Lily Arbisser, soprano

Lily Arbisser is an “individual-timbred soprano” (Opera News) whose voice “floats effortlessly” ( over the orchestra. Highlights of recent seasons include joining Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in Chicago as a vocal fellow, winning first prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Biennial Young Artist Competition, and a debut recital with Chamber Music Quad Cities (CMQC) in which she and pianist Thomas Sauer shared ten newly commissioned art songs setting poems by Iowan poets.

Lily frequents oratorio and operatic stages, and she is also dedicated to art song performance in both salon-style house concerts and traditional recitals. A snapshot of her broad repertoire includes Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew songs, music of contemporary American composers, and 12-tone compositions. She is enjoying a busy performance schedule this year, which began with a self-curated recital titled “Of Dreams” in Lenox, Massachusetts given alongside conductor/pianist Noah Palmer, featuring music of Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Wieck-Schumann, Weill, Debussy, Fauré, and contemporary American composers Nathan Shields, Emily Cooley and Sally Wyche-Coenen. Lily is also pleased to present multiple recitals with pianist Dimitri Malignan and his “Missing Voices” project, dedicated to introducing audiences to the music of Jewish composers who were persecuted in the Holocaust and reclaiming space for these important works on the concert stage. Lily then returns to CMQC with pianist Thomas Sauer and violinist Kyu Young-Kim for a program of Debussy, Weill, Reena Esmail, and Beethoven. Lastly, she joins her friends in the Ars Choralis choir of Woodstock, NY as the soprano soloist for performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Lily’s artistry is grounded in the understanding gained from studying in the Libero CantoTM School of Singing with her teachers Deborah Carmichael and Kinga Cserjési. Libero Canto is a process-oriented approach which holds that the body instinctually knows how to sing but is frequently blocked by psycho-social factors that inhibit freer singing. From the perspective of the Libero Canto School, approaches to technique that are based primarily on conscious, muscular manipulation often fail to address these hindrances and create unnecessary layers of tension. Various exercises developed by the creators of Libero Canto, the Szamosi family of Hungary and Austria, aim to encourage release of these excess tensions through the process of making music. Lily is grateful for the access to the arts from a young age given to her by her wonderful parents and great Iowa public school and private music education. In addition to voice, she studied and distinguished herself on cello, French horn, and piano. At the age of seventeen, Lily was featured as the piano soloist with the Quad City Wind Ensemble in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Lily graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Art and Archaeology and a Certificate in Vocal Performance. She also holds a Master of Music degree from Mannes College.

When not singing, she can be found outdoors cultivating her passion for ecological restoration and native plant gardening.