Field of Art: Folksinger/Soprano/Composer
Award Presented by: Else Matthews
In 2011 Brett Umlauf also applied for our Cultural Grant, and she was narrowly beaten by the American author, Karen Engelmann. Karen had written a book, “The Stockholm Octavo”, about Sweden’s Gustavian Period in the late 18th century. One of the prominent characters in her book is the renowned Swedish poet and composer, Carl Michael Bellman, whose songs still have a powerful influence in Swedish music.
Interestingly, Brett also has a fascination for Bellman and his songs. For the last five years she has been studying Bellman poems and sung them in performances both here and in Sweden. We recently had the pleasure of hearing her at a book launching party for “The Stockholm Octavo” (click here to learn more). It was a true meeting of the minds when Brett Umlauf and Karen Engelmann got together.
Brett’s singing was the perfect accompaniment to Karen’s book. Brett and her early music players were in period costume, and she sang with so much vivacity and charm, let alone voice, that we in the audience were spellbound.
She has won the Swedish Institute’s Visiting Researcher Grant and the Swedish Women’s Educational Association of New York’s Stipendium, for research and performance of Bellman in Sweden.
Brett is not only a gifted soprano, she’s also a talented actress. Her performances tell stories, and she dresses the part in her elaborate rococo robes.
Because we find her to be a perfect representative for, and advocate of, Scandinavian culture – both here and in Scandinavia, I am delighted to award her the American Scandinavian Society’s Cultural Grant for 2013th century.