A passionate advocate of new music, soprano Nanette McGuinness premiered the title role of Gaia in William Ludtke's Gaia Sophia, as well as Elena Ruehr's song cycle Winter Solstice Songs, David Garner's song cycles Chanson fuer Morgen, Mein Blaues Klavier, Phoenix, and Song Is a Monument, Laura Schwendinger's Kay Ryan Songs, Emma Logan's Songs from The Book of Light, Judith Shatin's "A Line-Storm Song" and Martha Stoddard's "Hurt Hawks" (all written for her). A Semi-Finalist in the 2003 International Opera SingersCompetition in New York, McGuinness has performed over 25 roles, including Mimì at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republice and Musetta at the Società dei Concerti di Santa Margherita Ligure in Italy, and has also performed in Germany, Hungary, Poland, and France.
Her new CD with Ensemble for These Times' Jewish Music & Poetry Project Surviving: Women's Words, four song cycles by David Garner, was released on Centaur Records in on April 8, 2016. Erin Heisel in American Record Guide calls the CD "fascinating" and writes that "Garner's music is difficult but compelling, varied and harmonically interesting," and that McGuinness "handles the vocal and musical challenges well." Also reviewed by Stephen Smoliar at Examiner.com as "fascinating," and "highly compelling," "Surviving: Women's Words" has been submitted for consideration for the 59th Grammy Awards.
Fabulous Femmes, her highly-acclaimed CD of music by 19th & 20th century women composers, with the Athena Trio was released on Centaur Recordings in July, 2000 with the Athena Trio and went into its second pressing in 2007.
Benedetto Vinaccesi: the Solo Cantatas, her second CD, was recorded with the Vinaccesi Ensemble and released on Centaur Records in April of 2013.
A versatile musician whose repertory ranges from 17th century music to pieces hot off the press,Ms. McGuinness made her stage debut performing the role of Nino in the American premiere of Semiramide by Marc'Antonio Cesti, conducted by Alan Curtis, and her professional debut in opera as Cis in Albert Herring with the Berkeley Opera Company. She has sung with Mission City Opera, Trinity Lyric Opera, West Bay Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera, Opera San Jose (Opera in the Schools), Pocket Opera, Oakland Opera, Lamplighters, and North Bay Opera.
Her performances include the Mimi and Musetta (La Boheme), Micaela (Carmen), Countess Almaviva, Desdemona (Otello), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Foreign Woman (The Consul), First Lady and Pamina (The Magic Flute), Fiordiligi and Despina (Così fan Tutte), Lauretta and Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Anna (Le Villi by Puccini), Pertelote (Chanticleer by Seymour Barab), First Nymph (Rusalka), and Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors).
Solo concert engagements include Mahler's Fourth Symphony with Thomas Shoebotham and the Palo Alto Philharmonic, Canteloube's Chant d'Auvergne, also with the Palo Alto Philharmonic, Rossini's Stabat Mater and Mozart's Vesperae Solemnes with Larry Marrietta and the S.F. City Chorus, the world premiere of William Ludtke's Christmas Suite with JoAnn Falletta and the San Jose Symphony, JoAnn Falletta, the West Coast premiere of Ned Rorem's Homer, The Lord Nelson Mass with the Solano Community Symphony and Choral Society, highlights from both Handel's and Purcell's Ode to St. Cecilia with the Contra Costa Chorale, and Messiah with the Solano Choral Society, as well as Saint Saens' Christmas Oratorio with the Monterey Peninsula Choral Society.
A passionate advocate of new music, Ms. McGuinness premiered Elena Ruehr's Winter Solstice Songs, Laura Schwendinger's Kay Ryan Songs, David Garner's Chanson fuer Morgen, Mein Blaues Klavier, Song Is a Monument, and Phoenix, William Ludtke's Four Songs (soprano and guitar) Trees (clarinet, guitar, and soprano), Li Bai Songs (soprano, flute and string trio), and Three Songs (soprano and piano). She was soprano soloist for the San Lorenzo Community Church's Sing-it-Yourself Messiah for a number of years, and she also covered the soprano soloists of the 1990-1 season of the Berkeley Symphony (conducted by Kent Nagano), the highlight of which was the West Coast premiere of the Suite from Messiaen's St. Francois d'Assise.
Ms. McGuinness has concertized throughout California and also on the East Coast. She is a founding member and co-director of the new music chamber group, the Jewish Music & Poetry Project. She is also the founding member of the Baroque chamber group, the Vinaccesi Ensemble, which released a CD of of the solo cantatas by their namesake Benedetto Vinaccesi in 2013. Both are affiliates of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
Ms. McGuinness began her musical education at the organ, adding piano, musicological, and vocal studies while at Cornell University. She received a MM in voice from Holy Names University and a PhD (specializing in musicology) from U.C. Berkeley. Her principal voice teachers have been Jane Randolph, Elizabeth Mannion, Julia Monroe, Vicky Van Dewark, and Diane Gilfether.
Other competitions include a First Prize at the Martinez Opera Competition and a First Prize at the Santa Clara University Art Song Festival Competition. She maintains a private voice studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a member of MTAC and NATS.
Photo credits: All photos on this web site except those in the photo gallery, are by Russ Fischella.