Canadian soprano Elizabeth McDonald is having a diverse career as a performer and teacher. A young artist with both the Santa Fe Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Elizabeth understudied and performed a number of major roles including Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, The Woman in Schoenberg’s Erwartung, Miss Jessel in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and Jenufa in Janecek’s Jenufa. She has appeared with the National Ballet Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, and the Kingston Symphony and is a regular recitalist having been featured at Virginia Polytechnic University, Eastman School of Music, and the Off Centre Music Salon in Toronto. In the studio, she has recorded Canadian composer Martha Hill Duncan’s Singing in the Northland with pianist Kathryn Tremills. Recent appearances include and the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival, the Civic Morning Recital Series in Syracuse, NY, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the Maison des étudiants canadiens in Paris.
As a founding member in 2016 of trio Women on the Verge (WOV), Emily joins American soprano Emily Martin and Canadian pianist Kathryn Tremills to form a dynamic trio of female musicians that are experienced performers, teachers, and mentors.
Through musical performance, WOV focuses on the stories of women, both historical and fictional, that are relevant to contemporary culture to help create a dialogue about women’s experience. The trio is committed to commissioning new repertoire with future generations in mind: repertoire that expands the sonic possibilities of art song and questions the thin stereotypes that have restricted female characters in Classical music.
A 2012 participant of the prestigious NATS Intern Program, Elizabeth is quickly making a name as an active and inspiring teacher of voice. Her students have won major awards including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition, the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition, the Art Song Preservation Society Competition German Lieder Prize, the American National Opera Association Vocal Competition, and the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition. They have been accepted at prestigious summer programs including the Ravinia Festival, The Franz Schubert Institute, and as a Mark and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest. Her students are regularly accepted to major graduate programs across North America and the United Kingdom and have received Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation Grants, the Norcop Prize in Song (UofT) and been featured on the 2016 and 2017 CBC’s annual list “Hot 30 Under 30 Classical Musicians.”
Elizabeth has served as an adjudicator for major music festivals across the country including Saskatoon, St. John’s, Ottawa, Brantford, Barrie, Grand Falls-Windsor and the Peterborough Kiwanis Music Festival, the New Brunswick Provincial Music Festival, and has conducted master classes at Bimiji State, Carlton, Lakehead, Lethbridge, Texas Tech, Western, and Queen’s Universities. She has taught at Cowtown Opera Summer Academy in Calgary, Long Reach Summer Opera Workshop in Toronto, and regularly works with the Toronto Children’s Choir, the Ontario Youth Choir, and teaches at the University of Toronto Annual Choral Symposium. Additionally, the summer of 2018 sees Elizabeth serve as voice adjudicator for the National Music Festival and be in residence with the Hamilton Children’s Chorus
Elizabeth graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Master of Music in Performance and Literature and was additionally awarded a Performers’ Certificate. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and has trained at the Banff Centre for the Arts in the Dramatic Integration Program, the Britten-Pears School in Contemporary Song Literature, the Orford Arts Centre, and at the Vancouver Early Music Festival.
Currently, on faculty at the University of Toronto, Elizabeth has served as the Associate Editor for the new Conservatory Voice Series published by PLANGERE Editions in 2014, is the Past-President for the Ontario Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
Elizabeth resides full time in Prince Edward County, Ontario with her husband and two teenage children.