Tickets & Events

The Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood

Tanglewood

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA View Map

Reflecting the season-long theme, The Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood will spotlight Bernstein's wide-ranging talents as a composer, his many gifts as a great interpreter and champion of other composers, and his role as an inspirer of a new generation of musicians and music lovers across the country and around the globe. The gala concert will feature a kaleidoscopic array of artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical music, film, and Broadway. The entire first half of the program is dedicated to selections from such brilliant Bernstein works as CandideWest Side StoryMass, and Serenade. Music from the classical canon very dear to Bernstein's heart-selections from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn and music by Copland-plus a new work by John Williams, makes up a good portion of the program's second half; the finale of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony brings the program to a dramatic close.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Andris Nelsons, conductor
View biography in full page >

The 2018-19 season is Andris Nelsons’ fifth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons will lead fourteen of the BSO’s twenty-six subscription programs in 2018-19, ranging from orchestral works by Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Copland to concerto collaborations with acclaimed soloists, as well as world and American premieres of pieces newly commissioned by the BSO from Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Andris Dzenītis, and Mark-Anthony Turnage; the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and concert performances of Puccini’s one-act opera Suor Angelica. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In November 2017, he and the orchestra toured Japan together for the first time. In February 2018, he became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he brings both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance. Immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, Maestro Nelsons and the BSO made their third European tour together, playing concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam. Their first European tour, following the 2015 Tanglewood season, took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals; the second, in May 2016, took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg.

The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. His recordings with the BSO, all made live in concert at Symphony Hall, include the complete Brahms symphonies on BSO Classics; Grammy-winning recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Shostakovich’s symphonies 5, 8, 9, and 10, the initial releases in a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a new two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 4 and 11, The Year 1905. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is also recording the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

The 2018-19 season is Maestro Nelsons’ final season as artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and marks his first season as artist-in-residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. In addition, he continues his regular collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009, and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
View biography in full page >

Born in Breslau , Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), Christoph Eschenbach studied piano with Professor Eliza Hansen and won in his young age numerous piano competitions. In 1965 the first prize of the Clara Haskil competition in Luzern was the original event of his soloist carrier. In demand worldwide by famous concert halls and orchestras, he met George Szell who invited him to tour with the Cleveland orchestra. In the same period Christoph Eschenbach developped a great artistic collaboration with Herbert von Karajan as well.

Successful conducting studies passed in Hamburg and the influence of Szell and Karajan, the two mentors, naturally led him to initiate his carrier as a conductor. He began in 1972, and made his debut in the USA in 1975 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Nowadays Christoph Eschenbach is in demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world (Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Shanghai, Rome, Milan, Dresden, Leipzig, Münich, Amsterdam, etc.) as well as prestigious festivals (Salzbourg, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Saint Petersbourg, Granada, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, ect.).

His grand classic repertoire is ranging from J.S. Bach to music of our time and reflects his commitment to not just canonical works but also to the music of the late 20th and early-21st-century.

In the field of opera, he has conducted Cosi fan tutte at Covent Garden in 1984 and at the Houston Opera, as well as the Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Der Rosenkavalier, Lohengrin, Parsifal (staged by Robert Wilson), Salome and Elektra, (staged by Andrei Serban), Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. In November 2001, Arabella at the New York Metropolitan and Don Giovanni (staged by Peter Stein) in 2004 for the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Lyric Opera. During the 2005/2006 season, he has conducted at the Théâtre du Châtelet a production of Wagner's Ring des Nibelung, staged by Robert Wilson. In December 2010 he has conducted with great success Mathis der Maler by Paul Hindemith at the Opera Paris Bastille. More recently, he inaugurated the Mozart / Da Ponte cycle at the Salzburg Summer Festival with Cosi fan tutte in 2013 and Don Giovanni in 2014. That same season, he has also conducted Idomeneo at the Vienna State Opera.

Christoph Eschenbach has been the Music Director of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft in Zurich from 1982 to 1986, of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1999 and of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg from 1998 to 2004. After ten years as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris from September 2000 to August 2010, and four years for the Philadelphia Orchestra, from September 2003 to 2008, he became in September 2010 Music Director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Washington National Symphony.

To his important discography as a pianist should be added numerous recordings at the head of the Houston Symphonic Orchestra, the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra (Tchaïkovski, Mahler, Saint-Saëns, Bartok), the Orchestre de Paris with Berlioz, Bruckner, Dusapin, Berio, Ravel, Dalbavie, Zemlinsky, Roussel (the complete symphonies), Beethoven (the Piano Concertos n. 1 and 4, nominated for the 2009 Grammy Awards) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Bruckner, Symphony n. 6, Beethoven, Missa Solemnis, Messiaen, Des Canyons aux Etoiles). The Complete Symphonies by Mahler recorded with the Orchestre de Paris is watchable in streaming on his website. His last recording with the Washington NSO was issued for the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center. After the recent release of Die schöne Müllerin, the Schwanengesang and the Winterreise recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Christoph Eschenbach and Matthias Goerne are continuing their fructuous collaboration and regularly perform in recitals of voice and piano, presenting the cycles of Lieder by Schubert, Brahms and Schumann.

For Christoph Eschenbach, to transmit and to discover are fundamental activities, this is why he regularly holds master-classes (Manhattan School of Music, Kronberg Academy, CNSM of Paris) and collaborates with summer academies and youth orchestras such as the Schleswig Holstein Academy Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO), the Curtis Institute...

Christoph Eschenbach has received the 2014 Grammy Award for his recording of works by Hindemith performed with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and the violinist Midori.

He had the honor to be named Chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur in January 2003, Officer of the National Order of Merit in May 2006 and decorated with the Order of Merit of the Federal Rebublic of Germany. He has been made French Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has received the Leonard Bernstein award of the Pacific Music Festival. In June 2015 he received the Ernst von Siemens music Awards (described as the « Nobel Price for Music ») in honour of his life 's dedication to music.

