Jesse Martins is a conductor, pianist, and voice coach who has extensive experience working with all types of singers from children to experienced professionals.

Since joining the music staff of Sarasota Opera in 2011, he has been integrally involved in all aspects of the company’s musicmaking. He conducted Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (2019), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (2021), and will conduct Donizetti’s La fille du regiment in the upcoming season. Maestro Martins was the Chorus Master & Head of the Apprentice Program during the 2020 Winter Festival and has performed as pianist in many concerts for the company and throughout the area.

As Youth Opera Music Director for Sarasota Opera, Maestro Martins has conducted the world premiere of Rachel J. Peters’ Rootabga Country, the U.S. premiere of Dean Burry’sThe Secret World of OG, Britten’s The Little Sweep, Dean Burry’sThe Hobbit, Krása’sBrundibárand was the associate conductor for the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. He also co-wrote, in collaboration with Martha Collins, and conducted two works for the Sarasota Youth Opera: Raise Up Your Voice – Intolerance Through The Voices of Children, and Let’s Put on an Opera. As part of the music staff Martins was the cover conductor for Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and L’italiana in Algeri, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Eugene D’Albert’sTiefland, Catalani’sLa Wally, and Pergolesi’s La ServaPadrona.

Maestro Martins has worked extensively as a coach in his native Brazil, New Zealand, and now the Sarasota Opera and area.

Natalie Helm joined the Sarasota Orchestra as principal cello during the 2016–17 season. She previously served as a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera Festival Orchestra and as the cello fellow and principal cello of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Helm has appeared as a soloist with orchestras around the country, including the Dana Point Symphony; the Louisville and Colburn orchestras; and the World Youth, Montgomery, and Richardson symphony orchestras. She has performed with the American Contemporary Ballet, the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, and the Yamaha Music Foundation.

Ms. Helm has won top prizes at several international competitions including the Lennox International and Blount-Slawson young artists competitions, and the Kingsville Young Performers Competition; and has appeared on NPR’s From the Top.

A native of Louisville, Ms. Helm received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 and her Artist Diploma from the Colburn School in 2014. She plays on a Raphael Di Blasio cello from 1803.

As the founder of Upward Notes, Ms. Helm’s funding will support the ongoing work and increased outreach of the four-year-old non-profit. The mission of Upward Notes is to bring classical music out of the concert hall and into the community while teaching and fostering well-being for the audience and performer. Through the organization, a roster of over 50 volunteer musicians performs for previously underserved audiences in jails, sex-trafficking safe-houses, foster care locations, homeless shelters, and substance addiction centers in several cities.


Rachmaninoff Danse Orientale Op. 2, No. 2

Widor 3 pieces, Op. 21

I. Moderato
II. Andante
III. Vivace

Grieg Cello Sonata, Op. 36

I. Allegro Agitato
II. Andante molto tranquillo
III. Allegro

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Concert Producers
Elizabeth Borsodi, Rhonda Liss, Joel Leonard, David Feltus,
Cynthia Wolloch, Gary Wolkstein, JoAnne Moran, Brooke Jaron, Wylie Crawford, Adrienne Silverstein, David Saffer,
Helene Crawford, Nanette Stenholm, Felice Yager