Classically trained as a lyric operatic soprano, Christine Westhoff is becoming one of the leading American artists in the area of Oratorio and Sacred music, attracting the attention of a widening public including the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, and the United States.
Crescimbeni, one of the earliest musical writers, wrote: "The oratorio had its origin from San Filippo Neri, who, in his chapel, after sermons and other devotions, in order to allure young people to pious offices, and to detain them from earthly pleasures, had hymns, psalms, and such like prayers sung by one or more voices."
The 2011 release of her first recording, Ora Pro Nobis, was, for many, an introduction to this “other-worldly” beauty of sacred music. The enormous popularity of this cd and the modern means of downloading music have brought the beauty of these sung prayers to listeners in places all over the globe, including Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, Iceland and New Zealand. Christine is committed deeply to the introduction and reintroduction of these sacred texts to a world that has all but forgotten many of them.
Considered a prodigy by many of her early voice teachers, Christine began her vocal training at the age of 9 and, by the age of 11 was studying and training with various college professors. Since then, Christine has devoted herself to perfecting her art and to breathing new life into the sacred texts of bygone centuries.
Touring the world, Christine has sung in some of the most beautiful sacred spaces on earth, including St. Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry, Ireland, St. George’s Church in Beckenham, South London, England, St. Peter’s Church in St Albans, England, the Cathedral of St. Peter in the Belleville, Illinois diocese, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2007, Christine performed a series of acclaimed recitals in the United Kingdomand has been featured on BBC radio.
She has performed as the principal Soprano soloist in performances of Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate in Northern Ireland, England, and the United States; Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes deConfessore with members of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra as well as members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; Faure’s Requiem with members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; Faure’s Messe Basse; Malcolm Archer’s Requiem; Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb; Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir, Buxtehude’s Magnificat with musicians from the St Louis Symphony Orchestra; excerpts from Mozart’s C Minor Mass; Haydn’s Little Organ Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria in Northern Ireland, England, and the United States, and Timothy Allen’s commissioned piece, Now the Green Blade Riseth.
Beyond the scope of the sacred, Christine’s large repertoire includes a full complement of art songs, lieder and arias by such composers as Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Gounod, Handel, Haydn, Richard Strauss, Giancarlo Menotti, Pietro Yon, KirkeMechem, Schubert, Gluck, and Torelli. She has performed arias by Puccini, Caldara, Gluck, Bononcini, Caldra, Carissimi, Monteverdi, Legrenz, Scarlatti, Mozart, Menotti, Verdi, Gounod, and Rossini. Her stage performances have included the role of Sally in Samuel Barber’s Hand of Bridge, the familiar role of Cherubino in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro as well as the refreshing part of Catherine in Jacques Offenbach's less well-known, The Lantern Marriage. Her portfolio of popular music is equally extensive, embracing beloved songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern, among many others.
With the birth of her daughter in 2009, Christine’s recent performances have largely been in the United States, including a Lenten recital based on the Stations of the Cross, a recital based on the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith, and a Lenten meditations recital. She was the guest artist at the Clinton Presidential Library for the 2011 commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Arkansas Arts Center’s Operatic Gala Night, and the 2012 lighting of the Christmas lights at the Arkansas Capitol Building.
2013 will see Christine performing at the San Silvestro Chapel in Rome, Italy; a recital series throughout the United Kingdom;concerts in Toronto and Newfoundland; and various recitals and concerts throughout the United States.
Christine is married to British organist and composer, Timothy Allen.
CHRISTINE WESTHOFF PHOTO GALLERY