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, 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 2022, 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.
Assistant Artist Manager
Rebecca Townsend is an arts administrator and educator with extensive experience in the realm of classical music and opera. She has performed and collaborated with art organizations and leaders across Canada and the United States.
An avid supporter of artistic development, Ms. Townsend is passionate about her collaborations with fellow artists and students in providing them both training and performance opportunities. In addition to her Assistant Artist Management position with Stratagem, 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, patrons and customers. Ms. Townsend also continues to enjoy providing voice lessons to the next generation of musicians.
As a soprano, Ms. Townsend performance highlights include 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. Ms. Townsend performed at numerous 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.
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.
Clayton Edwards is an emerging artistic administrator based in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently an Artistic Intern with Stratagem Artists. With a wealth of knowledge about the operatic repertoire and a passionate love for the artform, he prides himself on being an advocate for the development of emerging artists and advancement of their careers.
Some of Mr. Edwards’ previous performance experience includes the title role of La Clemenza di Tito (COVID), Imam / Reporter #7 in Thumbprint (Sankaram / Yankowitz), The Mayor in Albert Herring, The German Soldier in Tale for a Deaf Ear (Bucci), and singing as the tenor soloist for Brahms’ Ziegeunerlieder, and Byrd’s Magnificat.
A native of Florence Kentucky, Mr. Edwards received his BM in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is currently an MM candidate at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee
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.