Kyrsten Chambers Jones, mezzo-soprano, lives in Rochester, New York and is pursuing her doctorate in Voice Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Professor Katherine Ciesinski.
Kyrsten recently made her professional debut in December 2019 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra when she performed the alto solos from Handel’s Messiah, filling in for an ailing soloist on twenty-four hours’ notice. She has been a featured soloist with a variety of ensembles and genres, performing: “Lamentation,” the third movement of Bernstein’s Symphony no. 1, under the baton of Dr. Rayvon T.J. Moore with Eastman School Symphony Orchestra; “Von den Stricken” from Bach’s St. John Passion and “Laudamus Te” from Bach’s B Minor Mass, both with Voices, a private chamber choir conducted by Dr. William Weinert in Rochester; “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” with the Stetson University Women’s Chorale; and selected solos from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with the Stetson University Choral Union. On a Stetson University Concert Choir tour in 2014, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Peter, she was the alto soloist for the New York premiere of Kevin Isaac’s “Ave Maria” at Lincoln Center.
In April 2019, after winning the Eastman Concerto Competition the previous year, Kyrsten performed Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Bilitis accompanied by orchestra in Kilbourn Hall. This performance took place a mere two days after her successful master’s degree recital. In recognition of her great academic work at Eastman, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in May 2019 as she graduated with her master’s degree.
Kyrsten developed an avid love for opera after listening to Puccini’s La Boheme at the age of thirteen. When she was eighteen, she appeared in her first role, The Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, in a community production in Melbourne, Florida. Kyrsten debuted with Stetson University Opera Theatre as the Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide in her sophomore year. The following year, she successfully sang the challenging role of Idamante from Mozart’s Idomeneo. In February 2016, she performed the role of Friederike in the operetta Ein Walzertraum by Oscar Straus. At the Eastman School of Music, Kyrsten performed as Hansel in a production of Hansel und Gretel in May 2018. In winter 2019, she performed the title role of Orfeo in the Eastman Opera Theatre production of Gluck’s masterpiece.
In addition to her study of voice, Kyrsten has played piano from the age of six. A versatile keyboardist, she enjoys performing both in church and in the concert hall. At New Covenant Baptist Church in DeLand, Florida, she accompanied singers and led worship services while regularly performing in Stetson University’s Lee Chapel, in ensembles, collaborative partnerships, and as a solo pianist.
Her love for piano and music of the Baroque period drew Kyrsten to her harpsichord studies in the spring of her sophomore year with Dr. Boyd Jones. She used these newfound abilities as the harpsichordist for the Stetson University Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Anthony Hose. In October 2014, she toured with the Chamber Orchestra around the Atlanta area. In April 2015, she demonstrated her talent by performing as the harpsichordist for a Stetson University production of all three parts of Handel’s Messiah. That May, she had the opportunity to not only play harpsichord, but also perform the aria “Gelido in ogni vena” from Vivaldi’s Farnace overseas while touring with the Stetson University Chamber Orchestra in England and Wales. In October of that year, she demonstrated her continuo abilities again, this time for Stetson University Opera Theatre’s production of Scarlatti’s Griselda. In the spring of 2017, she played the harpsichord in Stetson University’s performance of Bach’s St. John Passion, conducted by Simon Carrington.
In September 2015, during her senior year, Kyrsten won the Concerto Competition at Stetson University and performed “Erbarme Dich” from J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Stetson University Symphonic Orchestra in November. In addition to a rigorous academic schedule as well as teaching through the Stetson Community School of Music, she also successfully performed two, hour-long senior recitals. Her piano recital took place in November 2015, and her vocal recital in April 2016 was an auspicious end to her many solo performances in Lee Chapel.
In recognition of her academic achievements during her Stetson career, she earned the title of Presser Scholar by a unanimous vote from the faculty of the Stetson University School of Music in April 2015. Before her graduation, she was acknowledged as the Presser Scholar at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony, a school-wide celebration honoring the academic achievements of the graduating Class of 2016.
Kyrsten graduated summa cum laude from Stetson University with dual degrees in vocal performance as a student of Dr. Craig W. Maddox and piano performance, studying with Mrs. Edit Palmer. She taught through the Stetson Community School of Music throughout the summer. During the school year of 2017 to 2018, she gained more collaborative experience as an accompanist at the Stetson School of Music, serving both soloists and ensembles.
In her daily life, Kyrsten feels most fulfilled when she is teaching her private voice students via Zoom, reading, and taking long walks with her husband Jeremiah and their rescue dog Schubert.