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Sasha Cooke

Mezzo-Soprano

Sasha Cooke

Biography

Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a "luminous standout" (New York Times) and "equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness" (Opera News). Cooke is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music.

In 2018-19, Sasha Cooke’s operatic engagements will include role debuts as Eduige in Rodelinda at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the title role of Orlando with the San Francisco Opera. She returns to the title role in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel which she performs with the Los Angeles Opera under the direction of James Conlon. Orchestral appearances include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, Cleveland Orchestra for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection with Franz Welser-Möst that incorporates a domestic tour, National Symphony Orchestra for Ravel’s Shéhérazade under Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, and Houston Symphony in her first performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Cooke celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth by performing his songs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the Symphony No. 1 Jeremiah with the Nashville Symphony, and Symphony No. 3 Kaddish with the St. Louis Symphony with Leonard Slatkin. She will reprise Passage (a work she created at the Kennedy Center in 2017) with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2017-18 season, Cooke sang the title role in the world premiere of Marnie, by Nico Muhly, at English National Opera. She sang Goffredo in a concert version of Handel’s Rinaldo with The English Concert conducted by Harry Bicket, with performances at Carnegie Hall (New York), the Auditorio Nacional de Música (Madrid), and Barbican Centre (London). Other concert engagements included Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the San Francisco Symphony and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the London Symphony Orchestra, both conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg conducted by Matthias Pintscher, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection with the Reykjavik Arts Festival under the baton of Osmo Vänskä, Mary in Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ with both the Melbourne Symphony conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Robin Ticciati, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 Jeremiah with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic conducted by Edo de Waart, Duruflé’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and a performance featuring composers Respighi and Jalbert with Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal conducted by Cristian Macelaru. Ms. Cooke returned to a role she created, Hannah after, in Laura Kaminsky’s opera As One both at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Chautauqua Opera Company, and offered a concert of Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Finally, she gave solo recitals at the Milton Academy in Massachusetts and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, in addition to joint recitals with guitarist Jason Vieaux at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in California and the Cleveland Chamber Music Society.

Cooke bookended her 2016-17 season with opera performances of Hänsel und Gretel at the Seattle Opera and a world-premiere by composer Mason Bates titled The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at The Santa Fe Opera. Her orchestral engagements included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti leading Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 Jeremiah with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Carnegie Hall, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel, a set of concerts with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas that included a semi-staged production of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied paired with the composer’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Roméo et Juliette of Berlioz, Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert and Verdi’s Requiem with Houston Grand Opera under Patrick Summers. A highlight of the season was the world premiere of Passage, a piece for mezzo, orchestra & laptop that was commissioned to commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy, performed with the composer Mason Bates. Her season also featured appearances with Atlanta Symphony for Christopher Theofanidis' Creation/Creator conducted by Robert Spano, Milwaukee Symphony for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Edo de Waart, Duruflé’s Requiem with Cleveland Orchestra, and also with National Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles, Minnesota Orchestra to sing and record Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection conducted by Osmo Vänskä, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra singing a concert of Handel, Mahler, and Mozart, then Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony, Oregon Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem, La damnation de Faust by Berlioz at the Aspen Festival Orchestra.

Cooke’s past seasons have included performances with conductors James Levine, Bernard Haitink, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Mark Elder, Pinchas Zukerman, Gerard Schwarz, Riccardo Frizza, Jeffrey Kahane, Trevor Pinnock, Robert Spano, Tugan Sokhiev, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and Ludovic Morlot. In addition to those previously mentioned, she has been engaged by over 60 orchestras worldwide including the Seattle Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, The MET Chamber Ensemble, Melbourne Symphony, MDR Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Colorado Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Cooke has performed with opera companies around the world in the past including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, and The Israeli Opera. Previous festival appearances have included Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, New York Festival of Song, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Cooke has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Royal Concertgebouw, Palau de la Música de València, Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Wigmore Hall, Theater an der Wien, Alice Tully Hall, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. As a proponent of new music, Ms. Cooke has premiered works by Mason Bates, Nico Muhly, Kevin Puts, Mark Adamo, Joby Talbot, and William Bolcom, with upcoming premieres by Marc Neikrug and Jake Heggie. A dedicated recitalist, Cooke was presented by Young Concert Artists in her widely acclaimed New York and Washington debuts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and the Kennedy Center. On DVD, Ms. Cooke can be seen in a new production of Hansel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera and the Grammy Award-winning production of Doctor Atomic under conductor Alan Gilbert. Cooke’s audio recordings can be found on the Hyperion, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels. Her most recent recordings include Sasha Cooke LIVE, a collection of her performances from the Music@Menlo chamber music festival, and a world-premiere recording of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs from The Santa Fe Opera. Future releases include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductor Osmo Vänskä on BIS Records and the Berlioz L'enfance du Christ with The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis on the Chandos Records label.

A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha Cooke also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs.