Clara Osowski, mezzo soprano; Ahmed Anzaldúa, piano
Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, who sings “from inside the music with unaffected purity and sincerity” (UK Telegraph), is an active soloist and chamber musician hailed for her “rich and radiant voice” (UrbanDial Milwaukee). She was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Upper-Midwest Regional Finalist, the winner of several competitions including Bel Canto Chorus Regional Artists Competition of Milwaukee, the Houston Saengerbund Competition, several time runner-up in The Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition, and third place in the Madison Handel Aria Competition. Recognized for her excellence in Minnesota, Clara was a recipient of the prestigious 2018-2019 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Musicians administered by MacPhail Center for Music.
In international competition with pianist Tyler Wottrich, in March of 2017, Clara became the first ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff’s International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany. Later that year, the duo was also one of four to reach the finals in the very prestigious Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition in London, and Clara was awarded the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. She recently won the Radio-Canada People’s Choice Award and third place in the song division at the 2018 Concours Musical International de Montréal.
Recent performance highlights include her debut with Minnesota Opera as Mrs. Herring in Britten’s Albert Herring, and active as a recitalist, she stepped in for Susanna Philips in The Schubert Club International Artist Series Recital with Eric Owens. She has also been a feature recitalist at the Enlightenment Festival of Seraphic Fire, The Pablo Center of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, and several universities. She has collaborated with many chamber musicians, including pianist Wu Han, The Lydian String Quartet, VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Accordo, and Dark Horse Consort. Clara’s passion for contemporary music is exhibited in the song-cycles and chamber music she has premiered or commissioned by numerous composers including James Kallembach, Libby Larsen, David Evan Thomas, Linda Kachelmeier, Reinaldo Moya, Carol Barnett, and Juliana Hall.
Orchestral performance highlights include her soloist debuts of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, B Minor Mass with the Back Bay Chorale of Boston, Christmas Oratorio with Bach Society of Minnesota, Mozart’s Requiem with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Tulsa Signature Symphony, Bernstein’s Jeremiah with Mid-Columbia Symphony, and Dominick Argento’s orchestral song cycles Casa Guidi and A few words about Chekhov with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of Minneapolis.
Active also as an educator, Clara has enjoyed giving masterclasses and convocations at several universities, including Syracuse University, Muhlenberg College, Seattle University, Concordia College (Moorhead), and North Dakota State University. She was also the guest artist in residence at Indiana State University’s 50th Contemporary Music Festival celebrating the music of Libby Larsen. Clara also served on the faculty at the Aspen Music Festival’s Professional Choral Institute in partnership with Seraphic Fire, and has been a panelist for SongFest and the Lakes Area Music Festival.
Previous season highlights include her Wigmore Hall debut recital with Julius Drake, debuts with Kansas City Symphony and Handel and Haydn Society, a premiere oratorio with the National Lutheran Choir by Steve Heitzig, and a premiere orchestral song cycle by Carol Barnett with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Please visit the schedule for more information.
In addition to performing, Clara serves as the Artistic Director of Source Song Festival, a week-long art song festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This festival strives to create and perform new art song, and cultivate an educational environment for students of song, including composers, vocalists, and collaborative pianists. In addition to her solo work, she participates in a number of ensembles, including Lumina Women’s Ensemble, Lorelei Ensemble, and Seraphic Fire.
Ahmed Anzaldúa is a Mexican choral conductor, classical pianist, and music educator of Egyptian descent. He is an active musician, performing in Mexico and the United States frequently as a soloist and conductor with choirs, orchestras, in recitals, and as a collaborative pianist. He currently lives in the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is the director and founder of Border CrosSing, an organization dedicated to integrating historically-segregated audiences, repertoire, and musicians through the performance of choral music. He is co-editor of the Justice Choir songbook and Director of Music Ministries at Unity Church – Unitarian.