Emerging Artists Series:  Crystal's Featured Artists for 2013

The renowned Music Center of Los Angeles exists as a preeminent leader in its field, much like Crystal Cruises, having fostered the development of arts education and the mentoring of young artists for more than two decades. In continued partnership with Music Center and their distinguished Spotlight Program, our EMERGING ARTISTS Experiences of Discovery® theme cruise brings gifted young performers aboard ship and center stage. Diverse artists at the beginning of their professional career present solo and ensemble performances, as well as up-close-and-personal appearances throughout the voyage.

Each artist is personally selected for this sailing by the Director of Spotlight Program, Ms. Jeri Gaile. In addition to witnessing incredible live stage performances, guests are invited to step into the “working classroom” of teacher and student. Our Master Class At Sea presents an educational and enlightening view of talent behind-the-scenes. Guided by a professional performer and disciplined Master Class teacher for the Music Center, guests witness the elevation of talent via lecture and exhibition. The Master Class At Sea is exclusive to Crystal Cruises, courtesy of Music Center Spotlight Program.

Voyage 3213

TIM CALLOBRE – 20 years old (Los Angeles, California)

Flamenco Guitarist

Tim Callobre, born and raised in Southern California, is the winner of numerous awards for performance on the classical guitar including 1st place finishes in the Spotlight Award in the Classical Instrumental category, the Parkening International Young Guitarist Competition, the National American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Solo Competition for Guitar, and the California State ASTA Solo Competition.  Tim is also the 2011 Silver Award Winner, highest-placed instrumentalist, and a Presidential Scholar in the Arts Semifinalist for YoungArts, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA).  He has performed as a soloist and in a guitar ensemble for First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.  Tim was also a featured soloist and accompanied violinist Joshua Bell on the PBS television show “From The Top – Live From Carnegie Hall.”  He has performed on numerous television and national radio shows, and has performed as a soloist with several orchestras.  Tim has performed several solo guitar concerts, most recently in Kansas City, St. Louis, Austin, and Arkansas.  Tim is the recipient of many awards, including the USC Thornton School of Music Faculty Award. Also a composer, he is also a 2011 NFAA/YoungArts Winner in Composition and an award-winning pianist.  He has had pieces performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is a two-time winner of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. 

GEOFFREY HAHN - 20 years old (Carpinteria, California)


Raised on a rose farm in Carpinteria, California, Geoffrey Clark Hahn sparked an interest in music at a young age when he began taking voice lessons. Over the years, his interest grew to passion and by the time he was in high school, music had become a staple in Geoffrey’s life. During the spring of 2010, he was selected as a finalist in the international Classical Singers High School Competition in New York City.  In 2011, he was a grand finalist in the Non-Classical Voice category of the LA Music Center Spotlight Awards and a semifinalist in the classical voice category.  He was also invited to perform on NPR’s “From the Top” in Chicago.  He was thrilled to find a perfect fit for his strong academics together with his love of singing in a joint program between The Julliard School and Columbia University. One of only three vocalists currently elected to the Columbia University/The Juilliard School exchange program, Geoffrey has studied with some of the most famous teachers and coaches from The Julliard School, the San Francisco Opera, and the NY Metropolitan Opera.         During his first year at Columbia, he was one of the founding members of SHARP, which has become the premier all-male a cappella group. He was also one of only eleven actors chosen for Columbia’s prestigious Varsity Show. In high school he took part in a number of musical theatre productions including Anything Goes (Billy Crocker), Singin’ in the Rain (Don Lockwood), and Footloose (Willard).  His opera appearances have included the Music Academy of the West’s productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia  and The Rake’s Progress, the Santa Barbara Opera production of La Traviata, and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute’s The Music Shop.

