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Dawn Upshaw: Folk Songs

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Dawn Upshaw
Dawn Upshaw

Osvaldo Golijov
Osvaldo Golijov

Dawn Upshaw is one of the world's most beloved and admired sopranos. She has a way with complex modern works -- her 1992 recording of Henryk Gorecki's Third Symphony broke classical sales records -- and also the tuneful melodies of American composers like Stephen Foster and William.

Born in Nashville in 1960 and raised outside Chicago, Upshaw grew up in a musical -- and politically active -- home. Her parents, deeply committed to the Civil Rights movement, recruited Dawn and her big sister into the Upshaw Family Singers. While not a truly professional, the folk group performed for school and community groups, including an assembly the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

After moving into classical voice during college, Upshaw began an accelerated rise to the top of her craft, arriving at the Metropolitan Opera five years after graduation. But she's never lost her connection to folk music and this season, she has curated a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall, including this concert at the new Zankel Hall, where she premieres Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov's work, "Ayre."

Joining Dawn Upshaw on stage were flutist Susan Palma-Nidel, clarinetist David Krakauer, violist Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin, cellist Priscilla Lee, harpist Ina Zdorovetchi, and percussionists Maya Gunji and Joseph Gramley.

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Web Resources

  • Dawn Upshaw Biography at

  • Creators at Carnegie Dawn Upshaw Web Page
  • Composer Osvaldo Golijov at College of the Holy Cross