Martha Sullivan’s music has been praised as "vibrant" and "a singer’s favorite." She has earned commissions from such leading voices in American choral music as the Dale Warland Singers and the Gregg Smith Singers (with whom she was a resident composer, 2002–2008), as well as the Esoterics (Seattle, WA), Bella Voce (Reno, NV), Chicago A Cappella, the New York Treble Singers, the Manhattan Choral Ensemble, and Vocativ (Zürich, Switzerland). Numerous ensembles have performed her work, including such New York fixtures as Voices of Ascension, Cerddorion, and Equal Voices, as well as ensembles countrywide, such as San Francisco’s Volti, Minneapolis’ The Singers, and the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers. Her work has been championed by Stephen Tharp, the international organ recitalist, and recorded by The Esoterics, Chicago A Cappella, and mezzo-soprano Virginia Dupuy. Her work appears in the book Singing for Dummies. She has received several Meet the Composer grants for her work with Gregg Smith, as well as recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work with the Esoterics; she was the 2009 Bronze Medalist in the Sorel Medallion competition for women composers, and she won the Dale Warland Singers’ Choral Ventures competition in its final year (2003).
Martha Sullivan is an experienced singer of new music. She made her New York City Opera debut on the company’s series of new operas, VOX, in 2007, as the troubled mother, Louise, in Gordon Beeferman’s The Rat Land; she repeated the role on VOX2009. Other highlights as a soloist include premieres by Toby Twining (Chrysalid Requiem) and John Zorn (various), and Peter Westergaard’s Alice in Wonderland with the Center for Contemporary Opera. She has also performed Steve Reich’s Tehillim with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Milton Babbitt’s Elizabethan Sextette on the Guggenheims’s “Works and Process” series, and Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel with Vox Vocal Ensemble.
She has also performed more conventional roles (such as Marcellina in Figaro with the Occasional Opera Company and Musetta in Bohème with Eastern Festival) and maintains an active career as a choral singer in the New York area. Highlights have included singing the Coryphée in Alceste with Deborah Voigt (under George Manahan, with the Collegiate Chorale) and singing in the chorus of Bard Summerscape’s landmark production of Les Huguenots in 2009.
As a choral singer, Ms. Sullivan has traveled worldwide and sung with many of the great conductors of the twentieth and early twenty-first century, including choral maestros Robert Shaw, Robert Bass, and Gregg Smith, and opera and orchestral conductors Seiji Ozawa, Sarah Caldwell, Robert Spano, and James Levine.