Two-time Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” by the New York Times and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” by Opera News. Ms. Cooke has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Gran Teatre del Liceu, among others, and with over eighty symphony orchestras worldwide, frequently in the works of Mahler. Last season marked Ms. Cooke’s appointment at the Music Academy of the West as Co-Director of the Lehrer Vocal Institute. Her album how do I find you was nominated for a 2022 Grammy for Best Vocal Solo.
Ms. Cooke opens the 2023/24 season with a return to the San Francisco Opera, reprising the role of Laurene Jobs in Mason Bates’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs which won the 2019 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. She makes role debuts as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde at Opéra de Rouen and as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Houston Grand Opera, conducted by Dame Jane Glover. She sings world premieres by Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at Dallas Opera and by Scott Ordway in a song cycle on the Stanford Live series. In concert, Ms. Cooke returns to the San Francisco Symphony for Pulcinella, Oregon Symphony and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia for Messiah and performs and records Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning with Nashville Symphony. Ms. Cooke gives recitals at Boston Conservatory with pianist Jessica Shinn, at Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach with John Churchwell, in Stanford alongside Laura Dahl and members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and at the Cleveland Institute of Music alongside pianist Kirill Kuzmin and guitarist Jason Vieaux.
Ms. Cooke’s 2022/23 season began with a return to Houston Grand Opera in her role debut as Thirza in the company’s new production of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers conducted by Patrick Summers. On the concert stage, she performed throughout the U.S. and abroad: in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Houston Symphony conducted by Juraj Valčuha; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Wiener Konzerthaus; Michael Tilson Thomas’ Meditations on Rilke with the New York Philharmonic conducted by the composer; Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra alongside Gemma New; and Mozart’s Requiem with the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Klaus Mäkelä and later with Nashville Symphony. She made her debut with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, and the Utah Symphony in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which she later performed with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of Alan Gilbert. She made returns to the Chicago Symphony for works by Vivaldi, to the Philadelphia Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah and to the Kansas City Symphony for Hindemith’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Special collaborations on the recital stage included Jake Heggie’s Intonations: Songs for the Violins of Hope with Music of Remembrance; recitals with guitarist Jason Vieaux at San Francisco Performances and Round Top Festival; and a recital featuring how do I find you at Kaufman Music Center, alongside pianist Kirill Kuzmin.Read more
During the 2021/22 season, Ms. Cooke returned to the Metropolitan Opera for her role debut as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro conducted by James Gaffigan. She also joined the Met as Eduige in Rodelinda conducted by Harry Bicket. She joined the Minnesota Orchestra for Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and subsequently for Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the latter conducted by Osmo Vänskä. Additionally, she performed Michael Tilson Thomas’ Meditations on Rilke under his baton with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, scenes from Nadia Boulanger’s Faust et Hélène with the Houston Symphony, led by Fabien Gabel, in addition to Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 there, Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict with the Festival de la Côte Saint-André, led by John Nelson, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Oregon Symphony, Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand and Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by Gemma New, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the New World Symphony, and a holiday concert with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. She also gave a solo recital at the Tucson Desert Song Festival, joined by pianist Myra Huang, including the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s song cycle Summer Music. The 2021/22 season also marked the release of Ms. Cooke’s new album, entitled how do I find you, on the Pentatone label. Featuring songs by Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli and Jimmy Lopez, among others, the Grammy-nominate recording is intended as a tribute to both the struggles and hopes of those affected by the pandemic. All seventeen songs were written in 2020. Ms. Cooke performed the world premiere in January 2022 as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s Great Performers Series, before giving subsequent recitals at the Shriver Hall Concert Series and elsewhere, with pianist Kirill Kuzmin.
