Contemporary Improvisation; Director, CI A Cappella; Director, Medieval Folk Roots Ensemble
Cristi Catt is a classically trained singer who specializes in mixing contemporary, world, and early vocal music. She has performed throughout the U.S. Europe and South America, and is a founding member of the internationally renowned vocal ensemble Tapestry: winners of the Echo Klassik and Chamber Music American’s Recording of the Year. Her interest in the meeting points between medieval and world traditions has led to research grants to Portugal and southern France, and performances with French folk band, Le Bon Vent, Balmus and HourGlass, Early music performances include Ensemble PAN, Revels, La Donne Musicale, and Boston Camerata. A frequent performer of modern music, she performed Steve Reich’s Tehillim with the Colorado Symphony and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop, as well as at Jordan Hall conducted by Steven Drury.
The LA Times writes "the stunning solo excursions by Cristi Catt were as radiant and exciting as any singing I’ve heard all season." Grammophone Magazine writes "high soprano Cristi Catt has captured the spirit of Hildegard von Bingen with extraordinary insight," while Fanfare magazine describes her in very different terms "Catt and Tosic sometimes sing in a manner more suggestive of folk, even pop (think Joan Baez or Judy Collins), than classical music. This doesn't seem self-consciously 'hip,' however, and the ease and spontaneity of their singing can't hide their expert musicianship."
As a teacher, Catt takes a kinesthetic approach, combining bel canto singing with imagery and physical work based on yoga to open the voice, ground the breath, and improve body alignment. Student backgrounds include high school and college students, music teachers, actors, and amateur, pre-professional and professional singers interested in a wide array of styles including early music, world, folk, musical comedy, contemporary, and art song. She enjoys working with singers to find their unique musical path and to find repertoire that truly suits their voice, their personality, and their passion. Catt also coaches chamber and A cappella ensembles. Prior to NEC, she taught at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She has presented lectures, workshops, and master classes at Harvard University, SUNY Stonybrook, Williams College, and numerous other colleges throughout the United States.
She has a passion for the theatre and most recently served as music director for Collegebound: The Musical of Life and Debt at Studio BE in Chicago. She has served as music director for productions of Shakespearian comedies in Boston and New York, and has directed productions of Hildegard Von Bingen’s medieval drama Ordo Virtutem. She is the director of Viriditas, the Night Song women’s schola that performs regularly at First Church Congregational in Cambridge.
Recordings include Angeli, Celestial Light, Song of Songs: Come into my Garden and Fourth River with Telarc International, Sapphire Night and Faces of a Woman with German Label, MDG, Goodnight Marc Chagall with Canadian Label Epact and Carmina Burana with Erato/Time Warner. In her most recent recording project, she joins forces with fellow Tapestry singer Daniela Tosic to collaborate with members of the Horse Flies, Richie Stearns, banjo and Taki Masuko, percussion.
B.M. in voice, University of Kansas, M.M. in early music, Longy School of Music; Post-graduate studies with Rudolph Knoll at the Mozarteum, Salzburg Austria as a Rotary Fellow. Research grants to Portugal and southern France, Private voice studies with Nina Hinson.
Photo by Susan Wilson