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Keith Lockhart, conductor
View biography in full page >

Having celebrated his twentieth anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor in 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's thirteen-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the legendary Arthur Fiedler, who as at the helm of the orchestra for nearly fifty years. During his tenure, Keith Lockhart has significantly expanded Pops programming, focused on national annual touring, and participated in major media events. He has solidified the orchestra's place in the fabric of the New England community and has led the Boston Pops in countless performance situations. The list of more than 250 guest artists with whom he has collaborated is a virtual "who's who" of performers and pop culture icons.

Keith Lockhart, who occupies the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor chair, has conducted more than 1,900 Boston Pops concerts, most of which have taken place during the orchestra's spring and holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall. Mr. Lockhart has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood, 43 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made 79 television shows and participated in such high-profile sporting events as Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA finals, the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony, and the Red Sox Opening Day game at Fenway Park in 2009. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular draws a live audience of over half a million to the Charles River Esplanade and millions more who view it on television or live webcast. Last year, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and Bloomberg exclusive media partner, the Pops organization presented its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television and all its media outlets. Both companies made initial three-year commitments to the event in 2017.

Mr. Lockhart has led eight albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label, including two-The Celtic Album and The Latin Album-that earned Grammy nominations. Recent releases on Boston Pops Recordings include The Red Sox Album, A Boston Pops Christmas-Live from Symphony Hall, and The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, which was a Boston Pops commission premiered in 2010 during the orchestra's 125th season. Released at the beginning of the 2017 Pops season, Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams features Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, some of which can be considered rarities.

Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on musical theater, attracting such leading Broadway artists as Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, and Billy Porter to the Pops stage. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians, including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and area high school students. He introduced the PopSearch talent competition and the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, featuring prominent jazz and indie artists performing with the Pops. He is dedicated to building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which contains over five thousand arrangements.

With a renewed commitment to bring the Boston Pops into the Boston community and to important civic events, Keith Lockhart and the Pops have appeared at gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the annual tree lighting in Boston's Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics games; and the memorial service for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. He has led free concerts in such major public spaces as Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season brings members of the Pops to play for patients at Children's Hospital.

Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly from the stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops experience apart from a traditional orchestra concert-an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of all ages.

Having just completed an eight-year tenure as principal conductor, Keith Lockhart is now chief guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London, which he led in the June 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II; he is also artistic director of the Brevard Music Center summer institute and festival in North Carolina. Prior to his BBC appointment, he spent eleven years as music director of the Utah Symphony, which he led at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major symphonic ensemble in North America, as well as many prestigious orchestras in Asia and Europe. Prior to coming to Boston, he was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Keith Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.

Keith Lockhart, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
View biography in full page >

Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. Born in Los Angeles, he is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career. His grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members of the Yiddish Theater in America. His father, Ted Thomas, was a producer in the Mercury Theater Company in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he worked in films and television. His mother, Roberta Thomas, was the head of research for Columbia Pictures.

Mr. Tilson Thomas began his formal studies at the University of Southern California where he studied piano with John Crown and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At age nineteen he was named Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles' Monday Evening Concerts. During this same period he was the pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz.

In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That year he also made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony and gained international recognition after replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert. He was later appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 1974. He was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985. His guest conducting includes appearances with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.

His recorded repertoire of more than 120 discs includes works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky as well as his pioneering work with the music of Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, Ingolf Dahl, Morton Feldman, George Gershwin, John McLaughlin and Elvis Costello. He recently finished recording the complete orchestral works of Gustav Mahler with the San Francisco Symphony.

Mr. Tilson Thomas's television work includes a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, the television broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts from 1971 to 1977 and numerous productions on PBS Great Performances. Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony produced a multi-tiered media project, Keeping Score, which includes a television series, web sites, radio programs and programs in schools.

In February 1988 he inaugurated the New World Symphony, an orchestral academy for graduates of prestigious music programs. In addition to their regular season in Miami Beach, they have toured in Austria, France, Great Britain, South America, Japan, Israel, Holland, Italy and the United States. Prior to their January, 2007 appearance at Carnegie Hall, the New World Symphony was profiled in a feature story in The New York Times. New World Symphony graduates have gone on to major positions in orchestras worldwide. In 1991 Mr. Tilson Thomas and the orchestra were presented in a series of benefit concerts for UNICEF in the United States, featuring Audrey Hepburn as narrator of From the Diary of Anne Frank, composed by Mr. Tilson Thomas and commissioned by UNICEF. This piece has since been translated and performed in many languages worldwide.

In August 1995 he led the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in the premiere of his composition Showa/Shoah, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Thomas Hampson premiered his settings of poetry by Walt Whitman, Renee Fleming premiered his settings of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the San Francisco Symphony premiered his concerto for contrabassoon entitled Urban Legend. As a Carnegie Hall Perspectives Artist from 2003 to 2005, he had an evening devoted to his own compositions which included Island Music for four marimbas and percussion, Notturno for solo flute and strings and a new setting of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Other compositions include Street Song for brass instruments and Agnegram, an overture for orchestra.

As Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1995, Mr. Tilson Thomas led the orchestra on regular tours in Europe, the United States and Japan as well as at the Salzburg Festival. In London he and the orchestra have mounted major festivals focusing on the music of Steve Reich, George Gershwin, Johannes Brahms, Toru Takemitsu, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the School of St. Petersburg, Claude Debussy and Gustav Mahler. As Conductor Laureate of the LSO, he continues to lead the orchestra in concerts in London and on tour.

His eighteen-year tenure as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony has been broadly covered by the international press with feature stories in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London and The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung among many others. With the San Francisco Symphony he has presented eight summer festivals including ones devoted to the music of Mahler, Stravinsky, Wagner and American Mavericks. With the San Francisco Symphony he has made numerous tours of Europe, United States and the Far East.

Mr. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, was Musical America's Musician of the Year and Conductor of the Year, Gramophone Magazine's Artist of the Year and has been profiled on CBS's 60 Minutes and ABC's Nightline. He has won eleven Grammy Awards for his recordings. In 2008 he received the Peabody Award for his radio series for SFS Media, The MTT Files. In 2010, President Obama awarded him with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government.

