James and Madelaine Matej MacQueen: Violin & Voice; a Romance

James Matej MacQueen is an active composer and performer on the violin and baroque viola. He plays viola with the Case Western Reserve Baroque Orchestra, as well as violin and viola in recitals locally and in California. Mr. MacQueen is also in demand as a Scottish fiddle player for concerts and dances across the United States, most recently in Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and California, as well as locally in Northeast Ohio. He has recorded two albums of fiddle music with the band StringFire.
In the fall of 2017, Mr. MacQueen completed his most recent work for violin and piano. He has also written extensively for violin and soprano with the Wednesday Love song cycle, which won the Lamont Composer Competition in 2014. Mr. MacQueen earned a Masters in Violin Performance from University of Denver, and a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance & Composition from University of the Pacific.
In addition to performing and composing, Mr. MacQueen maintains a private studio of violin and viola students in Shaker Heights.

American-born soprano, Madelaine Matej has won praise for her clear, agile lyricism and versatile stage characterizations.  At University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, her undergraduate roles with Pacific Opera Theater included Gabrielle in Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne (2016), Celidora in Mozart’s L’Oca del Cairo by (2015), and Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (2014). In 2012, Ms. Matej sang the role of Erster Knabe in the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and performed in the festival’s musical revue.  In 2008, she sang Flora in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with San Francisco Lyric Opera and drew praise from Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle for “[rising] magnificently to the challenge…her singing bright and true, and her stage presence a compelling mixture of playfulness and turmoil.”  That same year, she created the role of Dory Kamen in San Francisco Opera’s celebrated world premiere of The Bonesetter’s Daughter, by Stewart Wallace.

Following study in Italy at the 2014 Pistoia Musica Antica summer festival, Ms. Matej presented a lecture-recital titled Don’t Look Back! A Eurydice Retrospective.  The performance used the character Eurydice as a model to explore the silencing of female characters throughout operatic history. Ms. Matej’s concert credits include soloist in Mozart’s Vespera solennis de confessore (2015) and both Mary and the Daughter of Zion in Handel’s Brockes Passion (2014), both with Pacific Choral Ensembles.

First-place competition awards include the Avanti Award (2016); Kathe Underwood Scholarship of Stockton Opera Guild (2015); the Ray Eberle Vocal Scholarship of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society (2013); the Classical division winner of the California Capital Chapter, National Association of Teachers of Singing (2013); and the Manlio Silva Young Artist Award from Stockton Symphony (2012).

Ms. Matej graduated from University of the Pacific in May 2016 with a B.M. in Vocal Performance, summa cum laude. She studied with tenor Daniel Ebbers and was designated a Powell Scholar in Pacific’s most distinctive academic program.  She has been privileged to train in master classes with Wagnerian soprano Linda Watson, William Schumann from the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Broadway music director Paul Staroba.  In May 2015, she was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society for musical achievement and academic scholarship.

Ms. Matej is currently a Ph.D. student in Musicology at Case Western Reserve University.

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