“Otherworldly” mezzo-soprano Clare McNamara brings her versatility to a wide variety of early and new repertoire throughout the United States and abroad. A 2018 recipient of the prestigious St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award, she has maintained core affiliations as a soloist and ensemble member with groups such as Skylark Vocal Ensemble, the Handel and Haydn Society, Cut Circle, Lorelei Ensemble, and The Boston Camerata.
Clare’s “astonishing” voice is heavily featured in the recent “pathbreaking” release of Cut Circle’s one-to-a-part compendium of the works of Johannes Ockeghem (Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Pick); she has joined Cut Circle for multiple European festivals (Utrecht, Regensburg, Antwerp, and Maastricht). She was also recently hailed as “pure-toned” and “as good as they come” (MusicWeb International) for her solo Hildegard chant on the GRAMMY-nominated Skylark album “Seven” (2018). During her nine years with Lorelei, engagements included collaborations with A Far Cry (Kareem Roustom’s Hurry to the Light) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons (Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Debussy’s Nocturnes, and George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song). Clare made her New York soloist debut alongside the St. Thomas Fifth Avenue Choir of Men and Boys (Daniel Hyde) in their 2018 performance of Handel's Messiah. Since 2019, Clare has been a rostered alto at the Staunton Music Festival in Staunton, VA.
The 2020-2021 season would have been a year blossoming with solo opportunities. Clare’s passion for medieval repertoires would have translated into further work with The Boston Camerata as a soloist in "A Night's Tale" and a new "Three Sisters" program (spring 2020). A regular alto soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society (Harry Christophers), she would have next soloed in their 2020 Symphony Hall performance of Handel’s Dixit Dominus and in their 2021 performance of Israel in Egypt (also at the Metropolitan Museum in New York). In the fall of 2020, Clare would have made her solo debut with the Washington Bach Consort (Dana Marsh) and her ensemble debut with Tenet (Jolle Greenleaf). A longtime member of Skylark, Clare had been planning to join them for two studio recordings: a vocal jazz crossover album and Poulenc’s virtuosic Figure humaine.
A firm believer in continuing to make art during the pandemic, Clare has rapidly pivoted to digital music creation. Pandemic engagements have included a solo recital and a program of women’s trios on Skylark’s highly successful digital subscription platform, Skylark+. In January, 2021, Clare appeared as the vocal soloist (works by Michelle DiBucci and Gustav Mahler) for the United Nations’ Chamber Music Society’s concert for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which was broadcast on the UN’s global YouTube Channel and on Facebook. Aside from singing, she sometimes assists in audio/video editing for popular online services at the First Church in Belmont Unitarian Universalist (Belmont, MA).
Clare holds an A.B. in Music from Princeton University and an M.M. in Early Music Performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. For more information visit claremcnamara.com.