 

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
John Williams, conductor
View biography in full page >

In a career spanning five decades, John Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of one of the country's treasured musical institutions, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world's great orchestras. He remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices.

Mr. Williams has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films. His nearly 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood's most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler's List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Empire of the Sun.   Mr. Williams also composed the scores for all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Memoirs of a Geisha, Far and Away, The Accidental Tourist, Home Alone, Nixon, The Patriot, Angela's Ashes, Seven Years in Tibet, The Witches of Eastwick, Rosewood, Sleepers, Sabrina, Presumed Innocent, The Cowboys, The Reivers, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, among many others. His most recent film project was The Book Thief.  He has worked with such legendary directors as Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, and Robert Altman. He adapted the score for the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, for which he composed original violin cadenzas for renowned virtuoso Isaac Stern. He has appeared on recordings as pianist and conductor with Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman, and others. Mr. Williams has received five Academy Awards and a total of forty-nine Oscar nominations, making him the Academy's most-nominated living person. He also has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), twenty-one Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records.

A composition student of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mr. Williams also studied piano at the Juilliard School with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. He began his career in the film industry working with such accomplished composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for more than 200 television films for the groundbreaking, early anthology series Alcoa Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Chrysler Theatre, and Playhouse 90. His more recent contributions to television music include themes for NBC Nightly News ("The Mission"), the theme for what has become network television's longest-running series, NBC's Meet the Press, and the prestigious PBS arts showcase Great Performances.

Mr. Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies, and concertos for flute, oboe, violin, clarinet, viola, and tuba. His cello concerto was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood in 1994. Mr. Williams also has filled commissions by several of the world's leading orchestras, including a bassoon concerto for the New York Philharmonic, a trumpet concerto for the Cleveland Orchestra, and a horn concerto for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "Seven for Luck," a seven-piece song cycle for soprano and orchestra based on texts by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, was premiered by the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in 1998. And at the opening concert of their 2009-10 season, James Levine led the Boston Symphony in the premiere of Mr. Williams's "On Willows and Birches," a new concerto for harp and orchestra.

In January 1980, Mr. Williams was named nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, succeeding the legendary Arthur Fiedler. He currently holds the title of Laureate Conductor, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993, after fourteen highly successful seasons. He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood.

One of America's best-known and most distinctive artistic voices, Mr. Williams has composed music for many important cultural and commemorative events, including "Liberty Fanfare" for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, "American Journey" for the America's Millennium concert in Washington, D.C., on New Year's Eve 1999, and "Soundings" for the gala opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In the world of sport, he has contributed musical themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Mr. Williams holds honorary degrees from twenty-one American universities, including The Juilliard School, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Southern California. He is a recipient of the 2009 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government. In 2003 he received the Olympic Order, the IOC's highest honor, for his contributions to the Olympic movement. He served as the Grand Marshal of the 2004 Rose Parade in Pasadena, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor in December 2004. In January 2009, Mr. Williams composed and arranged "Air and Simple Gifts" especially for the inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama.

John Williams, conductor Audra McDonald, soloist
View biography in full page >

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry, as both a singer and an actress. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts-America's highest honor for achievement in the arts-from President Barack Obama. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling, she is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world.

Born into a musical family, McDonald grew up in Fresno, California, and received her classical vocal training at the Juilliard School. A year after graduating, she won her first Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Carousel at Lincoln Center Theater. She received two additional Tony Awards in the featured actress category over the next four years for her performances in the Broadway premieres of Terrence McNally's Master Class (1996) and Ragtime (1998), for an unprecedented total of three Tony Awards before the age of 30. In 2004 she won her fourth Tony, starring alongside Sean "Diddy" Combs in A Raisin in the Sun, and in 2012 she won her fifth-and her first in the leading actress category-for her role in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. In 2014 she made Broadway history and became the Tony Awards' most decorated performer when she won her sixth award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill-the role which also served as the vehicle for her 2017 debut on London's West End. In addition to setting the record for most competitive wins by an actor, she also became the first person to receive awards in all four acting categories. McDonald's other theater credits include The Secret Garden (1993), Marie Christine (1999), Henry IV (2004), 110 in the Shade (2007), her Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park debut in Twelfth Night (2009), and Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed  (2016).

McDonald made her opera debut in 2006 at Houston Grand Opera, where she starred in a double bill: the monodrama La voix humaine by Francis Poulenc and the world premiere of Send by Michael John LaChiusa. She made her Los Angeles Opera debut in 2007 starring alongside Patti LuPone in John Doyle's production of Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The resulting recording won McDonald two Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album.

On the concert stage, McDonald has premiered music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams and sung with virtually every major American orchestra-including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony-and under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Leonard Slatkin. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1998 with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas in a season-opening concert that was broadcast live on PBS. Internationally, she has sung at the BBC Proms in London (where she was only the second American in more than 100 years invited to appear as a guest soloist at the Last Night of the Proms) and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic.

It was the Peabody Award-winning CBS program Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years that introduced McDonald to television audiences as a dramatic actress. She went on to co-star with Kathy Bates and Victor Garber in the lauded 1999 Disney/ABC television remake of Annie, and in 2000 she had a recurring role on NBC's hit series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. After receiving her first Emmy nomination for her performance in the HBO film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Emma Thompson, McDonald returned to network television in 2003 in the political drama Mister Sterling, produced by Emmy Award-winner Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. (The West Wing) and starring Josh Brolin. In early 2006 she joined the cast of the WB's The Bedford Diaries, and over the next season she had a recurring role on NBC's television series Kidnapped. In 2008 she reprised her Tony-winning role in A Raisin in the Sun in a made-for-television movie adaption, earning her a second Emmy Award nomination. From 2007 to 2011, she played Dr. Naomi Bennett on the hit ABC medical drama, Private Practice. In 2013, her critically acclaimed performance as the Mother Abbess in NBC's live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, opposite Carrie Underwood as Maria, was watched by an estimated 18.5 million people across America. McDonald has performed on numerous Tony Awards telecasts; in 2013, she closed the show by performing a rap duet with Neil Patrick Harris.

