Monday, May 25, 2015

Measha Brueggergosman

        Opera Singer & Concert Artist
She was on my list of Outstanding Canadian Men and Women. Last evening watching Vision's TV channel, she is presenting a 4-part series...Songs of Freedom...which was superbly entertaining. On Wednesday evenings, I've been following the...Book of Negroes.  Her biography relating to four generations ago depicted her ancestors being part of that era in United States. With great pleasure, I introduce her to you.

She was born, Measha Gosman to Anne Eatmon and Sterling Gosman of Fredericton, New Brunswick on  June 28, 1977. Today, she is a Canadian soprano who has  has performed internationally and won numerous awards.  Her recordings of both classical and popular music have also received awards.

Life and Career: As a child, Gosman began singing in the choir of her local Baptist church, where her father served as a deacon.  She studied voice and piano from the age of seven.  At a teen, she took voice lessons in her home town...and spent summers on scholarships at the Boston Conservatory and at a choral camp in Rothesay, New Brunswick.  She studied for one  year with New Brunswick soprano, Wendy Nielsen, before moving on to studies at the University of Toronto, where she obtained a B. Mus.  She went to Germany for five years, where she pursued a Master's degree at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Dusseldorf, Germany.

She married Markus Bruegger, born in Switzerland.  They first met in high school, when he was an exchange student in New Brunswick. When they married, they combined their last names to Brueggergosman.

Her Ancestral History:  In 2007, Measha discovered her family's deep  history in Canada and United States.  Her paternal 4xgreat-grandparents were John Gosman and his wife, Rose, African Americans who each escaped from slavery in New England colonies during the American Revolution by going to the British lines.  John was from Connecticut and Rose from Rhode Island.  They probably met in New York City, then occupied by the British.  The British gave freedom to American slaves who left rebel slaveholders and sought refuge with them.  Tens of thousands of slaves, mostly in the South, took advantage of the war's chaos to escape;  so many, that the plantations were disrupted in South Carolina and Virginia, especially. 

After the war, the British arranged transport to Nova Scotia for nearly 3500 Black Loyalists from the former Thirteen Colonies.  John and Rose Gosman and their 5-month-old daughter, Fanny, born free in British lines, were recorded in the British embarkation record known as the...Book of Negroes. They had passage in 1783 on one of the last ships to leave New York for Nova Scotia.  Measha's 4xgreat-grandparents first lived in Shelburne, but later settled in Fredericton.

Her Goodwill: In 2007, Brueggergosman became the Goodwill Ambassador for the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF),  a charity working for Better Health in Africa.  In June of that year, she travelled to the war-affected village of Patongo in East Africa to share her voice as a form of musical therapy for children.  Brueggergosman described herself after the trip as 'never the same'  and continues her work with AMREF today.

Suffering a heart condition in June 2009, Brueggergosman took some time off to recover from open heart surgery.  She returned to the stage in September 2009 for a performance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2012 Brueggergosman was a judge on the short-lived Canadian reality show...Canada's Got Talent.
The show was subsequently cancelled after one season.


At age 20, Measha played the lead in the premiere of the opera...Beatrice James Rolfe  and George Elliott Clarke. Produced in Toronto in 1998 and in Nova Scotia the following year, the opera tells the story of a slave girl in the 19th century rural Nova Scotia who murders her abusive father, the man who is also her master.  The  opera and Brueggergosman were well received by critics and audiences.  In 2000, it was filmed for the CBC.

Brueggergosman has appeared throughout Canada, where she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Geoffrey Moull, National Arts Centre Orchestra under the direction of Pinchas Zukerman and at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.

She has performed internationally, as well, in the United States, Germany and other nations.  She was in Elektra, Dead Man Walking  and Turandot with the Cincinnati Opera.  She has also performed the Verdi Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as with Helmuth Rilling at the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn.

In 2005, Brueggergosman was a soloist in recording William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and Experience...which won 3 Grammy awards, including Best Classical Album.

In July 2007, she was a new performer at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, singing in the 'Phanton of the Opera' medley and closing the show with 'Ave Maria'.

In the fall of 2009 she performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of Our Time.

She performed the Olympic Hymn at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.. She brilliantly performed an arrangement of the English sung version of the hymn in both English and French to reflect Canada's official languages.

Recently she performed Bess in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess for the Cincinnati Opera.

Awards and Recognition: These are numerous including recipient of the prestigious Canada Council and Chalmers Performing Arts grants...twice nominated for Juno Awards winning in 2008 for Classical Album of the Year.

Of herself, she states, “I feel I was groomed for great things...whether it was great success or great loss.  I have a capacity for extremes. I've had my crossroads. There is no happy without sad; there's no good without bad. I know now there is a balance in life ~ it eventually finds its way. Everything has merged to make me a better person and a better artist.”

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted February 7, 2015
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