About

Elizabeth Anker for webContralto Elizabeth Anker sings Baroque oratorio, art songs, new music, opera, and a variety of non-classical styles. She has recorded music of Bach, The Shakers, and many songs written for her deep contralto.  Professional performances as a soloist include national tours with Sequentia of Köln (music of Hildegard von Bingen), Boston Camerata (American roots and Shaker music, including many recordings), and Magnificat Baroque of San Francisco (music of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, many recordings).

Elizabeth holding a white bunny and singing soulfully about losing them

Elizabeth as the Bunny lady, 2012

She has created opera roles for Francine Trester (334 Bunnies) and Larry Thomas Bell (Holy Ghosts) as well as modern revivals of Baroque operas by Handel and Cesti.  Her solo recitals include lieder, contemporary music written for her voice, her own compositions and arrangements, as well as improvisations. She was a soloist in the world premiere of John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music with the San Francisco Symphony and has been a soloist with Boston institutions such as Emmanuel Music (Bach and Schumann), Handel and Haydn Society (Vivaldi and Handel), Boston Cecilia (Bach and Scott Wheeler), Chorus Pro Musica (Rachmaninoff and others), as well as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco and festivals in Europe. Needless to say, she has sung Messiah and Bach’s Mass in B minor many, many times.

The foundation is a deep contralto octave that she can drive like a pop singer or wrap in velvet” — Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

Elizabeth singing with five other women in white in a concert from San Francisco, 1979

Elizabeth (far left) with the Veil of Isis, 1979

Her training was as varied as her interests.  As a young professional chorister, she learned from master conductors and soloists in the San Francisco Symphony and Opera choruses. She continued to learn from wonderful colleagues in her solo and chamber music singing. She has co-founded several ensembles beginning with a The Silver Swan madrigal quintet in high school , the Veil of Isis (a women’s contemporary music ensemble in the Bay Area), The Baroque Arts Ensemble,  and most recently, The Mockingbird Trio (contralto, viola, and piano), for which dozens of pieces have been written.

Anker in sparkling gold outfit with strings and chamber organ on stage in performance

Bach Cantata #54 for solo contralto, as performed on February 26, 2006

Elizabeth has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music’s School of Continuing Education since 1991.  Past faculty positions include the Longy School of Music and San Francisco Community Music Center.  She maintains lively studios in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain.  She created voice classes for senior citizens, including The Platinum Singers, which were featured in The Boston Globe. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley, and did further study in London and Boston.  Her teachers include Lillian Loran, Elwood Thornton, James Schwabacher, Jessica Cash, Edward Zambara and Robert Honeysucker.

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