Julie Quinn Lenz, a distinguished University of Nevada, Reno graduate student and acclaimed opera singer, will perform her Graduate Recital on campus in Nightingale Concert Hall at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Lenz will perform a variety of music, including works by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and selections from Joseph Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne. "This is my second master's recital and I was able to choose all the pieces that I will be performing," Lenz said. "I am doing a lot of pieces that typically are done with an orchestra because for my career, I want to focus on orchestral concerts and operas."
One reason that this concert is so unique is that Lenz will be singing a portion of her concert in the regional French dialect of Occitan and another in Russian. To prepare, she watches Russian operas over and over again, speaks the text like a poem and meets with Russian speakers to perfect the work. Learning to correctly pronounce Occitan has become something of a research project for Lenz.
"This makes the recital new and exciting," she said. "One piece I will be performing for the first time is from Eugene Onegin, and it is based on one of my favorite novels."
In addition to rehearsing for her concert, Lenz is currently pursuing her master's degree in applied music in vocal performance under Albert R. Lee, an assistant professor of music in the School of the Arts at the University.
"I am excited because she has developed much of the program herself and she will be able to demonstrate what she has been working on," Lee said. "Learning to sing is a very hard thing to do; for every step forward you have to take a few steps back. In addition, I am a demanding and relentless teacher and I am looking forward to seeing her continued progress."
Lenz has been featured as a soloist with both the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Reno Philharmonic. She has performed leading roles with the Nevada Chamber Opera and the Nevada Opera in productions such as Mozart's Don Giovanni, Floyd's Susannah, and Verdi's La Traviata. Lenz is equally at home in musical theater, recently playing the role of "Florence" in Rising Tide's production of Chess The Musical. She made her debut with the Fresno Philharmonic as the soprano soloist in Dvorak's Te Deum in spring 2015 and was most recently named a national semi-finalist in the National Association of Singing Student Competition.
Not only has Lenz made an impact on the Reno community, the entire Lenz family is widely known in the area.
Lenz's grandparents moved to Reno in the 1950s, although they were not musicians themselves, all of their kids went into music and have left their mark on the University of Nevada, Reno and the Reno music industry.
"All of us, at one time or another, have been a part of the University orchestra, the Philharmonic or the Chamber Orchestra here in Reno," Lenz said. "My cousin is the concert master of both orchestras, my mom is a flutist and my dad is a cellist; I have always been surrounded by music."