Biography

Andrew Headshot Narrow

Andrew Robert Munn, bass, is a dedicated performer and collaborative artist whose work spans canonical and contemporary opera, concert, and chamber works. In 2016 he debuted as a Young Artist with Bel Canto at Caramoor, covering Rocco and singing the Second Prisoner in Beethoven’s Fidelio under Pablo Heras-Casado and singing Il Pastore in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira under Will Crutchfield.  He is a 2016 graduate of the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program under the direction of Dawn Upshaw and is continuing his training at The Juilliard School as a Graduate Diploma candidate. His teacher is Sanford Sylvan.

This past season’s highlights included Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and the Lion in Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! at Bard College; Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Rami Sarieddine; Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis; selected Beethoven lieder in recital at Caramoor; bass solos in Handel’s Messiah with The Orchestra Now; and a performance and speaking tour built around Nate May’s Dust in the Bottomland, a solo opera written for Andrew.

Andrew works with composers and interdisciplinary artists to create works that shed light on the interrelationship of human and natural systems He is collaborating with 2015-2016 Rome Prize in Musical Composition winner Nina C. Young and the Nouveau Classical Project to create Making Tellus, a cantata for bass soloist, female vocal trio, chamber orchestra, and electronics that explores the advent and implications of our present geologic epoch: the Anthropocene. Making Tellus is commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress. Andrew’s work as a performer, librettist, and co-producer of these works represent his conviction that in addition to a performer’s aesthetic responsibilities, performers play a vital role in opening eyes, hearts, and minds of the public to forces greater than ourselves; be they geologic, divine, political, ecological, or personal.

These convictions are born of Andrew’s work as a community organizer for environmental and economic justice in the coalfields of West Virginia from 2009 to 2014. During this time, he worked with communities to oppose mountaintop removal coal mining and to place local environmental issues in the context of climate change and globalized capitalism. His work on land reform, economic transition in coal-dependent areas, and civil disobedience was published and analyzed in The Journal of Appalachian Studies and Applied Anthropology; books published by Punctum, AK, and Atlantic Monthly Presses; and was featured in documentaries The Last Mountain and Battle for Blair Mountain on CNN.

Andrew returned to the stage in the 2014-2015 season. At the Aspen Opera Theater Center, he was hailed as “sonorous” in his “moody” (Aspen Times) and “suitably gruff” (Opera News) portrayal of Beethoven in the world stage premiere of Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s opera The Classical Style. On the concert stage, he was heard as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Ádám Fischer in a special performance to commemorate the genocide of European Roma during the Holocaust, and as Raphael in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung conducted by Leon Botstein at Bard College. Other highlights include Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany and the bass solos in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major with Concerts in the Village. Andrew was a 2014 festival artist with the Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, KY, where his portrayal of Reverend Wadsworth in Emily, by Eva Kendrick, was praised as “rich, velvety… a delightful, if brief, presence.” (Louisville Public Media)

Andrew is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied with George Shirley and Stephen West. Additionally, he studied environmental science and humanities as a non-degree student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment where he was a 2008 Graham Sustainability Institute Scholar.

AUGUST 2016