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Biography

As vocalist, composer, scholar, and producer, Majel Connery is a relentless ambassador for new opera. In all branches of her artistic life, Connery propels a reimagining of contemporary opera through bold collaborations with artists beyond the operatic mainstream. Her distinctive voice has served as muse to a range of composers from Caroline Shaw (Pulitzer Prize) to Ken Ueno (Berlin and Rome Prizes). In 2016-17 she had the honor of serving as Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford University, where she partnered with the St. Lawrence String Quartet in the debut of Caroline Shaw’s first opera, “Contriving the Chimes,” with famed opera director Christopher Alden at Bing Concert Hall Studio.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Cabal (est. 2006), Connery is reshaping how opera is imagined, produced and performed in the U. S. Under her leadership the company’s productions exhibit a “daredevilry rarely found in anything calling itself ‘opera’ these days” (Time Out Chicago). Her world stage premiere of George Friedrich Haas’s ATTHIS (with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, at The Kitchen), was called “one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times” (New York Times).

Front-woman for the composer collective, Oracle Hysterical, Connery co-wrote and sings on albums “Passionate Pilgrim” (called “music that is unstuck in time,” WSJ) and “Hecuba” (both albums Naxos/Vision Into Art, 2017 and 2018, forthcoming), and recently debuted “The Sea,” a symphonic song cycle commissioned by and performed with Grammy-nominated ensemble A Far Cry (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston).

A scholar and educator, Connery has held positions at institutions including Berkeley (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Doreen B. Townsend Center Fellow, and Arts Research Center Fellow), Wellesley College (Mellon Visiting Artist at the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities), and Princeton University (Visiting Scholar, Department of Music). She holds degrees in music composition (A.B., Princeton), ethnomusicology and musicology (M.A. and Ph.D., University of Chicago).

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