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Alto soloist Stephanie Prewitt has found a strong following in her home state of Texas through her frequent appearances in concert and at music festivals, in oratorios, masses, and in performances of music ranging from the Medieval period to the present day. Her most recent honors include an Austin Critics Table Award (2001) and the Adams Vocal Master Class Fellowship (2001) from the internationally acclaimed Carmel Bach Festival.
Stephanie Prewitt was born in Galveston, Texas, and grew up in Austin. She began her formal study of voice at age sixteen, and continued at the University of Texas, first with renowned performer and teacher Jess Walters, and later with noted mezzo-soprano Barbara Corbin. After college, Prewitt’s work with University of Texas early music specialist Daniel Johnson, choral director Morris Beachy, and professor Fiora Contino led to a scholarship to join a chamber choir at Aspen, Colorado. It was through contacts made there that she received a call to join an emerging professional vocal ensemble called La Cappella.
La Cappella, a six-voice “vokalensemble,” performed widely in Vienna and eventually toured Northern Europe with an eclectic repertory ranging from obscure masterpieces of the Austrian Renaissance to American spirituals. But once in the great musical capital, Prewitt found she was also much in demand as a freelancer, and was soon singing with such noted groups as the Schoenberg Chor, the ORF choir, Voces Wien, and the Clemencic Consort. René Clemencic gave Prewitt her first significant opportunities as a soloist, engaging her to sing with his ensemble in the Vienna Musikverein and in the Theatre des Champs-Elysée.
After two years in Europe, Prewitt returned home to Austin, where she quickly found a prominent niche in the local music scene, soloing again with the Texas Early Music Project, the baroque chamber ensemble La Follia Austin Baroque, and for various groups under the city’s fine choral conductors, Craig Hella Johnson, David Stevens, and Jeffrey Jones-Ragona who continue to tap her as a featured soloist in their projects. Her work with Craig Johnson, who conducts both the Victoria Bach Festival and New Texas Music Works, has led her to soloist roles in J.S.Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” and his “Mass in B Minor,” as well as in such contemporary masterpieces as Arvo Pärt’s “Passio.”
Prewitt’s pure, supple alto naturally lends itself to Medieval music, which is perhaps her favorite repertory. She has recorded Aquitanian chant with Heliotrope, a California ensemble, whose work appears on the Koch record label. On tour with the New York Ensemble for Early Music, Prewitt has also performed to wide acclaim the role of Rachel in “The Play of Herod,” a passion play of the English Middle Ages. But a recent memorable solo recital featuring Gregorian chant, Robert Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und Leben” and songs of Stephen Sondheim highlighted both her interpretive skill and the remarkable range of her talent. From the simplest Scottish ballads to the most daring of 20th-century compositions, she sings everything she offers with, as one listener put it, “sensitivity, intelligence and affection.”