* participating in Hear Her Song initiative
Carla Canales is an internationally renowned mezzo-soprano who has also received high-level recognition as both a cultural entrepreneur and a social advocate. As comfortable on the stages of the world’s great opera houses as she is advocating with senior government officials or working with young people in disadvantaged communities, she has distinguished herself both as a thought-leader and as an innovative artist.
Ms. Canales has been praised by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” In 2014, she became the first singer ever to win the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, an honor bestowed upon her by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2015, she also became the first opera singer to be named by Foreign Policy Magazine to its prestigious annual listing of the year’s100 Leading Global Thinkers for her work using music to bridge cultural barriers. In 2016 she received a medal of recognition from NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) for her work as a Turnaround Artist for the President of the United States’ Committee for the Arts and Humanities. Once again, she was the first opera singer to be named in 2015 to this group--which focuses on creating arts education programs for under-privileged communities. In 2017 she became the first opera singer to receive the Michigan Alliance for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the prestigious University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award. Ms. Canales is also the first singer to be selected for the Hermitage Artist Residency, a two-year program through which artist develop creative ideas and projects. Most recently, Ms. Canales was named one of Musical America’s 30 Movers and Shapers of 2018.
Ms. Canales is passionate about passing along what she has learned as a professional singer and entrepreneur, and seeks opportunities to work with young singers and entrepreneurs on a regular basis. In recent years she has led masterclasses with the Shanghai Conservatory, Beijing Conservatory, Guangzhou Opera House, and has work with students from Berklee College of Music, the University of Michigan, and Stanford University.