Michigan native receives international soloist award

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Addy Sterrett. Courtesy Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony named the recipient of the second Linn Maxwell Keller Award. 

The symphony announced Yale University graduate Addy Sterrett is this year’s recipient of the Linn Maxwell Keller Distinguished Bach Musician Award. 

“I am so honored to be named this year’s Linn Maxwell Keller Distinguished Bach Musician awardee,” Sterrett said. “It was especially sweet for me to return to my home state and have so many family members and friends in the audience. I’m already dreaming about my return to sing with the symphony in a future season.” 

Sterrett was chosen from a group of five solo finalists who competed on April 21 at the 2022 Grand Rapids Bach Festival. Each soloist chose two contrasting Bach arias to sing for a panel of judges. 

“It was an incredibly challenging task to pick a winner for the 2022 Keller Award,” said soloist Sonya Headlam, who sat on this year’s judging panel.

“All of the finalists were fantastic and performed at such a high level of expertise and artistry. Addy Sterrett stood out with a riveting performance of ‘Aus Liebe’ from Bach’s ‘St. Matthew’s Passion,’ which she sang with gorgeous tone, sophisticated nuance and sincere expression that brought to life the emotional vitality of the text and music.” 

The Keller Award was created in 2016 in memory of famed mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell Keller. 

According to Keller’s husband, Fred Keller, the vocal competition award was created in her honor, to bring in some of the greatest young talent from around the world to the thriving arts scene of Grand Rapids. Linn’s dream was to encourage rising artists to participate in the timeless and prolific Bach repertoire. We believe that by creating this award to recognize their talent, the award could in turn help to accelerate their careers, much as winning an award assisted Linn’s career.” 

In addition to the opportunity to be the featured artist in a performance with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Sterrett received a $10,000 cash prize to help further her music career. 

Raised in a small town in northern Michigan, Addy studied at Interlochen Arts Academy before her education and professional engagements afforded her to travel all over the U.S., Europe and Asia. She now is based in Los Angeles.

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