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Sasha Cooke

Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has sung a wide variety of operatic and concert works ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary. She has sung with most of the major American symphony orchestras and with several important ones beyond. Cooke was born in 1983 in Riverside, California, but grew up in College Station, Texas, where both her parents taught at Texas A&M University. Cooke started piano lessons at four and immediately gravitated toward music, joining a choir and taking up the viola. As a high school student, she was encouraged to consider a piano career. However, after graduating from College Station's Consolidated High School in 2000, she attended Rice University and majored in voice. Her graduate studies in voice were at the Juilliard School in New York. She went on for further study at the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, as well as the Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs, among others. A major early performance came with the Milwaukee Symphony in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 ("Jeremiah") during the 2009-2010 season, the debut year there of conductor Edo de Waart. Since then, Cooke has been heard with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, and most of the other top American orchestras. Her recitals have taken her to Kennedy Center in Washington, Carnegie Hall, and London's Wigmore Hall. Cooke has been a favorite attraction at summer festivals and outdoor venues; at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012 she sang Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Leonard Slatkin. One of her first operatic appearances came in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the San Francisco Opera in 2015. She has sung several different roles in Handel's Orlando, but has also gravitated toward contemporary opera; for the summer 2020 season she was signed to perform the role of Laurene Powell Jobs in Mason Bates' opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Beginning in 2012 with the opera and song recital If You Love for Beauty, Cooke has made recordings for Yarlung, Sono Luminus, Naxos, and other labels. In 2018, she was heard on the San Francisco Symphony's own recording of Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette. Cooke is married to baritone Kelly Markgraf, and the pair has a young daughter who has also taken up singing.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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