A familiar face on PBS, McDonald has headlined telecasts including an American Songbook season-opening concert, a presentation of Sondheim's Passion, a Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute concert titled Something Wonderful, and five galas with the New York Philharmonic: a New Year's Eve performance in 2006, a concert celebrating Sondheim's 80th birthday, Carnegie Hall's 120th anniversary concert, One Singular Sensation! Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch, and, most recently, Sweeney Todd. She was also featured in the PBS television specials A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House  and A Celebration of American Creativity, singing at the request of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. McDonald has appeared three times on the Kennedy Center Honors; been profiled by 60 MinutesTodayPBS NewsHour, and CBS Sunday Morning; been a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  and David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jimmy FallonLate Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Colbert ReportCharlie RoseCBS This MorningNewsNation with Tamron HallPoliticsNation with Al SharptonIron Chef AmericaThe Megan Mullally Show, The Rosie O'Donnell ShowThe Tavis Smiley ShowThe Wendy Williams Show, and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore; and has guest co-hosted on The View with Barbara Walters. In 2012, McDonald was named the new official host of the PBS series Live From Lincoln Center, and she won her first Primetime Emmy Award for hosting the Creative Arts Special Program in 2015, having previously been nominated in 2013. In 2016, she received her fifth Emmy nomination for her role in HBO's film version of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. In 2018, she joins the cast of The Good Fight for the second season of the CBS All Access original drama series.

McDonald launched her film career with Seven Servants in 1996; her list of credits has since grown to include The Object of My Affection (1998), Cradle Will Rock (1999), It Runs in the Family (2003), The Best Thief in the World  (2004), She Got Problems (2009) -a mockumentary movie musical written, starring, and directed by her sister, Alison McDonald-and Rampart (2012). She recently appeared opposite Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash (2015), and played Madame de Garderobe in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast (2017). She appears in the upcoming movie-musical Hello Again.

As an exclusive Nonesuch recording artist, McDonald released her most recent album, Go Back Home, in 2013. She has released four previous solo albums on the label, interpreting songs from the classic (Gershwin, Arlen, and Bernstein) to the contemporary (Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel, and Ricky Ian Gordon). The New York Times named her first Nonesuch album, 1998's Way Back to Paradise, as Adult Record of the Year. Following the bestselling How Glory Goes in 2000 and Happy Songs in 2002, she released the 2006 album Build a Bridge,  which saw the singer stretch her repertoire to include songs by the likes of Randy Newman, Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach, Rufus Wainwright, and Nellie McKay. Her ensemble recordings include the acclaimed EMI version of Bernstein's Wonderful Town conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the New York Philharmonic release of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and Dreamgirls in concert, as well as the first recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro and Broadway cast albums of Carousel, RagtimeMarie Christine110 in the ShadeThe Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. She is also featured on a number of audiovisual recordings available on DVD and Blu-ray, including Sondheim! The Birthday Concert; Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square; Weill-Rise and Fall of the City of MahagonnyBernstein-Wonderful TownAudra McDonald: Live at the Donmar, London; and My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies.

McDonald's other accolades include five Drama Desk Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards, four NAACP Image Awards nominations, an Ovation Award, a Theatre World Award, the Drama League's 2000 Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre and 2012 Distinguished Performance Award, a 2015 Rockefeller Award for Creativity, and Roundabout Theatre's 2016 Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre. In 2015, she was named to the Time 100-Time magazine's list of the most influential people in the world-and in 2017, honored as one of Variety Magazine's Power of Women alongside Chelsea Clinton, Blake Lively, and Gayle King. In 2013, she was honored as Musical America's "Musician of the Year," joining the esteemed company of previous winners such as Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, Beverly Sills, and Yo-Yo Ma, and in 2017 she was inducted into Lincoln Center's Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class, which included Ma, Price, Placido Domingo, Louis Armstrong, and Harold Prince. Besides her six Tony wins, she has received nominations for her performances in Marie Christine and 110 in the Shade. In 2016, McDonald received an honorary doctorate from Yale University.

In addition to her professional obligations, McDonald is a passionate advocate for equal rights, LGBTQ causes, and underprivileged youth. In 2014, she joined the Covenant House International Board of Directors, which oversees programs for homeless young people in 27 cities in six countries across the United States, Canada, and Latin America. McDonald's outspoken activism for marriage equality helped put the issue on the national agenda. In 2009, she joined Twitter to promote the cause, using the Twitter handle @AudraEqualityMc, and in 2011 she joined Mario Batali and other pro-equality marchers in Albany to lobby New York state senators in the days leading up their groundbreaking vote for legalization. McDonald was featured in marriage equality and anti-bullying campaigns for Freedom to Marry, NOH8, and PFLAG NYC. In 2012, she and her now husband, actor Will Swenson, received PFLAG National's Straight for Equality Award. A dog lover, she has two canine companions, Butler and Georgia, adopted from Eleventh Hour Rescue, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that saves dogs from death row. Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother to her children.

Audra McDonald, soloist
Midori, violin
View biography in full page >

Midori is a visionary artist, activist and educator whose unique career has transcended traditional boundaries through her relentless drive to explore and build connections between music and the human experience. Never at rest, Midori brings the same dynamic innovation and expressive insight that has made her a top concert violinist to her other roles as a leading global cultural ambassador and a dedicated music educator.

A leading concert violinist for over 30 years, Midori regularly transfixes audiences around the world, bringing together graceful precision and intimate expression that allows the listening public to not just hear music but to be personally moved by it.  She has performed with the world's top orchestras including the London Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Cincinnati Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Czech Philharmonic. In addition, she has collaborated with leading musicians such as Mariss Jansons, Peter Eötvös, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniele Gatti, Alan Gilbert, Susanna Mälkki, Kent Nagano, Robert Spano, James Conlon, Omer Meir Wellber and Paavo Järvi, among others.

