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2018 Tucson Desert Song Festival

Vocal Recital: Jennifer Johnson Cano

Jennifer Johnson Cano is a naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry with a warm, velvety timbre that has garnered critical acclaim. Ms. Cano joined The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, and made her Met debut during the 2009-2010 season. Among her honors are a First Prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant, 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and 2014 George London Award.

Ms. Cano has given over 100 performances at The Metropolitan Opera, with recent roles including Bersi, Emilia, Hansel, Meg Page, Mercedes, Nicklausse, Wellgunde and Waltraute. Other operatic appearances included Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric and Arizona Operas, The Sharp Eared Fox in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra, Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen with Boston Lyric Opera, Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice with Des Moines Metro Opera, Diana in La Calisto with Cincinnati Opera, and Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with the Tucson Symphony. She has recently worked with an impressive array of conductors, such as James Levine, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Franz WelserMöst, Manfred Honeck, Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Osmo Vänskä and Sir Andrew Davis. Last season, Ms. Cano bowed as Carmen with Boston Lyric Opera, the Priestess in Aida with The Met, and as Wellgunde in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert. Some of her recent orchestral engagements include, among others, Bach’s Cantata No. 34 with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Markus Stenz, as well as Bruckner’s Te Deum with Christopher Warren-Green and the Charlotte Symphony. She also made her European debut on a tour with John Adams’s El Niño including performances in London and Paris with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mr. Adams, and The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest conducted by Markus Stenz at The Royal Concertgebouw. Additionally, she performed this work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Grant Gershon. In summer 2017, she joined the New York Philharmonic for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Bravo! Vail Music Festival, made her Mostly Mozart Festival debut with conductor Louis Langrée, and appeared in the Gala concert at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Society.

This season, Ms. Cano bows as Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice with Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and as The Sharp Eared Fox in the concert version of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, and with The Cleveland Orchestra in Cleveland and on tour in Vienna and Luxembourg. Orchestral engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, London and Paris; Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic and Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Berstein’s Jeremiah with the Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte Symphony Orchestras, Mozart’s Requiem with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, as well as Brahms' Alto Rhapsody with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, she performs with pianist Christopher Cano at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Tucson Desert Song Festival with a program of songs and arias that spans three centuries by composers Purcell, Argento, Britten, Barber, Bernstein and Jonathan Dove. In addition to her continued relationship with The Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra, Ms. Cano has appeared with such esteemed orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Utah Symphonies and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She toured with Musicians from Marlboro singing Respighi's Il Tramonto and Cuckson's Der gayst funem shturem, recorded live for the Marlboro Recording Society. A live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde featured conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble in a rare arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg and Rainer Riehn. At the invitation of Mrs. Carol Armstrong, Jennifer Johnson Cano was particularly honored to sing the Anderson/Weill September Song at the private funeral for American icon and astronaut Neil Armstrong. In 2014, she released her debut recital recording, Unaffected: Live from the Savannah Voice Festival, recorded completely live and unedited. Her most recent recording of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Naxos received high praise from the critics. “Jennifer Johnson Cano brings depth of tone and a noble resolve to the concluding Lamentation and just for once Lenny’s cathartic pay-off is deafeningly quiet.” (Gramophone) Ms. Cano is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and made her professional operatic debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis. She earned her degrees from Webster University and Rice University. 

A seasoned recitalist and orchestra soloist, pianist Christopher Cano has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Civic Orchestra, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Catalina Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Recital appearances have been in Europe, across the US, Mexico, Israel and the Far East.

Mr. Cano has won numerous awards including the Green Valley Scholarship Competition, Emilio Osta Scholarship Competition, Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and is a recipient of the Theodore Presser Scholarship. He is also a two-time winner of the University of Arizona President’s Concert Concerto Competition. Mr. Cano made his recording debut with The Catalina Chamber Orchestra in an acclaimed performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1, Op.35. 

As a collaborative artist, he has played in the Master Classes of the late Fedora Barbieri, the late Anna Moffo, Lauren Flannigan, Martin Katz, Craig Rutenberg, and Suzanne Mentzer. Mr. Cano has also played for the master classes of Marilyn Horne in New York City at Carnegie Hall. As a studio pianist, Mr. Cano has had the distinct privilege of working with some of the great artists and teachers of singing including Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Luciano Pavarotti, Marni Nixon, Patricia McCaffrey, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, Rita Shane and Diana Soviero. 

Mr. Cano has performed as a guest soloist and chamber musician at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, the Alamos Music Festival of Sonora, Mexico, and has participated as a pianist at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel and Blacksburg, Virginia. 

Mr. Cano has been a member of the music staff at the Festival Lyrique en Mer in Belle Isle, France, Toledo Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Mr. Cano has also served on the faculties of The Intermezzo Music Festival, Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Institute, the CoOPERAtive Program of Westminster College for the Arts and V.O.I.C.Experience, a summer program for promising young singers in New York City, Orlando and Savannah under the Artistic Direction of acclaimed baritone, Sherrill Milnes. 

Recent recital appearances include collaborations with some of today’s most promising young vocal talent including, Jennifer Welch-Babidge, Jossie Perez, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Elaine Alvarez, Timothy Mix and Young Concert Artists Winners Jeanine DeBique and Jennifer Johnson Cano. 

Currently, Mr. Cano maintains his private studio in New York City where he has prepared singers for appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, and orchestral appearances with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic among others. 

A native of Southern Arizona, Mr. Cano holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Arizona where his teachers included the late Ozan Marsh, Nicholas Zumbro, Dr. Paula Fan and Rex Woods. 

Mr. Cano and his wife, Mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano currently reside in New York City where he was a full-scholarship student in the Professional Studies Program of Vocal Accompanying at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently serves on the vocal coaching faculty of that institution where he was a student of renowned pianist, Warren Jones.

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