The Canadian soprano, Sharla Nafziger, studied at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College, earned her Bachelorís degree from University of Toronto and completed her Masterís degree in voice performance at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Her teachers have included Wendy Sharp, Patricia Misslin, and Ellen Shade in New York City, and Carol Forte in Toronto. Nafziger made her New York recital debut at Merkin Hall in 2001 as the winner of the Joy in Singing Competition, and was a prize-winner in the Connecticut Opera Guild Vocal Competition, the Liederkranz Foundation Competition and the Oratorio Society of New Yorkís annual solo competition.
Sharla Nafziger took part in the orchestral premiere of Larry Nelsonís Seven Clay Songs with Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia, the non-orchestral version of which she had recorded on Albany Records and premiered in 2004. Other premiere recordings and performances include Kieren MacMillanís Drunken Moon with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble in 2006.
Among other highlights include her return to New York City Opera in the 2006-2007 season in the roles of Frasquita, and Juliette in Die Tote Stadt and performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, El Paso Opera, and the symphonies of Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Calgary, Edmonton, Nova Scotia, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, Florida West Coast, Pensacola, among others.
During the 2007-2008 season, Sharla Nafziger sang L.v. Beethovenís Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, appeared with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Ralph Vaughan Williamsí A Sea Symphony, portrayed Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Huntsville Symphony, sang Antonio Vivaldiís Gloria with the Colorado Symphony, and performed George Frideric Handel's Messiah with the Monterey Symphony. Her Kennedy Center debut later in the season with John Adamís El Niño and the Choral Arts Society of Washington showcased her strong affinity for contemporary music, as did the North American premiere of Beat Furrerís Invocation VI with the Argento Ensemble at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. She also recorded Scott Wheelerís opera The Construction of Boston in a live performance with the Boston Cecilia for the Naxos label. A regular guest of the Bach Festival of Winter Park, Florida, she returned to sing Haydnís Creation and J.S. Bachís St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and returned to Carnegie Hall to sing John Rutterís Requiem.
2008-2009 brought Sharla Nafziger to the Houston Symphony Orchestra twice, with G.F. Handel's Messiah and J.S. Bachís Magnificat (BWV 243), and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra invited her for an evening of arias at their New Yearís concert. She also took part in Haydnís Lord Nelson Mass with the Huntsville Symphony, Nielsenís Hymnus Amoris at the Bach Festival of Winter Park, Messiah with the Peniel Concert Choir at Avery Fisher Hall and G.F. Handelís Esther with the Amor Artis Orchestra. During the 2009-2010 season, Nafziger sang Gabriel Fauréís Requiem with Voices of Ascension, Beat Furrerís Aria with the Argento Ensemble and a recital presented by the Moravian Music Foundation, coupled with a recording titled Loveliest Immanuel.
The prior season (2010-2011) saw Sharla Nafziger return to the Bach Festival of Winter Park with J.S. Bachís St. John Passion (BWV 245) and take part in Gustav Mahlerís Symphony No. 2 with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, as well as the role of Marzelline in L.v. Beethovenís Fidelio with the Hawthorne Symphony in New Jersey and a recital at the St. Andrews Series in New York City with Thomas Bagwell. She also performed Arnold Schoenbergís Pierrot Lunaire and Beat Furrerís Invocation IV with the Argento Ensemble in New York. Mozartís Great Mass in C Minor and the role of Lucy in Menottiís The Telephone at the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival concluded the season.
Appearances in the 2011-12 season included Carmina Burana with the Huntsville Symphony, J.S. Bach's Cantata BWV 80 with Amor Artis at the annual all-Bach New Yearís Eve concert, Haydnís Little Organ Mass and Mozartís Vespers with the Central Pennsylvania Oratorio Singers, arias by G.F. Handel and J.S. Bach with The Queen's Chamber Band, Haydnís Lord Nelson Mass with the Riverside Choral Society, songs of Richard Hundley at the Trinity Wall Street Churchís Concerts at One series, and a recital of early songs by A. Schoenberg at the Austrian Cultural Forum with pianist Thomas Bagwell.
In the current season (2012-2013), Sharla Nafziger performs Mozart's Requiem with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Brahmsí Requiem with the New Mexico Symphony, G. Mahlerís Symphony No. 8 with the Canterbury Choral Society at Carnegie Hall, G.F. Handel's Messiah with the Messiah Choral Society in Orlando and J.S. Bach's Cantata BWV 140 at the Amor Artis Orchestraís New Yearís Eve concert. Orff's Carmina Burana at SUNY Geneseo with the Greater Buffalo Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor with Canterbury Chorale round out the the season.
In addition to the above-mentioned recordings, Sharla Nafziger can be heard on the Naxos label in Lullyís Ballet Music for the Sun King with the Aradia Ensemble, the Telarc label as Die Erste Elfe in Straussí Die Ägyptische Helena with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Albany Records label in Mark Grant's song cycle Book of Illuminations, and on the ERM Media label in the premiere of Boaz Tarsiís Concerto for Soprano and Orchestra with the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sharla Nafziger lives currently in in Rye, New York and is on the Voice Faculty at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy New York.