Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

Sasha Cooke


Praised by The New Yorker for her “fresh, vital portrayal, bringing a luminous tone, a generously supported musical line, a keen sense of verbal nuance, and a flair for seduction,” American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke caused a sensation as Kitty Oppenheimer in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic.

The 2010-11 season brings several notable debuts for Sasha Cooke: with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Edo de Waart in Das Lied von der Erde, with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in Mozart’s Davidde penitente, and with Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in sacred music of Bach. She performs Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony both with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony and with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony; reprises Alexander Nevsky and Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody with the Kansas City Symphony; essays the title role in a concert version of Carmen with the Brazos Valley Symphony in Texas; and gives recitals at the Kennedy Center, Merkin Concert Hall and the University of Minnesota.

Sasha Cooke opened the 2009-10 season of the Milwaukee Symphony with Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony in the inaugural concerts of new music director Edo de Waart. She performed two engagements with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony—Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été, joined Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and made her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde under the baton of Maestro de Waart. She also sang Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Cinq mélodies populaires grecques with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with the San Diego Symphony and Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass with the Kansas City Symphony. A dedicated recitalist, Cooke appeared with the New York Festival of Song at Merkin Concert Hall, at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theatre, at the Wolf Trap Foundation, and in a duo recital with her husband, baritone Kelly Markgraf, at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation.

Previously at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a member of the Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, Cooke appeared as the Sandman in a new production of Hansel and Gretel, broadcast live in high definition to cinemas across the United States and later released on DVD. She made her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in October 2007. Highlights of recent seasons include the world premieres of John Musto’s Bastianello and William Bolcom’s Lucrezia with the New York Festival of Song, Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer at Miller Theater, the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s 2007 Gala at Zankel Hall, and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Mozart Academy of San Luis Obispo. Cooke participated in Seattle Opera’s young artist program, where she sang Meg Page in Verdi’s Falstaff. She has also appeared as the Composer in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Endimione in Cavalli’s La Calisto at The Juilliard School, Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther and Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Rice University and Erika in Barber’s Vanessa with Central City Opera.

In 2010, she was awarded First Place and the American Prize in the José Iturbi International Music Competition, Top Prize in the Gerda Lissner Competition, and the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award. Additionally, Cooke earned First Prizes in the 2007 Sun Valley Opera Vocal Competition and the 2006 Bach Vocal Competition sponsored by the American Bach Society and The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, as well as Third Prize in the 2006 Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition.

A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha Cooke also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Program.

Sasha Cooke

photo Nick Granito

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