Sonya Headlam’s career as a vocal artist has taken her all over the world, from South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. She is active in the New Jersey area as a voice teacher and performer of a diverse range of repertoire. Described as having a voice of “liquid tone," she has been consistently praised by critics for her "complete involvement with the text" and "heartfelt authenticity" in her performances of art song and opera. Sonya described her unique perspective on her role as a singer in a recent interview, “Classical singers simultaneously inhabit two realms of time. We function as a bridge between the past and present. Like a museum, we have stored in our brains important artistic and cultural relics (music and poetry), which span across a diverse range of cultures and languages, as well as eras spanning back hundreds of years, up to present day. And there is something mystical about singing because the human voice in song holds immense potential to stimulate universal human emotions, creating an otherworldly space of connection and inspiration."
Highlights of Sonya’s 2018 performance schedule include an appearance in May with the illustrious concert pianist Min Kwon, and the legendary collaborative pianist Warren Jones at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in a program featuring the music of American Composers, Bernstein, Barber, and Copland. In the Spring of 2018 Sonya was a featured soloist with the One Voice Chorus in Charlotte, North Carolina, and this June she returned to Carnegie Hall in the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage as a soloist with the United Nations Singers. Upcoming engagements for 2018-2019 include performances of the little-known music of Madame Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy, a female composer of the French Enlightenment, with the Raritan Players, a group founded by harpsichordist and musicologist Dr. Rebecca Cypess, as well as a recital of African American Spirituals with pianist Min Kwon.
Sonya has recently made appearances as a soloist with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra singing First Fairy in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a production that was in conjunction with the American Repertory Ballet, at the State Theater of New Jersey, as well as the soprano soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 1. Other career highlights include her critically acclaimed performances on the “American Affairs" and “Ecstasy" programs with One World Symphony, her regional opera house debut with Fargo-Morehead Opera singing the role of Musetta in La Bohème, and her debut solo voice recital in Kingston, Jamaica in a sold-out performance that was attended by Jamaica's Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
Sonya’s concert and chamber music engagements include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s Missa Brevis: St Joannis de Deo, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ German Requiem, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony performed with orchestras and choruses around the country such as One World Symphony, the Greenwich Choral Society, the Bronx Orchestra, the Master Singers of Milwaukee, and the Willow Ensemble.
Equally comfortable on the operatic stage, Sonya’s roles include le Feu in L'enfant et les sortilèges, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, the title role in Lakmé, Frasquita in Carmen, Musetta in La Bohème, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Laurie in The Tender Land, and Lucia from Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. Greatly committed to contemporary music, Sonya regularly participates in readings of contemporary music with Helix! New Music Ensemble and has performed roles in two world premiers: Michael Sahl’s Katrina, Voices of the Lost, featured at the Tribeca New Music Festival, and a reading of Richard Thompson’s The Mask in the Mirror in an event sponsored by New York City and presented by the City University of New York.
Born of Jamaican parentage, Sonya maintains close musical ties with the Caribbean where she remains active as a recitalist and soloist, a highlight being a tour of Guadeloupe with members of the Cuban Philharmonic.
Sonya holds performance degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and received additional training at Mannes College of Music in New York City. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.