The 2017/18 season highlights Midori's versatility with performances of orchestral and chamber works by such composers as Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Hindemith, Brahms, Schubert and Enescu in Europe, Asia, North and South America. The DVD of her highly-acclaimed interpretation of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin was also released. In the recording, filmed at Köthen Castle where Bach served as Kapellmeister, Midori unites her technical and expressive mastery with her historic and emotional insight into the composer, providing the viewer with a multidimensional experience of Bach's music.

Midori not only brings a fresh perspective to established standards for violin but also ceaselessly strives to expand the repertoire, including through the creation of new works. Midori inspired Peter Eötvös to compose the violin concerto DoReMi, which she then recorded with Eötvös and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. The 2016 CD joins her diverse discography that includes sonatas by Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich performed with pianist Özgür Aydin, and a 2013 Grammy Award-winning recording of Hindemith's violin concerto with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra 

In her quest to explore and expand how music is essential to people everywhere, Midori goes beyond the concert hall and recording studio to those areas where music access is most needed. In 2017, Midori celebrates the 25th anniversary of the activities of two of her non-profit organizations: Midori & Friends, which brings high-quality music education to New York City school children, and MUSIC SHARING, a Japan-based program that provides access to both western classical and Japanese music traditions through innovative events, activities, instruction and presentations in local schools, institutions and hospitals. Her Partners in Performance organization, founded in 2003, promotes interest in classical music outside of major urban centers across the United States, while her Orchestra Residencies Program, begun in 2004, encourages young musicians to develop a life-long and multifaceted engagement with the performing arts, helping to ensure that the classical scene will continue vibrantly for years to come.

Midori also brings her activism to a global level. MUSIC SHARING's International Community Engagement Program promotes intercultural exchange by enabling young musicians from around the world to come together and present community performances for audiences with limited exposure to classical music. The program's ensembles have performed in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Laos, Mongolia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Vietnam and Japan, and the 2017-2018 group will head to India as well as return to Japan 

Midori also regularly speaks as an expert on cultural diplomacy, most recently at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. She has been honored for her international activism: in 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Midori a Messenger of Peace, and in 2012 she received the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The same vision that motivates Midori's activism - discovering and strengthening the bonds between people and music - also guides her educational approach. From the 2018-2019 school year, she joins the renowned violin faculty roster at the Curtis Institute of Music, bringing her musical expertise as an active top-level performer to her studio and her experience as an activist to the school's community engagement programs. Prior to taking up this position, Midori will visit Curtis to present master classes, work with students on community building, and contribute to the school's Artist-Citizen courses.

Until May 2018, Midori will also continue as a Distinguished Professor of Violin and the Jascha Heifetz Chair holder at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where she has spent 14 years working one-on-one with her violin students. After moving to Curtis, she will continue her involvement at USC through a visiting artist role.

Midori is also an honorary professor at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music, a guest professor at both Soai University in Osaka and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a distinguished visiting artist at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Her own degrees in gender studies and psychology from New York University (BA 2000, MA 2005) strongly inform her holistic teaching philosophy: "In our studio, the tenets of Honesty, Health, and Dignity guide us through the times of trial, self-doubt, self-questioning, and growth."

Midori was born in Osaka, Japan in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, after displaying a strong aptitude for music at an early age. In 1982, conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra's annual New Year's Eve concert. The standing ovation that followed her debut spurred Midori to pursue a major musical career at the highest level.

Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù 'ex-Huberman'. She uses four bows - two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.

Midori, violin Yo-Yo Ma, cello
View biography in full page >

Yo-Yo Ma's multi-faceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture's power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture's role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Mr. Ma strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.

Mr. Ma maintains a balance between engagements as a soloist with orchestras, recital and chamber music activities, and collaborations with a wide circle of artists and institutions. With partners from around the world and across disciplines, Mr. Ma creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society. 

Expanding upon this belief, in 1998 Mr. Ma established Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions. In addition to presenting performances in venues from Suntory Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, Silkroad collaborates with museums and universities to develop training programs for teachers, musicians, and learners of all ages. Silkroad has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers and arrangers around the globe, and released seven albums, most recently a collection of music recorded for The Vietnam War, a documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Through his work with Silkroad, as well as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma seeks to expand the classical cello repertoire, frequently performing lesser-known music of the 20th century and commissions of new concertos and recital pieces. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, among them Osvaldo Golijov, Leon Kirchner, Zhao Lin, Christopher Rouse, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giovanni Sollima, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, and John Williams.

In addition to his work as a performing artist, Mr. Ma partners with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that champion culture's power to transform lives and forge a more connected world. Among his many roles, he is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant; artistic advisor at large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival; and UN Messenger of Peace. He is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum's board of trustees.  

Mr. Ma's discography of over 100 albums (including 19 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. In addition to his many iconic renditions of the Western classical canon, he has made several recordings that defy categorization, among them "Appalachia Waltz" and "Appalachian Journey" with Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, "Obrigado Brazil" and "Obrigado Brazil - Live in Concert." Mr. Ma's recent recordings include: "Songs from the Arc of Life," with pianist Kathryn Stott; "Sing Me Home," with the Silkroad Ensemble, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album; "Bach Trios," with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile; "Brahms: The Piano Trios," with Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos; and "Six Evolutions - Bach: Cello Suites."

This year, Mr. Ma begins a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach's six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert will be an example of culture's power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013), and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award (2016). He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.  

Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius. 

 

Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kian Soltani, cello
View biography in full page >

Rave reviews and invitations to perform at the world's leading concert halls have propelled the 25-year-old musician from rising star to one of the most exciting musicians of this generation.

Kian Soltani made his international breakthrough at the age of nineteen with acclaimed debuts in the Vienna Musikverein's Goldener Saal and at the Hohenems Schubertiade. He attracted further worldwide attention in April 2013 as winner of the International Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki where he was hailed by Ostinato magazine as "a soloist of the highest level among the new generation of cellists".

