Book Monica Yunus

Operatic Soprano, Co-Founder, Sing for Hope

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Monica Yunus Bio

Monica Yunus (born 1979) is an American operatic soprano who has performed with many opera companies and music ensembles. Reviewers from US dailies, The New York Times, the Charleston City Paper and the Palm Beach Daily News have described her voice as — “especially winning”, “utterly captivating” and “a voice destined for super-stardom” respectively. Her voice’s performance range lies from a low A (A4) to a high F (F6).Monica Yunus was born in 1979 in Chittagong, Bangladesh to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus and his then wife, Vera Forostenko. Yunus has one younger half-sister, Dina Yunus.Yunus’ parents met in 1967 while attending Vanderbilt University. They were married in 1970. Yunus’ parents’ marriage ended within months of her birth, and Forostenko returned with Monica to the United States, claiming that Bangladesh was not a good place to raise a baby. Forostenko is the daughter of Russian immigrants to Trenton, New Jersey, United States and she returned with Monica to live with them.Yunus grew up in the home of her Russian grandparents in New Jersey where she learned to speak and write Russian and other Slavic languages as well as English. Yunus also speaks and writes fluently in Italian, Spanish, German, and French. Yunus’ grandmother was highly influential in encouraging her interest in singing. At a very early age, Yunus’ grandmother began taking her to sing in the choir at their Russian Orthodox Church, a choir Yunus would sing with throughout her entire childhood. It was while singing in this church choir that Yunus first fell in love with classical music.At the age of eleven, Yunus’ mother helped her begin studying voice formally through lessons. Shortly thereafter, Yunus became a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus for a number of years. At 13, Monica was accepted to the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts, and this is where she first became interested in becoming a professional opera singer. Beginning at the age of 15, Yunus spent five summers at the Aspen Music Festival honing her craft with some of the world’s best music teachers. While at Aspen, Yunus recorded and performed the role of Laurie in the world premiere of Copland’s The Tender Land Suite, in which she can be heard on the KOCH International label.In 1997, after attending the prestigious Lawrenceville School, Yunus entered the Juilliard School from which she graduated four years later with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance. During this time Yunus sang in several professional operas (see below) and was a member of Berkshire Opera’s Young Artist Program. She also studied at the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute in the summer of 2000. Yunus remained at Juilliard for graduate studies and earned a Masters degree in Vocal Performance in 2002. While in graduate school at Juilliard, Yunus was a member of Pittsburgh Opera’s Young Artist Program and she performed the role of Mrs. Hayes in Susannah at the Juilliard Opera Center.Monica Yunus is co-founder and visionary officer of Sing for Hope, one of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to positive social change through its mission of art for all. An internationally renowned soprano, Yunus has performed extensively in concert and on the operatic stage with the world’s leading companies, including The Metropolitan Opera and the Washington National Opera, and in solo recitals in Spain, France, and her native Bangladesh. In recognition of her contributions, Yunus has received a 21st Century Leaders Award.Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Monica Yunus and other top speakers and celebrities.

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