Meet the 2017 Semi-finalists

Adanya Dunn, soprano

Canadian-Bulgarian soprano Adanya Dunn graduated from Dawn Upshaw’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory and holds degrees in M.Mus. Opera & B.Mus. Voice Performance from University of Toronto having studied with Pr. Lorna MacDonald. Adanya is a two-time Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and she made her Carnegie Hall debut with The Song Continues in 2015. She trained at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st CE, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Opera NUOVA, VISI, and Marilyn Horne’s Music Academy of the West. A resident performer with interdisciplinary arts collective FAWN Chamber Creative and an active participant in both contemporary and traditional classical spheres, Adanya collaborates with composers and performs, creates, and produces innovative programming professionally and in community outreach.
For the 2016/17 Season, Adanya is a Rebanks Family Fellow at the Glenn Gould School, studying with Monica Whicher.


Kristin Hoff, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-Soprano Kristin Hoff debuted at Carnegie Hall, singing Elliot Carter’s Syringa with Maestro James Levine. She has performed with many orchestras, including Boston Pops, Vancouver, Montreal and Tanglewood, as well as with Chants Libres, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Mark Morris Dance Company, Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars and the New York Festival of Song. Her operatic roles include Tebaldo with Vancouver Opera, Dryade at Tanglewood and Carmen on tour with the Jeunesses Musicales. Kristin was first prize winner in the NYCO Mozart competition, won several prizes with Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques and was a finalist in the International Voice Competition in Canari, Corsica. In October, Kristin toured an opera gala concert throughout China. Other recent performances include Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Handel’s Messiah, and new music concerts including Harawi (Messiaen), the premiere of One to One to One (Luna Pearl Woolf) and Love Songs (Ana Sokolovic).


Virginie Mongeau, soprano

Soprano Virginie Mongeau obtained a Master’s Degree in classical singing performance from the Université de Montreal in Quebec under the direction of Yolande Parent. Recently, she attended the vocal training program at Domaine Forget and the New Music Program at Orford Music Academy. She currently sings in the Ensemble des musiciens de l’Ogive for the performance of works by Quebec composer, Michelle Boudreau. Some of Virginie’s early performances were with the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec and the Atlantide and Symphonie du Millénaire for the Montréal Musiques Nouvelles Festival. Virginie also performs as a soloist in choir recitals under the direction of Yvan Sabourin. She has been an active performer in the Montreal and Quebec scenes with several self-produced concerts and recitals presented in collaboration with pianists, percussionists and guitarists. In addition to performing, Virginie is a vocal instructor and choir director, and also offers summer opera classes.


Lisa Mulgrew, soprano

Soprano Lisa Mulgrew completed her Bachelor of Music from the University of Lethbridge in 2012, and went on to complete her Masters of Literature and Performance in Music from the University of Western Ontario 2015. It was during her time at Western that Lisa fell in love with Contemporary music, performing with the UWO Contemporary Music Ensemble, and singing the Female Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’. Lisa recently returned from Italy, where she sang Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San) with opera training program La Musica Lirica. Lisa is a Roster Singer with Cowtown Opera Company in Calgary, and was featured in their February 2017 production of Prison Divas. Lisa is passionate about music advancement and education, and works at the University of Lethbridge as a vocal instructor for the Conservatory of Music, and as the Assistant Conductor for the University of Lethbridge Singers 2016/17 season.

Read Lisa’s interview with 2013 E-Gré winner, Everett Hopfner, here.

Maeve Palmer, soprano

Described in recent reviews as “scintillating”, “exciting”, and “superb”, Maeve Palmer is a soprano in her Masters of Music in voice performance at the University of Toronto under the direction of Mary Morrison, and is the soprano Sidgwick Scholar with Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Maeve has performed as a soloist in concert with Opera Atelier, Off-Centre Music, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Tapestry Opera, Chorus Niagara, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra among others. Recent roles include soprano in Derek Holman’s Laudes Creatinonis, Matriarch (The Farthest Shore), The Angel of Death (No Mortal Business), Leah (Swoon), Satirino (La Calisto), and soloist in Bach’s B minor mass, and Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecelia. Recent world premiers include Alice Ping Yee Ho’s Three Songs of the Tang Dynasty, Tyler Versluis’s Five poems, and Robert Taylor’s Opticks. Soundtrack credits include The Space Between Us, film, 2017, and Aftermath, TV series, 2016.

Alexandra Smither, soprano

Soprano Alexandra Smither is quickly making a name for herself the worlds of both old and new classical music. Ms. Smither is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.Mus 2014), where she received one of the Music Department’s highest graduating awards, the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Award. She continued her studies, fully funded, at Rice University’s prestigious Shepherd School of Music (M.Mus 2016), While there she co-founded and managed the University’s student-lead new music ensemble, Hear&Now. She has held fellowships at the Music Academy of the West, SongFest, as a Marc and Eva Fellow, and the Franz Schubert Institute of Lieder. In 2017 she was a fellow at Songfest’s inaugural Winter Intensive and Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues” at Carnegie Hall. In February of 2017, she was an Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre’s “Concert in the 21st Century” as the recipient of the John and Sheilagh Languille Artist Award. In May, she will be touring parts of Michigan and Ontario with a program of contemporary music for soprano and violin. In June, she makes her principal debut as Mrs. Waters with Toronto’s Opera5 in their production of Ethyl Symth’s “The Boatswain’s Mate” in Toronto before travelling to begin her work as a soprano fellow for the 2017 Tanglewood Festival.