The peculiarity of making a living as a classical singer is not lost on Alison Wahl ’08. “I pay my rent,” she says, “by making weird noises with my face.” But Wahl is pretty sure she landed in the right place: “I keep coming back to music, because I find it more interesting than anything else.”
For an emerging singer, Wahl has earned an impressive list of accolades. Her vocal talents have landed her coveted soloist gigs with professional orchestras in New England and the Midwest—including the Boston Pops, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music of the Baroque—and awards from the Met Opera’s National Council, Handel Aria Competition and Musicians Club of Women, among others.
This July she performed during the Grant Park Music Festival as a soloist with the Grant Park Orchestra, the first prominent role she’s been offered without having to audition.
The Chicago Tribune has praised Wahl’s “bright, vibrant soprano,” but as with any job, it’s helpful if you end up in the right place at the right time. “I’m singing full-time, and I’m passionate about the music,” says the performer, “but all of my successes are really the product of luck.”
Take one recent example: A promotional poster for a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance accidentally listed Wahl as a soloist, rather than as a choral singer. The error was eventually corrected, but the Tribune took note and ran an article praising Wahl’s brief solo. “My role got a little blown out of proportion because of a mix-up,” she says. “But it’s part of the reason why I landed the gig at the Grant Park Music Festival.”