2015 Songfest Scholarship Recipients

NYSTA is pleased to introduce these young artists on our website as the first recipients of the David and Nancy Adams Scholarship to SongFest. In the near future, we hope to have audio links from their performances this past summer for your listening enjoyment. NYSTA congratulates each singer on his/her achievements thus far and we wish all of them many years of wonderful singing. 


Lyric tenor Zhengyi Bai possesses a beautiful voice, a voice that has won him praises everywhere in China, and in the US. Born in the Shandong province of China, Zhengyi started taking piano lessons when he was 9 years old and entered Shandong Normal University as a piano major student.  But it was not until his junior year in college that he discovered his true instrument -- his voice.  With a solid musical foundation of piano study, Zhengyi soared to the top in a few short years in his singing. In Shandong Normal University, Zhengyi studied voice with Prof. Fanjian Wei, and is going to graduate in 2016 with a master's degree. Zhengyi has also won numerous awards in singing competitions for college students in China.

When Zhengyi studied with vocal coach Lydia Qiu in 2012 and 2015, Ms. Qiu was very impressed with his musicality and expressiveness. She invited Zhengyi to visit Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he received intensive training from Ms. Qiu, Prof. Timothy Cheek, Prof. Stanford Olsen, and Prof. Martin Katz. In the summer of 2016, Zhengyi is going to immerse himself in learning and singing in Songfest summer program in California.  He is thrilled to have this opportunity to study with Prof. Katz further more, and with all the other master teachers.


Danny O'Neill is currently a 5th year senior studying both Music Education and Vocal Performance with Dr. Stephen Ng at West Chester University. He also is privately instructed on upright bass by Peter Paulsen and on piano by Dr. Theresa Klinefelter. At West Chester, Danny has taken part in numerous ensembles including their Concert Choir, Criterions Jazz Ensemble, Collegium Ancient Music Ensemble, Vocal Jazz, and Wind Symphony. His past opera roles include Pluto from Orphée aux enfers (WCU, 2015); Nerone from L'incoronazione di Poppea (Interharmony, 2014); and Albert Herring from Albert Herring​ (WCU, 2013). Outside his school activities, Danny teaches voice, bass, and piano privately. He also works as a tenor section leader and soloist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Glen Mills, Pa.



Erika Baikoff first began her vocal studies at Fiorello H. Lagurdia High School. Before entering the vocal department of LaGuardia High School, she dedicated her time to ballet and playing the violin, instilling in her a unique musical sensitivity that is now present in her singing. In 2013, Ms. Baikoff was named a national finalist in the Young Artists Competition at the Mondavi Center and a recipient of the Bouchaine Young Artist Scholarship and the Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Voice. In 2014, she participated in the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv and will be returning to Songfest this summer as a Schubert Fellow and recipient of the New York Teachers of Singing full scholarship award. Ms. Baikoff is currently a junior in the French Department at Princeton University and studies privately with Sooyeon Kim and Lorraine Nubar. 


Corey Dalton Hart, tenor, is a native of Asheville, North Carolina and is completing his first year in the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program. In April, Corey sang the world premier of Kyle Gann's cycle, Your Staccato Ways, in New York on a concert with Dawn Upshaw. He has performed as Uriel in Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the American Symphony Orchestra and as Ahasuerus in Handel's Esther with the Bard Baroque Ensemble. In 2014, Corey graduated magna cum laude from Furman University after spending four months studying performance in Arezzo, Italy at the Accademia dell'Arte with baroque specialist soprano, Jill Feldman. He has appeared with the Furman University Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Handel's Messiah and Haydn's Harmoniemesse. In addition to pursuing a vocal career, he has studied conducting and classical saxophone, and is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Eta Sigma. Corey currently studies with Lorraine Nubar.

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