SARAH JOHNSON – 23 years old (Los Angeles, California)


Sarah Johnson was first introduced to musical improvisation by her uncle Dale McCabe. When he would visit, he would sit in the living room with his guitar and play along to records. One day, when Sarah was about 10 years old, she walked in with her flute and asked "Can I play? And what do I do?" He smiled and gave Sarah a few notes to play and started to play a 'G' blues. That moment heavily influenced Sarah Johnson's future career.  Sarah Johnson attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for flute performance where she developed her skills as a classical and jazz performer. During her high school years, she was a runner up in the Los Angeles Annual Spotlight Awards, she won First Place in the BEEM (Black Experience as Expressed Through Music), Georgia Laster NANM (National Association of Negro Musicians), William Grant Still, and Jester Hairston Music Competitions.  In 2007, Sarah graduated from LACHSA and began her studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston MA where she was awarded a full four year tuition scholarship. While studying at Berklee, Sarah was placed on the Dean's List and graduated in May 2010, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business and Management. In Dec. 2012, she completed her Master’s Degree in Flute Performance with an emphasis in Doubling Woodwinds at Azusa Pacific University. She also won first place in the 2012 Dolo Coker Instrumental Jazz Competition.  Sarah Johnson has currently been touring across the United States and British Columbia/Canada with the Siberian Surf Rokenrol band “Igor & Red Elvises.” In the band Sarah performs key board, flute, tenor saxophone, background vocals, and lead vocals.

KAREN MORROW (Los Angeles, California)


Stage and vocalist personality Karen Morrow first graced the Broadway musical stage in I Had a Ball co-starring Buddy Hackett and Richard Kiley. Her last performance on The Great White Way was playing the dual role of The Princess Puffer/Miss Angela Prysock in the original Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  Her stage work outside of New York includes the national tour of Show Boat, the opera Die Fledermaus, the musical Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, Follies, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain and White Christmas – The Musical.  Ms. Morrow can be heard on the concept album “Miss Spectacular,” a studio recording of an unproduced Jerry Herman stage work, and she is featured as Martha Watson in White Christmas – The Musical (Original Cast Recording).  Ms. Morrow has appeared in concerts with major orchestras in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Honolulu and The White House in Washington, D.C.  She was featured as a regular guest on Garrison Keillor's popular broadcast “A Prairie Home Companion,” and she starred in the television series “Singin’,” with her peer and friend Nancy Dussault.  They both won an Emmy Award for the PBS special program called “Cabaret Tonight.” In addition to theatre and concert performances, Ms. Morrow is a nationally sought-after Master Class Teacher in the art of musical theatre performance.  She has conducted Master Classes at Carnegie-Mellon; Northwestern; University of Southern California; University of California-Irvine; Pepperdine University; Arizona State University; Viterbo; Baylor; the Kennedy Center and the Los Angeles Music Center. Formerly an adjunct-Professor with the Bolger Music Theatre Program at University of California-Los Angeles, she is currently on the faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy-Los Angeles and the United States Performing Arts Camp. She also conducts a bi-monthly Singers' Workshop in audition and performance skills.

Voyage 3314

CHARLIE ANDERSEN – 24 years old (Anaheim, California)

Ballet Dancer

Charlie Andersen was born in Southern California and began training at the Anaheim Ballet School in Anaheim, California. After becoming an Eagle scout and graduating high school, Charlie received a scholarship and moved to London to completed his ballet training with The Royal Ballet School. He then moved to Denmark and began working with The Royal Danish Ballet in 2006. Charlie has had the opportunity to dance for and meet both the Queen of England and the Queen of Denmark.  He has enjoyed dancing a variety of works and techniques while performing in Denmark. Favorite characters in his repertoire include ‘Lenski' in John Cranko's Onegin,  'Benno' in Peter Martins' Swan Lake, 'Benvolio' in John Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet, and the ‘Pas de Six’ in August Bournonville's Napoli.

