Desiree Hassler and Brian Lee

Desiree Hassler with Brian Lee

April 13, 2018

8 p.m. | Phillips Recital Hall

Desiree Hassler, soprano

In addition to singing in the full-time chorus at Lyric Opera of Chicago, soprano Desirée Hassler has sung and covered roles at Lyric in Tannhäuser, Oklahoma!, Manon, Macbeth, Boris Godunov, Show Boat, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier. Recent performances include Bach’s B Minor mass with Chicago Bach Project (John Nelson, conductor), Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata with the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, Ellen in Oklahoma! at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kondja in The Rose of Stambul with Chicago Folks Operetta, soprano soloist in the Brahms Requiem (Los Angeles, CA), Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with the Prairie Ensemble, Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, as well as Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with the Wichita Symphony.

A California native, Desirée has successfully competed from the regional to International levels at the Bel Canto Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, International Franz Liszt Competition and is the recipient of many distinguished awards. The soprano is musically curious and stylistically flexible, and enjoys performing music from the Renaissance to the 21st century— in recital, concert, opera and performance art mediums. Her voice can be heard on everything from commercial and film soundtracks, to oratorio, opera and operetta and even progressive heavy metal albums.

Hassler graduated in 2011 with a doctorate in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she completed a master's degree in 2003. Dr. Hassler has served on the faculties of Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently serves on the voice faculty of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL where she teaches voice and music history courses. Her voice studio is happily comprised of students singing classical, jazz, rock, musical theatre, original compositions and everything in between! 

When she’s not doing lip trills or drinking coffee, Desirée is likely gardening or riding bikes with her super-husband Dan and four perfectly quirky children in Oak Park, IL.


Pianist. Professor. Parent. Brian Lee has given solo performances in venues such as the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Bargemusic in New York City, concert halls across China, and his son’s pre-school class. A soloist with professional and community orchestras, he has also given premieres of works by American composers such as Gunther Schuller, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Alex Freeman. His recording of Freeman’s Piano Sonata is part of the critically acclaimed “Inner Voice” album on Albany Records, and a solo album of works by Brahms was recently released by Blue Griffin Recording.

But what Brian has found as enjoyable as being a soloist, is having had the opportunity to make music with others. He has collaborated with many accomplished artists, including cellist Joel Krosnick of the Juilliard String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Emily Lodine, and regularly performs with well-known Chicago musicians such as violinist David Taylor, flutist Lyon Leifer, and pianist William Phemister. His collaborative performances have been featured on “Live from WFMT”, and many recital series ranging from concert halls, churches, and retirement communities.

Brian is a dedicated educator, in large part due to his parents, teachers, friends and family that have encouraged and inspired him. Brian is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Piano Studies at Moody Bible Institute, where he teaches remarkable students, works with wonderful colleagues. He has also served on the faculties of Northwestern College, Wheaton College, and has been invited as a guest artist, adjudicator and masterclass teacher at many educational institutions, competitions and festivals. He is a graduate of Wheaton, New England Conservatory, and The Juilliard School, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. A native of Canada, Brian was born in Seoul, South Korea and loves Korean food to this day. He and his wife Helen, an accomplished writer and editor, have three children who make their lives more crazy and wonderful. You can find Brian online ("brianleepianist") on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

General Admission $20 | seniors $15 | Groups and Students $10
Free admission for children 12 and under

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