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Biography

Anne Harley BA (Yale College); MMus (Boston University); Opera Certificate (Boston University Opera Institute); DMA (Boston University) is a prize-winning performer-scholar, director and educator based in Claremont, CA. Born in Toronto, Canada, Anne Harley moved to the US to study comparative literature at Yale University and then to Boston, where she trained in voice and opera performance at Boston University. In 2006, she completed her doctorate there in Historical Performance supported by a Dean’s Scholarship. She specializes in performing and recording music from challenging and groundbreaking contemporary composers, as well as researching and recording music from early oral and written traditions in Europe, North America and Russia. Her solo performances are available on Hänssler Profil, Naxos, Sony Classics, Canteloupe, Musica Omnia, einKlang and BMOP/sound, among others.

Harley is recognized internationally as a specialist in contemporary classical music and extended voice techniques. Over the course of the last two decades, she has premiered, performed and recorded works by contemporary composers Evan Ziporyn, John Adams, Ralf Gawlick, Lee Hoiby, Louis Andriessen, Peter Eotvös and John Harbison, Jodi Goble, Christine Southworth, Moshe Shulman, Yii Kah Hoe and Chaipruck Mekara, among others. She tours regularly in North America, Europe and Asia and has appeared as soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Angels in America), Opera Boston (Nixon in China), American Repertory Theatre (Oedipus), Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Camerata, at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the Tanglewood Festival. The Boston Globe acclaimed Anne Harley's performance in BMOP’s American première of Peter Eötvos's Angels in America as “vocally and dramatically outstanding” and Opera Online US awarded her ‘Best Supporting Female Role’ of the year for her portrayal of Madame Mao (Nixon in China). She has been invited several times to premiere new compositions at the international annual ASEAN Music Festival in Nanning, China, and regularly collaborates with leading composers in Asia. As a performer, she has been recognized with several awards, including a competitive grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

In 2012, she founded the new music project Voices Of The Pearl . Voices of the Pearl traces, in newly commissioned song cycles, the tenuous lineage of women who dared to encounter the unmediated divine; their efforts span time, religion, nation and culture. For each commission, Harley collaborates with scholars and the composer to select the libretto from texts by and about female esoterics from world traditions throughout history, reclaiming these female teachings and the tradition of female spirituality. She then performs, tours, records and releases the new musical setting of texts. In its first three years, the project has commissioned 12 works, recorded half of these, and in 2014, released a recording of the first three cycles of vocal chamber music by composers Kati Agócs, Moshe Shulman and Yii Kah Hoe, singing these cycles in the original Farsi, Hebrew and Mandarin. The first release was supported, in part, by a prestigious commissioning grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2015, she will premiere new commissions by Marjorie Merryman, Steve Rowell, Yii Kah Hoe, Bill Alves and Kati Agócs.

She is extremely committed to interdisciplinary and intercultural projects that incorporate new media and movement in the service of music and drama. In 2009-10, she premiered the role of Margaret Mead in the world and US premières of Ziporyn’s dance-opera A House in Bali performing with gamelan, Bang-On-A-Can Ensemble and Balinese traditional singers and dancers. The work premiered in the Saraswati Water Palace in Ubud, Bali, and later at CalPerformances in Berkeley, California, the BAM Next Wave Festival and in Boston. Over the last decade, she has toured internationally with the award-winning production of Borrowed Light, a joint production of The Boston Camerata and the Tero Saarinen Dance Company that combines traditional early American Shaker music with new choreography. The Village Voice described her solo in Borrowed Light at Brooklyn Academy of Music as transmitting a “heart-wrenching purity.” In 2014, the independent film A Chair Fit For An Angel documenting Borrowed Light in which she appeared as soloist was awarded prizes at several international film festivals.

She also performs internationally in the area of historically informed performance, in medieval, baroque, early American, early Russian and Russian Roma music. She leads the pioneering early Russian music ensemble, TALISMAN with Dr. Oleg Timofeyev. Their first recording project of modern-day premieres of music by women composers from the court of Catherine the Great won the Noah Greenberg award from the American Musicological Society in 2001 and garnered high praise from Gramophone. Since then, they have performed at Boston Early Music Festival and presented recital-lectures profiling this understudied cultural milieu at Brown, Harvard, Yale, and other leading colleges. She débuted in Europe at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw as the lead in Handel’s Acis and Galatea and created the roles of Imagination and Zélide in the modern-day première of Royer’s Le pouvoir de l’Amour in conjunction with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and Oberlin College. In 2012, she received a Fellowship for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers at the American Antiquarian Society, and in 2015 was invited to return to curate and perform selections from their archive of early American music, which numbers over 70,000 scores.

Her passion for teaching voice in theatre and musical disciplines has taken her all over the world. In addition to leading master classes across the US, she is annually invited to teach at several institutions of higher learning in the People’s Republic of China, and both speaks and performs in Mandarin. For Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, she has stage-directed full productions of several standard operas during her several years as a Fellow of the Senior Common Room in Lowell House. In 2013 she held a visiting professorship at the Hannover Hochschule, Germany, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since 2009, she is on faculty at Scripps College (Claremont, CA), teaching voice, music history and interdisciplinary humanities and in 2015, became Chair of the Music Department.