Grammy-winning Ilana Davidson brings a crystalline soprano, assured musicality and interpretive insight to repertoire spanning the 12th to 21st centuries. She has worked with conductors Harry Bicket, Leon Botstein, Thierry Fischer, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, Claus Peter Flor, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Oliver Knussen, Thomas Hengelbrock, Reinbert de Leeuw, Grant Llewellyn, Keith Lockhart, Stuart Malina, Michael Riesman, Carl St. Clair, Leonard Slatkin, Andre-Raphael Smith, Yoav Talmi, Lawrence Renes, Lothar Zagrosek and Benjamin Zander. Her recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience conducted by Leonard Slatkin won four Grammy Awards including Best Classical Album.
Her association with the music of the composer Ernst Krenek began with the Queen in Das Geheime Königreich at the Krenek Festival in Vienna and Die Nachtigall with the Austrian Chamber Symphony. The former spawned a series of projects dedicated to the composer’s works including her solo debut recording of Krenek’s Lieder, a recital tour and multiple New York City performances as well as a recording of his opera What Price Confidence.
Ms. Davidson’s other operatic forays include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Chef der Gepopo in Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, and Erste Blumenmädchen in Parsifal all performed in the Netherlands; Libby Larson’s Everyman Jack at Sonoma City Opera, Galatea in Händel’s Acis and Galatea at the Staunton Music Festival and Philip Glass/Robert Moran’s The Juniper Tree with the Collegiate Chorale at Alice Tully Hall; Flora in The Turn of the Screw and Amore in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Florida Grand Opera.
New York’s Carnegie Hall welcomed her for Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience with the Saint Louis Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Boston Philharmonic and most recently Mona Lisa (Von Schillings), Der Diktator (Krenek), and From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 79 (Shostakovich) with the American Symphony Orchestra and The Orchestra Now.
Ms. Davidson made her Avery Fisher Hall debut in Carl Orff’s Trionfi di Afrodite with the American Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she sang Carmina Burana with the Houston, Edmonton, Reading, Alabama and Toledo Symphonies, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice and with the Québec Symphony. She sang the Fauré Requiem with the Charlotte Symphony; and J.S Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as St. Matthew Passion and Händel’s Messiah at Duke University. Other Baroque highlights include Bach Cantatas with Boston’s Händel and Haydn Society, Cupid in Purcell’s King Arthur with the Staastoper Stuttgart, Amor in Legrenzi’s La Divisione del Mondo with the Innsbruck Early Music Festival and Schwetzingen Festivals, solo appearences with Ars Antiqua early music ensemble, the Angel in Schütz’s A Christmas Story at New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (Broadcast live on NPR); as well as performances of Händel’s Messiah and Haydn's Creation with Pacific, Ann Arbor, Alabama, Nashville Symphonies, National Philharmonic, Bellingham Music Festival and Harrisburg Symphonies.
Her strong affiliation with Mozart has been heard in programs of the composer’s arias with Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam; Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the National Philharmonic, Die Zauberflöte with the Vlaamse Opera and the Staatsoper Stuttgart; the Requiem with the Schlierbacher Chamber Orchestra, Harrisburg and Augusta Symphonies the Great Mass in C Minor at the Berkshire Choral Festival. More recently, Ms. Davidson gave her debut with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice, sang Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Bellingham Music Festival, Fort Worth, Detroit, Anchorage Symphonies and at the Brevard Music Center; Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate at Brevard and with the Wheeling Symphony, Brahms Requiem with the North Carolina Symphony, at Berkshire Choral Festival and Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
Other recordings in Ms. Davidson’s discography include Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley (Capriccio), Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home by Paul Elwood (Innova), John Zorn’s Chimeras (Tzadik) and Krenek’s What Price Confidence (Phoenix Edition). The American soprano is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, attended the Tanglewood Music Center for two seasons, the Aston Magna Early Music Academy and is co-artistic director/creator of ClassicalCafé. She is a recent winner of the Bronx Council of the Arts Award for vocal performance and is the cantorial soloist at North Fork Reform Synagogue.
Range of "Live" Audio at the Artist's website:
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May 2017 "live" performance of Saper vorreste (Oscar) from Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (below):
Portland Chamber Music Festival:
"I've saved the best, soprano Ilana Davidson, for last. Her voice is both powerful and melodious, a more rare combination than one might think, and her portrayal of moods in the 11 songs that make up "Ayre" gives the juxtapositions extraordinary power. She also has the vocal elisions of Sephardic and Arabic music down pat, as difficult a feat as singing the ornamentations in Handel."
-Maine Classical Beat
Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Duke Chapel Choir/Orchestra Pro Cantores:
"Soprano Ilana Davidson's first aria, "Blute nur, du liebes Herz!" ("Bleed on, you loving heart") was a joy to hear; her limpid and moving "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben" (Because of love, my Savior is willing to die") captured the believer's faith that continues when its ground has been removed (hence, in this aria, Bach leaves out the "ground," the basso continuo)."
-Classical Voice North Carolina
Carnegie Hall, as Mona Ginevra in Max von Schillings' Mona Lisa with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra:
"Ilana Davidson winning as the local courtesan, a must at Mona Lisa's parties..."
"...Ilana Davidson had a lovely vocal vignette, portraying Venus in a carnival pageant."
