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 acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles—including Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, and Despina—as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. 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 2010–2011 season opens with performances of works by Osvaldo Golijov and Joseph Canteloube at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She tours Europe with György Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragmente, reprises her celebrated role in John Adams’s El Niño with the San Francisco Symphony, and begins a second three-year term as Artistic Partner with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Upshaw sings world premieres of works written for her by composers Donnacha Dennehy, Joan Tower, Pablo Ortiz, Gabriela Frank, and Maria Schneider. As the Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, Ms. Upshaw curates and performs a series of concerts with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and is featured in Peter Sellars’s new production of selections from George Crumb’s American Songbooks.
A four-time Grammy Award winner, Ms. Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Assise, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Adams’s El Niño, two volumes of Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, and a dozen recital recordings. Her most recent release on Deutsche Grammophon is Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, the third in a series of acclaimed recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s music.
Ms. Upshaw is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member at the Tanglewood Music Center. She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale University, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” grant.
Dublin-born composer Donnacha Dennehy studied music composition with Hormoz Farhat at Trinity College Dublin, and at the University of Illinois, where his main teachers were Salvatore Martirano, Erik Lund, and William Brooks. He pursued further studies in electronic music at The Hague and at IRCAM in Paris. After returning to Ireland to take up a position as lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, Mr. Dennehy founded the Crash Ensemble in 1997, which has since made an indelible mark on the Irish new music scene.
Mr. Dennehy has received commissions from many of the world’s most celebrated artists and ensembles, including Dawn Upshaw, Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Electra Ensemble, Fidelio Trio, Icebreaker, Joanna MacGregor, Lisa Moore, Monica Germino, Isabelle O’Connell, New Noise, Orkest de Ereprijs, Orkest de Volharding, Percussion Group The Hague, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, the Smith Quartet, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Mr. Dennehy has also collaborated on pieces with the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma and Shobana Jeyasingh, and with the visual artist John Gerrard. His work has been featured in festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Sonic Evolutions Festival at Lincoln Center, EXPO, Ultima Festival in Oslo, Fuse Leeds, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and International Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam.
Recent premieres include That the Night Come (2010) for Dawn Upshaw and the Crash Ensemble, Crane (2009) for RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and As an Nós (2009) for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
Upcoming commissions include a major new work for the Kronos Quartet. Forthcoming recordings include a full-length album for Nonesuch Records featuring the performers Dawn Upshaw, Iarla Ó Lionáird, and the Crash Ensemble. Mr. Dennehy’s first portrait CD, Elastic Harmonic, was released in 2007 by NMC Recordings in London.
Alan Pierson is the Artistic Director of Alarm Will Sound, Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor of the Dublin-based Crash Ensemble. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with the London Sinfonietta, Steve Reich Ensemble, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Ensemble ACJW, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Silk Road Project. In addition, he has served as a visiting faculty conductor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Mr. Pierson has collaborated with major composers and performers, including Yo-Yo Ma, Steve Reich, Dawn Upshaw, Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Michael Gordon, La Monte Young, and choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Akram Khan, and Eliot Feld. Mr. Pierson has recorded for Nonesuch Records, Cantaloupe Music, Sony Classical, and Sweetspot DVD.