, and Hanne in Haydn’s The Seasons with the Finger Lakes Choral Festival, conducted by Eric Townell. While studying at Eastman, Gwen performed Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Austin Chanu. Earlier, Gwen was the soprano soloist in Liszt’s Missa Solemnis with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and Eastman-Rochester Chorus, conducted by Dr. William Weinert. She also covered the soprano soloist in Britten’s War Requiem with the Eastman Philharmonia, Eastman-Rochester Chorus, and Eastman Chorale.


Gwen’s passion for music extends beyond performance, and she flourishes as a voice teacher and arts administrator. In addition to her role as a voice faculty member at The Hochstein School, Gwen works on the administrative team as the Assistant Director of Development. Previously, Gwen was the Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Finger Lakes Opera. In all of her work as a performer, teacher, and arts administrator, Gwen supports diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and is a strong advocate for increased equity and justice in opera.





Brazilian pianist Érico Freire Bezerra is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music, under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Harley. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Rio Grande do Sul Federal University (UFRGS) in Brazil and his Master’s degree from Illinois State University. Érico has been a prizewinner in numerous piano competitions, including the Orquestra Sinfônica de Goiânia Young Soloist Competition, where he performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major. In 2023, he received 2nd place in the 41st Annual Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition and The Barbara M. H. Koeng Award for collaborative pianists at Eastman.


Since beginning his DMA, Érico participated in many music festivals, including the 2022 Toronto Summer Music Festival, and Music on Site.Inc (MOSI) 2022 where he served as Music Director in the opera Suor Angelica. Last summer, he attended the 2023 Aspen Music Festival and School as a fellow in the Vocal Collaboration program. Since 2015, he has served as a staff collaborative pianist at UFRGS in Porto Alegre/Brazil. Érico is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and currently holds Graduate Assistantships in Studio Accompanying and Orchestral Keyboard at Eastman.


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