American soprano, Cheryl Studer, began very young studying piano and viola. After listening to the album "La Callas à Paris", at the age of nine, she decided to become an opera singer and began voice lessons when she was twelve with Gwendolyn Pike. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and continued her studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her promising talent caught the attention of Leonard Bernstein who offered her full scholarships to study at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood from 1975 to 1977, where she studied with Phyllis Curtin. She debuted there in 1976 in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, who then invited her for a series of concerts with the orchestra in Boston's Symphony Hall during the 1978-79 season.
Cheryl Studer attended the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria, in the summer of 1979 where she took part in courses in the art of the German Lied. There she worked with the great baritone Hans Hotter who persuaded her to continue studies with him at the Hochschule fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, where she received her Master's Degree.
After successfully auditioning for Wolfgang Sawallisch, Cheryl Studer became a member of the ensemble of the Bavarian State Opera in 1980. Her first roles in Munich were smaller Mozart, Strauss and Wagner roles including Erste Dame, Falke, Helmwiege and Freia. She spent two years in Munich where further roles included Marenka in The Bartered Bride before joining the ensemble at the Staatstheater Darmstadt (1982-1984 / Desdemona, Tatyana, Katya Kabanova ) and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin ( 1984-1986 / Donna Anna, Micaela, Elisabeth).
Cheryl Studer portrayed her first Violetta in 1983 at the Staatstheater Braunschweig and that same year was invited to sing Irene in Rienzi at the Bavarian State Opera Summer Festival in Munich. She made her North American debut in 1984 as Micaela (Carmen) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Although all these engagements proved to be great successes, Cheryl Studer first caught the world's attention in 1985 when she sang Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's Tannhaeuser at the Bayreuth Festival conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli and directed by the composer's grandson, Wolfgang Wagner.
Since then she has sung in the most prestigious houses in the world, including: Liceu, Barcelona ( debut 1986 as Freia ), Opéra de Paris ( debut as Pamina in 1986 ), San Francisco Opera ( debut as Eva in Die Meistersinger , also in 1986 ), Royal Opera House at Covent Garden ( debut 1987 as Elisabeth in Tannhaeuser ), La Scala ( debut in Verdi's Requiem and operatic debut as Donna Anna, both in 1987 ), Metropolitan Opera New York ( debut as Micaela 1988 ), Vienna State Opera ( debut as Chrysothemis in 1989 ), as well as Zurich Opera ( Micaela and Arabella ), Semper Oper Dresden, Staatsoper Hamburg, Staatstheater Nuernberg, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Oper Bonn (Rossini's Semiramide ), Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Nice ( Daphne ), Opéra de Rouen, Theatre du Chatelet, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Opera Company of Philadelphia ( Lucia di Lammermoor ) and the Polytheater in Beijing.
After her debut in 1985, Cheryl Studer continued to appear as Elisabeth and additionally as Elsa, Senta and Sieglinde at the Bayreuth Festival to the year 2000. She debuted at the Salzburg Summer Festival 1989 as Chrysothemis where she also sang Elettra (Idomeneo ), Kaiserin ( Die Frau ohne Schatten ), Leonore ( Fidelio ), and her first Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. She also appeared as Madame Cortese ( Il viaggio a Reims ) at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro.
With an extraordinary repertoire of over 80 roles, Cheryl Studer continues to add new roles to her repertoire, including the Countess in Capriccio, Gertrud in Haensel und Gretel, Herodias, Adelaide (Arabella) and Kundry, her 14th Wagner role.
Cheryl Studer has also appeared as soloist with the world's most prestigious orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the London Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nationale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, NHK and the China Philharmonic. Her current symphonic repertoire includes: Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, Vier Letzte Lieder from R. Strauss, Berg's Sieben Frühe Lieder, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder ( Tove ), Mahler's 2nd Symphony, Ravel's Scheherazade, Barber's Knoxville: Summer 1915.
As a recitalist, Cheryl Studer has collaborated with pianists such as Irwin Gage, Charles Spencer, Jonathan Alder, Geoffrey Parsons, Semion Skigin, Erik Werba, Jörg Demus, Fred Oldenburg and Irina Sharapova. She has appeared extensively throughout Europe, in the USA, in China, South Korea and Japan. Her current repertoire includes art songs from Brahms, Schumann, Wolf, Berg, R. Strauss, Mahler, Ravel, Massenet, De Falla, Verdi, Rossini, Copland and Barber.
Cheryl Studer has been the recipient of numerous awards including the 1977 High Fidelity / Musical America Prize, the International Classical Music Award in the category Best Female Singer of the Year in 1993, the Wilhelm Furtwaengler Prize ( also 1993 ), Musical America's Vocalist of the Year (1994 ), the prestigious "Terras Sem Sombre" (2011) and the Ovation Award 2012. She has numerous recordings, CD and DVD, documenting her artistry and for which she has received the Grand Prix du Disque - Prix Maria Callas, the Orphée d'Or, the Cannes Classical Awards and two Grammys.
Cheryl Studer celebrates her 38th year of professional singing in 2013.
She most recently debuted as Gertrud, the mother, in Haensel und Gretel to critical acclaim at the Hamburg State Opera. Future debuts include Herodias in Salome and Adelaide from Arabella.
As of October 2003, Cheryl Studer has a lifetime Professorship from the Bavarian State and teaches at the University of Music in Wuerzburg. She is also an honorary Professor of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Cheryl Studer conducts Master Classes internationally ( USA, Greece, South Korea, China, Spain, Italy and Germany ) and is often jury member for prestigious voice competitions, including the Concurso Internacionale de Canto Julián Gayarre, ARD Wettbewerb, the Maria Callas Grand Prix and the Internationale Schubert-Wettbewerb Dortmund.
In 2010, Cheryl Studer made her professional stage directing debut with the Bavarian Chamber Opera Company with "Il barbiere di Siviglia"from Rossini. She also directed Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" at the University for Music in Wuerzburg. Future plans as stage director include "Don Giovanni".