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Public Invited to Observe Master Class with Dawn Upshaw and Vocal Arts Students

Emily Darrow



ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The public is invited to observe a master class with members of the Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts (VAP) performing for celebrated soprano Dawn Upshaw, artistic director of the program, on Monday, December 10. The master class, free and open to the public, is held from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.


Accompanying the VAP singers are Bard Conservatory Post Graduate Collaborative Piano fellows Adam Bloniarz, Wei-Han Wu, and Lucas Wong.

The Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at the Bard College Conservatory is a unique master of music program in vocal performance. Conceived and designed by Dawn Upshaw, it was created to prepare the young singer to meet the special artistic and practical challenges of a musical career in the 21st century. The two-year master of music degree balances a respect for established repertory and expressive techniques with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. It also includes a strong practical component with seminars and classes on career skills led by some of the preeminent figures in arts management and administration. Each year a select group of up to 8 singers is invited to join the program through an intensive audition process.


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 contemporary sounds. She was recently named a MacArthur Fellow for 2007. Upshaw’s 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 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, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera (where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances), Upshaw has also championed new works created for her, including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award–winning opera L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre, both newly recorded on Deutsche Grammophon.

Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague make her a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, and Isa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world, she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is also a member of the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center. Upshaw holds honorary doctoral degrees from Yale University, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development Program. At Bard College she is Charles Franklin Kellogg and Grace E. Ramsey Kellogg Professor of the Arts and Humanities.

For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Vocal Arts Program, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit

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This event was last updated on 12-11-2007