Canadian Maria Kowan studied in Vancouver, Toronto, Siena, Aldeburgh and at the Tanglewood Music Center in the United States. In Canada, Maria sang the roles of Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, Flora La traviata, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Stéphano Roméo et Juliette, Siebel Faust, Frédéric Mignon and Dorabella Così fan tutte. In England, she sang Dritte Dame Die Zauberflöte and Nancy Albert Herring.
Her repertoire also includes Meg Page Falstaff, La Ciesca Gianni Schicchi and Sorceress/Second Woman Dido and Aeneas, as well as Georges Aperghis' opera De la nature de l'eau (world premiere). Maria has worked as a soloist with many conductors, including Richard Bradshaw, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Seiji Ozawa, Jonathan Darlington and Robert Spano, and has sung with the symphony orchestras of Victoria and Toronto and the Residentie Bach Orchestra. She has also given guest performances with the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Nevada Opera and Edmonton Opera, and sang Susie in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with Opera Zuid.
In 2012 Maria performed for the first time at Dutch National Opera, in the world premiere of Robin de Raaff's Waiting for Miss Monroe, in which she sang the role of Eve Arnold. Since 2008 Maria has worked regularly as a freelancer with the Chorus of DNO and in 2018 she obtained a permanent position.