The American mezzo-soprano, Nina Heebink, began dance and music lessons at the age of three. By age five, she was performing with a local company, the Stagedoor Players, and played the lead in Annie when she was ten. Her interest in music has grown unabated. She graduated from New Richmond High School in 1994. Her main teachers there were Dennis Alfveby (HS Choir Director), Clark Anderson (HS Psychology) and Jim Saliny (MS and HS Orchestra Director). Her high school credits included performances in The Bad Seed, The Bald Soprano, and Gas Light. She earned a B.A. degree in music from St. Olaf in 1998.
After studies Nina Heebink sang extensively in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, performing with the Minnesota Orchestra, the highly regarded VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, Twin Cities Opera, and the Rose Ensemble. She has studied and performed with some of the world’s top musicians and won a number of music competitions, including the Kenwood Chamber Orchestra concerto and aria competition. Music has taken her to Sweden, France, the Czech Republic, and Washington, D.C. In 2002, she created the role of Charity Taylor in Libby Larsen’s cabaret opera Barnum’s Bird, which premiered at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Following her North Star Opera debut as Mascha in Oscar Straus’ The Chocolate Soldier, the St. Paul Pioneer Press said, “The stage brightens a bit every time she walks onto it.”
In 2004 Nina Heebink moved to Chicago pursue a master’s degree in vocal performance at DePaul University. Since then she has enjoyed a busy singing career there. She won the top prize of the American Opera Society of Chicago Scholarship Competition in 2005. She made her operatic debut at the DuPage Opera Theatre in summer 2006, singing the role of Mercédès in Carmen. In November 2005, she made her solo debut at Symphony Center, singing the Flower Duet from Lakmé with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She portrayed Cherubino in DePaul Opera Theatre’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, and sang the role of Rosina in Opera for the Young’s touring production of Barber of Seville. She has appeared in concert at the Chicago Cultural Center, and produced and performed in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges at DePaul University. In January 2007 she sang the role of Hänsel in DuPage Opera Theater's production of Hänsel and Gretel.
Most recently, Nina Heebink soloed in the Grant Park Music Festival’s “A Cappella” concert, which was nationally broadcast on Bill McGlaughlin’s Exploring Music radio program. After her performance of the Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria with the Colorado Symphony, the Denver Post stated, “…Heebink [was] perhaps the standout…with her dark-hued voice.”* Solo credits with Chicago Symphony Orchestra include the Flower Duet from Lakmé and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music. Nina frequently solos with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Choral Union, and the North Shore Choral Society. Clearly addicted to choral music, she sings regularly in the Grant Park Music Festival Chorus, Lyric Opera Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus and Music of the Baroque Chorus.
An accomplished musician and versatile singer, Nina Heebink made her Contempo debut in April 2009 in Chinary Ung’s Still Life After Death with eighth blackbird and conductor Cliff Colnot. Nina’s curiosity and affinity for contemporary literature has led her to a variety of new music collaborations, including a performance of George Crumb’s Night of the Four Moons with musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Walker Art Center with members of Bang on a Can All-Stars.
She has appeared as a soloist on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and A Prairie Home Companion, in which she sang about former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura’s feather boa to the tune of “O Shenandoah.” Nina studies with Elsa Charlston.