Praised for her "excellence of style and ease of expression," soprano Judith Acres is at home with a repertoire ranging from medieval song to Baroque opera and oratorio to American musical theater. Her performances have taken her across North America and the EU, appearing as featured soloist with a number of leading period and modern ensembles and orchestras and as presenter, guest artist and faculty at a variety of international workshops and festivals.

 

As a concert soloist, Judith has established a reputation performing large oratorio and dramatic works, early opera, masses, and requiem settings from the Baroque through the 20th century, and has often been noted for bringing an "unexpected and interesting lightness" to such traditionally imposing pieces. She is, however, perhaps most well-known for her performances of  Medieval compositions and more intimate and florid Early Music and chamber works, where her "lovely, clear-as-a-bell voice," paired with a style hailed as "wonderfully tasteful, understated and expressive," has proven to be a recipe for repeated critical acclaim.  

 

Judith has been featured with orchestral and early music ensembles across the US, including the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, La Follia Austin Baroque, Apollo's Fire, Texas Early Music Project, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Istanpitta, CBE, and the Warren Philharmonic, to name a few, and has both taught and performed at international workshops such as The Amherst Early Music International Festival, Lute Society of America, The Texas Toot,  American Harp Society, and SEMA (Southeastern Medieval Association), as well as smaller workshops and conferences across the country.

 

Also an active choral vocalist and director, Judith makes frequent appearances as both soloist and chorus member with a variety of professional ensembles, including The Serlo Consort (UK), Contrapunctus Early Music - A High Voices Ensemble, Counterpoint (UK), Quire Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire, Acapella Vox, Cantores Ecclesiae, TEMP, The King's Counterpoint, Cantores Charleston, and the Trinity Chamber Singers.  She has over twenty-five years of experience in directing and coaching both large and small vocal ensembles in a variety of styles and genres – from Early Music to barbershop to Broadway – and has served as Ensemble Instructor and Faculty for a number of international workshops and festivals as well as Director of Music for a variety of churches and performing organizations. 

 

Noted for being "even stronger when she is allowed to act as well as sing," Judith is equally active in the theater, recently taking leading roles not only in Musical Theater but also a variety of dramatic and comedic productions. Her casting to date has exemplified a wide dramatic and vocal range: from soprano roles such as Lily in The Secret Garden, Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Kate in Kiss Me, Kate, Laurey in Oklahoma!, Sarah in Guys & Dolls, and Fiona in Brigadoon; to mezzo characters which include the title role in Mame, Adelaide in Guys & Dolls, and Janet Marley in The Christmas Carol Rag; and on to dramatic and comedic non-musical roles including Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Mary Smith in the British bedroom farce Run For Your Wife, Virginia in the apocalyptic comedy Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, and the role of acerbic Jessie Mae Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received an OCTA Excellence in Acting award and was nominated for The Cleveland Critics Circle Award.

 

Judith's passion for choral music led her to found and accept the position of Executive Artistic Director for the ensemble Contrapunctus Early Music - A High Voices Ensemble in 2013, a group which is the 'sister' ensemble to the UK vocal ensemble Counterpoint, which she currently co-manages with founder and Musical Director David Acres. In 2014 they co-founded the third of their 'sister' vocal ensembles,  The King's Counterpoint, and in together launched the high-voices ensemble Cantores Charleston in 2019, both based in Judith's hometown of Charleston, SC.

 

Judith is also an accomplished instrumentalist,  making appearances at a number of events and with a variety of early music ensembles across North America. She has been performing professionally on shawms, recorders, psaltery and hand drums for more than twenty-five years. 

 

Judith holds both Masters and Doctoral degrees in Historical Performance Practices from Case Western Reserve University, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from The College of Charleston, SC, with additional post-graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin and the Indiana University Institute of Early Music, where she studied performance practices, music history, opera and theater. She has held positions as lecturer and adjunct faculty in music history, vocal pedagogy, graduate research methodology and applied voice at The College of Charleston, SC, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. Judith is ever-active as guest faculty and lecturer for workshops, special events, and continuing and community education forums.

 

Judith and David are currently in residence at historic Old Saint Andrew's Parish Church in Charleston, SC., where David is Director of Music. Judith can be heard on recordings and broadcasts with The King's Counterpoint, Istanpitta, Quire Cleveland, Apollo's Fire, the Texas Early Music Project, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, the Columbus Bach Ensemble, the Dayton Bach Society, the Warren Philharmonic, Amherst Early Music, Inc., and the Charleston Pro Musica. 

 

For more information on CONTRAPUNCUTS, COUNTERPOINT, CANTORES CHARLESTON or THE KING'S COUNTERPOINT, please visit their websites by using the buttons provided!

Biography

© 2014 by Judith Overcash Acres, DMA.