“The diabolical enthusiasm of Katherine Skovira and Robert Whalen
left me nearly begging for mercy…
the artistic equivalent of NASA's New Horizons.”
— The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The future of Philadelphia music"
Katherine Skovira has excelled in the contemporary scene with an exciting range of contemporary vocal repertoire. Katherine has performed with Sir Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, and Barbara Hannigan.
With the Lucerne Festival Academy, Bard Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Castleton Festival, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Mizzou International Composers Festival, New England Conservatory's Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Katherine has sung various world, US and regional premieres. Her collaborations include SoundLAB, the Barnes Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble 61, Les espaces acoustiques and the musicians of the Callithumpian Consort at SICPP. Most recent repertoire includes the works of John Cage, Gérard Grisey, György Kurtag, Bernard Rands and Augusta Read Thomas.
Katherine is a passionate advocate of contemporary music, having collaborated on numerous world, US and regional premieres of Georges Aperghis, Jennifer Bellor, Kirsten Broberg, John Cage, Chaya Czernowin, Zosha Di Castri, Bryan Curt Kostors, Gerard Grisey, Zvonimir Nagy, Robert Whalen, Dominic Argento, James Dillon, Lori Laitman, Bernard Rands, Larry Alan Smith, Augusta Read Thomas, and others on new and recently established vocal works. She cherishes these collaborations and welcomes direct communication from composers.
In the 2015-2016 season, Katherine was awarded the position of New Music Fellow at SongFest, a fellowship position awarded to a singer “showing outstanding potential in the field of new music.” There, she performed Rands’ Memo 7 and Whalen’s Meditations, as well as selections from Messiaen’s Hawari, Libby Larsen’s Love after 1950 and John Musto’s Shadow of the Blues, in addition to works by Klein, Mozart, Obradors, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Schumann and Strauss. She performed as soloist with New England Conservatory's Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice on She concluded her summer with a recital series in NYC, PA and NJ of works by Schubert, Schoenberg, and Babbitt, and Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs.
In the summer of 2014 at the Castleton Festival, she prepared the role of Julia in Maazel’s groundbreaking opera 1984 in its first appearance in the United States and performed Corigliano’s Three Irish Folksong Settings for Sir James Galway. In August 2014, she sang as mezzo soloist under Sir Simon Rattle in Berio’s Coro at the Lucerne Festival and began her work with mentor Barbara Hannigan in masterclass and concert series, in which she performed selections from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Hindemith’s Des Todes Tod and Schoenberg’s Op. 2 with Huw Watkins. This led Katherine to be invited as soloist with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in September 2014.
On the stage, Katherine has performed the roles of Donna Elvira, Cherubino, Idamante, Second Lady, Flora, Cathleen in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, Parasha in Stravinsky’s Mavra, Singer 1 in Cage’s Europera no. 5, Jordan in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, and Mrs. Hopkins in a workshop performance of Robert Aldridge & Herschel Garfein’s Sister Carrie, as well as the roles of Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore and Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Gilbert and Sullivan Company of Chicago.Maestro Lorin Maazel, Sir Simon Rattle, and Barbara Hannigan in concert as invited soloist, among other great artists of the industry.
Katherine holds degrees from Cornell University, Westminster Choir College and the University of Minnesota. At Cornell, she was the recipient of the Barbara Troxell Vocal Music Award. She won First Prize at the 2012 National Association of Teachers of Singing Minnesota State Chapter Competition.
In concert, Katherine has performed as mezzo soloist in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Das Lied von der Erde , Hindemith’s Des Todes Tod, the American premiere of John Ireland’s Psalm 42 in 2012, Mendelssohn’s Der Himmel hoch and Cantata no. 42 with Augsberg College, and Frank Ticheli’s Angels in the Architecture with the 2011 MMEA Conference, in addition to extensive contemporary repertoire. In a recent Minneapolis recital, she paired Ravel’s Chansons madécasses and Olivier Messiaen’s Trois Mélodies with selections from Aperghis’ experimental musical theatre work Récitations to demonstrate the ensemble that exists between new repertoire and the history of musical composition. Further concerts have included the Twin Cities centennial celebration of Pierrot lunaire, Hindemith’s Des Todes Tod, Cage’s Songbooks, Feldman’s I met Heine on the rue Fürstenberg, the Midwest premiere of Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour frontier le seuil, Bernard Rands’ Memo 7, Augusta Read Thomas’s Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour and Twilight Butterfly, and the world premieres of Zvonimir Nagy’s Cantus Jubilus and Kirsten Broberg’s Collecting Winter at Studio Z.