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Dawn Upshaw

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  • May 13, 2014

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents a wide-ranging series of concerts, September 9–28. Part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival, these diverse engagements—featuring 23 evenings of music—underscore the longstanding relationship between Nonesuch artists and BAM. Performs include Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Timo Andres, Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile, Dawn Upshaw, Alarm Will Sound performing works by John Adams, Youssou N'Dour, Rhiannon Giddens, Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt, Iron and Wine, Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Laurie Anderson, Rokia Traoré, Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté, Caetano Veloso, and Robert Plant.

  • May 13, 2013

    The music of Donnacha Dennehy's 2011 Nonesuch debut album Grá agus Bás, which NPR called "a revelation," will be performed by the artists featured on the album—Crash Ensemble led by conductor Alan Pierson with vocalists Iarla O’Lionáird on the title piece and Dawn Upshaw on the song cycle That the Night Come—at The Kennedy Center this Tuesday and in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on Friday. The concerts mark the US and New York premieres of That the Night Come.

  • about Dawn Upshaw

    Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging form the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

    Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award–winning opera, L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.

    Ms. Upshaw’s 2008–09 season includes the US premiere of Peter Sellars’s production of La Passion de Simone at Lincoln Center, a role she reprises with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in January, and at the Paris Opera in June. She opens Carnegie Hall’s season in an all-Bernstein program with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (broadcast on PBS) and also participates in opening night festivities with Esa-Pekka Salonen at Disney Hall. She sings world premiere performances of two new works written for her, by Michael Ward-Bergeman (with Ensemble ACJW at Zankel Hall, commissioned by the Terezin Foundation) and Maria Schneider (commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where she is an Artist Partner). Ms. Upshaw returns to Lincoln Center with violinist Geoff Nuttall in György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments in a staging by Peter Sellars that will also travel to Los Angeles and Berkeley. She tours Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Germany with the Knights.

    It says much about Dawn Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade.  

    From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center.

    A four-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francoise d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, and several music theater discs and a dozen recital recordings on Nonesuch.

    Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program.

on May 29, 2008 - 7:06pm

Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging form the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award–winning opera, L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.

Ms. Upshaw’s 2008–09 season includes the US premiere of Peter Sellars’s production of La Passion de Simone at Lincoln Center, a role she reprises with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in January, and at the Paris Opera in June. She opens Carnegie Hall’s season in an all-Bernstein program with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (broadcast on PBS) and also participates in opening night festivities with Esa-Pekka Salonen at Disney Hall. She sings world premiere performances of two new works written for her, by Michael Ward-Bergeman (with Ensemble ACJW at Zankel Hall, commissioned by the Terezin Foundation) and Maria Schneider (commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where she is an Artist Partner). Ms. Upshaw returns to Lincoln Center with violinist Geoff Nuttall in György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments in a staging by Peter Sellars that will also travel to Los Angeles and Berkeley. She tours Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Germany with the Knights.

It says much about Dawn Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade.  

From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francoise d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, and several music theater discs and a dozen recital recordings on Nonesuch.

Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program.

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Biography (Excerpt): 

Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging form the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. She is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, Kronos Quartet, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and has premiered dozens of new works. Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki and several music theater and recital recordings on Nonesuch. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

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