Our Team

Joseph Pettigrew | Board President

Joseph Pettigrew has served on the board of Vital Opera since its inception, and as board
president since 2013. Mr. Pettigrew is an attorney with Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP,
working in the firm’s securities, consumer, and antitrust practice areas since July 2006. Mr.
Pettigrew has served as a director or legal advisor for a number of arts non-profits, including the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Choir San Diego and the African-American Music Foundation.

Mr. Pettigrew has been the choir director/organist at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis,
Maryland since January 2016. Prior to that, he served as tenor section leader at Christ Episcopal Church in Coronado, California from 2007 until January 2014. Mr. Pettigrew was an
administrator and occasional festival chorus director for the annual Spirituals Festival held by the African American Music Foundation in San Diego, California. Mr. Pettigrew has sung in a
number of church and community choirs, including the Annapolis Chorale and the PACEM choir
in San Diego.

Mr. Pettigrew obtained his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his B.A. in
the history of art from Carleton College. He grew up in San Diego, California and lives in
Annapolis, Maryland. He loves singing and playing piano, reading, watching baseball and
spending time with his family.

Kelvin Chan | General Director
Kelvin Chan pursues his core commitment to cultivating human connection through the arts as a singer-actor and stage director. Bringing both a wealth of theatrical experience and a noteworthy resume of classical vocal training and performance to his role as Founding General Director of Vital Opera, he continues to interrogate an eclectic variety of theatrical styles and disciplines in pursuit of his ideal of whole-body expressiveness. Those explorations have taken him as far afield as the award-winning physical-theater company Song of the Goat Theatre (Teatr Pieśń Kozła), in Wrocław, Poland, where he was a company member and music director from 2016 to 2018, as well as workshops with New Dramatists, the SITI Company, the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, and Meredith Monk and Ensemble. He has also received extensive instruction in staged violence through the Society of American Fight Directors. Recent directorial credits include the world premiere of Michael Burnham and Zac Greenberg’s The Bradbury Tattoos as well as Zen and the Art: The Music of John Cage for concert:nova in Cincinnati, the world premiere of Wake—Lucia (composed by Leonard Mark Lewis), a dance-opera developed for Harvest Hill Productions in North Carolina, and György Kùrtag’s Kafka Fragments, Part I with soprano Mellissa Hughes for Resonant Bodies Festival. As a performer he has participated in workshops and performances of many new operas, including Judd Greenstein’s A Marvelous Order and Anthony Braxton’s Trillium J, and created both the role of Goong-Goong in Courtside by Jack Perla at Houston Grand Opera and the role of Shi-Yin in RedDust at Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Chan has also performed with the New York New Music Collective, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Ekmeles, Bard SummerScape, One Quiet Plunge, New York City Opera’s VOX Festival, Opera Moderne, Cincinnati Opera, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as Vienna’s Schlüterwerke and Ostrava Days in the Czech Republic. He holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts with a concentration in Opera Stage Direction from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Wei-En Hsu | Board Member

A graduate of the Juilliard School, Wei-En Hsu is an accomplished pianist, organist, conductor, répétiteur and composer. He is now an Associate Professor at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. A native of Taiwan, he received his BFA degree in Piano at Taipei National University of the Arts, and was pleased to be the only candidate at Juilliard selected to Royal Academy of Music, London as an exchange student. Additional trainings at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, and Rutgers University.

Mr. Hsu is the winner of many awards, including the 2010 Los Angeles International Liszt Piano Competition, the Scott Huxley Piano Accompaniment Prize, Major Van Someren-Godfery Prize Accompaniment Award (2004), Ludmilla Andrew Russian Song Prize Accompaniment Award, Sir Arthur Bliss Prize, Distinction Performance Award from RAM (2005), and Sing for Hope Grant for Arts Activism and Community Outreach (2009). Mr. Hsu made his debut recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in March 2008. He was named the Stern Fellow in SongFest 2009. He has served as a vocal coaching faculty in SongFest 2010 and 2011. He is the Founder/Music Director for Pocket Opera of New York, the Executive Director for Metropolitan International Music Festival, and the Artistic Director for More Than Musical (HK). In 2013 and 2017, he is appointed the official pianist in the Renee Fleming Masterclass in Hong Kong. He was elected in 2017 as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) for his contribution to the music profession and community. In 2018, he was named the 2018 NTCH Artist in Residence in Taiwan. http://weienhsu.com

Kathy Lawson | Director of Operations
Kathy Lawson is the Director of Operations at Vital Opera, overseeing all aspects of organizational administration, marketing, fundraising, and artistic production. Ms. Lawson is delighted to manage the logistics to further the company’s mission to build connection and community through the arts. In 2016 she produced the company’s first workshop presentations of scenes from Joshua Groffman and Sarah Heady’s new opera Unfinished in Millbrook, New York and New York City, and she continues to manage the project’s ongoing development. Most recently she served as the Program Manager for Brave Kids Project, an annual international festival of cultural and artistic exchange based in Wroclaw, Poland with the mission of promoting greater understanding and friendship among children from around the world. At Brave Kids, Ms. Lawson was responsible for coordinating all the logistical elements and communication for the recruitment and successful participation of artistic groups. She also spearheaded efforts to develop a comprehensive program logic model and to improve the project’s research and evaluation methods and secured the organization its first grants from the Creative Europe Programme of the European Commission and the International Visegrad Fund. Ms. Lawson holds a B.A. in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought from Amherst College and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. She is especially committed to advancing programs that operate at the intersection of public health, social justice, and the arts. A dedicated interdisciplinarian, Ms. Lawson is also a former professional modern dancer, a massage therapist, and a yoga and meditation instructor.
Elizabeth Robinson | Board Member

Elizabeth Robinson is an innovative and passionate educator and facilitator working in the global public health and development sphere. She is skilled at building networks and mobilizing partnerships to ensure sustainable collaborations, and is adept at mentoring to support individual growth and development through education.

Ms. Robinson currently manages Global Health Initiatives for the New York University School of
Medicine, including their International Health Program that supports medical students to participate in research projects globally. She facilitates workshops for students focusing on social justice, cultural humility, and equity. She oversees two monthly lecture series in global health and several academic courses for medical students.

Ms. Robinson completed her Masters in Public Health at New York University’s College of Global Public Health in 2017, including a research collaboration in Iganga, Uganda on health system capacity for maternal vaccinations. She also received a Masters in Development in 2012 at the Institute for Development Studies in the UK, focusing on poverty alleviation through health and the social determinants of adolescent vulnerability.

Previously, Ms. Robinson worked intensively in HIV prevention. In 2004, she returned from two years of teaching in Namibia, to found Sekolo Projects Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provided HIV educational resources and training for adolescents and teachers in Namibia. She led Sekolo for eight years, living in Namibia for two, and built holistic and empowering curriculum for adolescents, trained teachers, and managed psycho-social support programs for Namibian adolescents.