Founder and President
Justin Werner is an operatic professional with extensive experience in production, education, and artist representation. Mr. Werner is the Founder and President of Stratagem Artists in 2018, which cultivates and represents a select roster of operatic artists through artist driven collaboration.
Between 2014-2018, Mr. Werner was a co-founder and artist manager at Couret & Werner (C&W) Artist Management. Mr. Werner gained his initial Artist Management experience at IMG Artists, where he served as an Artist Management intern.
Mr. Werner was the founder and Artistic Director of New York Opera Exchange (2011–2015), which afforded numerous opportunities for emerging singers, directors, and designers to mount critically acclaimed productions. According to Opera Today, "Artistic Director Justin Werner manages to infect others with his enthusiasm through sheer force of charisma and passion." Additionally, Mr. Werner founded the Independent Student Opera Initiative at Boston University.
A valued advisor for emerging artists, Mr. Werner is a frequent panelist for Opera America's Career Blueprints and Feedback Audition programs. He has presented masterclasses and workshops for institutions such as Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA), Yale School of Music, the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, CCM, Boston University, Fort Worth Opera / Texas Christian University, Oklahoma City University, the University of North Texas, the New York Opera Alliance, the University of Delaware, Opera NextGen and the Seagle Music Colony. In the spring of 2021, Mr. Werner joined the Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal and Mannes School of Music at The New School as an Artistic Advisor in Residence to the Mannes Opera where he will return for the 2021/2022 academic year.
In past seasons, Mr. Werner served on the adjudicating panels of the McCammon Vocal Competition, Talents of the World Annual Voice Competition, MetroWest Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition and Opera Ithaca Competition. In the spring of 2023, he will judge the finals of the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus.
Mr. Werner earned his BM in Vocal Performance from Boston University and his Advanced Certificate in Vocal Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Mr. Werner is also proud to be the chair of the On Site Opera Artistic Advisory Council.
Rebecca Townsend is an arts administrator with extensive experience in the realm of classical music and opera. She has performed and collaborated with arts organizations and leaders across Canada and the United States.
An avid supporter of artistic development, Ms. Townsend is passionate about her collaborations with artists in providing them both performance and professional development opportunities. In the last year, she judged the finals of the NATS Boston Competition, appeared on a workshop panel for the Association for Opera in Canada and acted as a consultant with the Highlands Opera Studio.
In addition to her position as Artist Manager with Stratagem Artists, Ms. Townsend has joined the team at Lenny’s Studio where she is involved with content development for artists and companies’ creative ventures while helping to enhance their connections with audiences worldwide. Ms. Townsend also continues to enjoy providing voice lessons to the next generation of musicians.
As a soprano, Ms. Townsend’s performance highlights included singing the roles of Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Rose Maurrant in Kurt Weill's Street Scene, Diana in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and both the Sandmännchen and Taumännchen in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. She also performed at esteemed institutions including the Canadian Music Centre, Toronto Arts and Letters Club and the Alliance Française de Toronto during her studies.
Ms. Townsend earned her BM and MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from Toronto’s Centennial College.
A passionate administrator and creator, Maria Miller is happy to join Stratagem Artists as the Operations Manager. Maria comes to Stratagem having served many roles in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the Development Coordinator with Classic Lyric Arts for five years. She attended RISE camp with the Crested Butte Music Festival in 2020, receiving training in grant writing and nonprofit entrepreneurship as part of her organization Opera in Overalls, a troupe whose mission is to help young people experience classical vocal music through genre-bending performance.
Maria has extensive experience with writing and design. In 2021, her screenplay Housewife, co-written with Josh Kight, advanced to the semifinals of the Screencraft Film Fund. In 2019-2020, she co-wrote Opera in Overalls' recital series Once Upon A Time that emulated children's play through comedic skits and song repertoire and included a feature recital film with the Kentucky National Association of Teachers of Music, a packet and music video for public schools, a puppet film adaptation of a fairy tale, and a preschool-appropriate pastiche at an outdoor theatre to sold-out audiences. In past years, Maria served as dramaturg and designed lobby art installations for productions at the May Studio Theatre, including Chekhov's The Seagull, Crimes of the Heart, and Anatomy of Gray, and wrote scripts for and programmed elementary school theatre camps and adult acting courses Harper Elementary School in Evansville, IN and the award-winning Market House Theatre in Paducah, KY. A fluent linguist, she also served as a house intern assisting in house management, photographing rehearsals and performances, and teaching courses at the Ruban Vert Théâtre in Aix-en-Provence, and has since offered translation and coaching services for numerous institutions and composers in French and Italian.
