2024 Top 20 Impact Makers Honorees
2024 Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award
Saturday, April 27, 2024
Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Sonja Bruzauskas is a mezzo-soprano devoted to bringing arts education to children and to spreading her love of the arts to everyone.
Born in Germany, Sonja grew up as an only child. Because she didn’t have siblings or a pet, the arts became her companion. Her grandmother told her that her mission in life was to make people happy with her profound musical skills. That prediction has come true in a number of ways.
Sonja is executive director of Partnerschools, which she founded in 2016. The nonprofit connects diverse school communities through the arts. Using the arts as a platform, Partnerschools provides authentically unifying experiences, exposing students from different backgrounds to the arts and to each other while helping them build lasting relationships founded on mutual respect and understanding. Since its inception, the organization has experienced tremendous growth thanks to Sonja’s tireless creativity and commitment. Today, over 20,000 students in Houston and other cities are served by it.
From 2006 to 2011, Sonja served as artistic director of a nonprofit organization that produced interactive salon concerts and events in and around Houston, as well as a radio series and other creative endeavors.
Sonja earned her undergraduate diploma in voice, acting, and dance in Germany and her Master of Music degree in vocal performance in the United States. Her breakthrough moment during her undergraduate studies in Essen, Germany, was when she filled in for the lead actress, who was sick, as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Not only did she play the role on opening night, but every night after that for the entire season.
Sonja came to the United States as the recipient of a Rotary International Ambassador scholarship. Of this opportunity, Sonja says it shaped her life and career.
Sonja has gone on to perform and make appearances at many venerable institutions, such as Staatsoperette Dresden, the Santa Fe Opera, Volkstheater Rostock, Nordharzer Städtebundtheater, Babelsberger Filmorchester, Bochumer Symphoniker, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Da Camera, the Bach Society, Mercury, the Greenbriar Consortium, Ars Lyrica, the Houston Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Chamber Choir, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), and The Round Top Institute (Round Top). She is also an active and passionate recitalist, specializing in German Art Song (music written for one voice with piano accompaniment) and contemporary repertoire.
As an educator, Sonja has sung and lectured at institutions like California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Vanderbilt University, Louisiana State University, Rice University, the University of Houston, The Houston Philosophical Society at Rice University, Grinnell College, and numerous health institutions.
In service to the community, Sonja has served on the board of directors for the Houston Chamber Choir, The Houston Philosophical Society at Rice University, the Houston Tuesday Musical Club, and the German Center Houston. Currently, she serves as president of the board of directors of Ars Lyrica Houston. She also teaches interdisciplinary collaborative projects for California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) at CalArts, and she serves as director for the Theatre Forum at Round Top.
Sonja lives in Houston with her husband, Houston Haymon, and their daughters, Clara Sophie and Emilia Marie. She enjoys hiking, skiing, yoga, reading, and exploring the world with her family. Sonja is also passionate about dancing as well as cooking and eating food from all over the world.
It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Sonja Bruzauskas has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2024.