Master Classes by David Roode

In 2013, grant recipient and trombonist David Roode returned to Memphis from London to hold a series of free master classes at Memphis area high schools and colleges. IFS assisted with a $2,000 grant. David, accompanied by his wife, pianist Mika Komuro, found the students to be especially curious about life outside the USA. David states that moving abroad was a life-changing experience for him, and he is passionate about sharing the benefits of international exchange.

Pacific Opera Project presents Puccini

Los Angeles opera company and grant recipient Pacific Opera Project presented “Tosca” in September 2014, and “La Boheme” in December 2014. Both were conducted and, in “La Boheme,” accompanied by, grant recipient Stephen Karr. “Tosca” featured a twenty-two person orchestra that moved, along with the audience, from scene to scene.

Stage and Cinema wrote: “Josh Shaw and Stephen Karr have once again put together a fantastic operatic production showcasing some of the finest vocal talent available at an extremely affordable price. Under Shaw’s creative direction . . ., La Bohème has been superbly brought to life in a setting that is faithful to the original, as well as intimately and creatively wrought.”

POP will present Mozart's “Abduction from the Seraglio” in Spring 2015.


A dear friend of mine passed away this morning, Marie Hadji. I met Marie in 2006. That summer, I had the opportunity to study and perform The Magic Flute in Salzburg. I had heard the Salzburg Festival Society gave out scholarships to young singers to study and perform in Salzburg so I thought I would inquire. Marie responded to my inquiry and told me to send her a bio to be considered, and so I did. A couple months went by and I wrote a follow up inquiry. The next day, I received an email from Marie telling me the Society decided to grant me $2,000. I was dumbfounded!! It wasn’t nearly enough to cover the entire trip; tuition, airfare, living expenses for six weeks, but it surely was going to be a great help. As the months rolled by, my finances struggled to improve and I was unable to save anywhere near enough to make the trip possible. I emailed Marie to find out what I needed to do, assuming I would need to return the grant if I wasn’t going to be able to go. She asked me how much more I needed, which was roughly $3,500.

The next morning, I received a phone call from Marie herself informing me the Society had decided to grant me $4,000 MORE!! So, $6,000 total!! I was flabbergasted, absolutely speechless. All I could do was simply giggle from sheer joy, which in turn made Marie giggle right along with me. Being a grant recipient, I was invited to numerous lectures and events where I got to meet Thomas Hampson, Diana Damrau, Feruccio Furlanetto, Valery Gergiev, and senior editor of Nation Review Jay Nordlinger. I was also invited to a birthday party for Count Möy where I met numerous opera singers and European politicians, as well as Karl von Habsburg, head of the Habsburg family (my elbows were red for a week). Marie and several members of the Society came to our performance. I was quite nervous. I playfully said “well, they basically bought a $6,000 ticket; I hope they think it was worth it”. Marie and her colleagues were so delighted and entertained by our performance. I stayed in touch with Marie over the following year and when I was invited back to Salzburg the following summer, she helped secure me a grant for $3,000.

Marie was a delightful person to know. She loved music and opera, loved the conglomeration of German and American culture. She loved seeing people succeed and find happiness and joy in their craft. I owe her so much, she provided me with the opportunity to do and experience some wonderful things that have defined me and made my life a story worth remembering and cherishing. I will never forget her. Godspeed Marie.