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Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Gil Kalish, piano



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 from 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.

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 and Paris 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; L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s nativity oratorio El Nino; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre, recently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.

Ms. Upshaw opens the 2005-06 season at the Santa Fe Opera in a new Peter Sellars production of Ainadamar, which will be revived in January as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers festival “The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov”. The festival also features Upshaw in Ayre, which she tours in October with the instrumental ensemble Eighth Blackbird. She joins David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony in a season opener and continues to Boston and Carnegie Hall with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in performances of Lukas Foss’s Time Cycle. Other season highlights include guest appearances with Richard Goode at Carnegie Hall as part of the Perspectives Series; the world premiere of John Harbison’s Milosz Songs with the New York Philharmonic and Robert Spano; performances of John Adams’s El Nino at Walt Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa Pekka Salonen; a first-time collaboration with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra; a European tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti, and a US recital tour with pianist Gilbert Kalish.

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, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, 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 40 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 around the country in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is a member of the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center, and in 2006 begins an association with the Bard College Conservatory of Music for which she has designed a master’s degree program in the vocal arts.

A three-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki. “Voices of Light” – her most recent Nonesuch solo recording with pianist Gilbert Kalish – features music of Messiaen, Debussy, Golijov and Fauré. 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 Nino; two volumes of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne”, and a dozen recital recordings. Upshaw has also recorded several beloved Nonesuch discs of American music theater repertoire, which she has offered with the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, as well as at London’s Proms Festival and on radio and television. She is featured on three recent NPR “Creators at Carnegie” programs, in live performances of Bach, Bartok, Berio, Golijov, and Mozart. She was the subject of a one-hour Bravo profile, and has been a featured performer in numerous PBS productions, including a hosting role on Evening at Pops’ “Copland Centennial Celebration”.

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. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Park Forest, Illinois, she now lives near New York City with her husband and their two children.

Gilbert Kalish is a major figure in American music making and continues to have a profound influence on the musical community as both educator and pianist. In 1995 he received the Paul Fromm Award for distinguished service to the music of our time, and in 2002 he was awarded the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for his lasting contribution to chamber music. He was pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players from 1969 to 1998, served as chairman of the faculty at the Tanglewood Institute from 1985 to 1997, and was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Gilbert Kalish teaches at Stony Brook University in New York, where he was made a Distinguished Professor in 2001.