Originally from Colorado (USA), Finland-based mezzosoprano Isabella Shaw (she/her) is a multidimensional artist with a background in opera, early/experimental music, and writing. Current research and projects are focused on decolonization, mythology, physical and metaphysical ecosystems, and music by BIPOC composers. She studied literature and languages at the University of Cambridge (UK) and early music in London before completing her master’s in opera at Sibelius Academy (2021).
Shaw is a founding member of experimental early music chamber ensembles Emrys (CH/DE/FI) and Motus Harmonicus (CZ). In 2013 she was recipient of the Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship from Early Music America, and studied with members of Sequentia and Magister Petrus ensembles. Shaw has performed with early music ensembles in Czechia, Spain, France, and Canada. She has performed with orchestras in Finland and abroad.
Shaw was one of Taiteiden kesä’s Young Artists (FI, 2021), and was chosen for the Corneille baroque singing competition (Opera Normandy, 2021) and for the semifinals of the Sibelius Singing Competition (2020, cancelled due to COVID19). In addition to singing, Shaw plays medieval harp, and is a poet (Wilderness, 2020, Songs of Remembrance, 2016) and fiction author (Weyrwood, 2018). In 2011 she was awarded the Benjamin Zephaniah Prize for Poetry (Cambridge, UK).
Past opera roles include Bradamante (Händel), Sesto (Mozart) and Lucretia (Britten) (SibA Opera) and Caredo/Nymfa (Ensemble Damian). Recent appearances include Merlin in Festival Les Marteaux de Gellone, solo recital for Talven nuoret taitelijat-sarja, Olena / Fox in All the Truths We Cannot See, Deep Waters in UrbanApa x Ateneum and Schubert songs in Sonic Blossom. Upcoming performances include One Drop (S. Lindfors), La liberazione di Ruggiero (F. Caccini), and La Doriclea (G. Cavalli).
Shaw’s artistic work has been generously supported by the Héléne and Walter Grönqvist Foundation, Taike Foundation, and Pro Musica foundation.
Shaw is also a harp player, poet (Wilderness, 2020) and fiction author (Weyrwood, 2018).