Cantamos Artist Interview: Marisa Karchin

Soprano Marisa Karchin. Photo credit: J. Demetrie Photography

Soprano Marisa Karchin. Photo credit: J. Demetrie Photography

We’ve got an amazing group of artists assembled for CANTAMOS, our first project of the 2018-2019 season! Marisa Karchin was our Angelica in ORLANDO and the winner of the 2018 Joy In Singing Competition. She’ll be heading to Ohio next spring as an Artist in Residence with Dayton Opera.

Get to know more about Marisa in the interview below.


November 5th @ 7:30pm

United Palace

4140 Broadway

New York, NY 10033

Part of the United Palace Lobby Series. Doors open at 7:00pm. Tickets available now.

Please introduce yourself: your name, your voice part, your favorite non-classical song, where you were born, and the best thing about living in New York City. 

My name is Marisa Karchin and I'm a soprano. I was born in Millburn, NJ, and I now live in New York City, one of the most artistically diverse places in the world! My favorite non-classical music at the moment is AlunaGeorge, Mura Masa and NAO. 

Tell us a bit about your background as an artist.

My family is very musical, so I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where music was always playing and being played, and the importance of creating art seemed like second nature. I played several different instruments in school and my parents lovingly supported my sister and me through phases that included the daily transportation of cellos and percussion kits! I always loved to sing as well, but I never really considered it as a career path until mid-way through college, when I realized all of my most meaningful experiences so far had involved music, and the prospect of engaging with it full time was so exciting. I ended up switching my major and studying musicology, after which I moved to New York to do my Master’s at Mannes School of Music, and I’ve been performing ever since!

At a piano lesson with her great aunt.

At a piano lesson with her great aunt.

What was your major before you switched to musicology? 

Before I switched to music I was pre-med, studying biology. I was actually very passionate about becoming a doctor, and I was particularly interested in studying cognitive science and learning more about how we process and respond to music!

Marisa Karchin as Angelica in CantantiPROJECT’s production of Orlando.

Marisa Karchin as Angelica in CantantiPROJECT’s production of Orlando.

How has your musicology background helped shape you as a performer? 

Studying musicology has given me the tools to both analyze and contextualize the works I perform, and has introduced me to many musical perspectives and approaches I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. It’s made me a more curious musician!

What drew you to be part of CANTAMOS?

I honestly didn’t encounter much Spanish-language classical music while completing either of my music degrees, until my final year at Mannes when I took a Spanish Art Song class. I couldn’t believe how much incredible and diverse Spanish language repertoire there was that I hadn’t even heard of! Since then, I’ve tried to incorporate some of the repertoire I studied into my own concert programs, so I was very excited by the opportunity to learn more about this repertoire through CANTAMOS and share it with new audiences, who will hopefully have the same reaction that I did!

Speaking of recent concert programs, you were the winner of the 2018 Joy In Singing Competition (congratulations!) and just gave your winner's recital at Carnegie. What was that experience like? 

Thank you so much! It was an incredibly fun experience. I’ve often found it difficult to find the time and resources to program a full recital, so it was such a gift to be able to really take the time to investigate new repertoire and curate a recital program. It’s very empowering as a performer to get to create your own narrative and message to share with an audience, and it was especially exciting to perform the recital in such a beautiful and historic space.

Marisa with her father after the Joy in Singing competition

Marisa with her father after the Joy in Singing competition

And you included Spanish rep on that recital - which pieces were those and why did you choose them?

Yes! We performed Turina’s Tres poemas (Op. 81). I had looked at these pieces at Mannes, so I was happy to have a chance to really delve into them. I love Bécquer’s poetry, and each of the settings is very unique and striking.

One of the goals of this project is to promote Spanish-language classical repertoire so more people know about it and more artists perform it. Do you have any favorite works, composers, or singers you'd recommend?

There is Granado’s Elegia Eterna sung by Caballé, and I love these recordings of Victoria de los Angeles:

What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made while preparing for CANTAMOS?

I have already learned so much from my colleagues on this project. One of the coolest discoveries so far has definitely been the Spanish baroque music. It combines Italian and Spanish Baroque traditions, with the Spanish practice of all-female casts, and is just incredible!

Which piece are you most looking forward to singing and why?

I’m most looking forward to singing “Triste” from Cinco canciones populares argentinas by the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. I’ve never heard anything like this piece before and I’ve pretty much been listening to it nonstop! It’s based on a type of folk song that originated in Andean yaraví, and the way it evokes the yearning and serene hopelessness of unrequited love is breathtaking.

Why should people come see CANTAMOS?

 This repertoire is not performed often enough in the classical world, and CANTAMOS has put together a stunning program that everyone should come see!!

Visit for more about Marisa and her upcoming schedule.