Featured Artist - Kevin Deas

Kevin Deas has gained international acclaim as one of America’s leading basses. Lauded for his “burnished sound, clarity of diction and sincerity of expression” and “fervent intensity” by Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein, Deas has been variously called “exemplary” (Denver Post), “especially fine” (Washington Post) and possessing “a resourceful range of expression” (The Cincinnati Enquirer). He is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, having sung it with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego, Utah, Houston, Baltimore and Montreal symphonies and the Ravinia and Saratoga festivals.

The 2008/09 season offers a snapshot of the continued demand Kevin Deas enjoys with the major orchestras in the US. He returns to the New York Philharmonic in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges under Lorin Maazel, then goes on to sing in the world premiere of Derek Bermel’s The good Life with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and is again heard in Hannibal Lokumbe’s Dear Mrs. Parks, this time with the Detroit Symphony. Other return engagements this season bring him to the Atlanta Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Boston Baroque, Winnipeg Symphony, Modesto Symphony, National Philharmonic, The Discovery Orchestra and an appearance at the Winter Park Festival.

During the 2009/10 season, Kevin will appear in Beethoven Ninth with Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonic, Brahms Requiem with Hartford Symphony, Messiah with Minnesota Orchestra and Musica Sacra and Verdi Requiem with Vermont Symphony.

Last season, he appeared with the Baltimore Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, sang a special tribute program with the Pittsburgh Symphony, portrayed Crown in Porgy and Bess with the Santa Fe Symphony, and participated in a Christmas program with the Rochester Philharmonic. He also returned to the symphonies of Quebec, Grand Rapids, Cedar Rapids, Hartford, Vermont and sang with Boston Baroque, Musica Sacra, Princeton Pro Musica and at several festivals.

Other recent highlights include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of Daniel Barenboim with Filarmonica della Scala in Accra celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Ghana, Copland’s Old American Songs and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro with the Chicago Symphony, Messiah with the Cleveland Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Handel & Haydn Society, an opening performance at the Newport Jazz Festival with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Colorado Symphony and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and performances of Brubeck’s To Hope! in Salzburg and Vienna.

Other noteworthy engagements have included appearances at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and Carnegie Hall, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Chicago Symphony and Barenboim, Mozart’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the Houston Symphony.

A strong proponent of contemporary music, Kevin Deas was heard at Italy’s Spoleto Festival in a new production of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors in honor of the composer's eighty-fifth birthday, videotaped for worldwide release. His 20-year collaboration with Dave Brubeck have taken him to Salzburg, Vienna and Moscow in To Hope! and his Gates of Justice were presented in a gala performance in New York during the 95/96 season. He also performed Tippet's Child of our Time with the Vancouver Symphony and in 1992 debuted with the Chicago Symphony in a concert version of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X by Anthony Davis, later repeated in New York and recorded.

Kevin Deas’ list of recordings is as varied as it is impressive: He has recorded for Decca/London Die Meistersinger with the Chicago Symphony under the late Sir Georg Solti and Varèse's Ecuatorial with the ASKO Ensemble under the baton of Ricardo Chailly. Other releases include Bach's B minor Mass and Handel's Acis & Galatea on Vox Classics and Dave Brubeck's To Hope! with the Cathedral Choral Society on the Telarc label.