Baltimore Concert Opera Announces new Music Director, Staff Promotions and Leadership Changes for 2019-2020 Season

New Music Director Rachelle Jonck.jpg

BALTIMORE, Maryland (February 18th, 2019) – As Baltimore Concert Opera (BCO) continues to flourish, the company announces the appointment of a new Music Director, a promotion, and a retirement. All changes will become official on September 1, 2019, though planning for the 2019-2020 season has already begun with the new staffing model in place.

Rachelle Jonck joins BCO as the new Music Director. Ms. Jonck brings to the company 20+ years in the opera industry as a conductor, pianist and premiere vocal coach. Following her stellar leadership of ‘Werther’ and ‘Don Giovanni’ at BCO in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Executive Director Julia Cooke says “We were inspired to find a way to bring Rachelle closer to the organization, and the Music Director position is a perfect fit for her. A beautiful and dedicated artist with an extensive background in opera and a deep admiration and appreciation for singers, Rachelle is a wonderful addition to our leadership team at BCO. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her.”

Ms. Jonck shares: “I am always looking for projects that are truly singer- and singing-driven. I firmly believe that true emotion originates in the singer’s breath, not from a directorial concept. And the true shape of a phrase stems from the same place - the singer’s breath, not the conductor’s arm. We often forget the conductor and director are relatively modern creations! The vast majority of Italian repertoire was never intended to be conducted or directed. The orchestra listened to and followed the singer and the singer executed the stage instructions in the libretto, bringing the character to life with his own imagination. Baltimore Concert Opera has this singer-driven goal at its core. I am excited to create opportunities where singers can explore roles without external influences — where they can truly make an opera their own. The work I did for two decades at Bel Canto at Caramoor and now continue at Teatro Nuovo is all focused on preparing singers to “reassume” this old-fashioned position of power in the opera house. Joining Baltimore Concert Opera is a next natural step. I look forward to working with the passionate administration of this young company. I know I have found in them new partners in my passion for today’s young singers.”

After ten years in leadership at BCO, Founding General Director Brendan Cooke will retire his current position of Artistic Director this September. Current Executive Director and co-founder Julia Cooke will be promoted to General and Artistic Director.

Brendan will remain involved in the company as Consultant for Artistic Partnerships, and will be named Founder Emeritus. Brendan states, “It has been my distinct honor to watch Baltimore Concert Opera grow over the past ten years. I am amazed at how BCO has integrated itself into the Baltimore community, striking a balance in artistic offerings to provide plenty for both the opera newcomer and the aficionado. The company’s commitment to programming both traditional repertoire and lesser-known operas piques the interest of diverse audiences, an important key to the organization’s growth and success. In this day and age, it is frankly somewhat surreal to me that the little company that started in 2009 with just over $700 in personal funds, now has a budget of $250,000 per year with nearly half the available tickets consistently sold on subscription. I’m proud to have been involved in BCO since its beginnings, and look forward to seeing where it goes next.”

Julia Cooke shares, “Having had the privilege to lead as Executive Director for the past six years, I am now eager to bring my background as a professional singer, teacher and mentor to BCO’s creative endeavors in my new role as general and artistic director. We have a terrific team in place throughout our staff, board of directors and advisory council, and I’m truly excited to lead BCO into its next ten years and beyond.”

About Baltimore Concert Opera: Founded in 2009, BCO presents concerts of complete operatic masterpieces with singers and piano in the intimate setting of a gilded 19t h century historic ballroom. This experience allows the audience to focus on the artistry of the music, and the beauty of the unamplified human voice. All performances are through the auspices of the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund and its Artists in Residence program which is part of its community outreach mission. For more information about Baltimore Concert Opera, to make a tax-deductible donation, or to volunteer, please visit BCO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are deeply grateful for the continuing support of the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund (, creator of the Baker Artist Portfolio, the Maryland State Arts Council, The Citizens of Baltimore County, the Venable Foundation, the John J. Leidy Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Louis L. Stott Foundation, and Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts.

Press Contact:

Nicole Steinberg, Operations Director Baltimore Concert Opera
The Engineers Club
11 West Mount Vernon Place, Suite 307 Baltimore, MD 21201info@baltimoreconcertopera.com443-445-0226