Congratulations!!! SongFest Marc and Eva Stern Fellows Simone McIntosh, mezzo-soprano (2017) and Ally Smither, soprano (2013, 2015, 2016) for being named 30 Hot Canadian Musicians Under 30, 2017 edition.
Simone McIntosh, mezzo-soprano
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
At 25, Simone McIntosh has already ticked a big item off her bucket list: singing the role of Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, which she did in March with Opera McGill. McIntosh completed her master's there in May and won the Wirth Vocal Prize last November — a cool $25,000 that could help finance a return to Vienna. "I visited four years ago, and fell in love with the culture and history of the city. Since then I've always wanted to go back and discover more," she enthuses. In the meantime, she's preparing for her first year at the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, where she clinched her acceptance by winning the annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition. Fans in Toronto can catch her on Dec. 5 singing a solo recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
Alexandra Smither, soprano
Hometown: London, Ont.
Like many musicians, Alexandra Smither describes herself as a nomad these days, splitting her time between Toronto and Houston, Texas, where she recently graduated from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. As a fellow of the 2017 Tanglewood Music Centre, Smither coached Schubert's "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" with Dawn Upshaw for a July 6 performance with Emanuel Ax and BSO principal clarinettist Bill Hudgins. "Working with my musical idols has been incredible," she says. As a result of her first prize at the 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition — "absolutely thrilling!" — Smither'll go on a recital tour next season. In November, she'll sing in Houston Grand Opera's presentation of Tom Cipullo's chamber opera Glory Denied. The secret to her success? It might be her diet: strawberry margaritas and Kraft Dinner. (That covers all the food groups, right?)