As a singer she has performed with Cincinnati Opera including several workshops and a premiere with OperaFusion: New Works, as well as Sarasota Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Opera on the James, and has completed residencies with Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera and the Santa Fe Opera (Covid19). In concert and choral works she has performed with the Hilton Head Symphony, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Coro Volante, Kentucky Music Educator’s Association, Collegium Cincinnati, Taylor Music Group, and the May Festival. Maria received accolades at the Saisons de la Voix competition in Gordes, France for her interpretations of French and American Song, two Encouragement Awards at the regional level of the Laffont Competition, and the Treigle Award in the Corbett Competition.
Maria holds both a MMus and a BMus in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Additional studies include the Mascarade Opera Studio. She holds a French Honors Certificate in French modern art and photography, colonialist Francophone literature, poetry, and translation from the Institute of American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France, and studied French language and history at the University of Louisville Department of Languages and Humanities. She had further undergraduate studies in Theatre Education and French at the University of Evansville. A Kentucky native, she is proud to be an alumna of Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts in New Media.
Social Media Manager
Zoey Preston has performed with many leading orchestras and opera companies including the New York Philharmonic and New York City Opera, as well as recital tours in Europe and the Midwest.
In addition to her operatic experience, Ms. Preston has worked as a social media strategist for several companies ranging from high end restaurants to a children’s book series. Currently an Artist Manager with Stratagem Artists, she uses her marketing background to provide artists with consultations related to brand building and online presence as well as cultivating and supporting the Stratagem roster. She has completed account internships in two top advertising agencies, acting as the main channel of communication between the creative team and the client. Highlights include her time at Big Spaceship in 2017, where she worked on the Hasbro Games account, assisting in the coordination and development of Monopoly: Cheaters Edition. Ms. Preston has also worked on various analytics teams, using her social media experience to coordinate and communicate with influencers on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
In tandem with her work as an Artist Manager, Ms. Preston runs several arts based social media accounts including those of Mill City Summer Opera, The American Traditions Competition, and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, where she helps to creatively innovate virtual seasons and introduces use of digital media to expand audience bases. Drawing from her experience in account work and influencer based marketing, she has partnered with several small business and local restaurants to help turn digital performance into a tangible user experience.
Ms. Preston earned her BM in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music and her MM in Vocal Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.
A native of Atlanta, Jack Canfield has been fascinated by singing as a form of expression for as long as
he can remember - both as a performer and as a listener. He is eager to learn how to best apply his varied knowledge of singing in the world of arts administration as the Artistic Intern for Stratagem Artists.
In 2021-2022, Jack sang as one of Opera Idaho's Emerging Artists as Hannah (Before) in As One, and made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in the opening night concert of the Tanglewood Music Festival. He also was a recipient of the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a year-long travel and study grant, made possible through partnership with Lawrence University. During his tenure as a fellow, he travelled around the world engaging with various indigenous singing communities in countries such as the Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Norway and Russia.
He holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and pursued a Master of Music in Voice at the Indiana University Jacobs school of Music.
ARTIST COUNSEL: CONSULTATIONS & MASTERCLASSES
The art of classical singing is one that demands great commitment, discipline, and enthusiasm. Along each singer's journey arise questions of repertoire, presentation, and career viability. Stratagem Artists is proud to offer guidance to those singers who wish to improve their command of the operatic craft, while also addressing the realities of the current classical industry.
Stratagem Artists is committed to artist development. Justin Werner's experience in artist counsel includes presenting masterclasses for Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA), Yale School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Boston University, Fort Worth Opera / Texas Christian University, Oklahoma City University, the University of North Texas, the New York Opera Alliance, the University of Delaware and the Seagle Music Colony, as well as serving as artistic director / founder of the New York Opera Exchange (2011–2015). In past seasons, he served on the adjudicating panels the McCammon Vocal Competition, the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus Talents of the World Annual Voice Competition, MetroWest Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition. In 2021, he will adjudicate the Opera Ithaca Competition as well as joining the faculties of the Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal and the Mannes School of Music.