In the summer of 2015 he joined Daniel Barenboim as one of the soloists in Beethoven's Triple Concerto, performing the work during the West Eastern Divan Orchestra's Waldbühnenkonzert in Berlin, at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals, at the BBC Proms in London, and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Highlights of the 2017/18 season include performances at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Philharmonie de Paris, Royal Festival Hall London, Kölner Philharmonie, Boulez Saal Berlin, Prinzregententheater Munich, Oslo Konserthus and the Hohenems Schubertiade, as well as appearances at the Salzburg, Verbier, Lucerne and Aix-en- Provence Easter Festivals. He will again join Barenboim and the West Eastern Divan Orchestra performing Strauss' Don Quixote on a worldwide tour throughout 2017. His debut Deutsche Grammophon album, "Home", comprising works for cello and piano by Schubert, Schumann and Reza Vali, is set for international release in January 2018.

Kian Soltani was born in Bregenz in 1992 to a family of Persian musicians. He began playing cello at an age four and was only twelve when he joined Ivan Monighetti's class at the Basel Music Academy. He was chosen as an Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship holder in 2014, and completed his further studies as a member of the Young Soloist Programme at Germany's Kronberg Academy. He received additional important musical training at the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein.

Kian Soltani plays on the "London" Stradivarius 1694 cello, on generous loan from the J & A Beare International Violin Society.

Kian Soltani, cello Nadine Sierra, soprano
View biography in full page >

Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, Nadine Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising, young talents in opera today. She was named the Richard Tucker Award Winner in 2017 and was awarded the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award by the Metropolitan Opera. Having made a string of successful debuts at the Met, Teatro alla Scala, Opéra national de Paris, and Staatsoper Berlin, she has become a fixture at many of the top houses around the world. On August 24th, 2018, her debut album, There's a Place for Us, will be released under the Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music labels.

For the 2018-19 season, Sierra will return both to the Staatsoper Berlin singing Nannetta in Falstaff and to the Metropolitan Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto. She will also make her house and role debut as Manon at the Opéra national de Bordeaux and perform again as Gilda in a new production at the Staatsoper Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. In concert, she will perform and record Maria in Bernstein's West Side Story with Antonio Pappano at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, appear in Dallas, Prague, Paris, Bordeaux, Baden-Baden and return to Venice for La Fenice's televised Capodanno celebration.

Ms. Sierra's 2017-18 season included appearances at the Opéra national de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera, La Fenice, Chorégies d'Orange, and Staatsoper Berlin. She was named the Richard Tucker Award Winner in 2017 and had the honor of receiving the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera. Sierra also had the pleasure of releasing her debut album, 'There's a Place for Us,' with the Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Music on August 24th, 2018. Ask her your questions on Instagram: @nadine.sierra.

Nadine Sierra, soprano
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
View biography in full page >

Susan Graham - hailed as "an artist to treasure" by the New York Times  - rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi's Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and her recital repertoire is so broad that 14 composers from Purcell to Sondheim are represented on her most recent Onyx album, Virgins, Vixens & Viragos. This distinctly American artist has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government's prestigious "Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur," both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music.

To launch the 2017-18 season, Ms. Graham will reprise her star turn in the title role of Susan Stroman's production of Lehár's The Merry Widow at the MET, then she joins Nathan Gunn for Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti at Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a special concert to mark the composer's 100th birthday. To conclude the operatic season, she returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opposite James Morris in Marc Blitzstein's 1948 opera Regina. At the Boston Symphony, she joins Charles Dutoit for Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust and Andris Nelsons for Mahler's Third Symphony, which is also the vehicle for her summer collaborations at the Tanglewood Festival and later on tour in Europe. Besides reuniting with Dutoit for Ravel's Shéhérazade at the San Francisco Symphony, she headlines a gala concert to celebrate Tulsa Opera's 70th anniversary. She also gives solo recitals at Emory University and Washington University, and rounds out the season with a night of cabaret at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.

Last season, Graham partnered with Renée Fleming for the San Francisco Symphony's opening-night gala, and joined Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, and a host of other stars to celebrate the Metropolitan Opera's five decades at Lincoln Center. Having created the role of Sister Helen Prejean in the world premiere production of Dead Man Walking  at San Francisco Opera, she reprised her role in Washington National Opera's revival of the piece. She returned to Santa Fe Opera as Prince Orlofsky in a new production of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus, and reprised her signature portrayal of Dido in Berlioz's Les Troyens at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Concert highlights included selections from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhornat Carnegie Hall and Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as a star-studded Der Rosenkavalier at the Boston Symphony. She gave U.S. recitals of "Frauenliebe und -leben Variations," her program inspired by the Schumann song cycle, and expanded her discography with Nonesuch Records' DVD/Blu-ray release of William Kentridge's new treatment of Berg's Lulu, which captured her role debut as Countess Geschwitz at the Met.

Graham's earliest operatic successes were in such trouser roles as Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Her technical expertise soon brought mastery of Mozart's more virtuosic roles, like Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Idamante in Idomeneo and Cecilio in Lucio Silla, as well as the title roles of Handel's Ariodante and Xerxes. She went on to triumph in two iconic Richard Strauss mezzo roles, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. These brought her to prominence on all the world's major opera stages, including the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, among many others. She performed the leading ladies in the MET world premieres of John Harbison's The Great Gatsby and Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy, and made her Dallas Opera debut as Tina in a new production of The Aspern Papers by Dominick Argento. As Houston Grand Opera's Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, she starred as Prince Orlofsky in the company's first staging of Die Fledermaus in 30 years, before heading an all-star cast as Sycorax in the Met's Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island and making her rapturously received musical theater debut in a new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

It was in an early Lyon production of Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict that Graham scored particular raves from the international press, and a triumph in the title role of Massenet's Chérubin at Covent Garden sealed her operatic stardom. Further invitations to collaborate on French music were forthcoming from many preeminent conductors, including Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, James Levine and Seiji Ozawa. New productions of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, Berlioz's La damnation de Faust and Massenet's Werther were mounted for the mezzo in New York, London, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and beyond. She recently made title role debuts in Offenbach's comic masterpieces La belle Hélène and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, as well as proving herself the standout star of the Met's star-studded revival of Les Troyens, which was broadcast live to cinema audiences worldwide in the company's celebrated "Live in HD" series. Graham's affinity for French repertoire has not been limited to the opera stage, having also served as the foundation for her extensive concert and recital career. Such great cantatas and symphonic song cycles as Berlioz's La mort de Cléopâtreand Les nuits d'été, Ravel's Shéhérazade and Chausson's Poème de l'amour et de la mer provide opportunities for collaborations with the world's leading orchestras, and she makes regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and London Symphony Orchestra.

