Karina Gauvin is a Canadian soprano who rapidly developed an important concert and recital career in North America and Europe during the second half of the 1990s.
She was brought up in Montréal, Québec, where her father was a long-time member of the Choeur Saint-Laurent (Saint Lawrence Choir), one of the city's most prestigious choirs and a major component of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra Choir. She studied at the Montréal Conservatory of Music with Marie Daveluy, followed by work with Pamela Bowden of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, made possible by grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Quebec Arts Council, and the Royal Scottish Academy.
She entered the international competition circuit to begin her career. In 1992, she won the Maggie Teyte Memorial Prize in London and the Guelph Spring Festival National Vocal Competition as First Prize winner. She entered the 1994 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal competition in Holland, winning the Lieder Prize and the Public's Prize.
1995 was a year of successful Canadian competitions; Gauvin won the Virginia Parker Prize and the CBC Radio National Young Interpreters' Competition First Prize. By this time she was gaining a strong reputation. It was word of mouth that obtained her first recording engagement.
Harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour, who had heard her sing, asked her to join her in a project he was preparing for Analekta Records (a Quebec-based label), a production of the "Anna Maria Bach Notebook." This recording became the best-selling release in the company's history, leading to further releases: She joined the Orchestre Métropolitain in the Beethoven's incidental music to Egmont, a program of Vivaldi quartets that was nominated for the Juno Award (Canada's version of the "Grammies") and an award winning project with the original instruments group Tafelmusic of Handel arias.
Meanwhile, she had continued her winning ways in competitions with the award of recognition as the 1996 Soloist of the Year for the International French Public Radio Community.
She has sung in recital in major North American and European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Bishopsgate Hall, Wigmore Hall, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Her recital partners have included pianists Roger Vignoles and Michael McMahon, and Marc-André Hamelin. She has sung in opera productions at Oxford, the Aldeburgh Festival, and the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in New York.
She frequently appears with the Montréal Chamber Music Festival and the Pusan International Chamber Music Festival in the Republic of Korea. In Canada, she has appeared with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, the CBC Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy of Québec City. With the latter she toured to several U.S. cities in the 1999-2000 season. She debuted in Boston during that season, with the Handel and Haydn Society, and in New York with the 92nd Street Y.
She has a wide repertory from the Baroque to the twentieth century, and is particularly noted for her Mozart operatic repertory, and one of the works she has most been requested to sing in concert is Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations.
Other works in her repertory include Purcell's The Fairy Queen, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, Handel's Messiah, Semele, and Israel In Egypt, Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang, and Einhorn's Voices of Light.