The Heroine’s Journey of Kirsten Ashley Wiest

What is the best thing that I love about my work? The thing I most love about my work as a classical singer is building intimate, unspoken relationships with audiences. Every group of audience members is different, but I don’t think many come in to a performance expecting to connect with the performer on stage in a humanistic way, making each unique experience deeply meaningful for me.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? In short: respect, acceptance, and self-love.

What is my greatest fear? There isn’t much in life that I fear, but if a bug touches me, WATCH OUT. Flailing will abound.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I work hard to maintain a healthy relationship with myself, and am proud of who I have become. I love myself!

What is my greatest extravagance? Performance gowns. I have so many, they have their own closet!

On what occasion would I lie? I believe in the fearless pursuit of truth, and am conscious to never lie. Of course this makes some people unhappy because sometimes the truth is not what we want to hear.

What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life? I am most inspired by people who are unapologetically themselves, and who meet their own definitions of happiness and success. In times when I feel stuck in a rut or down about something, my always-inspiring mentor, Susan Narucki, reminds me how fortunate we are to spend our lives doing what we love – nothing beats that reminder!

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? As a classical singer, it is hard to not belong to a home-base or family of musicians the way that orchestral players or chamber groups often do. We audition around the world, taking jobs here and there, often working with different people for every show and leaving wondering if our paths will ever cross again.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Every time I am performing for an audience, it is the best and happiest feeling in the world!

If I could, what would I change about myself? I accept myself for who I am, and my body for what it is. I have learned to love both!

What is my greatest achievement in work? It’s hard to say what my greatest achievement has been because I value all of the experiences that have led me to where I am, and I know there are so many more wonderful experiences to come! I can say, though, that I did really love getting to perform Ligeti’s ‘Mysteries of the Macabre’ with the YMF Debut Orchestra!

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Definitely the beach. Something about the way the ocean breeze wraps itself around me is deeply motivating and inspiring, especially when experienced in less-populated areas, like northern Malibu.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Any place with a calm outdoor area, really. Nothing is better than being able to see the sky and feel the earth while refueling.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My grandparents have always been my greatest supporters – getting me into music at a young age, investing in voice lessons for me during high school, and supporting me when I moved away to pursue a career. Thank you, Gmama, Gdaddy, and Meme!

Whom would I like to work with in the future? What a long list! Stockholm Opera, Bordeaux Opera, Paris Opera, Royal Opera…LA Phil, NY Phil, Berlin Phil…so many companies, conductors, composers, and performers – I’ll never be able to retire!

What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on? Composer Jeffrey Holmes is currently writing a piece for me that I absolutely cannot wait to see and get started on! I am also working on John Zorn’s ‘Machine de l’Etre’ as a part of my own artistic fulfillment, so if anybody knows of any orchestras out there who would like to program that piece, I would also look forward to that, haha.

How can you contact me?


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