Graham's distinguished discography features all the works described above, as well as a series of lauded solo albums, including Un frisson français, a program of French song recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau for Onyx; C'est ça la vie, c'est ça l'amour!, an album of 20th-century operetta rarities on Erato; and La Belle Époque, an award-winning collection of songs by Reynaldo Hahn with pianist Roger Vignoles, from Sony Classical. Among the mezzo's numerous honors are Musical America's Vocalist of the Year and an Opera News Award; Gramophone magazine has dubbed her "America's favorite mezzo."

Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
View biography in full page >

Highly acclaimed for her "passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty," the Grammy Award winning Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage.  In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Thomas Ades, she has graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, the title roles in Griselda, La Périchole, and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart's La clemenza di Tito and Handel's Giulio Cesare.

She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time:  James Levine, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Andris Nelsons, and Harry Bicket with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Vienna Philharmonic, among others.

Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall.  She is a recent Grammy Award winner for Thomas Ades' The Tempest (Best Opera Recording) and the recipient of the 2013 Richard Tucker Award.  She recently joined the supporters of the Prostate Cancer Foundation to lend her voice in honor of her father who died from the disease when she was in college.

Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Hampson, baritone
View biography in full page >

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major theaters of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first-ever Artist-in-Residence. In 2010, he was honoured with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Furthermore, he has received the famed Concertgebouw Prize.

Hampson was made honorary professor on the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg, and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Wiener Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honour in Arts and Sciences. In 2017, Thomas Hampson received the Hugo Wolf Medal from the International Hugo Wolf Academy, together with his long-time musical collaborator, pianist Wolfram Rieger. The award recognizes their outstanding achievements in the art of song interpretation.

Notable engagements for his 2018/19 season include Thomas Hampson's highly anticipated debut at the Canadian Opera Company, singing the title role in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian, as well as his debut at Houston Grand Opera as the famed librettist Lorenzo da Ponte in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix. Other noteworthy engagements include performances as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper, and his return to Teatro alla Scala as Altair in Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena.

Thomas Hampson’s concert appearances this season include performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and a tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He will share the stage with his son-in-law, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, for their “No Tenors Allowed” program in Boston, Toronto, and Santa Fe. 

The 2018/19 season also marks the exciting launch of Thomas Hampson’s “Song of America: Beyond Liberty” concert tour. Mr. Hampson will guide audiences through centuries of stories using personal anecdotes, historical monologues, and readings of his favorite poetry, to celebrate America’s history through song. The project, developed with stage director Francesca Zambello and writer Royce Vavrek, premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival and will share the rich history of the people and events that helped create and define “the land of the free” with audiences, students, and educators across the US and beyond.

During his 2017/18 season, Thomas returned to the Opéra National de Paris in one of his signature roles, Count Danilo in Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe. He also sang the title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Wiener Staatsoper, and Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Bayerische Staatsoper. A highlight of his concert schedule was his debut tour through Australia, where he was critically acclaimed as “a singer of exceptional artistry...[it’s] easy to understand why he was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein” (J-Wire) and he was regarded as “The George Clooney of opera” (Sydney Morning Herald).

Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

 

Thomas Hampson, baritone Jessica Vosk, vocalist Jessica Vosk, vocalist
Tony Yazbeck, vocalist
View biography in full page >

Born in Riverside, CA, Tony Yazbeck moved to Bethlehem, PA at age 4, when he first saw Fred Astaire dance on a black and white TV screen.  Tony danced around the living room, pretending he was Mr. Astaire, so his mom and dad put him in dance class right away.

At age 11, he auditioned to be a replacement "Newsboy" in the Tyne Daly Gypsy, directed by Arthur Laurents.  For the next two years, his mother drove him two hours in each direction, six days a week, from Bethlehem, PA to the stage door of The St. James Theater.

A year after closing Gypsy, at age 14, his family moved to The Poconos, where Tony worked on a farm to make extra money.  He moved to Orlando at age 16, where he studied at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts High School.

He attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh for two years, working at Disney his first summer and in the ensemble at the PCLO his second.  He then transferred to Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for his third year of college.  In April of 2000, he was cast in the national tour of Annie Get Your Gun.

In 2001, Tony made the dream of being a true New Yorker a reality, when the tour closed and he officially moved to the city.  Various Broadway/Off-Broadway/Encores!/Regional Theatre/Television/National Tours/London Concerts have subsequently ensued, culminating most recently in a Tony Award Nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his turn as "Gabey" in the Broadway revival of On The Town.

Tony is exceedingly passionate about directing, choreographing and writing in new and creative ways for stage and TV.  The first incarnation of these efforts is his solo show The Floor Above Me.  Tony is also a devoted teacher, most frequently at the National YoungArts Foundation, where he is a master teacher, panelist and assistant director to the legendary Bill T. Jones.

The most important achievement of his life-to-date, however, happened in October 2014, when, right after opening in the aforementioned revival of On The Town, Tony married the love of his life, actress, dancer, singer, choreographer and budding director Katie Huff.

Stay tuned for the chapters yet to come!

 

Tony Yazbeck, vocalist James Darrah, director
View biography in full page >

Los Angeles based director and designer James Darrah's collaborative focus through varied mediums has quickly led him to be recognized as "the newest discovery... a gifted young American director" (Chicago Tribune). He has crafted an unconventional and varied body of work that "injects real drama" (New York Times) into new theater and opera productions, installations, and events that become "once-in-a-lifetime experience[s]" (Opera News). 