Previously scheduled engagements included appearances at the Metropolitan Opera as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, at Dallas Opera as Sylvie in the world premiere of Talbot’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and at San Francisco Opera as Offred in Poul Ruder’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Concert performances were to include Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Orchestre National de France under the direction of Trevor Pinnock, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck and the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano, both in Atlanta and on tour at Carnegie Hall in New York. Other previously scheduled concert engagements included Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Minnesota Orchestra and music director Osmo Vänskä, reuniting with Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic for concerts of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection at David Geffen Hall (New York), Barbican Hall (London), and The Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Myung-Whun Chung at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Previously scheduled recital engagements included a duo recital tour alongside soprano Susanna Phillips and a solo recital of songs at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Ms. Cooke has performed with opera companies worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Parallèle, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Israeli Opera, and English National Opera. During her career, she has been engaged by over 70 orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, New Zealand Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal, New World Symphony, under leading conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti, Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Edo de Waart, Trevor Pinnock, Harry Bicket, Pinchas Zukerman, Gerard Schwarz, Riccardo Frizza, James Gaffigan, Vasily Petrenko, Sir Mark Elder, and Krzysztof Urbański. Ms. Cooke has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Palau de la Música de València, Hollywood Bowl, Theater an der Wien, Alice Tully Hall, Auditorio Nacional de Música, Elbphilharmonie, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Previous festival appearances have included the Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival, 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 Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A devoted interpreter of new music, Ms. Cooke has premiered works by Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, William Bolcom, Pierre Jalbert, Laura Kaminsky, Lowell Liebermann, Nico Muhly, John Musto, Marc Neikrug, Kevin Puts, Jimmy Lopez, Augusta Read Thomas, and Joby Talbot.
As 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. She has also appeared in recital at Alice Tully Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y. Her recordings can be found on the Hyperion, BIS, Chandos, Pentatone, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels. Most recently she appears on recordings including Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer on Pentatone, L’enfance du Christ with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony on Chandos, Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs on Pentatone which won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra on BIS, Michael Tilson Thomas’ Meditations on Rilke with the San Francisco Symphony with won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium and Sasha Cooke LIVE, a collection of her performances at the Music@Menlo chamber music festival released on their label.
Sasha Cooke is a graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School. She also attended the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, Wolf Trap Foundation, Marlboro Music Festival, Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs.
On Sunday, January 30, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke will perform the world premiere of her new album, how do I find you (Pentatone), in recital with pianist Kirill Kuzmin at the San Francisco Symphony. The album, available Friday, January 28, features seventeen original...
Baritone Norman Garrett, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and tenor Matthew White star in Ernest Chausson’s rarely performed opera Le roi Arthus at Bard SummerScape. The new production, directed by Louisa Proske, premieres on July 25 and runs through August 1. Garrett takes...
IMG Artists extends a huge congratulations to our winners at the 61st annual GRAMMY® Award ceremony last night. Soweto Gospel Choir won their third GRAMMY® Award in the Best World Music Album category for Freedom, whilst vocalists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano) and...
“Cooke’s Cherubino was equally nimble and fleet-footed, except when pinned to the ground by Van Horn’s Figaro. Cooke was excellent as the over-sexed teenage page that had clearly learned a trick or two from the Count, exhibiting more cockiness than awkwardness in the young man’s relentless quest for romance. With a plummier voice than many a mezzo-soprano who assays the role, Cooke dashed off an impressive, fleet-footed ‘Non so piu’ and an ardent ‘Voi che sapete’.”
Le nozze di Figaro, The Metropolitan Opera, April 2022
“Sasha Cooke did an utterly valid, sonorous and expressive work in the complex part of Eduige. Graceful onstage, she proved a mistress of the style, displaying a pleasing liquid tone. (Then this sentence which I would leave out: Ever attentive to the words, Cooke and Costanzo made more specific use of the Italian text than did their peers.)
Rodelinda, The Metropolitan Opera, March 2022
“… experiencing Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” interpreted by a charismatic performer with a pure and powerful voice was well worth braving the first wintry night of the season. Cooke displayed richness throughout her ample range and an animated, theatrical approach to creating a character for the four Mahler songs, widely regarded as the first song cycle written for orchestra…. It was some masterful Mahler.”
“Sasha Cooke, as Genièvre, phrased her text with bequilling skill, unleashing her wide-ranging, sensuously cushioned mezzo with dynamic acumen.”
David Shengold, Opera News, October 2021
“Sasha Cooke’s mezzo-soprano was exquisitely rounded and ensured that Goffredo’s arias were delivered with a certain sumptuousness and complete sense of ease.”
Rinaldo, The English Concert, March 2018
“Mezzo-soprano, Sasha Cooke’s voice was luxurious, full-bodied and round, so powerful that at times when the electro-acoustic orchestra was at a fortissimo level, she could still be heard over the group. She sensitively portrayed Laurene, Jobs’ gentle, comforting influence.”
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Santa Fe Opera, July 2017
“The splendid mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke brought dark colorings and penetrating richness to her solos.”
“The best thing about this performance [by the San Francisco Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall in London] was Sasha Cooke, the American mezzo whose resonant tone and intelligent projection raised the fourth movement [of Mahler’s Third Symphony] to a different level.”