As a child, Anna was profoundly influenced by big band greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson and folk singers such as Joan Bayez and Peter Paul and Mary. Anna's training however, was extensively classical--an avenue she continued to pursue at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory. Upon graduating, Anna visited New York City, and on a whim, auditioned for a musical that led her to a life of theater. Prized for her remarkable versatility, Anna not only performed in major productions in NYC, but in many of the country's finest regional theaters, as well as in national and European tours. But despite her success, Anna felt that she had yet to find her own voice. Songwriting began as an experiment to this end. Her initial goal was simple: to find out what would happen if she wasn't asked to sing opera, musical theater, jazz, pop, folk or country, but rather to allow music to come out of her without regard to genre or vocalism. The result was an authentic sound that draws on a myriad of influences, yet presents something entirely new. As Anna's music grew, she found herself drawn to the warmth and nuance of the cello sound, leading her to form an exciting partnership that is unique in the songwriter world.
Perhaps the only cellist to have ridden a bicycle across the continental United States, Kirin has a knack for finding cellos to practice on in the unlikeliest of geographic locations. When not out on a cycling adventure, Kirin enjoys a musical career as diverse as her non-musical interests. Kirin was the prizewinner in the 2006 Smith Concerto Competition, the 2009 Commencement Concerto Competition, and received the Susan Rose Fellowship for Music Study in 2007 and in 2009. Yet she has also been fortunate enough to perform with Boyz II Men, John Vanderslice, The Fleeting Ends, visual artist Anamaya Farthing-Kohl, and pianist Judith Gordon. As an advocate for performing both really old music and really new music, Kirin also performs on viola da gamba and Baroque cello. Dedicated to introducing new audiences to "classical" music, Kirin has performed outreach lecture recitals for various community organizations throughout the country.
"Intense, soaring singer/pianist Anna Winthrop and cellist Kirin McElwain play their individualistic, windswept, cinematic jazz-inflected art-rock at Caffe Vivaldi"
For the full article read below or visit https://newyorkmusicdaily.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/anna/
"Singer/pianist Anna Winthrop defies categorization. Her Soundcloud page has a mix of lush art-rock, terse chamber pop and classical art-song, sometimes with just the hint of cabaret. Her tunes are translucent and catchy; she likes a steady beat and big anthemic crescendos, even if she’s not playing them in straight-up 4/4 much of the time. And she’s a fantastic singer. She’s at Caffe Vivaldi at 9:15 PM on March 31, playing a duo show with cellist Kirin McElwain, who’s also on the Soundcloud tracks.
Winthrop doesn’t waste any time going up into the midday sky with her arrestingly clear, stratospheric soprano on the first track, Look to the Sun over a pointillistic waltz beat that contrasts with the cello’s lush washes. Her lyrics are thoughtful, sometimes opaque and draw you in: this one seems to be about a struggle for clarity.
So High works a jaunty, skipping-down-the-sidewalk ragtime-pop pulse, but at the same time it’s not completely at ease: is it about being so wasted you can’t think straight? That would be very counterintuitive for a song this lively and direct. Words has a catchy, more somberly insistent quality, McElwain building an artfully terse weave behind Winthrop’s chords and pensive vocals.
Walk Away develops an aptly disorienting, jazzy edge, McElwain plucking out a bassline over Winthrop’s anxiously precise chromatics. See Me has a brooding circus rock/noir cabaret ambience, McElwain switching between stark washes and dancing lines. All of Me is an original, not the jazz standard, although it owes more to jazz and blues than the other tracks. The last one is Fantasie in G Minor, a solo piano instrumental that could be a miniature by Schubert or Faure. All this should sound good in Caffe Vivaldi’s intimate confines, especially on an off night when the place isn’t overrun with drunks on their way back to Jersey.
Winthrop also has an unusually eclectic background, having had considerable success as an actress and dancer, with experience in the opera world as well. The reason you’re seeing this here and not at the top of the page is to set her apart from the legions of newly arrived sorority girls who took a couple of tap lessons, appeared in a college production or two, moved to New York on their parents’ tab and then decided on a lark to take up singing."