The American mezzo-soprano, Kirsten Sollek, comes from the Pacific Northwest and holds performance degrees from Indiana University (BM) and the Eastman School of Music (MM).
Now New York-based, Kirsten Sollek made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 with André Thomas and the New York City Chamber Orchestra in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. She has been particularly active in the area of historical performance and is much in demand with early music enthusiasts in the USA and abroad. She has been heard as a soloist with Bach Collegium Japan, Tafelmusik, New York Collegium, Minnesota Orchestra with Christopher Warren-Green, Trinity Wall Street with Jane Glover, Ton Koopman, Concerto Palatino, St. Thomas 5th Avenue with John Scott, Trinity Consort, Concert Royal, Rebel, Clarion Music Society, Appolo's Fire, the Folger Consort, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Spiritus Collective, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Boston Early Music Festival, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, Carmel Bach Festival, Ojai Music Festival and June in Buffalo. The New York Times has written “…Kirsten Sollek…sang with an appealingly rich alto…” and The Philadelphia Inquirer has called her “…an ideal Bach alto”. She has also received acclaim from Goldberg Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer for her interpretations of J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel. Her discography includes recordings for the BIS, Koch, Hänssler, Ex Cathedra, New World Records, Cantaloupe and Opus Magica labels.
Kirsten Sollek is also a frequent performer of new music. She has, for example, performed in a concert version of John Adams’ Nixon in China and has sung the title rôle in Benjamin Britten¹s Rape of Lucretia as well as singing new works at festivals, including compositions by her former husband Vicente Avella. She recently collaborated with Carnegie Hall’s new ensemble, The Academy, for a performance of John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music at Zankel Hall with Jeffrey Milarsky conducting. She performs regularly with John Zorn, and has widely toured his new vocal work Shir Hashirim, scored for 5 female voices with narrators Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed. She was a founding member of the contemporary chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound, with whom she has recorded both a CD of music by Steve Reich (Tehillim and The Desert Music) and a DVD of a live concert featuring Reich’s music as well. She is also a member of Open Gate, who made their debut at Weill Hall at Carnegie in 2007 with chamber music by Gregory Mertl. She has premiered works by John Zorn, Tania Léon and Augusta Read Thomas.
Highlights of the 2009-2010 season include a program of Purcell with Avi Stein and the 4 X 4 Festival, John Zorn’s Shir Hashirim at the Grande Halle in the Cité de la Musique in Paris, Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem with John Scott at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, G.F. Handel’s Messiah with the Dallas Bach Society, Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Louis Andriessen’s De Staat at Zankel Hall with The Academy, John Adams conducting.