Raised on the west coast of Canada, Rachel Fenlon is a soprano and pianist who performs song recitals accompanying herself on the piano, drawing from a singer-songwriter approach. Rachel performs across Europe, Canada, and the US with solo recitals, in repertoire from Franz Schubert, Schumann, Debussy, Britten, to Messiaen, George Crumb and world premieres. Dedicated to creating and commissioning new music, Rachel has several collaborations with composers to create new songs and song cycles for her to perform as self-accompanied singer.
Rachel has performed recitals as both singer and pianist accompanying herself at festivals such as Festival de Lanaudière, the Oxford Lieder Festival, PODIUM Festival Matadepera, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Kammermusik Festival Ahrenshoop, Bristol Song Recitals, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC Studios), GEDOK Festival Berlin, and solo concerts at venues such as the National SAW Gallery, the Late Night Liederabend Vienna, the Fox Cabaret, Oper Leipzig, the National Arts Centre Canada, Vancouver Opera, the Baumann Centre at Pacific Opera Victoria, and the Theater am Delphi Berlin. Her interpretations of composers such as George Crumb, Benjamin Britten, Olivier Messiaen, and Philip Glass, as well as the repertoire of Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, and Alma Mahler, have a particular radiance. Valued for her dazzling, flexible soprano, her curiosity and courage to experiment, Rachel is an ideal interpreter of works by contemporary composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Unsuk Chin, Samy Moussa, and Nicole Lizée. Works written specially for her form an increasing part of her repertoire, including songs and cycles by Matthias McIntire, Susanne Stelzenbach, Gavin Franser, and Danika Loren.
Rachel begins the 2021-22 season at the Festival de Lanaudière, with a solo (self-accompanied) recital titled Poésies d’Été – a programme of Debussy, Schubert, Messiaen songs and Grieg’s Lyric Pieces for solo piano. She will perform her first Winterreise, singing and playing from the piano, beginning at Christophori Piano Salon Berlin in Winter 2022, to the Ottawa Chamberfest in the summer of 2022. In March, Rachel performs her Poésies d’Été programme in Neue Schloss Tettnang in Bodensee, and a recital of Nicole Lizée, Sarah Nemsov, and Lera Auerbach songs in Berlin at Gallery Nemsov&Nemsov. In April, Fenlon performs Kurtag 4 hands with pianist Leslie Dala, Messiaen’s Poèmes Pour Mi, and Moussa’s Ahania’s Lament in Vancouver. In the summer of 2022 Rachel will world premiere the song cycle Sing Nature Alive From My Insides – a song cycle written for her by Matthias McIntire, which will premiere in Toronto, Canada, produced and commissioned by the Canadian Collective New ART New MEDIA, and fully funded by the Canadian, Ontario, and Toronto Arts Councils. Her season ends with a solo recital at Ottawa Chamberfest.
In addition to her recital work, Rachel is an opera and concert soloist, and during this 2021-22 season she sings Bach Cantata’s BWV 106, BWV 151, BWV 61 as soprano soloist at the Sophienkirche Berlin, where she is a regular soloist in the Bach ensemble. She sings as soprano soloist in Haydn’s Nelson Messe at Apostel Paulus Kirche Berlin. In the spring, Rachel is the soprano soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Vancouver Bach Choir and VSO at the Orpheum.
Rachel has been selected for an artist residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2021/22.