Opera Star Eric Owens Leads a Master Class with Westminster Students

Master Class with Westminster Choir College students
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 19 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.  Eric Owens will lead a Master Class in Bristol Chapel.  All students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to see this remarkable performer interact with Westminster undergraduates and graduates.  The program is part of the Westminster SGA Guest Artists Series,

Acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, American bass-baritone Eric Owens has carved a unique place in the contemporary opera world as both an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in concert, recital and opera performances, Owens continues to bring his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.

Eric Owens opens the 2010-2011 season of the Metropolitan Opera as Alberich in Das Rheingold in a new production by Robert Lepage, conducted by James Levine. He essays the title role in Peter Sellars’s new production of Handel’s Hercules, conducted by Harry Bicket at Lyric Opera of Chicago; returns to San Francisco Opera as Ramfis in Aïda, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi; and joins Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony as Lodovico in concert performances of Verdi’s Otello both in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall. His concert calendar includes Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Jaap van Zweden and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; Mozart’s Requiem with the Handel & Haydn Society under Harry Christophers; Brahms’s Ein Deutshces Requiem at Carnegie Hall with James Bagwell and the Collegiate Chorale; and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Thierry Fischer.

Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he created the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adams’s Nativity oratorio El Niño.

In addition to great popular and critical acclaim, Owens has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, and first prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.

A native of Philadelphia, Owens began his music training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He later studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University, and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music, and currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.

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Eric Owens