Described by the Boston Globe as “one of the world’s most remarkable singers,” American tenor Nicholas Phan is increasingly recognized as an artist of distinction. An artist with an incredibly diverse repertoire that spans nearly 500 years of music, he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. Phan is also an avid recitalist and a passionate advocate for art song and vocal chamber music; in 2010, Phan co-founded Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an organization devoted to promoting this underserved repertoire.
Phan begins the 2022-23 season curating and performing in CAIC’s 11th annual Collaborative Works Festival. This year’s festival theme, The Song of Chicago, will celebrate the city’s rich and diverse musical history through song. Other highlights of the season include returns to the New York Philharmonic for the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and a return to the Dallas Symphony for performances of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Other symphonic returns include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Boston Baroque. On the new music front, he performs two song cycles that were composed recently for him: Aaron Jay Kernis’ Earth with Santa Fe Pro Musica and Nico Muhly’s Stranger in a newly-commissioned orchestration with New Century Chamber Orchestra. He also joins the baroque ensemble Il Pomo D’Oro as Lurcanio in a tour of Handel’s Ariodante that includes stops at the Philharmonie Essen, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, and the Théâtre Champs-Élysées in Paris.
A celebrated recording artist, Phan’s most recent album, Stranger: Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly, was released to critical acclaim in the summer of 2022. His album, Clairières, a recording of songs by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, was nominated for the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. His album, Gods and Monsters, was nominated for the same award in 2017 and made him the first singer of Asian-descent to be nominated in the history of the category, which has been awarded by the Recording Academy since 1959. His other previous solo albums Illuminations, A Painted Tale, Still Fall the Rain and Winter Words, made many “best of” lists, including those of the New York Times, New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, WQXR, and the Boston Globe.
Sought after as a curator and programmer, in addition to his work as artistic director of CAIC, Phan has also created programs for broadcast on WFMT and WQXR, and served as guest curator for projects with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Laguna Beach Music Festival, Merola Opera Program, and San Francisco Performances, where he served as the vocal artist-in-residence from 2014-2018. Praised by the Chicago Classical Review as “the kind of thoughtful, intelligent programming that should be a model,” Phan’s programs often examine themes of identity, highlight unfairly underrepresented voices from history, and strive to underline the relevance of music from all periods to the currents of the present day.