Introducing: Alexandra Cowell, Soprano

Name: Alexandra Caitriona

Instrument/Voice Type: Soprano

Where you might see me perform: Cardiff, UK during the academic year. Possibly in San Jose, CA outside of the academic year.

Why I participated in the iCadenza Career Development Bootcamp: After competing in iCadenza’s first YouCadenza Young Artist Competition, I received a phone call from Maria Elena at iCadenza, who asked me about my goals and expectations, and encouraged me to enroll in the first Career Development Bootcamp. Maria Elena pointed out that I seemed completely confident in my goals, and knew exactly what I wanted from life, but that I could use some guidance as to the business side of achieving my goals. I had a vague idea that having trained as a flutist for nearly 20 years before switching to opera set me apart in a positive way, but was definitely in need of some help identifying exactly what that was. I also needed help with my identity as a vocalist, and how I could market myself.

My biggest transformations and takeaways from Bootcamp: I think the most important thing I learned from taking the Career Development Bootcamp is how to identify what sets me apart as a singer, musician and performer, and to build upon that. One of the first things we worked on in the class was forming out Mission Statements, which was a really positive challenge. I’m still working on self-promotion and marketing, which can feel awkward, but Bootcamp taught me to identify what is unique about me, apply that to my art, and then use it to market myself as a total performance package.

My goals for the next 6 months: The next 6 months will be very transitional for me, as I about to begin my Masters in Opera Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and I really have very little idea of what to expect. I’ve been living in the US for most of my life now, so this is huge move for me, and it’s particularly dramatic, as pursuing a degree in Opera is a real declaration of my life goals. In the short-term, my primary goal is to work as hard as I possibly can, and improve as much as possible in my vocal technique, stage presence and artistic presentation. More concrete goals to follow, as I get my bearings!

You can expect me to blog about:

  1. Surviving grad school as a musician!
  2. You can also expect me to blog about the differences in opera in the UK vs the US.
  3. What singers can learn from instrumentalists (and vice versa!).
  4. My thoughts on relevant books I read. One of my favourite pursuits is reading the auto-biographies/memoirs (or biographies, if the former aren’t available) of people I admire to see how they became who they are. I mostly read about musicians, as that’s most relevant, but I believe that we can find inspiration in anyone, and my current hero is Katherine Hepburn, whose memoir, Me: Stories of My Life, is invaluable in its teachings.

My other hobbies and interests: My undergraduate degree is in Flute Performance, and I continue to teach flute lessons, and play for my own enjoyment and artistic development. I’m crazy about dancing, particularly Latin, swing and ballroom. I also love makeup and retro fashion (anything pre-1960). I love when people recommend books for me, and I’ll read anything anyone tells me is good, but I particularly love auto-biographies and Victorian literature.

One thing you’d be surprised to learn about me: I have a strange aversion to buttons. When I was a child, my mother couldn’t dress me in anything with buttons. If she tried, I would scream “NOOO BUTTONS!” It’s not so bad now, I can handle a few functional buttons, but I’m still not into them, and I don’t like them when used as decorations.


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