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November 22, 2021

Meet the Soloists: ‘Messiah’ 2021/22


Handel's Messiah

Nearly 300 years after its composition, Handel’s Messiah continues to fill Hill Auditorium with its ravishing beauty, brought to life by friends and colleagues from the community. On December 4 & 5, 2021, music director Scott Hanoian conducts the UMS Choral Union and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in the return of this beloved annual holiday tradition.

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Meet this year’s soloists and guest artists: Joélle Harvey, Meg Bragle, Nicholas Phan, and Dashon Burton.

Joélle HarveyJoélle Harvey, soprano

A native of Bolivar, New York, soprano Joélle Harvey has established herself as a noted interpreter of a broad range of repertoire, anchored by Handel, Mozart, and new music. She specializes as a soloist for orchestral and choral works, appearing with the Cleveland Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City, and others.

Harvey received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and was a member of Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artists Program. Her engagements during the 2021-2022 season include debuts with Opernhaus Zürich, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and UMS.

Read the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s recent profile: “Joélle Harvey finds her niche away from opera”

Meg BragleMeg Bragle, mezzo-soprano

Widely praised for her musical intelligence and “expressive virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle), Meg Bragle has earned an international reputation as one of today’s most gifted mezzo-sopranos. A frequent featured soloist with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, she has made four recordings with the group.

Bragle has appeared with many symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada including the Houston, National, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Pacific, and Colorado Symphonies; the National Arts Center Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic in music ranging from Bach and Vivaldi to Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler.

Her opera roles include Idamante in Idomeneo, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Dido and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dardano in Handel’s Amadigi, Amastre in Handel’s Serse, Speranza in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Ippolita in Cavalli’s Elena, and Elpina in Vivaldi’s La Fida Ninfa.

Learn more: “5 Questions with Meg Bragle”

Nicholas PhanNicholas Phan, tenor

Described by the Boston Globe as “one of the world’s most remarkable singers,” American tenor Nicholas Phan is increasingly recognized as an artist of distinction. Praised for his keen intelligence, captivating stage presence, and natural musicianship, he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. Also an avid recitalist, in 2010 he co-founded the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) to promote art song and vocal chamber music, where he serves as artistic director.

A celebrated recording artist, Phan’s most recent album, Clairières, a recording of songs by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, was nominated for the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. His album, Gods and Monsters, was nominated for the same award in 2017. He remains the first and only singer of Asian descent to be nominated in the history of the category, which has been awarded by the Recording Academy since 1959.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Phan is the 2012 recipient of the Paul C Boylan Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2018 Christopher Kendall Award. He also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Read San Francisco Classical Voice’s 2017 profile: “Getting to Know Recitalist Nicholas Phan”

Dashon BurtonDashon Burton, bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Dashon Burton has established a vibrant career, appearing regularly throughout the United States and Europe in key elements of his repertoire — Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the B minor Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven 9, the Brahms Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

Throughout his 2021/22 season, he makes several notable orchestral debuts with the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony.

Operatic engagements in recent seasons have included Salome at the Salzburg Festival led by Franz Welser-Möst and Peter Sellars’s production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, un ritual de mort at Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville as well as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in Dijon and Paris and Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux with Les Talens Lyriques.

Dashon Burton won his second Grammy in March of 2021, for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for Dame Ethyl Smyth’s The Prison with The Experiential Orchestra. An original member of the groundbreaking vocal ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, he won his first Grammy for their recording of Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer-Prizewinning Partita for 8 Voices.

Hear Burton’s appearance on the Classical Post podcast: “How Two-Time Grammy Winner Dashon Burton Defines Success as Being Comfortable in Your Own Shoes”