Catherine Leech, Mezzo-Soprano
Emerging Artists Series
October 22, 2017

Boston Court's Fall Music Series generously sponsored by Elaine Kramer and Al Latham.

Boston Court's Fall Music Series is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.

Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Tickets are free for full-time students with a valid ID and just $10 for everyone else!

USC Thornton School of Music faculty member and Long Beach Opera artist Lisa Sylvester accompanies Catherine Leech as they explore folk songs rooted in European traditions with immigrant influences. Leech will sing pieces from the UK and France in addition to selections from the song cycle Vignettes: Ellis Island connected by original folk song material from Yugoslavia, Ireland, Roumania, Germany and Italy.


Boston Court's Emerging Artists Series is made possible through generous support of the Lazy L Foundation.

Catherine Leech is an American mezzo-soprano specializing in opera, operetta, and French mélodies. Her mission is to explore the profound depths of human emotion and the absurdity of the human condition in order to help people connect with their intrinsic humanity and the divine. The New York Times called her performance of Rosina in the New York premiere of Scarlatti’s Il Trionfo dell’Onore “notable,” and the Examiner has hailed her voice as “sublime.”

Catherine decided to become a musician at the age of 12, packed into the middle of the percussion section during a performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana as a member of the Los Angeles Children’s’ Chorus (LACC). She continues to have a special place in her heart for LACC, and returned to the City of Angels last spring for their 30th Anniversary Gala. Pasadena Star News reported Catherine Leech was the "highlight of the evening” as she "dazzled the crowd.”

Last season, Catherine covered the role of Sarah Osborne in Beth Morrison Projects’ anatomy theater at the PROTOTYPE Festival, and performed with New York’s Utopia Opera in their productions of The Grand Duke and The Ballad of Baby Doe. This summer, she appeared in a series of masterclasses and concerts as a professional fellow at Songfest, working with notable musical scholars and composers such as Jake Heggie, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, John Harbison, John Musto, Amy Burton, Roberta Alexander, Sanford Sylvan, and Suzanne Mentzer.

Catherine has also appeared internationally as L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges at the Théâtre le Palace in Périgueux, France. Other New York appearances include Filli in Musica Nuova’s pasticcio production of Il Ballo delle Ingrate at Le Poisson Rouge, Marta in Opera Slavica’s Iolanta at the Bohemian National Hall, and Suzy in Opera of Brooklyn’s La Rondine.

In Los Angeles, Catherine performed the role of Mad Margaret in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s Ruddigore to great acclaim. Lauri’s List described her performance as “impressive,” “supple,” “comic,” and “strong,” while the Stage Struck Review named her portrayal “just creepy enough.” Catherine also had the opportunity at the age of 15 to become the youngest singer ever to solo at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the premier of Billy Childs’ Voices of Angels.

Catherine recently completed her Masters in Music at Mannes the New School for Music in Manhattan. At Mannes, she was selected to appear in concerts with the Mannes Sounds Festival, Mannes Opera Studio, and Mannes Apprentice Studio, and sang the American premiere of three of Dariusz Przybylski’s Broch Lieder in Mannes Sounds’ “An Evening of Music by Dariusz Przybylski.” Catherine is also a graduate of Yale University and Pasadena’s Westridge School. |

Lisa Sylvester, coach/pianist/conductor, is on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she is a vocal coach and teaches courses in Diction and Song Literature. She is also one of the faculty coaches at OperaViva!, a summer training program for young singers in Verona, Italy. Sylvester has given presentations at NOA, NATS and the Song Collaborators’ Consortia. She has long been associated with the acclaimed Long Beach Opera where she has served as assistant conductor/orchestral pianist on numerous twentieth century operas by composers such as John Adams, Philip Glass, Leos Janacek, Osvaldo Golijov, among others.

An advocate for new vocal music, Sylvester has been on the creative teams for several new works. She conducted scenes from Julia Adophe’s So Donia Speaks in 2016, and was Music Director/ Conductor for Teresa Levelle’s aLtered sTates in 2014. She served as assistant conductor for two world premieres produced by First Look Sonoma: Caliban Dreams by Clark Syprynowicz in 2011 and Daughter of the Red Tsar in 2012 by Lisa Scola Prosek. She has also performed on several seasons of unSUNg, a summer concert series in Los Angeles sponsored by Lauri Goldenhersch, of Lauri’sList dedicated to vocal works uncommon and new

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