Embodying music with an unparalleled dramatic sensibility, soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan is an artist at the forefront of creation. Her artistic colleagues include Simon Rattle, Sasha Waltz, Kent Nagano, Vladimir Jurowski, John Zorn, Andreas Kriegenburg, Andris Nelsons, Esa Pekka Salonen, Christoph Marthaler, Antonio Pappano, Katie Mitchell, Kirill Petrenko, and Krszysztof Warlikowski. The late conductor and pianist Reinbert de Leeuw has been an extraordinary influence and inspiration on her development as a musician.
The Canadian musician has shown a profound commitment to the music of our time and has given the world première performances of over 85 new creations. Hannigan has collaborated extensively with composers including Boulez, Zorn, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, Dean, Benjamin and Abrahamsen.
The 20/21 season presented both challenges and opportunities, and true to form, Barbara continued at her own speed of light, premiering a new live video production of La Voix Humainein which she both sings and conducts, created in collaboration with video artist Denis Guéguin as part of her residency with l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. She performed across Europe with colleagues including Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, festivals in Ludwigsburg and Aix en Provence, and celebrated her 50th birthday at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, conducting the Ludwig Orchestra in works of Haydn, Copland, Barry and two Kurt Weill songs arranged for Barbara by Bill Elliott.
The 21/22 season brings her return to La Monnaie as Lulu in the much-awaited remount of her first Lulu production with Warlikowski from 2012. Her La Voix Humaine production will take her to London Symphony Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic, and she happily returns to Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra as well as to her younger colleagues of The Juilliard School. She will sing the world premiere of a new work by Zosha di Castri with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and present several concerts with vocal works by John Zorn in Antwerp, Hamburg and Modena.
Hannigan’s album as both singer and conductor, Crazy Girl Crazy (2017), won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal album and numerous other awards including an Edison and a Juno. Other recent albums include Vienna: fin de siècle, and Satie’s Socrate, both with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw. In spring 2020 she released her latest album on Alpha Classics, La Passione with works of Nono, Haydn and Grisey. Three new cd recordings for the Alpha label are on the way to release.
Barbara’s commitment to the younger generation of musicians led her to create the mentoring initiative Equilibrium Young Artists in 2017, and in 2020, Barbara created Momentum: our Future Now, an initiative which encourage other leading artists and organizations to support and mentor younger professional musicians. In spring 2020 Barbara was awarded the Dresdener Musikfestspiele Glashütte Award, and May 2021 saw her awarded Denmark’s prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize. The financial component of both awards was donated to young artists initiatives.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Barbara resides in Finistère, on the northwest coast of France.