New York Festival of Song Debut:
"Mr. Becenti's The Obsidian Morning (2015) may be his first song, but with a cosmic text by Renee Podunovich, it proved extraordinary. The soprano Ilana Davidson easily navigated the vocal line's vertiginous leaps and amazed spoken passages..."
-The New York Times
Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate with Ken Lam and the Brevard Music Center Camerata:
"Soloist Ilana Davidson is a very attractive singer with a lovely, lyrical vocal quality that blended extremely well with the small orchestra and projected effectively into the hall…there were definitely high points in the performance (notably the vocal cadenzas within the outer sections, each executed with technical finesse and lovely musicality)."
-Classical Voice North Carolina
"Where Light and Shade Repose" Season Finale of Chameleon Arts Ensemble:
"Scored with a similar sense of iridescence was 66 Times: The Voice of Pines and Cedars for soprano and chamber ensemble by the Taiwanese-born composer Shih-Hui Chen. There are four settings of Japanese poems (in translation), each of which compactly sketches the natural beauty and affective power of one of the seasons. Here the concert's title seemed most apt, as each song masterfully balances illumination and shadow. The third poem, "when the warm mists vale," is the shortest; it is sung three times by the soprano - the superb Ilana Davidson - and each time it gains in color, harmonic depth, and emotional weight. The final song, after a fierce outburst, dissolves in a haze of percussion."
-The Boston Globe
Elijah with the Harrisburg Symphony:
"...the soloists reinforced what a spectacle vocal performance can be -- Grammy Award-winning soprano Ilana Davidson was particularly luminous as an angel."
Mahler #4 with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony (November 2013):
"...her light-textured voice made a graceful evocation of heaven in the finale."
-The Detroit Free Press
"Davidson sang with plenty of feeling and longing..."
"Included in the Tuesday evening performance was Two Songs for Voice composed by Johannes Brahms, written for his dear friends, Amalie and Joseph Joachim, a couple who had recently split. Davidson gave full expression to the song of children slumbering in the wind. Equally impressive were Davidson's performance within the set of American songs of Aaron Copland's Simple Gifts taken from his inspiring work, Appalachian Spring and her inspiring vocal sonority of the sounds of nature used for John Cage's composition, The Flower, written for voice and accompanied by Aizawa, providing the accents with sounds from a 'closed piano.' She then completely won the hearts of the audience with her performance of Gershwin's lyrical By Strauss."
-Summit Daily (Colorado)
Brahms Requiem with the North Carolina Symphony:
"Ilana Davidson applied her light, silvery soprano to the fifth movement’s foretelling of great joy and comfort."
with Boston's Chameleon Arts Ensemble:
"Knussen's Hums & Songs of Winnie the Pooh owes alot to Britten's graceful melodic style, but he makes frequent reference to Pierrot Lunaire through instrumental effects for the vocalist and a rich palette of orchestral effects. Still, why is his Seven Acre Wood so scary? Soprano Ilana Davidson relieved alot of this musical tension through her effortless delivery and humorous interpretation of the texts. With exceptional control in the high range, she dueled with both the flute and clarinet and blended seamlessly with cello harmonics."
-The Boston Musical-Intelligencer
Monadnock Music Festival, Previn's Emily Dickinson Songs :
"Everything, though was beautifully sung by soprano Ilana Davidson, who had a sleek, agile voice that seemed perfect for both works."
-The Boston Globe
Händel’s Messiah at Duke University:
“Wynkoop always fields a group of fine vocal soloists and this year’s quartet was a royal flush! Soprano Ilana Davidson was an elegant, polished singer with a winning tone and a very evenly supported voice across its range. Her quiet singing was particularly subtle and her highest notes rang gloriously throughout the chapel. All four singers could give master classes in perfect diction!"
-Classical Voice of North Carolina
At New York's Bard Festival:
“Berg on this program was represented by his iridescent treatment of a Theodor Storm poem, Schliesse mir die Augen beide. Soprano Ilana Davidson and pianist Anna Plonsky were the superb performers, both of the Berg and of Ernst Krenek’s Durch die Nacht, a gleaming setting of poetry by Karl Kraus that proved to be another stunner.”
-The Boston Globe
Concert version Orfeo with Yoav Talmi and the Québec Symphony:
"Ilana Davidson as Amore, possesses beautiful musicality and the ideal timbre for this type of role."
-Le Soleil (Québec)
Philip Glass and Robert Moran's The Juniper Tree in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center:
"Ilana Davidson's crystalline soprano, scrupulous musicianship and expressive diction--all evoking comparison with Dawn Upshaw in her radiant early years--made the doomed Wife an appealing figure of dignity and pathos."
World-Premiere of Libby Larson’s Everyman Jack at the Sonoma City Opera:
“Soprano Ilana Davidson, as the young girl, had a voice of lyric beauty that soared off the stage, and she moved with the grace of a ballerina."
-The Sonoma Index-Tribune
Ernest Krenek Lieder CD:
“Davidson is a frighteningly strong singer, but there is subtlety to her voice, too, evident in the delicately shaded lower passages.”
-Time Out (Chicago)
Fauré Requiem with Thierry Fischer and the Charlotte Symphony:
"The music gained a more personal side from the soloists: Soprano Ilana Davidson gave the Pie Jesu an almost childlike gleam."
-The Charlotte Observer
May 2017 "live" performance of Deh vieni non tardar (Susanna) from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (below):
Ms. Davidson in Mahler's Fourth Symphony...scroll down for additional audio/video, photos, press, biography.
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