Bio & Resume

Megan IhnenAmerican mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen is recognized for her colorfully rich tone, powerful performance skills, and insightful musicianship in a diverse repertoire ranging from Brahms, Schubert, and Handel to the modern sounds of Crumb, Schwantner, Cage, and the most up-and-coming composers of her generation. Megan is a new music force of nature.

A prolific new music artist, Ms. Ihnen has appeared with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, Latitude49, Great Noise Ensemble, Stone Mason Projects, Rhymes With Opera, SONAR new music, and more. She has sung with many outstanding performers including Nadia Shpachenko, Nicholas Photinos, Michael Hall, Gregory Oakes, Holly Roadfelt, Nick Zoulek, Hillary LaBonte as well as premiered the work of Mara Gibson, Griffin Candey, Garrett Schumann, Christian Carey, Alan Theisen, Anna Brake, D. Edward Davis, Anthony Donofrio, and more.

Ms. Ihnen has upcoming engagements on the SPLICE Festival 2018 and Winifred M. Kelley Music Series at Salisbury House. She has appeared with ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, Detroit New Music “Strange Beautiful Music Marathon”, Omaha Under the Radar Festival, Works and Process at the Guggenheim Series, Notes on Fiction Series at the Center for Fiction, New Music Gathering, Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project, American Opera Theatre, Vivre Musicale, UCCS Music/Peak Frequency Creative Arts Collective, Harford Community College Sunday Afternoon Concert Series, and Silver Finch Arts Collective.

As a chamber musician, Ihnen has been featured at impuls International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music, Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP), Fresh Inc Festival, Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, and MusicX. Ms. Ihnen is also a founding member of the Seen/Heard Trio along with harpist Jennifer R. Ellis and flutist Erika Boysen. The Seen/Heard Trio’s model is dedicated to excellence and creativity in teaching and learning, immersive performance, audience experience, and developing the repertoire for the instrumentation of flute, harp, and voice. As musicians and recording artists, Seen/Heard Trio is devoted to featuring rarely-recorded or never-recorded composers.

Ihnen’s interpretations of modern and contemporary repertoire have garnered growing acclaim. She is particularly recognized as an excellent recitalist. Her This World of Yes program of contemporary music for voice and saxophone with Alan Theisen explores the themes of pathways, choices, and duality through the work of contemporary composers such as Jessica Rudman, Michael Young, and Michelle McQuade Dewhirst. This World of Yes has been performed in Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and will go on a Southeastern states tour in 2017. With performances in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Colorado Springs, and Kansas City, Ms. Ihnen has worked with violinist Martha Morrison Muehleisen and Rome Prize winner video artist Karen Yasinsky to take audiences on a profound journey through György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments through video and sound. Finally, Ihnen’s Single Words She Once Loved is a performance that centers around the ideas and effects of memory, dementia, and time. It is a deeply personal exploration of the dueling forces of ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ and ‘God gave us memories so that we may have roses in winter.” Single Words She Once Loved features compositions by David Smooke, Ryan Keebaugh, Daniel Felsenfeld, Jeffrey Mumford, and more.

In the spring of 2017, Ms. Ihnen undertook a fundraising project for her first album, “Sleep Songs: Wordless Lullabies for the Sleepless.” She commissioned over 25 diverse composers from the United States and abroad to write brief, wordless lullabies for mezzo-soprano. Megan has also had recordings on the I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Fall 2015 Mixtape and the CarpeDM Seize Des Moines “Music Mix: Volume III” which was featured at the 2016 SXSW Festival.

Ihnen was honored to receive a Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award for Commitment to and Performance of 20th/21st Century Music in 2009 and a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Classical Music: Solo Performance in 2014. She was an accomplished violist and drama student before pursuing degrees in music and vocal performance from Augustana University and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Ihnen has been a board member for Baltimore Concert Opera and HOWL performing arts ensemble. Ms. Ihnen is a devoted teacher who shepherds studios at Drake University Community School of Music, Southwestern Community College School for Music Vocations, and Graceland University. She has also been a resident faculty artist for the UMKC Summer Composition Workshop. In addition to UMKC, Megan has presented her popular masterclasses, workshops, and lectures at the New Music Gathering, Iowa Thespian Festival, UNCG Greensboro, and Florida Atlantic University.

