Kate Johnson ’13 graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May with her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. An emerging young soprano, her studies have kept her close to home, but her talents have taken her far. Wherever she goes, Johnson has found success performing and competing at the state, regional and national level. She has had some notable opportunities – a result of her incredible talent and work ethic.
As a music student at UNL, Kate was involved in the UNL Opera Program singing Zerlina in the 2015 main stage production of “Don Giovanni” and Susanna in the May 2016 touring production of “The Marriage of Figaro.” In November, Kate sang Beth March in the main stage production of “Little Women.” She has also been a featured soloist in the annual UNL Friends of Opera Galas.
Kate has been garnering national recognition since her freshman year when she placed first in the state and second at regionals in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). She followed up placing first in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the NATS West Central Region. She was a national semifinalist in 2014 and placed third in the 2015 NATS National Student Auditions.
As a junior, Johnson was awarded the UNL Glenn Korff School of Music’s most prestigious undergraduate award, the Presser Scholarship. This national honor, which includes a cash award, is intended to recognize outstanding and meritorious achievement in music.
Most recently, Kate won the Opera Omaha Guild Award at the Nebraska District level of the MET’s National Council Auditions in December 2016 and performed as the featured artist in Opera Omaha’s Annual Spring Luncheon this May. She also sang the National Anthem at UNL’s Undergraduate Commencement.
Last summer, Johnson participated in SongFest, a month-long program in Los Angeles, during which she performed in recital with acclaimed pianist Martin Katz. While at SongFest, she also performed, as a soprano soloist, the complete BWV 155 in the Bach Cantata Institute under the direction of composer John Harbison; additionally, she sang in a public master class with director Peter Sellars, which was featured in the Los Angeles Times.
As part of a language immersion program, Johnson studied abroad in Berlin, Germany, in 2015, where she stayed with a host family.
In July 2016, she was a performing participant at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden, Austria. There she had immersive training in the poetry and performance of the German Lied. At the Franz-Schubert-Institut, Johnson trained with masters of the classical Lied repertoire.
While at Marian, under the direction of Ms. Cathy Pruitte, Kate sang in a trio, chamber choir, the Select Women’s Choir and Marian musicals. Her advice for young girls pursuing a career in music: “Follow the joy that music brings. It is a challenging field to be successful in. Take good care of your voice and your body,” said Johnson.
Kate will take a gap year to apply and audition for graduate school at conservatories and universities. She will also continue to sing for weddings and funerals, in addition to competing in voice competitions. She describes her dream job as singing opera, art song and chamber works professionally around the world.
It is clear, that from here, Kate can go anywhere.