Recently named as one of Canada's 2017 "Top 30 Under 30" Hot Classical Musicians, Canadian-British soprano Alexandra Smither is quickly making a name for herself in the world of old and new classical music.
In May of 2017 Ms. Smither swept the Eckhardt-Grammate National Music Competition, taking home both First Place and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work, Nicole Lizee’s Malfunctionlieder. Her prize includes a nationwide tour of Canada in fall of 2017 in which she will be perform a recital program of contemporary music featuring Canadian composers.
In May she made her Toronto Indie-Opera debut in Opera5’s Suffragette. In June she made her Seiji Ozawa Hall debut at the Tanglewood Festival alongside Emanuel Ax and Bill Hudgins in Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen. The festival also brought performances of selections from Berg’s Sieben Fruhe Lieder with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra as well as a recital of French song, coached by Roger Vignoles.
As a 2017 laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, Ms. Smither will travel to compete in the Marmande International Singing Competition in France at the end of August. She will also travel to Montreal to sing in JAL’s gala concert in November.
In the winter of 2017, she was a fellow at the inaugural Songfest Winter Valley Intensive. While there she workshopped lieder with Graham Johnson, Sir Thomas Allen, and Suzanne Mentzer. February brought a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity under the direction of Pedja Muzijevic.
Fall of 2017 also brings performances with Houston Grand Opera Co., as well as Ars Lyrica.
Roles performed include Esmeralda in The Bartered Bride and Lydia in Second Nature at Music Academy of the West, as well as Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, and Amore in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at Rice University, Valancienne in The Merry Widow with Opera York, and Taumännchen in Hansel und Gretel with Metro Youth Opera. She has performed in scenes from Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie), Ariadne auf Naxos (Zerbinetta), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Così fan tutte (Despina).
An avid chamber collaborator, Ms. Smither has appeared in concert singing Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Britten’s Les Illuminations, Salonen’s Five Images after Sappho, Chin’s Akrostichon Wortspiel, and Higdon’s Love Sweet. She is a member of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Loop38, and was the co-founder of the new music ensemble Hear&Now at Rice University. She was the third prize winner at the 37th Eckhardt-Gramatté competition, one of the youngest vocal finalists in the competition’s history. In May of 2017 her violin-voice duo NORTH/SOUTH (violinist Timothy Steeves) partook in their inaugural tour.
Equally at home in oratorio, she has performed the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Magnificat.
Ms. Smither has spent her summers at the Music Academy of the West, Songfest Mark and Eva Stern Fellowship), and the Franz Schubert Institute (Jean and Aline Chrétien Grant from the Jacqueline Demarais Foundation). She has performed recitals at the Prince Edward County Music Festival, the Navasota Musical Club, and at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, Ontario.
Ms. Smither holds Canadian and British passports, as well as an American O1-B visa.