Soprano Katherine Jolly is an Assistant Professor of Music at Saint Louis University in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Fine and Performing Arts. She recently performed André Previn’s Four Songs for soprano, cello, and piano, in honor of, and for the composer, in Cincinnati. Dr. Jolly appeared as a guest artist at Mary Baldwin College, as part of their Sunday Recital Series, in 2014. She also taught Master classes at Randolph College and Sacramento State University, appearing in recitals in each region. In 2012 the soprano returned to the Sacramento Choral Arts Society, as the Soprano Soloist in the Fauré Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. “Jolly’s voice enraptured the audience, as she sang the ethereal Domine Deus”, Sacramento Press.
Katherine made her debut with Houston Grand Opera in 2012, performing as part of their East/West Chamber Opera series, in a premier of New Arrivals. “Katherine Jolly, also making her HGO debut, employed tender and expressive soprano vocals to make her portrayal of Iris poignant and unforgettable”, Operaworld.com.
Jolly also made her debut with Virginia Opera, reprising Yum-Yum, in The Mikado, and was featured with the company as one of three sopranos in their Simply Sopranos Gala Fundraising Weekend, leading up to a recital by Renee Fleming. Recent appearances have included an extended stay with Opera Theatre Saint Louis, as part of Terence Blanchard’s Champion workshop, collaborations with American Lyric Opera, and a debut with Amarillo Opera. The soprano returned to New York City Opera in 2010 for performances as Laoula in L’Etoile following her performances of the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon, in 2007. A winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals, the New York Times wrote "Katherine Jolly used her agile, bright lyric soprano to superb effect in showpieces from Mozart's ‘Entführung aus dem Serail’ and ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’". Ms. Jolly returned to the Met in the spring of 2010 to workshop An Enchanted Island with the company, and was featured with City Opera’s VOX series for new operas, in Aquanetta, and Josephine, broadcast on NPR.
A bright, young, accomplished singer on the opera and concert stages Ms. Jolly received the William B. McMillan Award from Opera Theatre St Louis, where she was a Gerdine Young Artist for the 2004-2005 season. She returned in the winter of 2005 as a Resident Artist, giving concerts throughout the region, culminating in a recital with members of the Saint Louis Symphony at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Ms. Jolly has been seen with Opera Theatre St. Louis as the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel and Yum-Yum in The Mikado. Jolly made her debut with Florida Grand Opera as Blöndchen in their production of Entführung aus dem Serail. In the 2007-2008 season made her debut with New York City Opera as the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon, and sang Adele in Piedmont Opera’s Die Fledermaus. Other operatic roles include Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore, The Queen in Menotti’s The Bride from Pluto, Saphir in Patience, The Real Angele in Weill’s The Tzar Has His Photograph Taken and the title roles in Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood and Richard Brook’s Rapunzel, among others. Ms. Jolly made her European debut as Morgana in Handel’s Alcina with Opera Theatre Lucca in 2000 and performed throughout Tuscany, singing recitals of Italian music.
In the concert arena Ms. Jolly has performed recently as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, with the Richmond Symphony, with the Phoenix Symphony, in performances of Brundibar, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Carmina Burana, with Northwest Florida Symphony, and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, with the Sacramento Choral Arts Society. Upcoming concerts include Bach’s Cantata 4 with Musica Sacra, and Mozart arias, with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, as well as recitals at the Cincinnati Arts Museum, and on campus, at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
In addition to her recent Metropolitan Opera National Council Award, Ms. Jolly has been the recipient of many awards including a 2007 George London Finalist, Honorable mention, a 2005 MacAllister Career Grant, second place in the Annapolis Opera Competition, first place in the 2005 Southern Illinois Young Artist Competition and the winner of the 2004 Metropolitan Opera Saint Louis District Auditions. In the spring of 2005, she was chosen to sing for the national conference of the National Association of Negro Musicians, with acclaimed pianist Joseph Joubert, in honor of Grace Bumbry.
Dr. Jolly received the Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music in 2015, where she taught private voice and classroom voice. She completed her Master’s of Music from the College-Conservatory of Music in 2001, where she was an Albert Yates Scholar. The soprano graduated summa cum laude from Boston University College of Fine Arts in 1999, where she received the Ellalou Dimmock Vocal Excellence Award. Dr. Jolly is working on a recording of André Previn’s works, with pianist, Dr. Emily Yap Chua. In addition, Jolly is conducting a human research project on the impact of specific breathing exercises and yoga postures on reducing music performance anxiety in high level singers, charted through heart-rates and breathing patterns. Her recent lecture recital, Jake Heggie’s Songs & Sonnets to Ophelia: A Modern Ophelia Sings, traced the evolution of Ophelia through song cycles, and how societal norms have impacted our perceptions of the heroine. The soprano will present her lecture-recital again in May 2015 in California, as part of fundraising for her alma mater, Davis Senior High School.