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Fran Randall Concert Series

Grace Ryan 

Mezzo Soprano

Jennifer McCabe


May 24, 1:30pm


An April Day by Florence Price (2')
Hold Fast to Dreams by Florence Price (2’)

A Charm of Lullabies, Op.41 by Benjamin Britten (14’)

I. Cradle Song
II. The Highland Bales
III. Sephestia's Lulaby
IV. A Charm
V. The Nurse's Song

Contro un cor che accende from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) (5’)

About the Musicians

Jennifer McCabe

Currently a collaborative pianist at North Park and DePaul Universities, Jennifer McCabe has been described as “the new Gerald Moore” and “an infinitely sympathetic pianist.” An Associated Artist with Working in Concert, she has performed with organizations such as The Kennedy Center, Northwestern University, Music Institute of Chicago, NATS, Bellissima Opera, Sinfonietta Bel Canto. Pianist for the world premiere staged performance of Chicago composer Philip Seward’s operetta “High Fidelity” at the Royal George Theater, she was also the pianist for the world premiere of the operatic quartet “Transcendence” by David Shenton and Christine Steyer. Jennifer was vocal coach, pianist, and conductor for North Park University’s 2023 opera production of “Buried Alive” which was awarded second place in its division by the National Opera Association.


She has performed with Nisanne Howell of the CSO, Chicago-area university faculty and Lyric Opera and Grant Park chorus members. She has played in master classes and educational settings for Renee Fleming, Katelyn Lee, Ramsey Lewis, Elizabeth Futral, Jane Bunnell, composer Libby Larsen and Michael Ehrman. Notably, Jennifer was pianist/coach for the Merit School of Music’s ground-breaking “Renee Fleming Voice Initiative” working with teens in its first two years and pianist for their first ever virtual master class, documented in the Chicago Tribune by arts critic John von Rhein.


Jennifer’s contributions as managing director, pianist and board member of Opera on Tap Chicago were hailed by Anne Hiatt (founder of Opera on Tap USA) as “ notch…crucial to the Chapter’s survival and success.”  An in-demand private piano teacher for over 25 years, Jennifer frequently contributes her time to underserved communities as a piano teacher and adjudicator. In her work as a ChiArts Teaching Artist, Jennifer was praised by world renowned pianist and teacher Ramsey Lewis as “a wonderful teacher!”  Additionally, Jennifer’s students have been accepted into prestigious collegiate music programs and have attended distinguished summer programs at Interlochen, University of Illinois, and Blue Lake.

As a result of her dedication to arts education, Jennifer was the recipient of “Best of Chicago 2019” for Harmony Piano Studio and a Sycamore Music Boosters Legacy
Award Recipient in 2020 where she was an inductee into the Music Hall of Fame at Sycamore High School for her lifetime contributions to music. A 1995 graduate of
Northern Illinois University with a BA in piano, she also completed additional graduate studies at NIU and MTSU in piano performance and education. Jennifer has studied
voice, acting, writing, clarinet, saxophone, steel pan, organ, guitar, piano tuning, and composition.


Jennifer’s greatest passion is fostering a love of music in her students and audiences through her teaching and performing. Music is life.

Grace Ryan


"Captivating with [her] vocal power and lush sound" (W. Kromash, Evanston Roundtable), Grace Ryan is a young mezzo soprano originally from the suburbs of Chicago, currently finishing her degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, IL, where she studies with acclaimed tenor Scott Ramsay. Grace has performed extensively throughout her time as DePaul as Nancy in Albert Herring, Emma Jones in Street Scene, and as a soloist with DePaul Chamber and Concert choirs, as well as with the DePaul Symphony Orchestra and DePaul Baroque Ensemble. Throughout the Chicagoland area, Grace has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan works, as Tessa in The Gondoliers with The Savoyaires, and in the chorus of H.M.S. Pinafore with The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.


Most recently, Grace was the recipient of an Encouragement Award from the 2023 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition in the Illinois District. She was the recipient of the 2023 Nerenberg Award in the Musician Club of Women's Scholarship Competition, and was named a finalist in both the 2024 CCM Scholarship Competition and Grand Rapids Vanderlaan Prize, as well as a semi-finalist in the MI Opera 2023 International Voice Competition and the 2023 Camille Coloratura Awards.


In addition to opera, Grace enjoys crossover work in musical theatre. She was seen as Betty Jean in Overshadowed Theatrical Production's The Marvelous Wonderettes, and is trained in ballet, modern, Fosse, and jazz dance.

Grace looks forward to performing as Presendia in Dark Sisters with DePaul Opera Theatre in 2024.

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