Megan Buness began voice lessons at the age of fourteen - after violin lessons at age five, piano at age seven and french horn in elementary school (private lessons for the last two continued through college) - studying with her mother, Fay Buness in Helena, Montana. Within three years, she was declared a winner in the National Association of Teachers of Singing local auditions. In those years she auditioned into All-State and All-Northwest choirs, and later toured with the Helena Symphony Chorale under the direction of her father Dr. Dave Buness in Australia. Her high school collaborations with vocalists and instrumentals received the highest ratings in district and state music festivals.
Megan was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Denver, studying with Kenneth Cox. Cast as Dorabella, she made her operatic debut in a Lamont Opera Program production of Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart. She also performed roles including Lizzie in Lizzie Borden by Beeson, and Nancy in Albert Herring by Britten, Balkis in LIncontro Improvviso by Haydn, Poppea in LIncoronazione de Poppea by Monteverdi, Nicklausse in Les Contes dHoffman by Offenbach and Filipievna in Eugene Onégin by Tchaikovsky, a role she revisited in Austria, conducted by Cornelius Eberhardt.
Following graduation, Megan was selected as a member of the Carol and Nico Castel New York Opera Studio at Vassar College in their inaugural season, where she performed opera scenes including the roles of Carmen in Carmen by Bizet, Lucretia in Rape of Lucretia by Britten, Larena in Eugene Onégin by Tchaikovsky and Mrs. Quickly in Sir John in Love by Ralph Vaughan Williams. In her European debut she was cast as Angelina in the final act of La Cenerentola by Rossini at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. With the Passaggio Opera Company, Megan prepared the role of Barbara Ansley in Roman Fever by Ward and sang as a Ghost in Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams, conducted by Chris Baum. She was also a Cigarette Girl in Carmen by Bizet with the Colorado Opera Troupe, conducted by Adam Flatt. A professional member of the musical fraternity Delta Omicron, Megan continued to study roles including Gretel in Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, Giulietta in Les Contes dHoffman by Offenbach and Olga in Eugene Onégin by Tchaikovsky. Megan was pleased to perform the role of Mercedes in Carmen by Bizet with the Helena Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Allen R. Scott. She also sang with Central City Opera as a Court Lady in the world premiere of Poet Li Bai by Guo Wenjing, conducted by Ed Spanjaard. The opera was sung in the Mandarin Chinese dialect, recalling when she learned the language during her year in Hangzhou, China.
As a soloist in a choral setting Megan has appeared with the St. Olaf Choir under the direction of Anton Armstrong, singing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as the tour and concert at the National American Choral Directors Association Convention in Chicago by their alumni choir Magnum Chorum, directed by David Dickau. She was soloist, graduate teaching assistant and section leader for the Lamont Chorale under its conductor Catherine Sailor. As a soloist in choral and dance company works, Megan was the guest artist in the FEEL THE SPIRIT Concert with the Helena Chamber Singers directed by Dr. Steven Michelson and presented with the Premiere Dance Company under the leadership of Artistic Director Charlene White, a performance played repeatedly on Helena Civic Television through the summer. As a soloist in orchestral/choral works, Megan soloed in the world premiere of Requiem by Leavitt under his direction at Carnegie Hall. She also was soloist in Missa brevis by Mozart in Graz, Austria and in Mass in G, D. 167 by Mozart with the Chancel Choir at Lakewood United Methodist Church, conducted by David Heck and the Colorado Young Sinfonia, directed by Basil Vendryes and in Cantata Laudes by Stallings, conducted by Warren Deck with The Colorado Chorale, composed for and performed with The Denver Brass.
The once acting Chair of the Music Department, Megan is voice faculty at the Community College of Denver. In the business of singing, she is a Certified Facilitator of the Aria Ready Process through program founder Carol Kirkpatrick and has been Aria Ready faculty at the Tyrolean Opera Program as well as Aria Ready presentor at the University of Northern Colorado School of Music. In vocal pedagogy, Megan is awarded certification in Vocology from the Summer Vocology Institute of the National Center for Voice and Speech. She earned credits in Alexander Technique Course and Intensive as well as explored Feldenkrais Method with John Tarr, both at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music. Megan is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, judging Colorado-Wyoming NATS Student Auditions and adjudicating voice students for the Helena Music Teachers Festival in Montana. More about NATS here.
In contemporary chamber music, Megan has had the pleasure of singing in the world premiere of Lone Figures Floating by James J. Pellerite with Native flutist Pellerite at the Composers Conference in Aspen. While at the Lamont School of Music, her chamber ensembles were Lamont Chamber Competition Winners, performing at their Convocation. Megan sings in the Project Youth & Chamber Music Summer Music Festival in Fort Collins, CO. More about Megan with PYCH here and more about PYCH here She is also a member of the Lamont Artist - In - Residence ensemble The Playground directed by Conrad Kehn, the regional premier chamber group dedicated to modern compositions, featured in the Denver Post as the second of Colorado's Top Five Chamber Ensembles. More of the article here, Megan with The Playground here and more about The Playground here. She has performed with the Playground at the Colorado Music Educators Clinic/Conference and the Arvada Center, as well as on Colorado Public Radio, the National Performing Arts Convention, the International Society for Improvised Music Conference and in the Mile High Voltage Festival, a New Music Festival hosted by The Newman Center with Canteloupe records. One of the most exciting collaboration she enjoyed through the Playground was with composer Leanna Kirchoff, who set Megan's youngest dream to music.
"Rabbit's Escape" from Dreams Go Through Me by Leanna Kirchoff
adapted from Megan's earliest-remembered dream
"All the rabbits escaped!
They were in the front yard,
but now they're gone.
Grandmother! Help me find them!"
So I looked behind the tool shed
and around the corner,
I saw this huge pink cartoon bunny
coming closer and closer until
it ate me.
And there I was in darkness...
so this must be what death is like...