In addition to being a avid podcast listener, Ihnen enjoys drinking coffee, joking around with her sisters, tweeting about contemporary poetry, and watching Law & Order. She has grand dreams that one day her dog, Hunter, will be the best dog in the neighborhood. She lives in Des Moines, IA and out of her suitcase equally.

Short Bio

Megan Ihnen is a mezzo-soprano on a mission to change the world through the commissioning, performance, and proliferation of new music.

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Concert, Recital, & Oratorio Experience

Amy Beth Kirsten: Ophelia Forever (Violated Saint)
Omaha Under the Radar, 2015

Joseph Schwantner: Wild Angels of Open Hills
Notes on Fiction, 2015

Alan Theisen: Haï-kaï
Notes on Fiction, 2015

Vivienne Olive: Whispers of a Heavenly Death
Notes on Fiction, 2015

Kaija Saariaho: Ariel’s Hail
Notes on Fiction, 2015

Armando Bayolo: Sacred Cows
Great Noise Ensemble, 2015; 2012

Garrett Schumann: Bound
Latitude 49, 2015

Klaus Lang: Ugly Horse
impuls Festival, 2015

Gilda Lyons: A Suite of Hymns
New Music Gathering, 2015

Elliott Carter: Voyage
SICPP Festival, 2014

Louis Andriessen: La Commedia (Dante Cover)
Great Noise Ensemble, 2014

Robert Honstein: We Choose to go to the Moon
Austin, TX, 2014

Salvatore Sciarrino: Infinito Nero
SONAR new music ensemble, 2014

György Kurtág: Kafka-Fragmente
New Music at the Atlas, 2014

Christian Carey: Kenyon Songs; He Wishes for Cloths of Heaven
Princeton, NJ, 2013

Jake Heggie: Statuesque
Fresh Inc New Music Festival, 2013

David Lang: I had no reason; Pay me now
Fresh Inc New Music Festival, 2013

Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder
Vivre Musicale, 2012

George Crumb: Ancient Voices of Children,
Bang on a Can Summer Festival, 2012

Missy Mazzoli: Shy Girl Shouting Music
Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2012

Milhaud: Chanson Bas
hexaCollective, 2012

Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
Great Noise Ensemble, 2011

Amy Beth Kirsten: joujou
MusicX Festival, 2011

Beethoven: Choral Fantasy
Handel Choir of Baltimore, 2011

George Crumb: Federico’s Little Songs for Children
Baltimore, MD, 2009; 2010

Erik Spangler: Mandala of the Four Directions (Premiere)
Mobtown Modern, 2010

Andrew Simpson: Lotus and Poppy
Washington, D.C., 2009; 2010

Debussy: Trois Chansons de Charles D’Orleans
Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, 2009

Staged Performance Experience

Rebecca Manchester | Kevin Wilt: Prix Fixe
Florida Atlantic University, 2015

Boss | Anna Meadors: Manifesto on the Ledge
Rhymes With Opera, 2015

Verlaine | Matthew Triplett: I Promise to be Good
Rhymes With Opera, 2015

Hansel | Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel
Baltimore Vocal Arts Foundation, 2013

Thetis | Michael Oberhauser: A Fire in Water (Premiere)
Silver Finch Arts Collective, 2013

Isella | Schubert: The Conspirators
Opera AACC, 2012

Annina | Verdi: La Traviata
Opera AACC, 2012

Nireno | Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Peabody Chamber Opera, 2012

Fanchon | Herbert: Naughty Marietta
Opera AACC, 2012

Angelina | Rossini: La Cenerentola
Bel Cantanti Opera Festival, 2011

Senator Orrin Hatch | Melissa Dunphy: Gonzales Cantata
American Opera Theater, 2011

Mother | Menotti: Amahl and the Night Visitors
OperaLancaster, 2011

Estrelda | Sousa: El Capitan
Victorian Lyric Opera Co, 2010

Solo Voice | Catherine Reid: The Yellow Wallpaper (Premiere)
Peabody Chamber Opera, 2008

Voice Training and Education

Master of Music, Vocal Performance
Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute, 2009

Bachelor of Arts, Music
Augustana University, 2006

Awards and Competitions

Individual Artist Award
Maryland State Arts Council, 2014

Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award 20th/21st Vocal Music
Peabody Conservatory, 2009


Elizabeth Hart
Phyllis Bryn-Julson