Our Staff

Ben Bernstein, PhD (coach, director) is a composer for opera, a stage director, an acting teacher for singers, and a performance psychologist. Trained by Viola Spolin, he was Gian Carlo Menotti’s assistant at the American Opera Center in New York. Ben has staged premiere productions of new operas and has coached singers throughout the U.S. and abroad. He has conducted master classes and directed at the Sundance Institute, the San Francisco Opera, the Juilliard School, the American Opera Center, and has been a presenter at conferences worldwide. He speaks nationally on the subject of stress and performance. As a composer, he  received commissioning  grants for his one act opera, “The Man in the Mirror,” which had a  successful premiere at the American Handel Festival in Seattle in March 2011. In 2013 he received a grant to compose and produce “My Make Up,” the second act of his cycle titled “The Messiah Complex.” His award-winning settings for “The Song of Songs” have been performed around the country. His three books, “Test Success! How to Be Calm, Confident and Focused on Any Test,” and “Stressed Out! for Teens” and “Stressed Out! for Parents” are receiving international attention.

Darryl Cooper (coach, pianist) is currently the Assistant Music Director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is also on the faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. He has also been a member of the opera and coaching faculties of the Boston Conservatory, Boston University Theater Institute, Crittenden Opera Studio, Chautauqua Opera, Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute, and an Artist-in-Residence in Theater Arts at Brandeis University He has prepared numerous professional and workshop productions in the Bay Area, New England, and Italy. He is an active recital partner, and has been heard on WGBH radio in Boston. Mr. Cooper is also available for individual coaching.

Kathy Cathcart (coach) served for many years as Music Director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her principal opera teacher was Boris Goldovsky, for whom she also worked for eight years. Ms. Cathcart was formerly the Director of Musical Studies for the San Francisco Opera Center, where she supervised the artistic development of singers in the Merola Opera Program, the Alder Fellowship Program and Western Opera Theater national tours. She served on the musical staff of the Cologne Opera and the San Francisco Opera as well as several smaller American companies. As a conductor, her résumé includes appearances in Europe, South America and the United States.

Donald Sosin (composer, pianist) has 35 years of experience as a conductor, coach, accompanist and composer. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music and Columbia University, he was formerly music director of Opera Theater of Long Island. His opera ESTHER was featured on New York’s WQXR and had several New York productions. In 2007 Donald arranged and performed music for the silent film “The Life of Richard Wagner” for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers program. He accompanied lessons for Jan de Gaetani in Aspen, and has played for Marni Nixon and Caroline Worra. In New York he has conducted and/or played for a wide variety of opera and musical theater productions and has performed at the National Gallery, BAM, Lincoln Center, the Seattle Film Festival, and summer festivals in Berlin, Bologna and at Bard College.