September 1, 2018: Vocalisms, new CD with pianist Heidi Louise williams Released on Albany Records
I’m overjoyed to announce that my new CD, Vocalisms, has finally arrived and is available for sale! Vocalisms, is a celebration of songs by Daniel Crozier, John Harbison, James Primosch, and Ned Rorem. It was a monumental project recording all this music for a 2-disc set, and Heidi and I are so proud. Head on over to my Discography page to purchase. Happy listening!
August 2018: Reviews, Cabrillo Festival of New Music: Zosha Di Castri Dear Life (American premiere)
I had the best time spending a week in Santa Cruz, CA at the Cabrillo New Music Festival! It was an honor to finally perform Dear Life - I actually consulted with her when she was originally writing it for the premiere in Canada. Zosha is such an imaginative and giving composer, and I loved that she set Alice Munro - an author whose writing I adore.
The week was spent rehearsing and getting to know the orchestra. I was tickled to see some old faces from the Cleveland Institute of Music! It’s always a treat to run into former classmates and hear about their careers. We all loved performing Zosha’s piece and wished we could also experience it from the outside.
My fiancé, Barry, joined me for this trip - a rare occurrence, indeed - and we spent my time off biking around Santa Cruz, going on scary rides at the boardwalk, hiking in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and of course, checking out the Mystery Spot.
October 2017: Review, Collage New Music: Aaron Helgeson Poems of Sheer Nothingness and James Primosch A sibyl (world premiere)
“Aaron Helgeson, who recently joined the Longy faculty, was represented by three of the five songs in his 2013 cycle Poems of Sheer Nothingness…Mary Mackenzie, a strong high soprano well-known in Collage concerts, had no trouble mastering the difficult high notes and shrieks that came in punctuations, along with unusual instrumental techniques in the accompaniment of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello, plus piano…
A Fromm Foundation commission on behalf of Collage resulted in A Sibyl by James Primosch, who acquired six poems from his friend Susan Stewart (she was also present) for the cycle, whose premiere concluded the program. Collage and Mary Mackenzie gave the new work their total confidence and power…Rich expressiveness that cries out for more performances infused all of these intense but not expansive poems. Other groups should take note of this gratifying premiere.” - Mark DeVoto, Boston Musical Intelligencer
September 2017: Review, Chameleon Arts Ensemble: Ives songs, and Harbison North and South, Book II
“Mary Mackenzie sang with a reedy, warm tone, her voice ideal for the likes of Ives’s 114 Songs. Comedic drama filled the room in “Memories” and “Circus Band,” and her unwavering zeal charmed concertgoers. Mackenzie’s “Charlie Rutledge” peaked the set, her over exaggerated American diction prompting a few laughs from the audience…
The all-women trend continued in selections from John Harbison’s North and South, Book II, including Mackenzie, Slowik, O’Connor, Heller, violinist Ayano Ninomiya, violist Melissa Reardon, cellist Sarah Rommel, and double bassist Susan Hagen. Mackenzie’s soprano evoked the jazziest of sounds, bringing a comedic lift as the text called for it…” - Rachael Fuller, Boston Musical Intelligencer
May 2017: Review, Chameleon Arts Ensemble: Poulenc Le travail du peintre
“Mary Mackenzie’s beautiful, rich voice made us remember all over again that Poulenc is a great master of sublimating impulses into form and color. Her mien visibly adopting a different personality for each piece, Mackenzie embodied the aesthetic idiom of each painter, bringing out the artful contours of Poulenc’s meditations. Picasso, backed by jagged angular chords from pianist Vivian Choi, evoked a pictorial voice both fierce and melancholy; in Chagall we heard a joyful frisky piano and a singer in the spotlight amid the circus swirl of activity. Braque gave us a fragmented collage in the piano, the voice cutting through the kaleidoscopic pieces to pull it all together into coherence. Juan Gris was perhaps the most lyrically moving of the songs, Mackenzie conveying loss and yearning, and Choi evoking the quiet eternity of heartbreak, with the stanza “Table guitare et verre vide” forming the kenotic core of the piece. The last song brought the cycle to a fitting conclusion with voice and piano fusing Eluard’s poem and Villon’s pastels into a passionate affirmation of life – an enduring trust in human goodness “despite dead gods and lies.” - Leon Golub, Boston Musical Intelligencer.
October 2016: REview, Collage New Music, William Kraft's Settings from Pierrot Lunaire
Read Mark DeVoto's review for The Boston Musical Intelligencer here.
May 2016: Review, Chameleon Arts Ensemble
December 2015: John Harbison: Songs After Hours released on Albany Records
The debut recording of John Harbison: Songs After Hours is now available from Albany Records. The album of jazz songs written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison features Mary Mackenzie, John Chin (piano), Joe Martin (bass), Dan Rieser (drums), and Dayna Stephens (saxophone).
November 2015: Reviews of the premiere of Gunther Schuller's Singing Poems
June 2015: Mary joins the cast of Mata Hari
Mary has been cast as Sister Léonide in the new opera, Mata Hari, with music by Matt Marks and libretto by Paul Peers. Mata Hari is currently in residence at the HERE Arts Center in New York City, and will premiere in January 2017.
March 2015: Review of Crumb's Apparition with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble
March 2015: John Harbison: The Great Gatsby Suite released on Albany Records
Mary's performance of John Harbison's Closer to My Own Life with the Albany Symphony and conductor David Alan Miller is featured on their newest release with Albany Records.
December 2014: Review of Asheville Symphony's A Classical Christmas
October 2014: Review of Jonathan Harvey's Songs Offerings and Harbison's Samuel Chapter
June 2014: Review of premieres by Wang Jie, Raymond Lustig, Joshua Roman, Amir Shpilman and Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at Town Hall Seattle
August 2013: Review of Shakespeare: The Bard in Song and Scenes. solo recital at the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival with Molly Mokorski (piano), and in collaboration with Allison Schaffer (actress).
June 2012: Review of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at the Rockport Music Festival
Banner artwork by Margaret Mackenzie