The American mezzo-soprano, Juliana Gondek, began her musical training on the piano and violin, and starting singing Broadway musicals in middle school. Her first musical career was as a professional violinist while earning BM and MM degrees in Voice Performance "magna cum laude" from the University of Southern California. She embarked on her international singing career after winning back-to-back Gold Medals in the Geneva International Competition (1983; unanimous Gold Medal) and the Barcelona "Francisco Viñas" International Competition. This same year she won the Prix Patek Philippe and "Musical America's Young Artist of the Year.
Juliana Gondek has performed in the world's most celebrated opera houses, concert halls, and festivals throughout an over-30-year international singing career. She has collaborated with such musical luminaries as Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Rudolf Serkin, James Levine, Carlos Kleiber, and Yehudi Menuhin. She has performed leading operatic roles at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, the Netherlands Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, the Göttingen and Halle Handel Festivals, Antibe's Festival de Bel Canto, the Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan), Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, and at Washington's Kennedy Center.
The extraordinary beauty, versatility, technical mastery, and range of her voice, coupled with a rare intelligence, artistry, and expressiveness, have enabled her to move freely through an astonishing breadth of operatic repertoire. Juliana Gondek has been hailed as one of her generation's finest singing-actors, and for her impassioned portrayals of such varied roles as Ginevra in George Frideric Handel's Ariodante, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, all the heroines in The Tales of Hoffmann and the title roles in Rossini's Bianca e Falliero, Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco, and Georges Bizet's Carmen. She has twenty additional G.F. Handel roles to her credit, including Alcina, Theodora, Rodelinda, Cleopatra, Zenobia (Radamisto), Gismonda (Ottone), Galatea, Michal (Saul), and Fortuna (Giustino). Other operatic roles include Mozart heroines Countess Almaviva, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Pamina and 1st Lady, Aspasia in Mitridate, Verdi heroines Gulnara (Il Corsaro) and Marchesa del Poggio (Un Giorno di Regno), Mimi in La Boheme, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Pat Nixon (Nixon in China).
Juliana Gondek has been the singer of choice for many of the world's most celebrated contemporary composers. She has created starring roles in several world-premiere operas, among them: Ela in David Carlson's Dreamkeepers with Utah Opera; the triple role of Dianne Feinstein/ Harvey's Mama/Hooker in Stewart Wallace/Michael Korie's Harvey Milk with Houston Grand Opera, the New York City Opera, and San Francisco Opera; the title role in Wallace/Korie's subsequent opera, Hopper's Wife, with Long Beach Opera; Sabina in David Diamond's The Noblest Game with New York City Opera; and Gertrude Stein in the Jonathan Sheffer's setting of Stein's autobiographical novel, Blood on the Dining Room Floor at New York's Guggenheim Museum. Gondek has sung the lead roles in Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Bright Sheng's The Song of Majnun, Hugo Weisgall's Esther, and Ian Krouse's Lorca, Child of the Moon. She is scheduled to create the title role in Roger Bourland's new opera about The Mexican Nightingale Angela Peralta, slated for premiere in 2013. She has premiered the music of John Corigliano, Paul Chihara, Anthony Davis, Richard Wernick, Morten Lauridson, Stephen Albert, Ricky Ian Gordon, Roger Bourland, Mark Carlson, Bruce Babcock, and Steven Sacco, among many others.
Juliana Gondek has sung as soloist with well over 100 symphony orchestras worldwide, in works such as Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Andre Previn; Mozart's Mass in C Minor and L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt; Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Armin Jordan; G.F. Handel's L'Allegro with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; G.F. Handel, Haydn, and Mozart solo cantatas with Sir Raymond Leppard and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No 9 with the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz (Austria); Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder with Polish maestro Jerzy Semkow; Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14 with Gerard Schwarz; Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations with the Münchener Kammerorchester; and Felix Mendelssohn's Lobgesang (Symphony No. 2) at Carnegie Hall with the St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra under John Nelson. Having spent most of her career performing soprano repertoire, she now performs mezzo-soprano symphonic, operatic, and song literature, including the alto solos in L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor (BWV 232), and Verdi's Requiem.
