"Soprano Tony Arnold is a luminary in the world of chamber music and art song. Today's classical composers are inspired by her inherently beautiful voice, consummate musicianship, and embracing spirit" (Huffington Post). Hailed by The New York Times as "a bold, powerful interpreter," she is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, having premiered over 200 works "with a musicality and virtuosity that have made her the Cathy Berberian of her generation" (Chicago Tribune). Since becoming the first-prize laureate of both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Tony Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage, and shares with the audience her "broader gift for conveying the poetry and nuance behind outwardly daunting contemporary scores" (The Boston Globe). "Simply put, she is a rock-star in this genre" (Sequenza 21).
As the soprano of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Tony Arnold is a catalyst for dozens of groundbreaking projects, the most recent of which is David Lang's Whisper Opera in ICE's touring production directed by Jim Findlay. Her regular appearances with leading ensembles worldwide include Ensemble Modern in the 2013 premiere of Beat Furrer's La Bianca Notte; the San Francisco Contemporary Players in the 2014 premiere of George Crumb's Yellow Moon of Andalusia; and the Orion String Quartet in the 2014 US premiere of Brett Dean's And Once I Played Ophelia at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She is a frequent collaborator with Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella, JACK Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Talea Ensemble, eighth blackbird, and many others. She has toured the US extensively as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble. A noted guest artist at international festivals on four continents, Tony Arnold has been featured at the Darmstadt Festival and Witten New Music Days (Germany); Time of Music (Finland); Cervantino (Mexico); Musica Sacra Maastricht (Netherlands); Tongyeong Festival (Korea); and the Perspectives XXI Festival (Armenia). Every summer, Ms. Arnold sings and teaches at soundSCAPE in Maccagno, Italy.
With more than two-dozen discs to her credit, Tony Arnold has recorded a broad segment of the modern vocal repertory with esteemed chamber music colleagues. Her recording of George Crumb's iconic Ancient Voices of Children (Bridge) was nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award. Other notable releases include a CD/DVD set of György Kurtág's monumental Kafka Fragments (Bridge) with violin virtuoso Movses Pogossian; Olivier Messiaen's mystical song cycle Harawi (New Focus) with pianist Jacob Greenberg; Jason Eckardt's uncompromising Undersong (Mode) and Tongues (Tzadik) with ICE; and the crystalline chamber songs of Webern on Robert Craft's most recent Webern edition (Naxos). Of the Webern, The Guardian writes, "sung with remarkable poise and warmth by soprano Tony Arnold…each [song] is a perfectly etched miniature, a nugget of impacted lyricism, and Arnold unwraps them with immense care."
A strong advocate for the creation and commissioning of new music, Tony Arnold's artistry has attracted many of the most gifted composers of our time. The growing repertoire of vocal chamber music now includes major works written for her voice by Georges Aperghis, Eric Chasalow, Philippe Manoury, Josh Levine, George Crumb, Pamela Madsen, Fredrick Gifford, David Liptak, Brett Dean, Christopher Theofanidis, Jason Eckardt, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Jesse Jones, Nathan Davis, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, John Zorn, David Gompper, amongst others. In 2012, Ms. Arnold and violinist Movses Pogossian were the recipients of a Chamber Music America Commissioning Grant to support the creation of Seven Armenian Songs by Gabriela Lena Frank. In 2016, Ms. Frank also wrote a new song cycle for Tony Arnold with violinist Ida Kavafian. Also in 2016, Hans Tutschku created a new work for Ms. Arnold with live electronics that was premiered at the International Symposium of New Music in Brazil.
Tony Arnold has worked on a sustained basis with young composers and performers, sparking new musical ideas and fostering collaboration with succeeding generations. In 2015-16, she was the Kunkemueller Artist-in-Residence at the Boston Conservatory, and as the recipient of the 2015-16 Brandeis Creative Arts Award, she engaged the entire Brandeis University community in a yearlong discussion about voice and identity through a series of concerts, salon events, and student-driven projects. In 2009, Ms. Arnold was the first performer ever invited to be the Howard Hanson Distinguished Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music. From 2003-15 she served on the faculty of the University at Buffalo, where she founded the extended techniques vocal ensemble, BABEL. She has been associated with the Composers Conference at Wellesley since 2008, having premiered some 20 next-generation works there. She has performed, lectured, and given master classes as a guest in over 50 universities worldwide.
Tony Arnold is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University. Growing up in suburban Baltimore, she composed, sang, and played every instrument she could persuade her parents to let her bring home, but never intended to become a professional vocalist. Instead, she applied her broad musical background to the study of orchestral conducting. Following graduate school, she was a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival (as both a conductor and singer), and she enjoyed success as the music director of several orchestras in the Chicago area. In her early thirties, Ms. Arnold reconnected with her love of singing, and discovered a special ability for making the most complex vocal music accessible to every audience. Having been inspired by many mentors, she is especially indebted to the teaching of sopranos Carmen Mehta and Carol Webber, conductors Robert Spano and Victor Yampolsky, and composer György Kurtág.
