Noelle McMurtry, soprano, recognized for her “expressive panache,” “piquant presence,” and “flashing” voice is steadily establishing herself as a versatile and exciting performer, particularly devoted to the interpretation of art song, Baroque, new music, and cabaret repertoire. She is a graduate of Vassar College and Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where she received the degree of Master of Music in Vocal Performance & Literature and studied with renowned American soprano Rita Shane. Noelle was also awarded a Certificate of Proficiency in French by McGill University after successful completion of their intensive French language program. In May of 2018, she was awarded a Graduate Performance Diploma in Vocal Studies at Peabody Institute in the studio of Ah Young Hong, where she received the George R. Woodhead Endowed Prize in Voice. In September of 2019, she will begin her doctoral studies at Peabody Institute,
Noelle has been continually drawn to artistic projects that marry both music and theater. Her notable operatic credits include Calisto in La Calisto with Peabody Chamber Opera, Fairy in The Fairy Queen and Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Papagena in The Magic Flute with New York Opera Exchange, 1st Witch in Dido & Aeneas with Utopia Opera, Cécile de Volanges in Conrad Susa's Dangerous Liaisons with Opera Avanti, and Esmeralda in The Bartered Bride with Eastman Opera Theater. In 2012, she had her professional debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Arild Remmereit, performing excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier as Sophie.
Noelle has always been drawn to the inherent drama, complexity, and emotion of Baroque repertoire. She has studied with early music specialists, such as Drew Minter, Ellen Hargis, and Lisa Saffer, as well as coached with Paul O'Dette, Richard Stone, and Mark Cudek. Noelle has performed as part of the Young Artist Program at the Boston Early Music Festival in Handel’s Almira, as a member of the Baroque Vocal Programme at the Vancouver Early Music Festival, as Rosana in Scarlatti’s La principessa fedele at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and as Venus in Blow’s Venus & Adonis with Eastman Collegium.
A lover of song repertoire, Noelle received the Outstanding Performance Award in the Art Song Division of the Metropolitan International Vocal Competition, has been a semifinalist in the Mary Trueman Vocal Arts Competition with The Art Song Preservation Society of New York, and has been a Young Artist at SongFest where she coached with Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, Graham Johnson, and composer Jake Heggie.
An avid recitalist, Noelle is most interested in innovative, thematic programming that creates new contexts in which to experience song from female and feminist perspectives. Examples of this include: Ophelia and Her Sisters, a program exploring representations of “mad” women in song; Femmes en fleur and The Little Ghost, programs celebrating female perspectives from both composer and poet. A frequent recital collaborator , Noelle has presented concerts with Christ & St. Stephen's Recital Series, The Cantanti Project Concert Series, and The Pleiades Project. She performed in Her Story with The Cantanti Project, a collaborative concert celebrating musical works from Hildegard von Bingen, Fanny Mendelssohn, Germaine Tailleferre, and Libby Larsen.
A frequent artistic collaborator with living composers, Noelle performed at The New Music On The Point Festival, premiering works by composers Sarah Grace Graves and Aaron Wyanski. In 2017-2018, she performed with Peabody’s Now Hear This Ensemble, presenting works by Scott Ordway and Kate Soper, most notably at The Kennedy Center. In February 2018, Noelle covered the title role of Krystyna Zywulska in the premiere of Jake Heggie’s Out of Darknesss: Two Remain with Peabody Chamber Opera. After being awarded a Career Development Grant from Peabody Institute, Noelle is one of the founding members of an all-female new music vocal octet, based in Baltimore, with upcoming concert projects in 2019.
Noelle has also paired with writer/comedian Emma Tattenbaum-Fine to present Queen of Hearts, a cabaret-style exploration of love in stories and songs. Queen of Hearts premiered at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre in New York City in May 2016, and was later work-shopped on The Pleiades Project Concert Series. In October of 2016, Noelle was awarded a Career Development Grant from Peabody Institute to further develop the artistic scope of the project. Throughout 2017-2018, Noelle and Emma have performed Queen of Hearts at venues in Baltimore and NYC.
Noelle feels equally at ease on the musical theater stage. Her favorite performances include Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Assassins with Eastman Opera Theater and Cinderella in Into the Woods with Vassar Experimental Theater. She has also been a semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition. She was featured, interpreting Sondheim, on “CrossOvers in the Concert Hall,” a masterclass with Carol Kimball as part of The Art Song Preservation Society of New York’s Spring Into Song Series.
Noelle also has enjoyed her work at various not-for-profit arts organizations with an emphasis on seeking funds and managing programs that empower children to find their voice through theatre and music. Among her notable positions, Noelle served as Executive Administrative Assistant to the Artistic Director and Founder of the Manhattan Girls Chorus, and she previously acted as office manager and grant writer at The Actors Theatre Workshop, a theatre and community center serving children in transitional housing.