Chinese-American mezzo Sun-Ly Pierce’s fierce passion for music of all genres has led her to an eclectic range of performance opportunities.
She has participated in festivals and programs such as the Vienna: Language of Lieder program in Vienna, Austria and the Oxford Lieder Festival in Oxford, England. Credits from the Eastman Opera Theatre include Umberto Giordano’s Mese Mariano (Suor Pazienza), Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica (The Nursing Sister) and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino). The Rochester City Newspaper cites Pierce’s performance of the young pageboy as having “…sparkled with enduring comedic flair. Vocally, her musical gravitas was anchored in an honest, substantive timbre and light, buoyant phrasing.” Musical Theater credits include: Carousel (Julie Jordan), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator), Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle) and more.
In addition to winning the Rochester Lyric Opera LaDue Competition in 2016, Pierce made her debut singing excerpts from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro as Cherubino with the Albany Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Alan Miller. In the spring of 2018, she sang the role of Nada in the Serbian opera Svadba (Ana Sokolović, 2015) with members of the Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program. Pierce also returned to collaborate with the Albany Symphony that summer to premiere “A big bundle of sticks” by composer Ben Wallace. Later that year, she participated in the musical celebration of composer Joan Tower’s 80th birthday at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City.
2018-2019 season events included Pierce's first performance as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Mohawk Valley Choral Society and Orchestra in Utica, NY and her debut with the Broad Street Orchestra performing selections from Hector Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été for the “Concerts in the Village” in Kinderhook, NY. Additionally, she debuted at National Sawdust, performing two New York premieres. This summer, she sang the role of Olivia in the west coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain and was the mezzo-soprano soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, conducted by Thomas Adès, at the Music Academy of the West as a 2019 Vocal Fellow. In addition to winning the Marilyn Horne Song Competition at Music Academy, Pierce was a Semi-Finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition this past year.
2019-2020 highlights include an international recital tour with pianist Chien-Lin Lu as winners of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. This will include appearances in Santa Barbara, Chicago, New York City and London and will feature the premiere of a new song cycle written by composer Jennifer Higdon.
Originally from Clinton, NY, Pierce holds a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music. She recently graduated from the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music led by Dawn Upshaw and Kayo Iwama. She currently studies with Lorraine Nubar.
In her spare time, Pierce enjoys the outdoors, visiting aquariums, gas station coffee and eating breakfast at any point in the day.