A recital featuring mezzo-soprano Dr. Grace Edgar, Daniel Ley of harpsicord/piano and violinist Emily Owns will be held at Northwestern State University on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Limited admission is available for NSU students, faculty and staff only. Social distancing should be observed and masks are required. The concert will livestream at capa.nsula.edu/livestream.
The concert is titled “Nuclear Bonds; A Musical Exploration of the Parent-Child Relationship” and includes music by Handel, Poulenc, Benjamin Britten, Melissa Dunphy and Mark Hayes.
Edgar received her Doctorate in Vocal Performance with a minor in Directing from the University of Houston. Before beginning her doctoral studies, Edgar was a member of the Opera New Jersey Studio and a Resident Artist in the Marion Roose Pullin Studio at Arizona Opera. In addition, she has performed with Austin Lyric Opera, Key West Pops Symphony, Opera Company of Brooklyn, New Orleans Opera; Opera on Tap, Belleayre Music Festival and with the Astoria Symphony. Her credits include Zerlina in “Don Giovanni,” Musetta in “La Boheme,” Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Maddalena in “Rigoletto,” La Baronessa di Chamigny in “Il Cappello di Paglia di Firenze,” Loma Williams in “Cold Sassy Tree,” the Page in “Salome,” Berta in “Il barbiere di Siviglia,” Carmen in “Carmen,” the Mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and Mrs. Andressen in “A Little Night Music.” As an actress, Edgar has appeared as The White Witch in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and Henry in “The Industrious Mr. Franklin” for The Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, and Lilly’s Mom in “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse for the Growing Stage.” She has also appeared in many oratorio, concert, and recital performances, and made her directing debut at the University of Houston with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”
In addition to her performance experience, Edgar is a director, conductor, acting teacher and voice teacher. After receiving her Bachelors of Music in Sacred Music from the Centenary College of Louisiana, she has served as a member of the music ministry team in several churches including First United Methodist Church in DeRidder, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, The Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and All Soul’s Presbyterian Church in Port Chester, New York. Edgar taught acting lessons at Western Washington University while completing her Masters of Arts in Theatre, and taught voice lessons at the University of Houston, Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts, the Allegro School of Music and the Stoneham Teacher. As a music therapist, she worked with developmentally disabled children at Human First in Brooklyn, New York.
Locally, Edgar has performed with several organizations including the Shreveport Opera. Vernon Parish Chamber Orchestra, Beauregard Courtesy and Hodges Gardens. Performances from the 2018-2019 season include a lecture recital entitled Love and Loss; An Exploration of Early Romanticism at McNeese State University, Meditations on Mary at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and the Alto Soloist in Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Shreveport-Bossier Community Chorus Edgar was Musical Director for “1940’s Radio Hour.” More information is available at graceedgar.com.
Ley is a music director, pianist, and conductor based in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He works as a staff pianist at Northwestern State. He also works as a pianist and organist for Broadmoor Methodist Church, pianist for the Shreveport Symphony, and music director for the Academy of Children’s Theatre in Shreveport. He has a B.M. in piano performance from Centenary College of Louisiana, and a M.M. in piano performance from Northwestern State.
Owens is a native of Benton. Homeschooled by dedicated parents, she began playing violin at the age of four via the Suzuki program at Centenary College. During the last two years of high school, Emily studied with Dr. Andrej Kurti of Northwestern State and participated in several competitions. These included the 2013 Rapides Young Artist Concerto Competition. After winning, Emily made her soloing debut with the Rapides Symphony.
Owens began her college career at Baylor University where she studied under the direction of violinist Dr. Eka Gogichashvilli, played in the Baylor Symphony and performed in many chamber ensembles. She also interned in the Waco Symphony, which included featured artists such as Yo-Yo Ma. In 2017, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Following her graduation, Owens began graduate studies at NSU under the direction Kurti. She served as concertmaster of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and played in other ensembles. In 2019, she won the state division of the Music Teachers National Association Young Artists Concerto Competition. That year, Owens won the adult division of the Rapides Young Artists Concerto Competition, setting a record as the first to ever win both the youth and adult divisions of the competition. She soloed with the Rapides Symphony with the first movement of the “Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.” Owens was selected as one of the winners of the NSU Concerto Competition and soloed with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony in April 2019 with Tchaikovsky.
Owens recently completed her Master of Music degree and currently works with Syll-Young Olson as assistant director of orchestra at Natchitoches Central High School.