Three alumni of the Bienen School of Music have been selected to participate in the 2019 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Intern Program. The 10-day forum pairs experienced and recognized master teachers with talented early career members of NATS.

Bienen School alumni participants include Suna Avci Gunther (07), Erikk M. Hood (G10), and Melissa Treinkman (05).

According to a NATS press release, applicants were chosen following an extensive international search. "The selection committee was highly impressed as it carefully considered the second highest number of applications in the 28-year history of this prestigious program,” said Linda Snyder, director of the 2019 NATS Intern Program.

Soprano Suna Avci Gunther currently resides in Lexington, Kentucky where she coaches at the University of Kentucky and teaches voice and piano lessons for the Academy for Creative Excellence, Bluegrass Youth Ballet, and Central Music Academy. She is a lecturer in applied music at Berea College. Her operatic credits include Pamina (Die Zauberflote), Cunegonde (Candide), Lucy Brown (Threepenny Opera), Madame Lidoine (Dialogue of the Carmelites), and Josephine (HMS Pinafore), as well as several new compositions.

Baritone Erikk M. Hood serves as voice area program coordinator and interim director of opera at Utah State University. Recent operatic engagements include: Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Monatano in Verdi’s Otello, Motorcycle Cop/First Guard in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti), Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Escamillo in Carmen (Bizet, abridged), Cardinal/Priest in Galileo Galilei (Phillip Glass), Ford in Falstaff (Verdi), and Figaro in both John Corgiliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

Mezzo-soprano Melissa Treinkman is a Los Angeles-based singer and voice teacher. She recently portrayed the role of Dulcinea in the world premiere of Juan Colomer's opera Dulcinea XL with LA Grand Ensemble. She sang in the featured ensemble for the Grammy Award-winning production of The Ghosts of Versailles and played the role of the Vendor in Carmen, both at LA Opera. She also was a part of the world premiere of the dance opera, Beyond the Waterfront, produced by the Heidi Duckler Dance Theater and LA Opera.