JUDITH O. ACRES
EXECUTIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Praised for her "excellence of style and ease of expression," Charleston native and soprano Dr. Judith Acres is at home with a repertoire ranging from medieval song to Baroque opera and oratorio to American musical theater. Her performances have taken her across North America and the UK, appearing as featured soloist with a number of leading period and modern ensembles and orchestras and as presenter, guest artist and faculty at a variety of international workshops and festivals.
As a concert soloist, Judith has established a reputation performing large oratorio and dramatic works, early opera, masses, and requiem settings from the Baroque through the 20th century, and has often been noted for bringing an "unexpected and interesting lightness" to such traditionally imposing pieces. She is, however, perhaps most well-known for her performances of Medieval compositions and more intimate and florid Early Music and chamber works, where her "lovely, clear-as-a-bell voice," paired with a style hailed as "wonderfully tasteful, understated and expressive," has proven to be a recipe for repeated critical acclaim.
Judith has been featured with ensembles across the US, including the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, La Follia Austin Baroque, Apollo's Fire, Texas Early Music Project, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Istanpitta, CBE, and the Warren Philharmonic, to name a few, and has both taught and performed at such workshops as The Amherst Eearly Music International Festival, Lute Society of America, The Texas Toot, American Harp Society, and SEMA (Southeastern Medieval Association), as well as smaller workshops and conferences across the country.
Also an active choral vocalist and director, Judith makes frequent appearances as both chorister and soloist with a variety of professional vocal ensembles, including King's Counterpoint, Contrapunctus Early Music, Counterpoint (UK), Quire Cleveland, The Serlo Consort (UK), Apollo’s Fire, Acapella Vox, Cantores Ecclesiae, and the Trinity Chamber Singers. She has over twenty years of experience in directing and coaching both large and small vocal ensembles in a variety of styles and genres – from Early Music to barbershop to Broadway – and has served as Director of Music for a number of churches and various performing organizations throughout Texas and NE Ohio.
Often noted for being "even stronger when she is allowed to act as well as sing," Judith is equally active in the theater, taking leading roles not only in musicals but also a variety of dramatic and comedic productions. Her casting to date has exemplified a wide dramatic and vocal range: from soprano roles such as Lily in The Secret Garden, Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Kate in Kiss Me, Kate, Laurey in Oklahoma!, Sarah in Guys & Dolls, and Fiona in Brigadoon; to mezzo characters which include the title role in Mame, Adelaide in Guys & Dolls, and Janet Marley in The Christmas Carol Rag; and on to dramatic and comedic roles including Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Mary Smith in the British bedroom farce Run For Your Wife, Virginia in the apocalyptic comedy Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, and the role of acerbic Jessie Mae Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received an OCTA Excellence in Acting award and nomination for the Cleveland Critics Circle Award.
Judith's passion for choral music led her to found and accept the position of Executive Artistic Director for the ensemble Contrapunctus Early Music in 2013, a group which is the “sister ensemble” to the UK vocal ensemble Counterpoint, which she co-manages with founder and Music Director David Acres. In 2014 they together created their third 'sister' vocal ensemble, The King's Counterpoint, based in Charleston, SC, where they now reside.
Judith is also an accomplished instrumentalist, making apparances at a number of events and with a variety of early music ensembles across North America. She has been performing on shawms, recorders and hand drums for more than twenty years.
Judith holds both Masters and Doctoral degrees in Historical Performance Practices from Case Western Reserve University, OH, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from The College of Charleston, SC, with additional post-graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin and the Indiana University Institute of Early Music where she studied performance practices, music history, opera and theater. Judith was named as a finalist for the Cambridge Society of Early Music’s Erwin BodkyAward, and was the first vocalist to receive such a distinction.
Judith currently maintains a private vocal studio and has held positions as Adjunct Voice Faculty as The College of Charleston, SC, as well as Lecturer and Adjunct Faculty in music history, vocal pedagogy, graduate research methodology and applied voice at both Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. She is ever-active as guest faculty and lecturer for workshops, special events, and continuing and community education forums, and is currently soprano section leader/soloist and directly the parish handbell ensemble at Old St. Andrew's Parish Church in Charleston, SC.
Judith can be heard on recordings and broadcasts with Istanpitta, Quire Cleveland, Apollo's Fire, the Texas Early Music Project, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, King's Counterpoint, Contrapunctus, the Columbus Bach Ensemble, the Dayton Bach Society, the Warren Philharmonic, Amherst Early Music, Inc., and the Charleston Pro Musica.
For more information on Judith, please visit www.judithacres.com.