Canadian soprano Heather Pawsey is acclaimed for her musicianship and astonishing versatility, easily encompassing and crossing over many musical boundaries including opera, oratorio, chamber, recital, music theatre and contemporary music, in ten languages. First Prize winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition ("considerable talents and impressive musical range ... passionate, fiery, sensuous, mischievous ... Pawsey has a strong theatrical presence ..." The Regina Leader Post), she subsequently performed a cross-Canada Winner's Recital Tour and has also sung in the United States, England, Austria, Slovenia, Singapore and Sydney, Australia.
As the gun-toting Adina in Burnaby Lyric Opera's The Elixir of Love, Heather made full use of her arsenal of vocal and acting talents; Pawsey's voice is in its prime, and she has the control to portray the full range of emotions (Opera Canada). Other roles include Soeur Valentine (The Dialogues of the Carmelites), Betty (The Threepenny Opera) and the Milliner in Der Rosenkavalier (Vancouver Opera); Adina (The Elixir of Love; tossing off intricate figurations while maintaining a ravishingly beautiful tone - The Kelowna Daily Courier), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and Marian (The Music Man) for Opera Viva (Kelowna); Anne Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Valencienne (The Merry Widow) and Arsena (The Gypsy Baron) for Dawson Creek Opera; Lucy (The Threepenny Opera) for the Britten-Weill Festival in Aldeburgh, England; Rose (Street Scene) for the Vancouver Academy of Music; Polly (The Beggar's Opera) for the University of British Columbia; and four seasons touring Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with Prairie Opera.
Oratorio and concert appearances include Brahms Deutsches Requiem and Poulenc's Gloria with the West Coast Symphony; Messiah for the Vancouver Handel Society; Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Orff's Carmina Burana for Capilano College (North Vancouver); and twice as guest soloist with the Vancouver Island Symphony. CBC Radio has featured Heather nationally on In Performance, Sounds Like Canada, Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, Two New Hours, The Arts Tonight, and Richardson's Roundup, and provincially on Gallery and Ambience (CBC Saskatchewan) and The Afternoon Show (CBC Vancouver).
A passionate and fearless champion of contemporary music in general, and Canadian music in particular, Heather has a number of world premieres to her credit, many of them written specifically for her, including Vancouver composer Leslie Uyeda's Whales (Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre), And Love Says (from Grace Notes, for Music in the Morning/CBC Radio Two's In Performance), and Fresh Snow (CBC Radio One's Sounds Like Canada); Taiwanese composer Gordon Shi-Wen Chin's Leaf Print (in Taiwanese) with the Turning Point Ensemble; and Vancouver composer Kathryn Cernauskas' Tasting Notes (Calona Vineyards Winery). Other world premieres include Toronto composer Omar Daniel's Von Dem Buche Der Bilder for Vancouver New Music; Edmonton composer Allan Gilliland's Words for Music Perhaps with the Pro Nova Ensemble; Austrian composer Martin Ritter's To God for the Sonic Boom Festival; American composer Patricia Alessandrini's Five Italian Songs for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra for the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music in Brunswick, Maine; the roles of Jessa in Regina composer Thomas Schudel's The Enchanted Cat and Gerda in Regina composer Robert Ursan's The Snow Queen; and the North American premiere of Gordon Shi-Wen Chin's Three Songs (in Mandarin) with the Turning Point Ensemble.
Heather is particularly known for her all-Canadian, all-contemporary, site-specific, inter-active chamber music concerts, for which she has been awarded Canada Music Fund grants for 'New Music in New Places'. Audience members and musicians alike travel from site to site within an unusual venue for a kaleidoscope of auditory and sensory impressions. Tasting Notes was performed for two sold-out audiences at Calona Vineyards Winery (Kelowna, B.C.) in September 2004, and in March 2006 she presented Sound Waves at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre where, unexpectedly but thrillingly, the resident beluga whales started vocalising with her to R. Murray Schafer's Aria of the Princess from The Princess of the Stars. In August 2005, Heather and Saskatchewan composer David McIntyre presented SaskaTunes, a Centennial recital, at Government House in Regina, sponsored and hosted by the Lieutenant-Governor.
Heather has sung and trained at the Banff Centre for the Arts; the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Study; the American Institute of Musical Studies; Scotia Festival of Music Young Artists' Program; the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival; the Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Music Program; and the Vancouver Academy of Music. In 1997 she was a semi-finalist in the Center for Contemporary Opera's International Opera Singers' Competition in New York City. She is the recipient of two Canada Council grants, two Canada Music Fund grants, a Province of British Columbia Professional Development Grant, several scholarships, and holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of British Columbia.
© 2017 Heather Pawsey. All rights reserved. All head shots by Nicholas Seiflow.