The American mezzo-soprano, Janice (Jan) Edwards, was born in North Carolina and moved to Georgia when she was 11. She got her first piano at about age 6 and soon became a student of Mrs. Feldmann, who was also the head of the piano faculty at Brenau College. She sang in church and school choirs as a child and always, but contnued studying and playing piano. She got a Music Education Degree from Brenau and then went to Peabody College in Nashville for a Masters in Music Education. She then taught elementary music for 2 years. She heard about Eileen Farrell being on the voice faculty of Indiana University, wrote her a letter asking to be accepted as her student. I ended up with a teaching assistantship at Indiana University and studied with her for two years in the late 1970’s - Eileen Farrell was a big influence on Janice Edwards. After 2 years at IU, she was ready to move on. She did not finish her degree (she was working towards an MM in vocal performance), but it was certainly a learning experience. In 1978, she moved to New York and studied and coached with Daniel Ragone, Elizabeth Cole, Jonathan Morris, Janet Bookspan, Benton Hess.
Janice Edwards enjoys success in opera, oratorio and recital at home and abroad. Her artistic versatility encompasses the principal Wagner and Verdi heroines, major oratorios including George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, Verdi's Requiem, Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, Rossini's Stabat Mater, and various Bach works including passions, masses and cantatas. Her numerous recitals in the USA, Denmark and the Czech Republic range from standard to contemporary.
During her six years in Europe, Janice Edwards appeared with, among others, the Janácek Philharmonic (L.v. Beethoven's 9th Symphony), the Kocice Philharmonic (Gustav Mahler's Kindertoten Lieder) and the Prague Radio Orchestra (G. Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde).
In 1993, Janice Edwards was cast as Fricka in Die Walkure in Arizona Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen, the first-ever Der Ring des Nibelungen to be presented in the American Southwest. She returned to Arizona for the Rheingold Fricka in January, 1996, and subsequently performed two full Der Ring des Nibelungen in Flagstaff in 1996 and 1998. Opernwelt (August 1996) described her Fricka as "an excellent combination of vocal skill and dramatic forcefulness." The Tucson Citizen found her Fricka "a godly queen to pay attention to. With both the full heroic voice to shake the balcony and the dramatic focus to undo Wotan's conniving, she cut a figure of uncompromising authority."
In 1996, Janice Edwards moved to Copenhagen where she appeared with various groups including the Carl Nielsen Quartet and the Danish Sinfonietta. She also premiered a song cycle by the distinguished Danish composer Erik Norby.
Since returning to the USA. in 1999, Janice Edwards has appeared with the New Hampshire Music Festival (L.v. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), Manchester Choral Society (Messiah and Bach Magnificat), Great Waters Music Festival (Elijah) and the Granite State Opera (Peril And Pandemonium - A Wild Night at the Opera and The Mother in Amahl and The Night Visitors). On the latter role it was written that Edwards "had an amazing voice that was able to stir emotion from the recesses of the unconscious." Her Azucena with the same company was "amazingly concentrated, focused and chilling." She has has sung with many leading international orchestras and opera companies, including Arizona Opera, Granite State Opera, New Hampshire Symphony, Connecticut Grand Opera, Kentucky Opera, Georgia Opera, New Hampshire Music Festival, Collegiate Chorale and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In Europe, she has been heard with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre of Prague, Dvořák Summer Music Festival, Orchestra of the State Theatre of Prague, Karlsbad Symphony Orchestra, Košice (Slovakia) Symphony Orchestra, Janáček Philharmonic, Ostrava Philharmonic, Danish Sinfonietta and the Nielsen String Quartet.
Recent engagements include L.v. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Keene Chamber Orchestra, the Pioneer Valley Symphony and the Monadnock Chorus; "Love, American Style - an Evening of American Love Songs" at the Dvořák Summer Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic; Messiah with the Clearlakes Chorale (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire); Berlioz' Romeo et Juliette and L.v. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Portland Symphony; G. Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) with the New Hampshire Symphony; Farewell, Vienna, a play with music based on the life of Erich Wolfgang Korngold with the Willamette Concert Opera in Portland, Oregon; and with Granite State Opera, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Upcoming engagements include Eric Sawyer's Our American Cousin with the Boston Modern Opera Project.
Janice Edwards maintains an active voice studio in Manchester, New Hampshire.