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Nanette McGuinness





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Vocalist (Soprano), Liner/Album Notes Writer; Performer

Classical; Spoken Word


Join Date:

22 June 2019

Nanette McGuinness


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Hailed in the press as "magnificent," "passionate," and "compelling" for her "creamy golden tone" and "glorious soprano"  across a repertory that ranges from 1600 to the present, lyric soprano Dr. Nanette McGuinness has performed operas, concerts, and recitals in twelve languages on two continents in over 25 operatic roles. A passionate advocate of music by living composers and by women artists, McGuinness is also the co-founder and Artistic Executive Director of the award-winning contemporary chamber music group, Ensemble for These Times (E4TT).

Her three CDs with Ensemble for These Times have all won Gold or Silver Awards in the Global Music Awards: "Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan" (new music honoring the centennial of this seminal poet, 2020); "The Hungarians: From Rozsa to Justus" (music by four Hungarian composers lost or exiled during the Holocaust, Centaur Records, 2018); "Surviving: Women's Words" (four song cycles by David Garner to poetry by women Holocaust survivor, Centaur Records, 2016).  Erin Heisel in American Record Guide calls "Surviving: Women's Words" "fascinating," writing that "Garner's music is difficult but compelling, varied and harmonically interesting," and that McGuinness "handles the vocal and musical challenges well." Raul da Gama writes about "Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan":

"This recording features almost an hour of poetry echoing with heart-aching emotion delivered in a kind of near-spiritual quietude... The Ensemble’s performance is both poised and haunting, and is raised to a rarefied realm by lustrous and soaring, songful recitatives executed by the inimitable Nanette McGuinness... followed by the disc’s dénouement: a rapturous performance of Milosz’s poem which unfolds with poise and sensual fluidity from the lips of the magnificent McGuinness."

FABULOUS FEMMES, her highly-acclaimed debut CD of music by 19th & 20th century women composers with the Athena Trio, was released on Centaur Recordings in July 2000, and went into its second pressing in 2007.

BENEDETTO VINACCESI: THE SOLO CANTATAS, her second CD, was recorded with the Vinaccesi Ensemble and released on Centaur Records in April of 2013.

A versatile musician whose repertory ranges from 17th century music to pieces hot off the press, McGuinness made her stage debut performing the role of Nino in the American premiere of SEMIRAMIDE by Marc'Antonio Cesti, conducted by Alan Curtis, and her professional debut in opera as "Cis" in ALBERT HERRING with the Berkeley Opera Company. She has sung with the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic, the Società dei Concerti di Santa Margherita Ligure in Italy, and in the U.S. with Mission City Opera, Trinity Lyric Opera, West Bay Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera, Opera San Jose (Opera in the Schools), Pocket Opera, Oakland Opera, Lamplighters, and North Bay Opera.

Her performances include the Mimi and Musetta (La Boheme), Micaela (Carmen), Countess Almaviva, Desdemona (Otello), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Foreign Woman (The Consul), First Lady and Pamina (The Magic Flute), Fiordiligi and Despina (Così fan Tutte), Lauretta and Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Anna (Le Villi by Puccini), Pertelote (Chanticleer by Seymour Barab), First Nymph (Rusalka), and Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors).

Solo concert engagements include Mahler's Fourth Symphony with Thomas Shoebotham and the Palo Alto Philharmonic, Canteloube's Chant d'Auvergne, also with the Palo Alto Philharmonic, Rossini's Stabat Mater and Mozart's Vesperae Solemnes with Larry Marrietta and the S.F. City Chorus, the world premiere of William Ludtke's Christmas Suite with JoAnn Falletta and the San Jose Symphony, JoAnn Falletta, the West Coast premiere of Ned Rorem's Homer, The Lord Nelson Mass with the Solano Community Symphony and Choral Society, highlights from both Handel's and Purcell's Ode to St. Cecilia with the Contra Costa Chorale, and Messiah with the Solano Choral Society, as well as Saint Saens' Christmas Oratorio with the Monterey Peninsula Choral Society.

A passionate advocate of new music, McGuinness premiered Elena Ruehr's Winter Solstice Songs, Laura Schwendinger's Kay Ryan Songs, David Garner's Chanson fuer Morgen, Mein Blaues Klavier, Song Is a Monument, and Phoenix, William Ludtke's Four Songs (soprano and guitar) Trees (clarinet, guitar, and soprano), Li Bai Songs (soprano, flute and string trio), and Three Songs (soprano and piano). She was soprano soloist for the San Lorenzo Community Church's Sing-it-Yourself Messiah for a number of years, and she also covered the soprano soloists of the 1990-1 season of the Berkeley Symphony (conducted by Kent Nagano), the highlight of which was the West Coast premiere of the Suite from Messiaen's St. Francois d'Assise.

McGuinness has concertized in Europe, throughout California and on the East Coast. She is the co-founder and Artistic Executive Director of the award-winning contemporary classical chamber music group, Ensemble for These Times.

McGuinness began her musical education at the organ, adding piano, musicological, and vocal studies while at Cornell University. She received a MM in voice from Holy Names University and a PhD (specializing in musicology) from U.C. Berkeley. Her principal voice teachers have been Jane Randolph, Elizabeth Mannion, Julia Monroe, Vicky Van Dewark, and Diane Gilfether.

She was a semifinalist in the 2007 International Opera Singer Competition and won First Prize at the Martinez Opera Competition and the Santa Clara University Art Song Festival Competition. She maintains a private voice studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a member of MTAC and NATS.

Nanette McGuinness

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