2017 St. Louis Visionary Awards Entertainment
Brewer, named one of the top 20 sopranos of all time (BBC Music), is highly regarded for her striking portrayal of the title role in Srauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera de Lyon, Theatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She created the role of Sister Aloysius in the world premier of Doug Cuomo’s opera Doubt with the Minnesota Opera in 2013, a role that was performed by Meryl Streep in the film version of the story. She reprised the role in August 2016 with the Union Avenue Opera in Louis.
Brewer has worked with many of today’s most notable conductors, including Sir Colin Davis, David Robertson, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Sir Charles Mackerras, and Sir Simon Rattle, to name a few, and has made over 25 recordings. She continues her work with the Marissa, Illinois 6th graders in a program called Opera-tunities, which is now in its 13th year. She also works with the voice students at Webster University, and will be doing a weeklong residency this month on African-American composers. The residency will culminate in a recital with the students and Brewer.
Kennedy, an artistic associate with The Black Rep, has worked both on and off stage with the company for more than 30 years. She most recently appeared in the company’s Seven Guitars by August Wilson and the New Jewish Theatre’s production of Intimate Apparel. Other credits include The Glass Menagerie, Windmill Baby, Marijah’s Pictures, Helver’s Night and Blood Wedding (Upstream Theater), Agnes of God (Avalon Theatre), The Gin Game (Actor’s Studio).
Her directing credits include, Clybourne Park (Stephens College), Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Mustard Seed Theatre), I'm Not Rappaport (The New Jewish Theatre) and The Mountaintop (The Black Rep), to name a few. In addition, Kennedy has performed several historical vignettes for the Missouri History Museum, and has taught theatre and dance to youth and adults. Kennedy has received numerous accolades for her work including the Go List Best Actress Award, the Missouri Arts Individual Artist Award, the Griot Award from the Griot Museum and, in 2012, the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the Arts and Education Council. Kennedy is also a former Visionary Award recipient.
2016 St. Louis Visionary Awards Entertainment
Karin Bliznik, from Brockton, Massachusetts, joined the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trumpet in September 2013. Prior to joining the SLSO, Karin held the Associate Principal position in the Atlanta Symphony as well as Principal positions with the Santa Fe Opera, Charlotte Symphony, and the Charleston Symphony. Karin received her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Music Degree from Boston University.
As a returning faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival, Karin spends several weeks of her summer teaching and performing in a number of the festival's orchestras. Continuing the classical music tradition by educating the next generation is a life-long goal. This summer, Karin is very excited to coach the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America through Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute in New York City. She also serves as a brass coach of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and with St. Louis' El Sistema "Orchestrating Diversity" program. In the past few years, Karin has been a featured performer and given masterclasses in the National Brass Symposium, the National Trumpet Competition, and the International Trumpet Guild Conference.
Festival appearances include Spoleto Charleston, Aspen, Eastern Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, and the Lucerne Music Festival in Switzerland under the direction of Pierre Boulez. She also spent two summers as a Fellow at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood Music Center.
Karin Bliznik's performance at the 2016 St. Louis Visionary Awards was generously sponsored by Phoebe Dent Weil.
Alicia Graf Mack
Alicia Graf Mack is a former lead dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has also been a principal ballerina with Dance Theater of Harlem and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Alicia has danced as a guest performer with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Beyonce, John Legend, Andre 3000 and most recently, Alicia Keys on the 2013 Set the World on Fire World Tour. In addition, she's appeared at many galas and festivals including the Youth America Grand Prix and the International Stars of the 21st Century. She has made national television appearances as a featured guest on Live with Kelly and Michael and The Tavis Smiley Show. Mrs. Mack graduated magna cum laude with honors in History from Columbia University and holds a MA in Nonprofit Management from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2007, Smithsonian Magazine named Alicia an American Innovator of the Arts and Sciences. Mrs. Mack is a recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to one alumnus who has demonstrated excellence in their field of work. In 2008, she had the honor of delivering the keynote address to the graduates of Columbia University's School of General Studies. Alicia is a gifted writer. She has contributed to some of the most prestigious national magazines in her industry; Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine and Dance Spirit. Recently she wrote the historic cover story, "Beyond Role Models" for Pointe Magazine's June/July 2014 diversity issue featuring Ashley Murphy, Ebony Williams and Misty Copeland. She has also authored the forward of American Dance: The Complete Illustrated History by Margaret Fuhrer. After returning to St. Louis in 2014, she is now an instructor at Webster University and Washington University in St. Louis. Alicia Graf Mack is the Co-Founder of D(n)A Arts Collective, an initiative she created with her sister, Daisha, to empower young dancers.
Alicia Graf Mack's performance at the 2016 St. Louis Visionary Awards was generously sponsored by Dr. Donald Suggs.