A native of the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Sollek-Avella is now enjoying a busy career based in New York City. In recent years she has been particularly active in the genre of historical performance, and is much in demand with early music enthusiasts in the United States and abroad. Ms. Sollek-Avella has been heard as alto soloist in frequent tours to Japan and a tour in January 1999 to Israel with Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan, performing works by J.S.Bach and Handel. In a review of her performance of Messiah with BCJ, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot wrote: "...alto Kirsten Sollek-Avella's voice poured from her throat like silk..." She will be featured as the alto soloist on an upcoming release of Bach cantatas with the same group on the BIS recording label. She has also received praise for her work as both soloist and ensemble member in several Renaissance collaborations with lutenist Paul O'Dette and gambist Christel Thielmann. Ms. Sollek-Avella has been featured as alto soloist for works by J.S.Bach in music series all over Western New York. Recently, she has performed with the New York Virtuoso Singers in a concert-version of John Adams' Nixon in China at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and with the Dennis Keene Festival Chorus and Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall for a concert of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.
While it could be said that her main area of specialization is in early performance, Ms. Sollek-Avella is being increasingly sought our for her interpretation of music from the 20th century. In the winter of 1999 she participated in a performance and recording project with the Rochester, NY-based ensembles Ossia and Musica Nova, singing the lowest of four female voices for two large-scale works by American composer Steve Reich(Tehillim and Musci for 18 Musicians). She has performed new works at the 1999 ImageMovementSound festival in Rochester, a multi-media collaboration of msuicaians, dancers and film makers. In recital she has premiered the vocal works of her husband composer Vicente Avella, as well as presenting works by Jacob Avshalomov, Peter Maxwel Davies and Geoffery Burgon. Also no stranger to the opera stage, Ms. Sollek-Avella has been seen as the title role in a darkly fascinating and challenging prodution of Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia, staged by director Nicholas Muni. She has sung roles in operas by Poulenc, Puccini, Thomson, and Johann Strauss. Ms. Sollek-Avella holds degrees from Indiana University(BM)and the Eastman School of Music(MM).
(May 11, 2000)