Composer - soprano Patrice Michaels creates lyrical soundscapes with a curious ear and an exceptional artistic range that allows her to make captivating music – sometimes out of even the most unexpected source material. A passion for both performance and composing sets Michaels apart.
The breadth of Michaels’ talents are fully expressed in her latest project, Notorious RBG in Song, a salute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Cedille Records) with pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. Michaels channels her talents as composer and singer on the album, distilling the Justice’s legal opinions, letters, and lectures with deft sensitivity, creating “an engrossing, episodic portrait of the legal thinker, wife, mother and feminist icon” (WQXR). The prismatic album of world premieres has earned praise as “a remarkable tribute” (AllMusic) delivered in “an attractive, post-modern tonal idiom” (Classics Today). The project has been so well received that it will premiere as a concert with chamber orchestra, narrative, and multi-media elements with upcoming performances at the Skirball Center (Los Angeles) and in Washington, DC, produced by The Constitution Center of Philadelphia.
Michaels’ compositions range from incidental music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a one-act opera based on her own libretto of Euripides’ The Trojan Women to A Song for Harmonica, a children’s introduction to the meaning of inspiration through opera. Her next commission, Refuge, will be debuted at the Kennedy Center in July 2019 for the Serenade Festival, led by choral conductor Doreen Rao. Continuing her exploration of strong women throughout history, Michaels is currently in the research phase for a stage work about World War II submariner Doris “Dorrie” Miller and Tokyo Rose (a moniker given to Japanese-American radio broadcaster Iva Toguri D’Aquino) and another project about Age of Enlightenment wax anatomist Anna Morandi Manzolini.
Michaels is deeply committed to collaborative work. She performs the dramatic concert Divas of Mozart’s Day, telling the stories of five of the greatest singers of the Classical era and Intersection: Jazz Meets Classical Song, exploring the influence of jazz on classical art songs with Eighth Blackbird’s Nick Photinos, cello and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano. Her creation of and involvement in such projects has earned Michaels praise as “a formidable interpretative talent” (The New Yorker) possessing “a voice that is light, rich and flexible” (Opera News).
Patrice’s singing has been featured on more than 25 albums, including the Decca, Neos, Albany and Amadis labels, and 14 releases as an artist for Cedille Records. Her eclectic nature is expressed through recordings such as La vie est une parade (Cedille), featuring music of Satie, Britten, and Tailleferre with the Czech National Symphony, and the work of contemporary composer Laurie Altman on Sonic Migrations (Neos) and On Course, a solo recording of the composer’s work for the Albany record label.
Patrice Michaels holds BAs in Music and Theater from Pomona College, an MFA in Voice from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a certificate from the Music Theatre Studio Ensemble at The Banff Centre. Former Professor of Music at Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, Michaels now serves as Director of Vocal Studies at The University of Chicago.