BJ Fredricks, mezzo-soprano, sings with a number of New York-based choral ensembles, including Voices of Ascension, New York Choral Artists, Musica Sacra, the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Concert Chorale of New York. Highlights include Jonathan Miller’s staging of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at BAM, Lincoln Center Festival’s Grendel directed by Julie Taymor, a flash mob performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Les Noces with New York City Ballet, the U.S. premiere of Eric Idle’s Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) at Caramoor, Bang on a Can’s Lost Objects at BAM with DJ Spooky, and David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, webcast live on wqxr.org. She has also sung back-up vocals for Bjork, Carousel at Carnegie Hall with Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman, Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast Live From Lincoln Center), annual operas at the Bard SummerScape Festival, and appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. A Brooklyn beekeeper and urban farmer, BJ is a graduate of SUNY Purchase (BM, oboe), the Manhattan School of Music (MM, voice), L’Écoles d’Art Américaines in Fontainebleau, and the French Culinary Institute.
When and how did you find your voice?
Still looking for it.
Describe your voice/sound in five words.
I consider my voice 'the "glue" in the section'.
What was the first choral piece you ever performed?
I absolutely cannot remember that far back.
What was your most memorable performance with VoA?
My most memorable performance was one in which I was not included. In fact, it was my first exposure to VoA. It was a performance of the Bach "St. John Passion" with Concert Royal. Sandy Miller, principal flute for this performance, was my solfège teacher in college and is one of the best baroque flute players in the world. I was blown away by both the orchestra and the "Voices" led by Dr. Keene.
How has being in New York City influenced your work? How has performing with VoA under the direction of Dr. Keene influenced your work?
There is no other city in the world where one can experience the wide range of choral music as in New York. Dr. Keene embraces choral music like no other conductor I've ever worked with.
Who are some of your favorite composers and musicians from the past and present?
Bach. Oh, and did I mention Bach? Right, Bach
What influences your voice and what inspires you to continue?
The voices I'm singing with on either side of me, and on either side of them, and, and , and . . . Mostly, my colleagues inspire me.
What would be the theme song for your life?
Is there a particular choral work, text, or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
"Mache dich" from Bach's, "St. Matthew Passion"
What is on the horizon for your work in the next year?
"Crushing" the King Salmon in Alaska and filling my freezer for the year.
If I was to look at your phone right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Can I install music on my cell phone? Never mind, I left it at home.
What's your motto?
What are you waiting for!
What do you feel most proud of?
The 13lbs of sweet potatoes I harvested from my roof top planters last summer
If you were president, what is the first thing you would do?
I would protect all state and federal park lands in perpetuity
If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
My colleagues and friends Lewis and Margery Daley White, just because . . .
In a parallel universe, if you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
What was the last picture you took with your phone?
My five chickens taking refuge in our little back bathroom during the subzero temperatures.
Have you ever danced in the rain?
If you consider walking the dogs in the rain in Prospect Park dancing, well then , yes.
What is your perfect pizza?
One that my neighbor Orazio makes. I'll let him decide the topping.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
I usually take all compliments with a large grain of salt.
If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would you pick and what would you do?
My cat Scooter, and nap.
If you could keep five possessions, what would they be?
Salt from Mexico, All-Clad copper core 4qt saucepan, 10" cast iron skillet, 18% butter fat butter, oh, and my BMW G650GS
What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why?
Bob Levin who encouraged me to go to Fontainebleau.
If you won the lottery what would you do?
Buy a cabin in VT, keep enough money to live on and give the rest away.
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Artisanal cheese making, because cheese is life.