Biography of

Emily Mwila

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Emily Mwila is a soprano of New Zealand and Zambian descent currently based in New York City, where she is pursuing a Master of Music degree at Mannes School of Music. She studies with acclaimed American tenor William Burden and vocal coach Peiwen Chen. Before undertaking a university degree, she trained and worked as a massage therapist in Wellington, New Zealand. She then completed a BA majoring in Modern Languages and Asian Studies at Victoria University. Throughout her undergraduate studies she studied voice privately with Flora Edwards.


In 2016 Emily made her operatic debut with Wellington-based company Eternity Opera, taking on the role of Zerlina in their production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and continued her relationship with them the following year singing the lead role of Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. She has also sung in the New Zealand Opera Chorus in their 2017 production of Bizet’s Carmen. She has participated in various summer programmes over the last few years including the Wanganui Opera School in New Zealand, IVAI in New York, and SongFest in Los Angeles. In 2018 she was a semi-finalist in New Zealand’s premier classical voice competition, the Lexus Song Quest.


Although opera is her primary focus, Emily’s experience singing the soprano solo in Mannes Baroque Ensemble’s performance of Bach’s Wedding Cantata helped to foster a love for the music of Bach, which she now hopes to make a niche in her career. Upon completing her studies, she hopes to further establish herself in the United States by auditioning for young artist programmes and seeking more stage experience and educational opportunities.


When not in the classroom, practice room or on stage, she enjoys finding ways to bake in her tiny Manhattan apartment, conducting the amateur choir at her church, and singing jazz music for fun.