Some of the world's most celebrated venues and summer festivals have presented Juliana Gondek in art song and chamber music recital: the Grand Theatre Geneve and Geneva Conservatory; Teatro La Fenice; Lucerne's Festival Hall; Berlin's National Library; Toronto's Glenn Gould Hall; New York's Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall; Jordan Hall in Boston; the Yaddo Artist Colony; in Sapporo (Japan), the Kitara Concert Hall; Los Angeles's Ambassador Auditorium, Getty Museum, and Schoenberg Concert Hall; the Shanghai Conservatory of Music; the Hong Kong Philharmonic; Chicago's Smart Museum of Art; Santa Fe's St. Francis Chapel; and at the Caramoor Festival, the Newport Chamber Music Festival (seven summers), the Bard Festival, and the Bowdoin International Festival. Additional important festival engagements have included the Salzburg Osterfestspiel, the New York Lincoln Center Summer Festival, the Göttingen Handel Festival and the Halle Handel Festival in Germany, Vermont's famed Marlboro Festival, England's Aldeburgh Festival, the Avignon Festival in France, the Bravo! Coloardo Festival in Vail, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's Summerfest, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and the 25th Anniversary Gala celebration of the Spanish National Radio and Television Orchestra (Soprano I in G. Mahler's 8th Symphony).
Juliana Gondek's discography includes Mozart's The Magic Flute on DGG, Harvey Milk on Teldec, G.F. Handel's operas Ottone, Radamisto (recognized by the International Handel Society as Recording of the Year), Giustino, and Ariodante (winner of the 1996 Gramophone Recording of the Year Award, aka British "Grammy") on Harmonia Mundi, Mozart's Exsultate, jubiliate on Sonoris, "The Yoav Chamber Ensemble" on Orion (winner of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation Prize), as was more recent recordings of Bright Sheng's Songs from the Sung Dynasty with the Hong Kong Philharmonic on Naxos, and "The Complete Songs of Karol Szymanowski" with Dutch pianist Reinild Mees on the Dutch label Channel Classics, which won the "Fryderyk" Prize for Best Recording of Polish Music from the Polish Gramophonic Society (Polish "Grammy"). Gondek is working on a new recording project in association with the multi-Grammy-award-winning Yarlung label that will come to fruition in 2011-2012. Television and film appearnaces include a Live from the Met telecast and DGG videodisc recording of Mozart's The Magic Flute with the Metropolitan Opera, the BBC documentary The Making of West Side Story on the legendary DGG recording with Leonard Bernstein, a Vancouver Symphony trans-Canadian telecast featuring Gondek and Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and European telecasts of several of Gondek's international performances. In 2001, she made her on-screen feature film debut as The Opera Diva in a Masterpiece Theatre film adaptation of Willa Cather's novel The Song of the Lark. Other unusual engagements have included her portrayal of Vera Stravinsky for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra alongside stars from the Star Trek: Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television series, a national tour with the Mark Morris Dance Group as soloist for Morris's ballet masterpiece set to G.F. Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, soloist with the American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House, and the ingénue lead in the Broadway smash Kismet with Baltimore Opera opposite Broadway veterans John Reardon, Eddie Bracken, and Patrice Munsel.
Recognized as a distinguished pedagogue, Juliana Gondek has maintained active private voice studios for over 35 years and has served since 1997 as Professor and Chair of Voice and Opera Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles. She travels frequently to adjudicate prominent national and international singing competitions, and to lecture and teach master-classes at institutions such as the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and the Shanghai Conservatory, the Geneva Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, Summer Songfest in Malibu, the University of Chicago, the USC Thornton School of Music, Pepperdine University, Rice University in Houston, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, Butler University, University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and at the Idyllwild Arts Academy's Summer Session. She serves as ongoing consultant to American filmmakers, journalists, and news organizations. In recent years Ms. Gondek has been closely associated with OperaAMERICA as panelist/mentor for their Professional Singer Training Workshops, with the Classical Singer National Convention as master class instructor, Japan's Pacific Music Festival as Voice faculty for the Baroque Vocal Academy, as Associate Artistic Director and Voice faculty of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and as Founder-Artistic Director of L'Accademia European di Firenze's Summer Baroque Opera Boot Camp in Florence, Italy.
Juliana Gondek was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Prize for her innovative concert series, "The Art of Polish Song."