American soprano Kendra Colton “carried herself like a goddess and sang radiantly and vividly,” according to a review in the New York Times. She has been soloist with leading orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Houston Symphony, National Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa under conductors including Bernard Haitink, Sir Neville Marriner, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Seiji Ozawa, Helmuth Rilling, Christopher Hogwood, Harry Bicket, Pinchas Zuckerman, and Bruno Weil.
Particularly sought-after for Baroque and Classical repertoire, Miss Colton sings nearly all the 200+ Cantatas of Bach in addition to the Passions and Masses; Handel oratorios including Messiah, Solomon, Saul, Israel in Egypt, Judas Maccabaeus, Susanna and others; Mozart concert arias and masses, Exsultate Jubilate, Mass in C minor, Coronation Mass, Requiem and others; and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Creation, and Seasons. In addition to Symphony appearances she performs regularly with modern and period- instrument orchestras which specialize in this repertoire including the Handel & Haydn Society in Boston, Washington Bach Consort, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Bethlehem Bach Society, and many others. Miss Colton has also been praised for her performances of later repertoire, including concert works of Barber, Berg, Brahms, Canteloube, Fauré, Mahler, Orff, Poulenc, and Vaughan-Williams.
A proponent of new music as well, Miss Colton has been actively engaged in performing and commissioning new or seldom-heard repertoire of the past fifty years. She premiered Crossroads, a new work by John Harbison for soprano and chamber ensemble in 2013-14. Uncertainty is Beautiful, a work for solo soprano and orchestra by Andy Vores, was commissioned by Ms. Colton and she performed the premiere with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2004. The Cathedral Chorale (at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.) commissioned and recorded Mass for a Sacred Place by Stephen Paulus with Ms. Colton as soprano soloist. She also premiered and recorded Tomiko Kohjiba’s Transmigration of the Soul at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 1995.
Operatic engagements have included fully staged, semi-staged and concert performances of operas including Mozart’s Il Re Pastore (Aminta) with the Boston Lyric Opera, Marriage of Figaro (Cherubino) with the Skylight Opera in Milwaukee, Magic Flute (Pamina) with Emmanuel Music; Handel’s Ariodante (Dalinda) with the Handel & Haydn Society, Admeto (Alceste), Orlando (Dorinda) with Emmanuel Music, Tolomeo (Seleuce) for the Göttingen Handel Festival, The Triumph of Time and Truth (Pleasure) with Aston Magna in a European tour, Acis and Galatea (Galatea) with New York Aulos Ensemble in an east coast tour; Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco (Lady with the Hand Mirror) in Milwaukee and Canada; and Lully’s Thésée with the Boston Early Music Festival. She also performed and recorded the title role in Lukas Foss’ Griffelkin with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Festival engagements have taken Miss Colton across North America with orchestral and recital appearances at Tanglewood, the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Bethlehem Bach, Banff, Harbison’s Token Creek Festival, the Britt Festival in Oregon, and concerts in Chicago at Ravinia-Stean’s Institute. She was principal soprano soloist with the Carmel Bach Festival for 15 summers.
In addition to the Foss, Kohjiba and Paulus recordings, Miss Colton can be heard on four solo CDs—Le Charme, a collection of French art songs; Hat er mir Rosen gebracht, 25 Lieder by Joseph Marx; The Reckless Heart, a collection of songs by Barber, Britten, Gurney and Andy Vores; and Late Air, a collection of John Harbison’s vocal music. She has also recorded the St. John Passion and Cantata BWV 133 and BWV 76 for Koch International Records with Emmanuel Music where she performed regularly in recitals, oratorios and their weekly cantata series. More J.S. Bach repertoire can be heard in her recently completed 6-CD collection of soprano arias, duets and solo cantatas.
Ms. Colton currently teaches at Oberlin College Conservatory in Ohio. She has a personal goal to visit all of the Nationals Park in the United States.