Kjersti Kveli Soprano
Kjersti Kveli came to the United States from Norway to study contemporary classical music at the Manhattan School of Music, known for its unique contemporary music program. After two years she graduated with a Masters degree in contemporary performance. While at the school, she studied with soprano Lucy Shelton, a frequent performer at Salt Bay. It was Lucy who recommended Kjersti to our artistic director, Wilhelmina Smith. Mina met Kjersti in New York last fall and found her to be perfect for singing Karin Rehnqvist’s piece ‘Puksanger-Lockrup’, which requires singers with the kind of broad experience which Kjersti possesses.
Kjersti comes from a bilingual musical family. Her mother is a classical double bass player; her father sings country, blues and rock. Her mother is the principal of the cultural school in Snåsa, Norway where Kjersti grew up. She went away to a high school that could give her a good standard education as well as excellent musical training. When it came time for university, Kjersti choose and was accepted at the music conservatory at Tromso [line through the second o] University College where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and a Song Teachers degree. During her study years she worked as a voice teacher and gave group lessons as well as individual instruction. She spent one semester in Bremen, Germany studying early music at the Hochschule fur Kunste with Harry Van der Kamp.
Folk and contemporary music has always been an interest. She in the midst of a folk musicology project in Norway now, in the fashion of earlier 20th century composers such as Janacek and Bartok, collecting cow calls from older people in different districts of the country. Kjersti uses all the contemporary media to spread the word about her music. She has released a CD of her folksongs called “Release the Virgin” which she produced herself and is available on the Internet in various formats. She also has web videos of various types of voice production which are amazing to watch and hear.
Although Kjersti thought of herself as a sophisticated European, she says had a bit of culture shock when she and her husband came to Manhattan. She has come to question some of her internal stories of Norway being an ideal place to live. She feels this a healthy awakening to the realities of the world outside her native country. Because Kjersti’s mother was born in the States, she is not only fluent in English but lucky enough to have relatives in Ithaca, NY, a grandmother in Alaska and an aunt in Seattle.
Article by Peter Felsenthal