The American mezzo-soprano, Margaret (Meg) Bragle, studied both violin and voice at the University of Michigan before earning a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance and English. She also completed a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University. She is the recipient of several awards. Her abilities as a Baroque vocalist also earned in 1999 an Adams Fellowship to the Carmel Bach Festival. In 2000 she was the winner of the first Young American Singer Competition sponsored by the American Bach Society and The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and was featured at the 2000 Bethlehem Bach Festival. She was named an Emerging Artist by Symphony Magazine in 2005 in the publication’s yearly presentation of classical soloists on the rise. While living in New York City, she was a member of Gustav Leonhardt's New York Collegium.
Widely praised for her musical intelligence, “memorable, raw-silk voice” (Toronto Star), “expressive virtuosity” and “extraordinarily vibrant” singing (San Francisco Chronicle), Margaret Bragle is quickly earning an international reputation as one of today’s most gifted interpreters of early music. Her voice has been described as “gorgeous” (Classical New Jersey), and “warm and expansive” (The (New London) Day). Her wide repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the 20th century, including J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) and B Minor Mass (BWV 232), George Frideric Handel's Messiah, and Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah among others.
Equally in demand for her interpretations of contemporary music, she was featured in the world premiere performance and recording of Toby Twining’s Chrysalid Requiem, and sang in the 2002 Carnegie Hall Festival “When Morty Met John”. She recently premiered Three Songs by James Blachly which were written for her, and John Zorn’s Hermeticum Sacrum at the Miller Theater, New York. She also sang on the Queens College New Music series with members of Second Instrumental Unit.
Margaret Bragle has appeared in Europe and North America with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as with the orchestras of Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Memphis Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Nova Scotia Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony; Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Masterwork Chorus, Tempesta di Mare. She has also been invited to perform at the Breckenridge Connecticut Early Music Festival and the Monadnock Festival. She has collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group in music by Franz Schubert, Antonio Vivaldi, Johannes Brahms and Stephen Foster. Her opera performances include the roles of Dido and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dardano in G.F. Handel’s Amadigi, Amastre in G.F. Handel’s Serse, Speranza in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Ippolita in Cavalli’s Elena, and Elpina in A. Vivaldi’s La Fida Ninfa.
Margaret Bragle’s 2004-2005 season included engagements with Miller Theater, Masterwork Chorus, Tempesta di Mare; Duke University Chapel Choir, Cantatas in Context; and the premiere of James Blachly’s new song cycle. A frequent performer with Apollo’s Fire - the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, she has been a soloist in Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245), and was invited by that group to sing the Mozart Requiem for a recording and national broadcast by NPR. In conjunction with Opera Atelier, she sang Speranza in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
In the 2005-2006 season, Margaret Bragle made her debuts with the Memphis Symphony singing Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria and Mozart’s Exultate, Jubilate; the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for a Bach cantata program; Albany Pro Musica for Messiah and The New Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte. She was a soloist for A. Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Mark Morris Dance Group for it’s 25th anniversary season at Brooklyn’s Academy of Music, Messiah with the Dallas Bach Society, Ippolita in Cavalli’s Elena with the Cornell Collegium Musicum, and Mozart’s Mass in c Minor with the Duke University Chapel Choir. She also gave a solo recital in Salt Lake City.
In the 2006-2007 season, Margaret Bragle made her debuts with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra singing G.F. Handel’s Messiah and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245), Symphony Nova Scotia for G.F. Handel’s Messiah, and with the Bach Sinfonia as the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She was also seen as Dido in the Dallas Bach Society’s production of Dido and Aeneas, and as a soloist with Apollo’s Fire to perform and record G.F. Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Duke University to sing G.F. Handel’s Messiah, and Magnificat Baroque for Chiara Margarita Cozzolani’s Vespro della Beata Vergine.
Margaret Bragle’s appearances in the 2007-2008 season included her debuts with Sinfonia New York in Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, the Calgary Philharmonic in Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai, the Vancouver Chamber Choir in J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Northwest Performing Arts as Ruggiero in G.F. Handel’s Alcina, Firebird Arts Alliance in a staged version of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245) to be released on DVD, the Harvard Collegium Musicum for J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (BWV 232), and the St. Thomas (NYC) Choir of Men and Boys for Copland’s In the Beginning. She returned to Cleveland-based Apollo’s Fire for a Monteverdi program, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem for a program of Bach cantatas, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s St. Cecilia Mass.
Recent credits include the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas in an Apollo’s Fire - Opera Atalier joint production; J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) with the Charlotte Symphony and Apollo’s Fire; and recitals in San Francisco and New York. Other recent highlights include a European tour of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, including performances at the Bachfest Leipzig, the Prague Spring Festival, and the Aldeburgh and Brighton Festivals; debuts with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Houston’s Mercury Baroque Orchestra singing Mitrena in Antonio Vivaldi’s Motezuma, and Les Voix Baroques with Arion Ensemble; Messiah with the Dunedin Consort in France; the premiere performance of a new edition of Salieri’s Requiem in Washington, D.C.; and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s La Maddalena al Sepolcro in New York City.
Appearances in the 2011-2012 season include a debut with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy in Alessandro Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater; a debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in G.F. Handel’s Messiah; Bach cantatas with the Montreal-based Arion Ensemble led by Jaap ter Linden at the Le Festival Bach de Montréal; and a J.S. Bach St. John Passion (BWV 245) in Geneva.
Bragle has recorded Mozart’s Requiem with Apollo’s Fire (Koch), complete works of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani |(including Vespro della Beata Vergine and Messa Paschale) with Magnificat (Musica Omnia), Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine (Avie) and L’Orfeo and Vespers of 1610 (Eclectra) with Apollo’s Fire, Music of Medieval Love with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music (Ex Cathedra Records), Toby Twining’s Chrysalid Requiem (Cantaloupe Music), Anthony Newman’s Requiem (Khaeon World Music) and Copland’s In the Beginning with John Scott and the Men and Boy Choir of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte on their own labels. A recording for ATMA Classique of J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) with Les Voix Baroques and Arion Baroque Orchestra and for Koch of G.F. Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne with Apollo’s Fire are forthcoming.