Artistic Faculty

Richard Zielinski, Music & Artistic Director

Richard Zielinski is known for his innovative programming and versatility as both an orchestral and choral conductor. A passionate and compelling communicator, with an extensive knowledge of classical and contemporary repertoire, he also serves as music and artistic director for the Norman Philharmonic in Oklahoma and is on the music faculty at the University of Oklahoma. Zielinski is in his fifteenth year as artistic director of the Classical Music Festival. He is also a recipient of the Gold Medal of Achievement for his artistic achievements and musical contributions in Eisenstadt as principal conductor and artistic director of the Classical Music Festival. Zielinski has conducted extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the United States including the opening concert for the 2014 International Haydntage with a world premiere of Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten choreographed for ballet. His professional vocal ensemble, the Richard Zielinski Singers, has recorded five CDs of music by many well known contemporary composers.

Xiaocheng Jia, Concertmaster

Xiaocheng Jia is associate professor of violin at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China, a position she has held since 2004. This is her third year as concertmaster for the Classical Music Festival after having served two years as assistant concertmaster. A frequent soloist and active chamber musician, she has performed in recital and concert with many well known orchestras throughout China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. In 2016 she was Visiting Scholar and Artist-in-Residence at Indiana State University, performing several collaborative recitals in the U.S., including with Trio Bella Voce, with whom she recently released a CD recording. She is active as a guest teacher and clinician and was part of the highly acclaimed Orchestra Kids program in Beijing. A recipient of several national violin competitions, Xiaocheng studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing for nine years before receiving her Bachelor's degree (2002) and Master's degrees (2004) in Violin Performance from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. She is also a member of the Chinese Musician's Association.

Brian Kilp. Orchestra Manager

Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Dr. Brian T. Kilp joined the faculty of Indiana State University in 1998 where he is Professor of Music. Dr. Kilp is Principal Horn of the Terre Haute and Danville (IL) Symphonies, a member of the THSO Brass Quintet, and is a busy freelance hornist Brian has performed and presented master classes inn Thailand, Singapore, China, and Vietnam. Dr. Kilp is a founding member of the the Ambassador Brass, which has toured in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. Brian has been Principal Horn since 2000, and is currently Orchestra Manager and Board member of the Classical Music Festival Orchestra in Eisenstadt, Austria. A champion of new music, he has commissioned over 15 works featuring or including the horn. He was appointed Visiting Guest Professor of Horn at the Shenyang and Dalian Conservatories of Music, Visiting Guest Professor at Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University in Thailand, and was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University and Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University.

Judy Stafslien. Collaborative Pianist

Judy Stafslien, is a Coach/Accompanist at Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where she received her degrees in piano performance and music education. Well known as a collaborative artist in the upper Midwest she has accompanied soloists and choral groups throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Stafslien has served as a professional accompanist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing , the Metropolitan Opera District and Regional Audtions, and the Schubert Club Auditions. She has accompanied solo, choral, and chamber works for the Classical Music Festival since 1987.


Cathy Griffin, Administrative Director

Cathy Griffin, has served as the Administrative Director for the Classical Music Festival since 2008 and also serves as Executive Director of the Norman Philharmonic in Oklahoma. She has also held marketing management positions with several major financial institutions in Washington and Arizona. In addition to receiving a masters degree from the University of Tulsa, she has performed with opera companies in Seattle, Phoenix, and Indianapolis.

Martin Karner, Event Coordinator

Martin serves as Event Coordinator for the Classical Music Festival, coordinating arrangements for festival transportation, tours, housing, receptions, along with many other administrative needs that occur throughout the year. Martin is employed as Event Manager at Palais Lichtenstein in Vienna and has also worked as Event Manager for the Fachhochschule coordinate various events offered through the university. He has been working for the festival since 2012 and completed his International Business Relations (BA-degree) at the University of Applied Science in Eisenstadt while working part time in hotel management. He'll be one of the team members at the airport to greet you.

Piotr Szulc

Piotr Szulc, serves as assistant to the artistic director. He resides in Poland where he produces concerts throughout Europe. His work has also included producing and serving as emcee for a variety of events including international tennis tournaments, jazz festivals, artistic tours, as well as a wide range of special events for businesses. He also serves as Director of the International Festival of Choral Song in Miedzyzdroje, Poland and is a member of the Board of the Pomeranian Medical Academy Choir in Szczecin, Poland. Prior to this, Piotr was part-owner of a public relations and advertising agency for 20 years.

