Press Room

Tenor Nicholas Phan now represented by 21C Media Group

21C Media Group is delighted to announce that it now represents the young American tenor Nicholas Phan (pronounced PON, rhyming with “on”). Named one of NPR’s Favorite New Artists of 2011, Phan is a questing and highly expressive artist, praised for the extraordinary range of his repertoire and what the Chicago Sun-Times called “the ravishing beauty of his tone.” Opera News has noted that Phan “possesses a lyric instrument of exceptional quality.”
In the coming weeks Phan tours Europe with Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco, performing the role of Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante (March 4-17); joins Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy for performances of Bach’s St. John Passion in Canada (March 20, 21, & 23) and at New York’s Carnegie Hall (March 25); and sings in Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Saint Louis Symphony (March 31 & April 1) and the Chicago Bach Project (April 4). Other spring performances include Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Atlanta Opera (April 28-May 6), and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the New York Philharmonic (May 31-June 2). Earlier this season, Phan made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; sang in Bach’s Magnificat with Robert Spano and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall; and released – to unanimous acclaim – Winter Words, his solo debut recording, with pianist and frequent recital partner Myra Huang. This all-Britten album, available on Avie, made many “Best of 2011” lists including those of the New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Boston Globe and the Toronto Star (additional information about the album and a sample of critical acclaim follows below).
Phan’s musical passions and talents are diverse and eclectic. His repertoire spans from Baroque opera and sacred works to contemporary music (in December, he premiered a new work by Elliot Carter at a concert celebrating the composer’s 103rd birthday), and from bel canto opera to Romantic art song. He appears regularly with leading orchestras both at home and abroad, working with such orchestras as the BBC Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony; and with conductors such as Harry Bicket, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Jane Glover, Manfred Honeck, Nicholas McGegan, Zubin Mehta, John Nelson, Helmuth Rilling, David Robertson, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
An active recitalist – he made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in November 2010 and this season appeared in the prestigious Philadelphia Chamber Music series – Phan is also an avid proponent of vocal chamber music, enjoying collaborations with pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, and Cecile Licad, as well as with Jennifer Montone, Principal Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is also the Artistic Director of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, a Chicago-based organization devoted to promoting the teaching, performance, and development of the vocal chamber music repertoire.
Winter Words has been a breakthrough project for the tenor. The album captured Phan’s long-time fascination with the music of Benjamin Britten and became one of the most talked-about classical recordings of 2011. An exploration of two of the British composer’s most iconic song cycles written for Peter Pears, the recording presents Britten’s setting of Thomas Hardy’s Winter Words; the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo; and six of his beloved folk song arrangements. Although singing works strongly identified with a long line of British tenors, the American tenor was enthusiastically embraced by the UK press. The Sunday Telegraph praised his “top performance” of the cycle Winter Words, and BBC Music considered it “atmospherically evoked alongside the best.” The Sunday Times of London raved: “The voice is graceful, mellifluous and durable, but behind it lie sharp intelligence, poetic insight and a confident individuality, allowing him a deeply personal response to the Hardy cycle Winter Words. In the Seven Sonnets, Phan is equally at ease with the demands of the bel canto devices. The six folk-song settings here are exquisitely artful.”
Phan’s growing discography also includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (on CSO Resound). He has recently completed his recording of a second all-Britten vocal collection, Still Falls the Rain, which can be previewed here and which will be released in the fall.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Phan also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artists Program. He was the recipient of a 2006 Sullivan Foundation Award and a 2004 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.
The Connecticut-born, Michigan-raised Phan documents his journeys as a musician in his well-traveled blog, The tenor explains its name: “I sing. I travel. I am half Greek and half Chinese – thus the blog’s name, a combination of the two nationalities in French.”
Additional information about Nicholas Phan, including a complete biography, is available at the artist’s website:
Critical Acclaim for Winter Words
““These bleakly beautiful, sometimes satirical and stunning settings of eight Thomas Hardy poems prove ideal for Nicholas Phan, the sweet-voiced young tenor, sensitively accompanied by Myra Huang.”
–      New York Times
“Five stars out of five. Spacious, deeply moving.”
–      BBC Music Magazine
“Phan has a lithe, beautiful voice, but it’s his masterful characterization of these songs – by turns desolate, humorous, and turbulent – that makes such a deep impression. That’s something to be treasured, wherever it pops up.”
–      Boston Globe
“Phan’s singing…digs deep into the fervor of Britten’s writing.”
–      San Francisco Chronicle
“Britten’s underserved songs served as a stimulating calling card for Nicholas Phan…”
–      Time Out New York
“Winter Words is one of the best recitals I’ve heard this year, and it marks Phan’s entry as an artist who must be heard.”
–      National Public Radio
“Announcing a remarkable young talent to watch, Phan’s debut has ‘award winner’ stamped through it in every phrase and note.”
–      The Classical Review
Nicholas Phan: upcoming engagements
March 4-17
European Tour with Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis
Handel: Ariodante (Lurcanio)
March 4: Madrid, Spain (Auditorio Nacional de Música)
March 6: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Concertgebouw)
March 7: Rotterdam, Netherlands (De Doelen)
March 9: Vienna, Austria (Theater an der Wien)
March 11: Braunschweig, Germany (Staatstheater Braunschweig)
March 13: Eindhoven, Netherlands (Musiekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven)
March 15: Versailles, France (Château de Versailles)
March 17: Vichy, France (L’Opéra de Vichy)
March 20 & 21
Québec, Canada
Raoul-Jobin Concert Hall
Les Violons du Roy / Bernard Labadie
Bach: St. John Passion
March 23
Montréal, Canada
Place des Arts
Les Violons du Roy / Bernard Labadie
Bach: St. John Passion
March 25
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Les Violons du Roy / Bernard Labadie
Bach: St. John Passion
March 31, April 1
Saint Louis, MO
Saint Louis Symphony / David Robertson
Bach: Mass in B minor
April 4
Chicago, IL
Chicago Bach Project / John Nelson
Bach: St. John Passion (Evangelist)
April 28, May 1, 4, & 6
Atlanta, GA
Atlanta Opera
Mozart: Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio)
May 31, June 1 & 2
New York, NY
New York Philharmonic / Rafael Frübeck de Burgos
Orff: Carmina Burana
June 3
Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Recital with Jeremy Denk, piano
June 8
Saulgau, Germany
Bach Collegium Stuttgart / Helmuth Rilling
Bach: Mass in B minor
June 9
Stuttgart, Germany
Bach Collegium Stuttgart / Helmuth Rilling
Bach: Mass in B minor
Follow Nicholas Phan on Facebook:
Follow Nicholas Phan on Twitter:!/grecchinois
Read Nicholas Phan’s blog here:



Return to Press Room