Anna Patterson, mezzo-soprano – a profile

Anna will be singing the role of Storgé in Handel’s oratorio Jephtha at this year’s Festival alongside soloists from London’s top conservatoires and backed by local choral societies. The concert, conducted by Paul Spicer and accompanied by Southern Pro Musica, takes place on 18th March at 7.30pm.

What are you looking most forward to when performing at the Petersfield Musical Festival this year?

I’m most excited to perform this dramatically-charged role with chorus on such a large scale. This will be my first foray into a larger concert setting, and I’m excited about the new challenge.

Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music?

My most important influences have to be my piano teacher growing up, Janet Johnson, and my undergraduate voice professor, Joyce Castle. Both women showed so much strength of character and shared the joy and ease of music-making with me as I developed as a musician. They also took the time to help me explore all types of styles and interests in music.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

Collaborating with other musicians is the reason I keep doing music. Growing up as a pianist and French horn player, chamber music feels especially at home to me. I love the interplay of the voices of different instruments and the differing colours of other vocalists. Seeing how we can all support each other’s sound is a particular joy in rehearsals.

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity?

I always find myself gravitating back to Lori Laitman, Bonnie McCarty, and Leslee V. Wood’s art songs. All these women have a gift of elevating the already beautifully crafted texts they select and create sound worlds that take the listener out of the stresses of every day. They also have a very human approach to how they paint with these words and give the performers space to have their own artistry within the music. There is so much respect from all of these composers for the musicians they write for, that the work is an absolute joy to put together and share.

Which works do you think you perform best? Why?

I like to think I perform new work the best. Being able to have a conversation with a composer to see where they came from artistically and what drew them to text initially adds to my interpretation.

Which performances are you most proud of?

I’m the most proud of my undergraduate degree recital. I picked pieces that spoke to me as an artist and spent a long time working on how the flow of the concert would go. This program introduced my audience to many composers (old and new) and the wonderful poets they collaborated with. A pleasant surprise after this concert was that there was no unanimous favourite in the 45-minute program. It made me feel that I took care and attention in sharing every bit of music with my audience and that they really felt part of the experience.

What are your most memorable concert experiences, either as a performer, composer or listener?

My most memorable experience was performing in Forrest Pierce’s Resonant Vessels at the University of Kansas. This concert was in collaboration with the University’s architecture school and featured 10 choral pieces written for various buildings and features around the campus and various interactive elements. The concert lasted 8 hours and involved walking to each location as a group. It felt as if the audience was truly part of the experience with the performers. It’s a project that has stuck with me the most in how I want my programming and concerts to be in the future.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

My advice would be to embrace the new and to never stop asking questions. My most enjoyable projects have always come from being unafraid to talk to new people and see what sparks their love for music. Sometimes it can lead you down a path you never thought you’d love. Other times, you find wonderful collaborators that challenge you in all the right ways. I’d also suggest you find your people – coaches, teachers, and other artists you trust – who can help you to grow your own abilities as a musician and give you support in whatever way you need it.

How would you define success as a musician?

I define a musician’s success by the amount of joy they get from the work they put out. To be able to be a part of programs and concerts that you feel show who you are as an artist and share work that you feel goes beyond the power of text.

What would you like to be doing in 5 years’ time?

I would love to be running my own small song festival and continue collaborating with composers and poets on new work. I would also love to be workshopping new operas with composers alongside a few Rossini roles.

About Anna

Anna Patterson is a Kansas-born mezzo-soprano. After starting her musical studies on piano and French horn, she was quickly enthralled by the combination of words and music through song and theatre. Anna completed her undergraduate degree with honours at the University of Kansas as a Choral Scholar for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. During this time, Anna was involved in the New Music Guild, Helianthus Contemporary Ensemble, Opera Workshop, and the University of Kansas Opera. She also was selected as an alto soloist for a premiere of Richard Gilmore’s Journey to Freedom with the University of California – Irvine Symphony.

Anna is currently a scholarship student pursuing a Masters in Voice at the Royal Academy of Music. She is on the Preparatory Opera programme studying with Raymond Connell and coaching with Chad Vindin. This year, Anna become a Josephine Baker Trust Artist, was featured on the Academy’s Transcending Borders concert series, and has performed in a Masterclass with Nicky Spence.

Their recent operatic engagements include Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (RAM Scenes), Hansel in Hansel und Gretel (RAM Scenes), Romeo I Capuleti e I Montecchi (RAM Scenes), Meg Page in Falstaff (Lawrence Opera Theater *LOT), Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (KU Opera), Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier (LOT), Paquette in Candide (KU Opera), Meg in Little Women (LOT), Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte (LOT), Announcer in Gallantry (KU Opera Workshop), and Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors (KU Opera Workshop). She was also on the chorus roster at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for the 2019-2020 season.

Upcoming engagements include a premiere of Geoffrey King’s Songs from the Reactor (Royal Academy’s Students Create Festival), Storgé in Jephtha (Petersfield Festival), Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortileges (RAO Scenes), and Périchole in La Périchole (RAO Scenes).

Outside of the stage, Anna composes and commissions song based on untold stories of Kansas and Native poets.