Erin Morley: Mormon Singer
Erin Morley is a coloratura soprano. She is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She earned her undergraduate voice degree from Eastman School of Music, her Master of Music voice degree from The Juilliard School and her Artist Diploma from the Juilliard Opera Center, where she also received the Florence and Paul DeRosa Prize. She trained at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist, the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, and the Wolf Trap Opera Company as a Filene Young Artist.
She won first Place in the Licia Albanese – Puccini Foundation Competition in 2006, third Place in London’s Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in 2009, and received the Richard Tucker Career Grant in 2013.
She is the daughter of Elizabeth Palmer, a violinist, concertmaster of the Salt Lake Symphony, and a founding member of the Orchestra at Temple Square. She studied violin and piano as a child. She often collaborated with her mother performing difficult chamber works. She continued her piano studies and often accompanied singers in lessons and in recitals. Her father, David Palmer, studied music prior to studying medicine, and sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1998 to 2013. She credits him for teaching her how to sing. She finally started studying voice during high school. She eventually stopped studying piano after she developed tendinitis and cubital tunnel syndrome in both arms.
At the Met she debuted in the role of Constance (Les Dialogues des Carmélites) in the 2013–2014 season and Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) in the 2014–2015 season. She stepped in two days before opening to sing the role of Sophie for the entire run of Der Rosenkavalier in the 2013–2014 season—this may have been her career-defining moment. She will sing the role again for the 2016–2017 season.
Morley has appeared with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and with pianist Vlad Iftinca for Salt Lake City’s Virtuoso Series and Carnegie’s Weill Hall. She has also recorded many roles commercially.
She sings leading roles internationally and her husband, John, and daughter, Maria, often accompany her. John Morley is a professor at Yale Law School. In an interview she said that they pray about every job that she is offered. “I feel like I can tackle any challenge if it’s part of God’s plans for me!” She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Craig Jessop, dean of Utah State University's Caine College of the Arts, was conductor for Morley's first Carnegie Hall appearance, as soprano soloist for a national high-school choral festival performance with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. He had heard her voice when she was a Utah teenager and said he was "just blown away." “He offered her encouragement at that time toward a life that could encompass a world-class music career and a family.”