Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a "luminous standout" (New York Times) and "equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness" (Opera News). Ms. Cooke appears frequently this season singing Mahler, whose works she has sung to great acclaim on four different continents. Sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music, Ms. Cooke's season continues to bring world premiere performances and unique artistic collaborations.
Ms. Cooke bookends her 2016-17 season with opera performances of Hänsel und Gretel at the Seattle Opera and a world-premiere by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell titled The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at The Santa Fe Opera. Throughout the season her orchestral engagements include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti leading Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Carnegie Hall, a semi-staged production of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied paired with the composer’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert and a staged version of Verdi’s Requiem with Houston Grand Opera under Patrick Summers. Her season also features performances with Atlanta Symphony for Christopher Theofanidis' Creation/Creator conducted by Robert Spano, Milwaukee Symphony for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Edo de Waart, Duruflé’s Requiem with Cleveland Orchestra conducted Matthew Halls and also with National Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles, Minnesota Orchestra to sing and record Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 conducted by Osmo Vänskä, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra singing a concert of Handel, Mahler, and Mozart, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony, Oregon Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem under Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and Nashville Symphony for Harbison’s Requiem that will also be recorded.
During the 2015-16 season, Ms. Cooke sang performances of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, both under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, and with the Tucson Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with Trevor Pinnock and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Nashville and Seattle Symphonies. A frequent performer of contemporary works, Ms. Cooke’s season featured the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s Canta-Concerto with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert.
Her operatic engagements during the 2015-16 season included her role debut as Magdalena in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with San Francisco Opera under the baton of Sir Mark Elder. Ms. Cooke also joined Harry Bicket and The English Concert in her role debut as Medoro in Handel’s Orlando on tour to Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, Birmingham’s Town Hall, Valencia’s Palau de la Música, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, London’s Barbican Centre, and New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Cooke’s past seasons have included performances with such wide-ranging conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Pinchas Zukerman, Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Riccardo Frizza, Jeffrey Kahane, Jaap van Zweden, Robert Spano, Tugan Sokhiev, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Tugan Sokhiev, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Matthew Halls, and Ludovic Morlot. Previous orchestral engagements have brought her to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, MDR Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Colorado Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, Berkeley Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and Columbus Symphony. Ms. Cooke has performed with opera companies around the world in the past including Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Dallas Opera, The Israeli Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. Previous festival appearances have included Spoleto Festival USA, Caramoor International Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, New York Festival of Song, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Cooke has performed at such prestigious venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall, Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. A dedicated recitalist, Ms. Cooke was presented by Young Concert Artists in her widely acclaimed New York and Washington debuts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and the Kennedy Center. On DVD, Ms. Cooke can be seen in a new production of Hansel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera and the Grammy Award-winning production of Doctor Atomic under conductor Alan Gilbert. Ms. Cooke’s recordings can be found on the Hyperion, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels.
A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha Cooke also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs.