Davóne Tines, bass-baritone

Davóne Tines

Heralded as "[one] of the most powerful voices of our time" by the Los Angeles Times, bass-baritone Davóne Tines has come to international attention as a path-breaking artist whose work not only encompasses a diverse repertoire but also explores the social issues of today. As a Black, gay, classically trained performer at the intersection of many histories, cultures, and aesthetics, he is engaged in work that blends opera, art song, contemporary classical music, spirituals, gospel, and songs of protest, as a means to tell a deeply personal story of perseverance that connects to all of humanity.

Davóne Tines is Musical America’s 2022 Vocalist of the Year. He came to international attention during the 2015-16 season via breakout, world-premiere performances of Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains, directed by Peter Sellars, at Dutch National Opera, Finnish National Opera, Opéra national de Paris, and Teatro Real (Madrid), and through performances at the Ojai Music Festival in which he sang works by Caroline Shaw and Kaija Saariaho alongside the Calder Quartet and International Contemporary Ensemble. During the 2021-22 season, he will be Artist-in-Residence at Michigan Opera Theatre, culminating in his performance in the title role of the company’s new production of recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, directed by Robert O’ Hara. He has also been named the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale’s first-ever Creative Partner, in which capacity he will be closely involved in developing new programs and ideas for the Philharmonia throughout the 2021-22 season, in addition to hosting its 2022 gala.

Further engagements during the coming season include concerts with the Dover Quartet presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, and the 2022 Ojai Music Festival, where he performs and—as a founding, core member of the American Modern Opera Company—collaborates in the company’s music directorship of the 2022 festival. Among his dates that remain to be announced are 2020-21 engagements postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, including the European premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state with Ilan Volkov conducting the BBC Symphony, John Adams’ El Niño with David Robertson and the Houston Symphony, and John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West with the composer conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Davóne Tines recently unveiled his project Recital No. 1: MASS, a 75-minute recital for bass-baritone and pianist that explores the liturgical Mass woven through Western European, African-American, and 21st-century traditions. The program, which he performs in his Ravinia Festival debut this summer, includes traditional music as well as pieces by J.S. Bach, Margaret Bonds, Moses Hogan, Julius Eastman, Caroline Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, and Mr. Tines. MASS was to have premiered during the 2020-21 season in performances with pianist Adam Nielsen presented by Carnegie Hall, the Celebrity Series of Boston, DACAMERA (Houston), Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), and Vocal Arts DC. These dates were among those affected by COVID-19.

With the shift towards digital content creation during the pandemic, Davóne Tines began creating short music films that use powerful visuals to accentuate the social and poetic dimensions of the music. In September 2020, Lincoln Center virtually presented his music film VIGIL, which pays tribute to Breonna Taylor, the EMT and aspiring nurse who was shot and killed by police in her Louisville home, and whose tragic death has fueled an international outcry. Created in collaboration with Matthew Aucoin, Igée Dieudonné, and Conor Hanick, the work was subsequently arranged for orchestra by Mr. Aucoin and premiered in a live-stream by Mr. Tines and the Louisville Orchestra, conducted by Teddy Abrams. VIGIL additionally serves as the middle movement of Mr. Tines’ triptych Concerto No. 1: SERMON, in which the piece is paired with “Shake the Heavens,” from John Adams’ El Niño, and “You Want the Truth, but You Don’t Want to Know,” from Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. In May 2021, Mr. Tines performed Concerto No. 1: SERMON on live and digital programs with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Additional music films include FREUDE, an a cappella mashup of Beethoven with African-American hymns that was shot, produced, and edited by Davóne Tines at his hometown church in Warrenton, Virginia and presented virtually by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale; EASTMAN, a micro-biographical film highlighting the life and work of composer Julius Eastman; and NATIVE SON, in which Mr. Tines sings the Black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” and pays homage to the ’60s Civil Rights-era motto “I am a man.” The latter film was created for the fourth annual Native Son Awards, which celebrate Black, gay excellence. Further online highlights include appearances as part of Boston Lyric Opera’s new miniseries, desert in, marking his company debut; LA Opera at Home’s Living Room Recitals; and the 2020 NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards.

Notable performances on the opera stage have included the world and European premieres of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera and Dutch National Opera, respectively; the world premiere of Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons’ Fire Shut Up In My Bones at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing, directed by Diane Paulus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; a new production of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex at Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos led by Leo Hussain; and Handel’s rarely staged Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo at National Sawdust, presented in a new production by Christopher Alden. Performances as a member of the American Modern Opera Company have included Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, John Adams’ Nativity Reconsidered, and Were You There, in collaboration with Matthew Aucoin and Michael Schachter.

Davóne Tines is co-creator and co-librettist of The Black Clown, a music theater experience inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem of the same name. The work, which was created in collaboration with director Zack Winokur and composer Michael Schachter, expresses a Black man’s resilience against America’s legacy of oppression—fusing vaudeville, opera, jazz, and spirituals to bring Hughes’ verse to life onstage. The world premiere was given by the American Repertory Theater in 2018, and The Black Clown was presented by Lincoln Center in summer 2019.

Concert appearances have included John Adams’ El Niño with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Vladimir Jurowski, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony, Kaija Saariaho’s True Fire with the Orchestre national de France conducted by Olari Elts, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Royal Swedish Orchestra, and a program spotlighting music of resistance by George Crumb, Julius Eastman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Caroline Shaw with conductor Christian Reif and members of the San Francisco Symphony at SoundBox. In May 2021, he sang in Tulsa Opera’s concert Greenwood Overcomes, which honored the resilience of Black Tulsans and Black America one hundred years after the Tulsa Race Massacre. That event featured Mr. Tines premiering “There are Many Trails of Tears,” an aria from Anthony Davis’ opera-in-progress Fire Across the Tracks: Tulsa 1921.

Davóne Tines is a winner of the 2020 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, recognizing extraordinary classical musicians of color who, early in their career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities. In 2019 he was named as one of Time Magazine’s Next Generation Leaders. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Artists Award given by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and is a graduate of Harvard University and The Juilliard School.