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Meet the 2024 Vocal Fellows

March 1, 2024

Soprano Veronica Mak sings the role of Gilda with Regina Opera Company.

They came from all corners of the United States plus Bermuda. Thirty-six singers applied; fourteen advanced to the finals, and four were selected. The Festival proudly welcomes Veronica Mak, Emily Amesquita, Alexi Ortega Chavez, and Lifan Deng.

Veronica MakVeronica Mak, soprano 

Veronica Mak is a Chinese-American Soprano based in New York City. She’s a regular performer with Regina Opera’s seasonal concerts as well as Fresh Squeezed Opera’s showcases. Outside of her solo engagements, she is a member of EnsembleNYC under the direction of Ronnie Oliver Jr. and recently participated in The Thirteen’s Diversity Initiative: Vocal Fellows Program. She also regularly cantors at St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village in New York City. Veronica holds both her Masters of Music & Bachelor of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music for Classical Voice/Opera. 

Emily AmesquitaEmily Amesquita, mezzo-soprano

Emily Amesquita is a mezzo-soprano from Seattle, Washington, who excels in operatic, concert, and choral settings. She currently attends Northwestern University, studying English Literature and Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Karen Brunssen, where she is a member of the Bienen Contemporary/Early Music Ensemble (BCE) and co-president of the university's premier student-run opera company, OPUS. She's been a soloist with St. James Cathedral in Seattle and Roots in the Sky, a choral ensemble based in Bozeman, Montana. Emily is thrilled to spend her summer as part of Grant Park Music Festival’s Fellowship program.

Alexi Ortega ChavezAlexi Ortega Chavez, tenor

Mexican-American tenor Alexi Ortega Chavez was born in Illinois and raised in Atascocita, Texas. He’s set to graduate in June from Northwestern University, where he has pursued a degree in vocal performance under the guidance of Theresa Brancaccio. Throughout his tenure at Northwestern, Alexi served as co-president of OPUS, the university's premier student-run opera company. He has been a member of Bienen’s Contemporary/Early Vocal Music Ensemble for three years and The Renaissance Singers for two years. 

Lifan DengLifan Deng, baritone

Baritone Lifan Deng was born in Shenzhen, China, and came to the United States to study at fifteen. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, with a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and a B.A. in Music (Classical Voice), he is now pursuing his master’s degree in voice and opera at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. Lifan is thrilled to join the Grant Park Music Festival's 2024 Vocal Fellowship program.

The Festival String and Vocal Fellowship provides intensive career training for young artists with the hope of increasing diversity in the classical music field.