Susan Urbach, Administrative and Operations Support

Susan Urbach is a project consultant for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Oklahoma, and previously where she served as Regional Director for 27 years. Being involved with the Classical Music Festival unites both her interests in business and music, having received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma City University. She spent 16 years as a church musician conducting the Tinker Air Force Base Chapel choirs for eight years and several other Oklahoma church music programs. In addition, she worked with MIDI for Kids in their early-stage business development and also produced a CD There Was a Time, Music of Stephen Foster.


Nicole Van Every, soprano

American soprano Nicole Van Every has given over 100 solo performances across the globe, including the United States, New Zealand, Greece, England, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Germany, and Austria. Sought after as a performer of operatic, oratorio, and jazz repertoire, her distinctive warm timbre has been hailed as providing a "stunning feast for the ears." Recent engagements include performances with the Richardson, Texas Symphony Orchestra; the Colla Voce concert series in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Carmina Burana with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with the Fort Smith Symphony; the Polish premiere of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light; the title roles in La Traviata and Tosca with Painted Sky Opera; Brava! Opera Theater in Ashland, Oregon; and Haydn’s Creation in Eisenstadt. She was also invited to represent the state of Oklahoma in the 2021 broadcast of Uniting America, a national concert with artists from all 50 of the United States. Nicole is a winner of the 2020 American Prize in Oratorio Performance, winner of the 2020 Berkeley, California, Community Chorus & Orchestra Soloist award, a Regionals Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and winner of the Classical Singer Magazine summer competition. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Oklahoma.

Kimberly Grantland James, mezzo-soprano

Kimberly James maintains an active performance career, particularly as a concert artist and recitalist. She has performed in concert with the London Sinfonietta, the New World Symphony, the Los Angeles Symphony, and on stage with New Orleans Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among other organizations. Her performance repertoire is quite diverse, encompassing oratorio works by Bach, operatic repertoire from Purcell to Adamo, and concert works by Verdi, Mahler, Ravel, and contemporary composers. She is currently an Assistant Professor on the voice faculty at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. James earned degrees from Texas Christian University (B.S.), Rice University (M.M.), and Indiana University (Performer Diploma, D.M.A) as well as a Certificate in Vocology, National Center for Voice & Speech (Summer Vocology Institute).

Pawel Wolski, tenor

Tenor, Pawel Wolski, is a highly sought after soloist who has performed extensively throughout Europe with more than 30 opera and operatic roles to his credit including Vladimir Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Ismaele (Nabucco), Lindoro (L'italiana in Algieri), Tamino ((Die Zauberflöte), Alfred (Die Fledermaus), Jaquino (Fidelio), Le Remendado (Carmen), and Tassilo (Gráfin Mariza) among others. He has also performed as soloist for many of the great choral and orchestral works including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Nelsonmesse, Bach’s Magnificat, Gorczycki’s Completorium, Charpentier’s Te Deum, C. Frank’s Die Sieben Worte Jesu am Kreuz and a premier of The book of songs by J. Stalmierski.Mr. Wolski is a graduate of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, Poland where he received his doctorate in musical arts. He currently serves on the faculty at Akademia Sztuki in Szczecin and also serves as tenor soloist for the Opera at the Castle in Szczecin, a position he has held since 2008.

Todd Donovan, bass-baritone

Todd Donovan is described by critics as a singer full of confidence, dominating the stage. He is known for his powerful and resonant voice and expressive acting. A highly versatile singer, Todd is sought after as a soloist for oratorio works as well as leading roles in opera and musical theater. A frequent soloist for the Classical Music Festival, his performances include Mozart’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s Theresiennemesse, Paukenmesse, icolaimesse, and Die sieben letzten Wrote unseres Erlösers am Kreuze, Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh: Sacred Service, Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G, Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives and Symphony No. 9, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah. Former Tampa Bay Times critic John Fleming has described Todd’s performances as “rich, passionate and powerful; a solid performer with splendid acting throughout, bringing down the house.”

Contact Us:

Phone: (405) 217-2358
Address: Classical Music Festival, 4721 Lake Front Drive, Norman, OK 73072