Pianist and conductor Stephen Drury has performed throughout the world with a repertoire that stretches from Bach to Liszt to the music of today. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and from Arkansas to Seoul. A champion of contemporary music, he has taken the sound of dissonance into remote corners of Pakistan, Greenland, and Montana.
In 1985, Stephen Drury was chosen by Affiliate Artists for its Xerox Pianists Program, and performed in residencies with symphony orchestras in San Diego, Cedar Rapids, San Angelo, Spokane, and Stamford. He has since performed or recorded with the American Composers Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Springfield (Massachusetts) and Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestras, and the Romanian National Symphony. Drury was a prize-winner in the Carnegie Hall/Rockefeller Foundation Competitions in American Music, and was selected by the United States Information Agency for its Artistic Ambassador Program and a 1986 European recital tour. A second tour in the fall of 1988 took him to Pakistan, Hong Kong, and Japan. He gave the first piano recitals ever in Julianehaab, Greenland, and Quetta, Pakistan. In 1989 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Drury a Solo Recitalist Fellowship which funded residencies and recitals of American music for two years. The same year he was named “Musician of the Year” by the The Boston Globe.
Stephen Drury's performances of music written in the last hundred years, ranging from the piano sonatas of Charles Ives to works by György Ligeti, Frederic Rzewski and John Cage have received the highest critical acclaim. Drury has worked closely with many of the leading composers of our time, including Cage, Ligeti, Rzewski, Steve Reich, Olivier Messiaen, John Zorn, Luciano Berio, Helmut Lachenmann, Christian Wolff, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Finnissy, Lee Hyla, and John Luther Adams. Drury has appeared at the MusikTriennale Koln in Germany, the Subtropics Festival in Miami, and the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo as well as at Roulette, the Knitting Factory, Tonic, and The Stone in New York. At Spoleto USA, the Angelica Festival in Bologna, and Oberlin Conservatory he performed as both conductor and pianist. He has conducted the Britten Sinfonia in England, the Santa Cruz New Music Works Ensemble, and the Harvard Group for New Music. In 1988–89 he organized a year-long festival of the music of John Cage which led to a request from the composer to perform the solo piano part in Cage's 1O1, premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in April 1989. In 2009, Drury performed the solo piano part in the Fourth Symphony of Charles Ives, again with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under Alan Gilbert. In 1999, Drury was invited by choreographer Merce Cunningham to perform onstage with Cunningham and Mikhail Barishnikov as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Drury has also appeared in New York at Alice Tully Hall as part of the Great Day in New York Festival and on the Bargemusic series, in Boston with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and as soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and with the Seattle Chamber Players in Seattle and Moscow at the International Music Festival “Images of Contemporary American Music.” In 2003, he performed and taught at the Mannes College of Music’s Beethoven Institute; in 2005, he returned to Mannes to play and teach at the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance. That summer he was also the piano faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute. In 2006, Drury’s performance of Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!” at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival was a sensation; he was invited back in 2008 to premiere Rzewski’s Natural Things with the Opus 21 Ensemble at the Gilmore Festival in Michigan and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York as part of the composer’s 70th birthday. That same summer Drury appeared at Bard College’s SUMMERSCAPE Festival, and at the Cité de la Musique in Paris for a week-long celebration of the music of John Zorn. In 2007, he was invited to León, Mexico to perform music by Rzewski, Zorn and Cage at the International Festival of Contemporary Art.
Drury has commissioned new works for solo piano from John Cage, John Zorn, John Luther Adams, Terry Riley, and Chinary Ung with funding provided by Meet The Composer. He has performed with Zorn in Paris, Vienna, London, Brussels, and New York, and conducted Zorn's music in Bologna, Boston, Chicago, and in the UK and Costa Rica. In March 1995, he gave the first performance of Zorn's concerto for piano and orchestra Aporias with Dennis Russell Davies and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Later that same season he gave the premiere of Basic Training for solo piano, written for him by Lee Hyla. Drury has recorded the music of John Cage, Elliott Carter, Charles Ives, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Colin McPhee, John Zorn, John Luther Adams and Frederic Rzewski, as well as works of Liszt and Beethoven, for Mode, New Albion, Catalyst, Tzadik, Avant, MusicMasters, Cold Blue, New World and Neuma.
Stephen Drury has given masterclasses at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mannes Beethoven Institute, and Oberlin Conservatory, and in Japan, Romania, Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, and throughout the United States, and served on juries for the Concert Artist Guild, Gaudeamus, and Orléans Concours International de Piano XXème Siècle Competitions. Drury is artistic director and conductor of the Callithumpian Consort, and he created and directs the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at New England Conservatory. Drury earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, and the New England Conservatory's select Artist Diploma. His teachers have included Claudio Arrau, Patricia Zander, William Masselos, Margaret Ott, and Theodore Lettvin, and conducting with Donald Thulean. He teaches at New England Conservatory, where he has directed festivals of the music of John Cage, Steve Reich, and (in 2010) Christian Wolff.