Janna as Mabel

About Janna

Performance Biography

Janna Kysilko, soprano, began her affair with classical singing after falling in love with the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan as a child. She went on to major in vocal and piano performance at Macalester College, as well as German studies, which lead to a keen interest in Lieder, a performance specialty of Janna's ever since.

Currently returning to the Twin Cities after a year-long fellowship in Vienna, Austria, Janna is partially finished with a doctoral degree at the Eastman School of Music in New York, where she holds a Master's degree and studied with voice faculty chair Dr. Robert McIver. In addition to numerous recitals at Eastman, Janna appeared in Eastman opera workshops as Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and Sophie from Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, under the direction of Steven Daigle and opera coach Benton Hess. She also pursued an interest in early music at Eastman, studying baroque performance with Paul O'Dette and Christel Thielmann, and singing chamber music with Eastman baroque ensembles.

As a native and frequent visitor of the Twin Cities, Janna has appeared as a soloist with the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra in the Bachianas Basileiras No. 5, on the Schubert Club's Courtroom Concerts series, with the Mosquito Chorale, and with the Macalester Orchestra and Festival Chorale. She has collaborated with Macalester faculty members Christine Dahl, Mark Mazullo, and Don Betts in art song recitals, and, continuing her involvement with "G&S," has appeared as a soloist with the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Co., performing in The Pirates of Penzance and H. M. S. Pinafore, and most recently will be performing the role of Mabel with Century Theatre. Janna has also appeared in concerts in Rochester, NY and Vienna, performing Chinese art songs as part of a Taiwanese music festival directed by Dr. Shih-Hsing Chang and appearing at Eastman's inaugural Women in Music Festival singing works by Lili Boulanger. Janna has greatly benefitted from study with a diverse range of distinguished voice teachers and coaches, including her current teacher, Emma Small, David Jones, Eastman faculty members Robert McIver, Russell Miller, and Benton Hess, as well as Pamela Mildenhall (Salzburg Mozarteum emeritus), and Marguerite Hedges (College of St. Catherines emeritus).

Teaching Biography

Janna began teaching voice in 2000, after completing a B.A. in vocal and piano performance at Macalester College and following five years as a successful piano teacher. After entering the graduate studies program at the Eastman School of Music, Janna had the opportunity to add extensive theoretical and practical knowledge to her background as a music pedagog. As a student at Eastman, she was fortunate in being able to study with one of the foremost experts in vocal pedagogy, voice faculty chair Dr. Robert McIver, himself a former student of the legendary teacher Richard Miller.

Through the rigorous course work at Eastman, Janna gained broad knowledge in the fields of musicology and music theory. Her studies were also greatly enriched by the frequent masterclasses and composer symposia held at Eastman, which exposed her to the insights of such notable artists as: Benita Valente, Julianne Baird, Renée Fleming, Dominick Argento, and Krzysztov Penderecki. In addition to these guests, bi-weekly masterclasses held by Dr. McIver for his studio gave Janna the opportunity to receive and hear regular critique of a wide range of voice types and abilities. Janna's own teaching methodology follows the bel canto techniques of her mentors without imposing pre-conceived notions of a particular "sound" on the individual voices she encounters, but rather allowing them to find their own sound while developing a healthy technique.