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Hannah Penn
Hannah Penn

Hannah Penn

Voice and Musicianship Instructor

Office: LH 243C

Hannah Penn, mezzo-soprano, enjoys a diverse career as a performer of opera, oratorio, and recital literature. Frequently praised for her musicality and the timbre of her voice, Ms. Penn has recently been called “…a major talent”, and “…an intelligent and wonderfully musical singer” by Portland’s Willamette Week, and was praised for having “…intriguing colors at both ends of her range” by The Oregonian. She has sung more than twenty operatic roles with Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, Opera Bend, Eugene Opera, Opera Coeur D’Alene, and many other companies.  As a past member of Portland Opera’s studio artist program, Ms. Penn sang the roles of Diana (La Calisto), Thisbe (La Cenerentola), Mercedes (Carmen), Flora (La Traviata), and Nancy (Albert Herring).  She also sang her first Carmen with Portland Opera, which garnered critical acclaim and resulted in a chance to reprise the role following season with the Teatro National Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. Ms. Penn has since returned to Portland Opera many times as a guest artist, most notably as Julie in Show Boat, L’enfant in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges, and “Hannah After” in As One. Penn has strong ties to a number of local arts organizations, including Chamber Music Northwest, Opera Theater Oregon, Resonance Ensemble, In Mulieribus, Third Angle, Fear No Music, Cascadia Composers, Friends of Chamber Music, the Bach Cantata Choir, and March Music Moderne. She is also the resident pre-show lecturer for Portland Opera.

A strong proponent of new works, Ms. Penn has performed in the American premiere tours of John Adam's El Nino and Sven-David Sandstrom's High Mass, and has been involved in the American premiers of several operas, including Anthony Davis’ Wakonda’s Dream, Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur, and David Carlson’s Anna Karenina. Ms. Penn also enjoys a full concert schedule, having been featured with orchestras around the country, including several appearances with the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Sunriver Music Festival, the Florida Philharmonic, the Sacramento Choral Society, and the Seattle Baroque.

A dedicated and passionate teacher, Ms. Penn believes that all students sing better when they are comfortable, seen, and inspired. She strives to unlock each student’s special potential through correct repertoire, honoring the natural voice, and physically and psycologically motivating all sounds. Penn maintains a large private studio, in addition to positions on faculty at Portland State University and Aquilon Musical Festival. She has previously taught at Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and Linfield College. As a teacher, Penn is a strong technician, comfortable in both classical and CCM techniques. As an accomplished amateur pianist and an aural skills professor, she specializes in coaching Baroque and modern classical repertoire.

Professor Penn currently teaches voice lessons and aural skills at PSU. At previous institutions, she has taught vocal pedagogy, American musical history, music appreciation, diction classes, voice class for non-majors, and focused history classes, in addition to directing scene programs and full productions.