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Biography

Soprano

Dawn Upshaw has achieved renown as a singer of opera and concert repertory ranging from the sacred works of Bach to music of today. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world, she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder,  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 colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and Head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center.

Her performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles as well as 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, 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 has premiered more than twenty-five works in the past decade.

Ms. Upshaw may be heard on the Nonesuch, Angel/EMI, BMG, Deutsche Grammophon, London, Sony Classical, Telarc, Erato, and Teldec labels.  A five-time Grammy Award winner, she most recently received the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy for Maria Schneider's Winter Morning Walks on the ArtistShare Label. She is featured on more than fifty recordings, including Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 for Nonesuch Records and recordings of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, John Adams’s El Niño, two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, a dozen recital recordings, and an acclaimed three-disc series of Osvaldo Golijov’s music for Deutsche Grammophon.

Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, 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. In 2007 she became the first vocal artist to be named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

(February 2015)