ALBA NADAL - 28 years old  (Zaragoza, Spain) 


Alba Nadal was born in Zaragoza, Spain. She began her training at "Olga Roig Ballet School" and thereafter moved her training to Barcelona at Institut del Teatre. She later received a full scholarship to  attend London’s The Royal Ballet School and in 2004 was contracted to dance with "The Royal Danish Ballet." She has danced numerous soloist and principal roles including "Dark Angel" in Serenade (George Balanchine) "Birthe" in A Folktale (August Bournonville) and "The Russian Pas De Deux" in Swan Lake (Peter Martins). Alba has worked with noted choreographers Jorma Elo and Kim Brandstrup, both whom created principal roles for her.  Alba has also danced in the ballets Bella Figura (Jiry Kylián) and Witness (Alvin Ailey), as well as the high-octane role of “Anita" in West Side Story (Jerome Robbins). Concurrent with dance, Alba studies humanities and psychology at the Virtual University of Catalonia-Spain.

TIANPENG YU – 22 years old (Los Angeles, California)

Classical Pianist

Born in Shantou, China, Tianpeng Yu has been playing the piano since the age of four. He became a piano major in Shenzhen Arts School in 2002 with Professor Dan Zhaoyi and Profesor Chen Guangquan as his teachers. In 2008, he began studying in Idyllwild Arts Academy as a piano major with Mr. Nelms McKelavin as his teacher. He has performed with the Poland Philharmonic, the Indonesia National Philharmonic, the Shenzhen Philharmonic, and the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra. He has also held Solo Piano Recitals in Shantou, China every year since 2004.

Lauren Libaw - 26 years old (Pasadena, California)

Opera Singer

Soprano Lauren Libaw has been praised for her sparkling, “bright-toned” voice (New York Times) as well as her “warmth of tone and intensity of expression” (The New Yorker). In the 2012-2013 season, she sang the role of “Lauretta” in Gianni Schicchi for Lidal North at the Norwegian National Opera, The Messiah for the Paris Choral Society, and recitals in Brussels, Florence and Paris. Lauren is the winner of the Harriet Hale Woolley scholarship, which brought her to Paris to join the Atélier Lyrique Opéra Fuoco, with whom she sang roles from “Sesto” in Giulio Cesare to “Zerlina” in Don Giovanni in venues including the Opéra Royal de Versailles, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and Palais de Beaux Arts.  Recent projects in contemporary opera include the roles of “Geraldine” in Barber’s A Hand of Bridge for the Aspen Musical Festival, “Amy” in the European premiere of Adamo’s Little Women in Bruges, the “Sister” in the world-premiere of Schlosberg’s A Country Doctor in New Haven, and “Endymion” in the world premiere of Ash and Sturrock’s Keepers of the Night in Los Angeles, California. Lauren is a winner of the Carmel Music Society Vocal Competition, the Solveig International Opera competition, and the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards. Lauren is a graduate of Yale University, where she sang principal roles with the Opera Theater and was a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra. She won the university’s concerto and recital competitions, the Selden, Blake and Bach Prizes for excellence in Music and the Humanities, and the Sudler Prize for the Arts---one of the five highest honors given by the university to graduating seniors. A native of Pasadena, California, Lauren received her earliest training singing children’s roles with Los Angeles Opera and continued her training at the Royal College of Music, London.  Lauren is a proud citizen of both the United States and Italy.



Francine Kessler-Lavac is former Soloist with Ballet West and Harkness Ballet Company where she performed both classical and contemporary repertoire.  Ms. Kessler-Lavac’s  principal roles have included Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Dew Drop in Nutcracker, leads in Balanchine’s Pas de Dix, Irish Fantasy, Serenade, John Butler’s Carmina Burana and Cinderella.  Ms. Kessler-Lavac can be seen as the partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov on the Baryshnikov Television Special for CBS with choreography by Michael Kidd.  She has been a ballet adjudicator for The Music Center Spotlight Awards for the past ten years and is currently on faculty as Ballet Mistress at Westside Ballet in Los Angeles, California.