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NicK Launches 2017-18 Season in Chicago with Sixth Annual Collaborative Arts Festival (Sep 6-9); Other Highlights Include New Artistic Directorships, Multiple Debuts, Repertoire from Lute Songs to Title Role of Bernstein’s Candide

"Described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as an artist whose “voice takes complete possession of the music,” tenor Nicholas Phan once again launches his new season in Chicago, curating the sixth annual Collaborative Arts Festival, which he co-founded in 2010 and of which he is artistic director. This year’s four-day festival (Sep 6-9), “Myths and Legends,” explores a theme of storytelling and fantasy and features guest artist Susanna Phillips in a solo recital and master class. Phan also adds two new artistic associations to his portfolio this season, when he becomes the first singer to serve as Guest Artistic Director of Laguna Beach Music Festival, and serves as Guest Director of Apollo’s Fire, where he will oversee one of the fall subscription weeks with this acclaimed Cleveland-based baroque orchestra.

In concert, Phan makes his Herbst Theater recital debut with San Francisco Performances, where he has served as the vocal artist-in-residence since 2014. The Herbst program, which explores music of the Belle Époque, includes Fauré’s La bonne chanson and Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées, both of which will be featured on his next recording for Avie Records, slated for release in April 2018. Throughout the season, Phan will perform with orchestras big and small in the wide range of repertoire that prompted Opera News to call him “both secure and chameleonic in identity.” Highlights include debuts with A Far CryMinnesota Orchestra, France’s Orchestre d’Auvergne, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo led by music director Marin Alsop, marking Phan’s first performances in South America. He also performs with The Knights, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony under Riccardo Muti, and in the title role of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide with the Toronto Symphony, as part of the world-wide celebration of the centenary of the composer’s birth. Rounding out Phan’s season is a return to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to perform Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes in New York and on tour in Chicago, as well as a collaborative performance with the Jasper String Quartet, singing arrangements of Schubert Lieder and Britten folksongs..."  (READ MORE

NICK IS FEATURED IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF OPERA NEWS

"WHEN TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN invited me to one of his rehearsals, I jumped at the chance. I’ve long admired Phan’s musical individuality and his smart, thoughtful blog, and I’m fascinated to see him at work. At an October 2016 meeting near Lincoln Center, Phan and pianist Myra Huang are revisiting “Gods and Monsters,” a program of German lieder that they’ve already toured and recorded. If one of them needs to tear through a song full-out to check stamina, the other obliges. They dig into the texts, refining tempo changes—“Is that ritard too indulgent?”—and sharpening musical gestures. 

I’m curious to know why, with a career centered on composers such as Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky and Britten, Phan never felt the need to move to Europe. He answers immediately, “I’m very aware of being an American artist, and I feel a responsibility to be here.” Half Greek, half Chinese, and raised in the Midwest, Phan admits that the first time he identified as an American—“and what that meant”—was in 2003, at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. “It was like being at the Olympics, with flags from every country hanging at the hotels,” he says. Phan, who was one of the youngest competitors that year, has only one regret. “I was too chicken to just go out and sing ‘Shenandoah.’” 

Now, at thirty-eight, Phan seems both secure and chameleonic in identity. He’s smart and well-educated, an ex-violinist (“Sometimes it’s a relief having and not being the instrument”) and a sophisticated chamber musician..."

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NICK IS PROFILED IN SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

"At 38, tenor Nicholas Phan  is one of the few “young” American singers who champions lieder and art song. His love affair with song began a decade ago, during the first of four summers he spent at the Marlboro Music Festival. Since then, he has recorded four song recitals for AVIE, of repertoire ranging from Blow and Beethoven to Britten.

Now devoting a good third of his career to art song, Phan recently gave a recital at London’s fabled Wigmore Hall. This season has also seen his role debut as the lead in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and next season he sings Toronto Symphony’s concert version of Bernstein/Sondheim’s Candide. It’s a genuinely 21st-century career..."  (READ MORE)

NICK TOURS THE EAST COAST WITH MUSICIANS FROM MARLBORO FESTIVAL PERFORMING BEETHOVEN & VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

BOSTON GLOBE

"Musicians from Marlboro, the touring ensemble from the Vermont chamber music gathering, are regular visitors to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, each concert bearing a few glimpses into the storied summer festival’s approach to its craft. Sometimes, though, the group offers something more. That was the case Sunday, when its latest iteration included Nicholas Phan, a tenor who, in a short time, has become one of the world’s most remarkable singers.

The reasons for his success were apparent during an incisive performance of “On Wenlock Edge,” Vaughan Williams’s song cycle for tenor, piano, and string quartet...One could admire, in Phan’s performance, the variety of shadings in his voice, the naturalness of his phrasing, and the evenness of his vocal range. But that was all secondary to the sheer intensity with which he inflected every word. It was there in the fragile, whispered opening of “From far, from eve and morning” and in the torrent of anguish in “Is my team ploughing” and “Bredon Hill.” Even when the mood lightened, there was no moment where you did not feel the sheer force of Phan’s projection.

He was, in an odd way, almost as impressive in a selection of five of Beethoven’s settings of Irish folk songs for voice and piano trio. These are not Beethoven’s most distinguished creations, and the rather banal texts suffer in comparison to Housman’s. But there was no less depth in Phan’s artistic investment, and he made the stories these songs told compelling and poignant..."

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

"...Their intensity rose with the arrival of tenor Nicholas Phan. He and pianist Lydia Brown joined the strings for Vaughan Williams’ On Wenlock Edge, and this combination found meaning in the words of the song cycle: Brown’s gusts of wind in the first song, the recurring bells of the fifth. Each song was granted its own atmosphere.

Phan’s voice -- here as well as in five movements from Beethoven’s Irische Lieder -- is a thing of wonder. He has a warm, centered basic sound that he shades in smart ways to sharpen meanings. He toggled back and forth between a warm vibrato and a timbre a good deal more bald but still beautiful. To Beethoven, he brought a slightly less formal sound..."

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NICK's role debut as tamino in mozart's Magic FLute with boston baroque now streaming on 99.5 WCRB boston

Photo: Kathy Wittman

Photo: Kathy Wittman

Hear one of the highlights of  the concert season on-demand, as Martin Pearlman leads a stellar cast in one of Mozart's most effervescent operas, on WCRB In Concert.

 In 1989, 16 years after its founding, Boston Baroque and music director Martin Pearlman made history when they presented the first all period-instrument production of Mozart's The Magic Flute here in the United StatesNearly 30 years later in April of this year, Pearlman returned to this marvelous work with another shimmering historically-informed performance.  Recorded on April 16, 2016, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall.

Hear the program on-demand by clicking HERE