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Megan Ihnen

West Des Moines, IA            

American mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen is recognized for her colorfully rich tone, powerful performance skills, and insightful musicianship in a diverse repertoire ranging from traditional works to the modern sounds of Crumb, Schwantner, Cage, and the most up-and-coming composers of her generation. Megan is a new music force of nature.

A prolific new music artist, Ms. Ihnen has appeared with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, Latitude49, Great Noise Ensemble, Stone Mason Projects, Rhymes With Opera, SONAR new music, and more. She has sung with many outstanding performers including Nadia Shpachenko, Nicholas Photinos, Michael Hall, Gregory Oakes, Holly Roadfelt, Nick Zoulek, Hillary LaBonte as well as premiered the work of Mara Gibson, Griffin Candey, Garrett Schumann, Christian Carey, Alan Theisen, Anna Brake, D. Edward Davis, Anthony Donofrio, and more.

She has appeared with ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, Detroit New Music “Strange Beautiful Music Marathon”, Omaha Under the Radar Festival, Works and Process at the Guggenheim Series, Notes on Fiction Series at the Center for Fiction, New Music Gathering, Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project, American Opera Theatre, Vivre Musicale, UCCS Music/Peak Frequency Creative Arts Collective, Harford Community College Sunday Afternoon Concert Series, and Silver Finch Arts Collective.

As a chamber musician, Ihnen has been a fellow at impuls International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music, Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP), Fresh Inc Festival, Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, and MusicX. She has gone on to be a resident faculty artist at UMKC Summer Composition Workshop and Mostly Modern Festival.

Ihnen’s interpretations of modern and contemporary repertoire have garnered growing acclaim. She is particularly recognized as an excellent recitalist. Her This World of Yes program of contemporary music for voice and saxophone with Alan Theisen explores the themes of pathways, choices, and duality through the work of contemporary composers such as Jessica Rudman, Michael Young, and Michelle McQuade Dewhirst. Ms. Ihnen has worked with violinist Martha Morrison Muehleisen and Rome Prize winner video artist Karen Yasinsky to take audiences on a profound journey through György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments through video and sound. Finally, Ihnen’s Single Words She Once Loved is a performance that centers around the ideas and effects of memory, dementia, and time. It is a deeply personal exploration of the dueling forces of ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ and ‘God gave us memories so that we may have roses in winter’. Single Words She Once Loved features compositions by David Smooke, Ryan Keebaugh, Daniel Felsenfeld, Jeffrey Mumford, and more.

In the spring of 2017, Ms. Ihnen undertook a fundraising project for her first album, “Sleep Songs: Wordless Lullabies for the Sleepless.” She commissioned over 25 diverse composers from the United States and abroad to write brief, wordless lullabies for mezzo-soprano. Megan has also had recordings on, Hoot/Widsom Recordings, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Fall 2015 Mixtape, and the CarpeDM Seize Des Moines “Music Mix: Volume III” which was featured at the 2016 SXSW Festival.

Ihnen was honored to receive a Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award for Commitment to and Performance of 20th/21st Century Music in 2009 and a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Classical Music: Solo Performance in 2014.

Megan Ihnen, Mezzo-Soprano Performances

Videos from YouTube featuring Megan Ihnen

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Megan Ihnen Performances

Megan Ihnen, mezzo-soprano, is a gateway performer for new music. She performs challenging vocal music in an inviting way that appeals to both new audiences and die-hard classical music fans in solo recitals and ensemble concerts. She works extensively with ensembles to help their audiences fall in love with new music through performance and education.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles December 7 2017 | By Megan Ihnen
Burnout is a b****. Let’s avoid it.

Megan Ihnen was worried. Getting mired in small tasks without a big vision kept her incessantly “busy” but accomplishing very little until she felt completely burnt out. In the end,...

Articles January 13 2015 | By Megan Ihnen
Whose Job Is It To Teach Audience Experience?

When we perform with care for the holistic audience experience as well as care for the composer’s works, we can create a "social act" that is akin to magic.

Articles December 22 2014 | By Megan Ihnen
Everything is real. There is no audience.

It is absolutely reductive to think of music being solely either for the performer or for the audience. This is a both/and situation because we all get something different out...

See more of Megan Ihnen's articles on NewMusicBox.