Measha Brueggergosman (born Measha Gosman; June 28, 1977) is a Canadian soprano who performs both as an opera singer and concert artist. She has performed internationally and won numerous awards. Her recordings of both classical and popular music have also received awards.
In 2007, Brueggergosman discovered her family’s deep history in Canada and the United States. Her paternal 4xgreat-grandparents were John Gosman and his wife Rose, African Americans who each escaped from slavery in New England colonies during the American Revolution by going to British lines. John was from Connecticut and Rose from Rhode Island. They probably met in New York City, then occupied by the British. The British gave freedom to American slaves who left rebel slaveholders and sought refuge with them. Tens of thousands of slaves, mostly in the South, took advantage of the war’s chaos to escape, so many that the plantations were disrupted in South Carolina and Virginia, especially.
After the war, the British arranged transport to Nova Scotia for nearly 3500 Black Loyalists from the former Thirteen Colonies. John and Rose Gosman and their five-month-old daughter Fanny, born free in British lines, were recorded in the British embarkation record known as the Book of Negroes. They had passage in 1783 on one of the last ships to leave New York for Nova Scotia. Measha’s 4xgreat-grandparents first lived in Shelburne, but later settled in Fredericton. Brueggergosman learned of her African-American roots on Who Do You Think You Are, a British-based program bought by the CBC. According to Y-DNA genetic testing of her brother, it is likely their direct-line paternal African ancestors came from the Bassa people of Cameroon.
Suffering a heart condition in June 2009, Brueggergosman took some time off to recover from open heart surgery. She returned to the stage in September 2009 for a performance at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2007, Brueggergosman became the Goodwill Ambassador for the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF), a charity working for Better Health in Africa. In June of that year she travelled to the war-affected village of Patongo in East Africa to share her voice as a form of musical therapy for children. Brueggergosman described herself after the trip as “never the same” and continues her work with AMREF today.
In 2012 Brueggergosman was a judge on the short-lived Canadian reality show Canada’s Got Talent. The show was subsequently cancelled after one season.
In 2005, Brueggergosman was a soloist in recording William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, which won three Grammy awards, including Best Classical Album.
In July 2007 she was a new performer at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, singing in the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ medley and closing the show with “Ave Maria”.
She has also performed in the United States, for instance in the fall of 2009 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, in their performance of Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time.
She performed the Olympic Hymn at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games. During NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremony, Bob Costas remarked to Matt Lauer, co-host of Today, as the two hosted it about Brueggergosman’s performance of the Olympic Hymn: “That’s a hymn for you, right there,” and laughed. She performed an arrangement of the English sung version of the hymn in English and French to reflect Canada’s official languages.