A familiar face to Eugenians both for her long association with the Oregon Bach Festival and The Shedd Institute’s American Symphonia and Oregon Festival of American Music, Maria Jette has appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra: the Symphonies of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Charlotte, Santa Rosa and Buffalo; Vocalessence (formerly the Plymouth Music Series), the Handel Choir of Baltimore, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and Los Angeles Master Chorale; and with original instrument ensembles Portland Baroque Orchestra and The Lyra Concert. She has been a regular guest at the Victoria Bach and San Luis Obispo Mozart Festivals, and on Public Radio International's A Prairie Home Companion.
With conductor Helmuth Rilling, Jette has sung Bach, Mozart, and Monteverdi in Germany, Spain, Japan, and Canada, as well as in Minneapolis, New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Her 45+ operatic roles range from Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Cleopatra through Mozart’s Pamina, Countess and Fiordiligi, many of them with the late, lamented Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre in the Twin Cities. With the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra,
she starred as the “Mrs.” in the May 2002 premiere of Garrison Keillor’s opera, Mr. and Mrs. Olson. She has performed her own production of Rob Kapilow’s setting of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham for more than 30,000 children around the USA.
Jette’s lengthy list of premieres includes song cycles by British composers Geoffrey Bush, John Gardner and Ian Kellam, and choral works with extended soprano solos by Judith Weir and John Gardner; and chamber works, songs and cycles by Dominick Argento, Randall Davidson, David Evan Thomas, Steve Heitzeg, David John Olsen, Russell Platt and Janika Vandervelde. For her service to new music in the Twin Cities, she was awarded a life membership
with the American Composers Forum.
Jette’s discography includes two recordings on the Centaur label: a selection of Benjamin Britten’s Folksongs of the British Isles and Mélodies of Gabriel Fauré, both with harpist Judith Kogan; Il Passione by Simon Mayr, performed and recored with the Georgian Chamber Orchestra (Ingolstadt, Germany), under the direction of Franz Hauk. She has been featured on several recordings with Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence, including the world premiere recording of Britten’s American opera, Paul Bunyan; Mozart’s Requiem with Andreas Delfs, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and St. Olaf Choir; and a newly-released Messiah with Stephen Alltop and Chicago’s Apollo Chorus.
Maria Jette first worked with The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in 2001 at its 4th annual American Composers Series, The Literate Bernstein as both a soloist with The Shedd’s American Symphonia orchestra, James Paul music director & conductor, and as the designer of one of the festival’s concerts. She has returned frequently to The Shedd ever since in both capacities. Of particular note have been her extraordinary series of chamber concerts, that The Shedd has presented each year as a part of its American Symphonia concert series. Since 2006 she has been a featured guest as well at The Shedd’s annual American songbook project, Oregon Festival of American Music.
Jette’s recent and upcoming projects include:
2005-6 Season: A recital of American folksong settings and folksong-inspired song for the The Shedd Institute American Symphonia series; Sofiya Gubaidulina’s Hommage à T.S. Eliot on the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra chamber series; the world remiere of Francis Grier’s The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth with Vocalessence; and Mozart’s Le Nozze de Figaro (Susanna) with Opera Roanoke. Over the summer, she toured Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 in Australia with the San Luis Obispo Symphony; performed Bach solo cantatas, Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (#202) and Jauchzet Gott (#51) at the Oregon Bach Festival and chamber music by Maria Newman for the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society; and sang lots of rarely-heard songs of Irving Berlin with Dick Hyman at The Shedd Institute’s Oregon Festival of American Music 2006.
2006-7 Season: Vivaldi's Gloria with the Cheyenne Symphony; Bach's Magnificat with the Grand Rapids Symphony; Green Eggs & Ham/Gertrude McFuzz with the Buffalo (NY) Philharmonic; several performances during Vocalessence's celebration of composer William Bolcom, Illuminating Bolcom. Following the Grieg Mini-Fest which she devised (and performed) for the St. Paul Summer Song Festival, she sang more than 50 of Grieg’s songs on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion cruise of the Norwegian fjords. In August, again at the Oregon Festival of American Music, she performed new arrangements of Richard Rodgers songs with jazz legends Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski; and Twin Cities residents got their sixth dose of Sopranorama!, the indescribable annual event she performs with Molly Sue McDonald, Janis Hardy and Dan Chouinard.
2007-8 Season: Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with the Acadiana Symphony in Lafayette, Louisiana; Mahler’s Symphony #4 with the Charlotte Symphony; Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Miss Jessel) with Sacramento Opera; Grieg & Schubert with the Andover Chamber Series in Boston; Telemann’s rarely-performed cantata, Ino, with Jacques Ogg and the Lyra Baroque Orchestra in St. Paul; a program of Grieg songs for The Shedd Institute’s American Symphonia series; a Vaughan Williams mini-festival and music of Argento for this year’s St. Paul Summer Song Festival; a new take on Bach with Garrison Keillor at the Oregon Bach Festival; a return to The Shedd Institute’s Oregon Festival of American Music with American popular songs from the late 1920s and ‘30s; Aaron Kernis’ Simple Songs and Mahler’s Symphony #4 with Alexander Platt (in his chamber arrangement) for Woodstock’s Maverick Concerts in September.