“Siri Vik may be at her best conveying madness. It was divine madness… “
- Bob Keefer, Art & The City
Siri Vik is recognized within the Northwest music scene as a singer of versatility, power, and emotion. Since winning Grand Prize at the International Lotte Lenya Competition 15 years ago when still singing opera, Siri found a niche interpreting songs ranging from classical to pop to jazz to musical theater—-songs with history, edge, theater, and a healthy dose of human suffering. For several years Siri has created and premiered cabaret evenings at Eugene’s John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, and has since performed concerts devoted to this eclectic repertoire throughout Oregon and the Northwest region, most often reprising her two shows rooted in old-world cabaret: Moon Shines Red: Weill & Brecht, and La Môme Edith Piaf.
Recent performances include singing the Acid Queen with Eugene Ballet’s production of The Who’s Tommy, opening for comedian Bob Newhart at Seven Feathers Casino and for Tori Amos at Britt Festival, and appearing with her band The Red Propellers on the vaudeville stage at Oregon Country Fair. Last November Siri performed her third album tribute show with the Joe Manis Quartet at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Christo’s in Salem, the Shedd, and at the Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival. She is a featured soloist with Emerald City Jazz Kings, and at the Oregon Festival of American Music. This April Siri partners with Eugene pianist/arranger Nathan Alef to present her latest musical tribute at The Shedd, honoring her most beloved musical icon, Nina Simone.
More to the story...
Siri VIK began singing in front of people in her family's high-liturgy-style Lutheran church. Having cut her musical teeth on Bach chorales, medieval prosody and John Rutter, classical singing was at that time a given. She started training in earnest to sing opera at age 14.
She followed her beloved high-school voice teacher to the University of Kansas, got her Bachelor of Music there, and received a Master's degree from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. Finding herself among a sea of other light-lyric soprano voices, she nevertheless developed a specialty of sorts performing contemporary, avant-garde compositions and performed lead roles in theatrically driven, modern operas. Siri found an identity as a singing actor, and began to get work in light-opera fare - Gilbert & Sullivan, and the like.
While starting doctoral studies at the Conservatory, Siri was cast as the lead in the American premier of an obscure 1924 operetta by composer Kurt Weill. The Tsar has his Photograph Taken. She played an assassin. That was secondary to discovering Weill's music ---falling in love with the angular, decadent, punk, but achingly tender musical language. The SHIFTY characters WHO SKULK AROUND the worlds imagined by playwright Bertolt Brecht. The over-all stun-gun effect of their work together. It spoke to Siri's own fascination with the wretched.
In 2001 she was a National Finalist in the Lotte Lenya competition for singers, and in 2003 won its Grand Prize.
Shortly thereafter Siri moved New York for a single year, where she made it to a total of two auditions. She was, then, herself too wretched even for Herr Brecht, so she returned to the Northwest where she grew up to get it together. Or to fall apart, one of the two.
CONTINUED teaching voice WHILE CONSIDERING A MOVE TO OTHER CAREER ARENAS LIKE AUTO-REPAIR AND HYDROPONIC FARMING.
YET, After re-engaging with music in a few musicals and classical concert appearances, in 2009 The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts produced with Siri a theatrical recital featuring thE dark and angular Weill/Brecht songs. The show, THEN TWO SETS OF SONGS WITH VOICE AND PIANO, A TRUNK AND A FEW HATS, was a success, resonating strongly with A NEW audience. They scored the songs for organ, banjo, bass, guitar and percussion, and produced it again in 2011, for a four-night run entitled Moon Shines Red.
Siri and pianist Nathalie Fortin then turned to the heart-filled, sometimes maudlin and masochistic ballads of the mid-20th century's French chansonniers, dominated by singers
Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. The 2010 show La Vie en rose was also a success and reproduced the following year for four nights.