Darrah's recent projects include a return to an annual residency with Opera Omaha, where he launched a production of Handel's Semele in a co-production with Opera Philadelphia; his European directorial debut with Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Portugal for new production of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride; and an installment of San Francisco Symphony's trailblazing SOUNDBOX series. In January 2017, he continues his ongoing collaboration with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas as director of Mahler's Das Klagende Lied in a new staged production for San Francisco Symphony. Other recent projects include a debut at Bard Summerscape with a new production of Mascagni's Iris and the acclaimed world premiere of Missy Mazzoli's operatic adaptation of Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia and the Prototype Festival. Darrah also recently collaborated with LA-based dance group WIFE for the first two installments of his three year Pelleas Project based on Maeterlinck's play Pelléas et Mélisande with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, he will direct the Debussy opera in the final installment of the project as part of the grand re-opening of Cincinnati's Music Hall in a new production, conducted by Langrée, in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera.

In 2018, Darrah will assume the role of artistic director for a new annual spring festival and artists' residency as part of his ongoing collaboration with Opera Omaha and direct the world premiere of newly commissioned opera Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli in a co-commission with Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, and the Miller Theater.

Other past projects include a highly acclaimed Peter Grimes with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the world premiere production of Frank Zappa's infamous 200 Motels with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, a new Don Giovanni for the San Francisco Merola Opera Program, and his Lincoln Center directing debut with Handel's Radamisto for The Juilliard School, where he returned for a new production of Jonathan Dove's Flight in Fall 2016. Darrah has also realized projects in collaboration with Opera San Antonio, Theater@Boston Court, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, SCA Gallery, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Croatian National Theater.

Darrah holds an MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, where he was the recipient of the James Pendelton Foundation Grant and the George Burns/Gracie Allen Directing Scholarship. He continued his studies with director Stephen Wadsworth at The Juilliard School. He has received the national Princess Grace Award in Theater, was a directing nominee in the 2015 International Opera Awards, and was named Musical America's New Artist of the Monthfor December 2015. He has taught theater and performance for the Adler Fellowship Program of San Francisco Opera, Cornish College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach and the University of California, Los Angeles. 

James Darrah is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829, and AGMA and is represented by Opus 3 Artists (General Management) and IMG Artists (Europe).

James Darrah, director
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
View biography in full page >

Tanglewood Festival Chorus
James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
John Oliver (1939-2018), Founder

Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Mass led by Andris Nelsons, the British-born James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director. He occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair on the Boston Symphony Orchestra roster. This season the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins the BSO for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (October 25-30), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (November 29-December 1), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (February 21 and 22), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (February 28-March 2) all under Andris Nelsons, and Estévez’s Cantata Criolla (April 11-13) with conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

Though first established for performances at the BSO’s summer home, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was soon playing a major role in the BSO’s subscription season as well as BSO concerts at Carnegie Hall. Now numbering more than 300 members, the ensemble performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with the BSO on tour in Hong Kong and Japan, and on two European tours, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on those two occasions. The TFC made its debut in April 1970, in a BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Its first recording with the orchestra, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with Seiji Ozawa, received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance of 1975. The TFC has since made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, with Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams. In August 2011, with John Oliver conducting and soloist Stephanie Blythe, the TFC gave the world premiere of Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere for mezzo-soprano and chorus, commissioned by the BSO for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Its most recent recordings on BSO Classics, all drawn from live performances, include a disc of a cappella music marking the TFC’s 40th anniversary; Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé (a 2009 Grammy-winner for Best Orchestral Performance), Brahms’s German Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). On July 4, 2018, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joined Keith Lockhart for the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” on the Charles River Esplanade.

Besides their work with the BSO, TFC members have also performed with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and in a Saito Kinen Festival production of Britten’s Peter Grimes under Seiji Ozawa in Japan. The ensemble had the honor of singing at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral; has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics; and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, John Sayles’s Silver City, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. TFC members regularly commute from the greater Boston area and beyond to sing with the chorus in Boston and at Tanglewood. Throughout its history, the TFC has established itself as a favorite of conductors, soloists, critics, and audiences alike.

 

 

James Burton
View biography in full page >

James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the new position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. Born in London, Mr. Burton began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister. He was a choral scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge, and holds a master's degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata; in early 2016 he made his debut with the Orquestra Sinfònica Nacional with concerts in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Opera credits include Don Giovanni and La bohème at English National Opera, Così fan tutte at English Touring Opera, The Magic Flute at Garsington, and Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica at the Prague Summer Nights Festival. He has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Paris, English National Opera, Opera Rara, and Garsington Opera, where he was honored with the Leonard Ingrams Award in 2008. He has also conducted in London's West End and led a UK tour of Bernstein's Wonderful Town in 2012. His extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed at the Dubai Opera house in its inaugural season earlier this year. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. He returned to Manchester in 2014, preparing the choirs for a Grammy-nominated recording under Sir Mark Elder of Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony. From 2002 to 2017 he was music director of the chamber choir Schola Cantorum of Oxford, touring all over the world and recording with Hyperion Records. He collaborates regularly with leading young musicians and in 2017 appeared as guest director of the National Youth Choir of Japan and the Princeton University Glee Club, as well as the Genesis Sixteen. He teaches conducting, and has given master classes at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music. In 2011 he founded a conducting scholarship with Schola Cantorum of Oxford. His compositions and arrangements have been performed internationally, and his orchestral arrangements for Arlo Guthrie have been performed by the Boston Pops, by many other leading U.S. orchestras, and at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. His commissions have included the music for the 2010 World Equestrian Games opening ceremony, a setting for chorus and orchestra of Thomas Hardy's The Convergence of the Twain commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, and a recent Christmas carol premiered by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, live on BBC Radio 3. His choral works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair, endowed in perpetuity.