Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano

Heidi Grant Murphy

A shimmering soprano with enchanting stage presence, Heidi Grant Murphy is in demand internationally for stage roles and guest soloist performances that elevate concerts into memorable musical occasions.

Ms. Murphy has appeared with many of the world's finest opera companies and symphony orchestras, notably the Metropolitan Opera, Salzburg Festival, Frankfurt Opera, Netherlands Opera, Théí¢tre Royal de la Monnaie, Opera National de Paris and Santa Fe Opera. She has been engaged as soloist with the Vienna, New York, Los Angeles and Buffalo Philharmonics; Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras; and Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Houston, Nashville, Montreal, National and Dallas Symphonies. Ms. Murphy has worked with such esteemed conductors as James Levine, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph Eschenbach, Reinbert de Leeuw, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Jeffery Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo de Waart, Christoph Von Dohnányi, David Zinman, Bernard Haitink, Pinchas Zukerman and the late Robert Shaw and Lorin Maazel.

Ms. Murphy’s nearly 25-year-long career with the Metropolitan Opera has seen her play such signature roles as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Servilia in Clemenza di Tito and Nanetta in Falstaff. Over the course of this illustrious career she has been hailed by the New York Times for her “bright, focused tone and impressive agility” and by Opera News who said her “astonishingly pure tone floats with an otherworldly ease,” vocal and technical hallmarks for which she continues to be renowned. She has been a featured guest on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts and BBC Radio 3.

In the 2014-15 season Ms. Murphy performs Haydn’s Messiah with the Seattle Symphony and Chorale with conductor Cristian Macelaru, and Haydn’s Mass with the San Diego Symphony. She gives recitals with pianist Menahem Pressler, including the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. The program features Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben alongside other Schumann and Strauss songs. Ms. Murphy appears as guest soloist with the Tucson Symphony in Poulenc’s Gloria and Strauss’s Presentation of the Rose and Final Trio from Der Rosenkavalier conducted by George Hanson as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival.

Beyond establishing a reputation for her musicianship, impeccable technique and silvery, youthful voice, Ms. Murphy is also widely recognized and valued by her colleagues, fellow artists and presenters for her warm personality and generosity of spirit. Throughout her career she has continually defied many commonly held beliefs attached to sopranos, maintaining and growing an international career while raising four children, and retaining all the technical and artistically-valued attributes of her voice into the second decade of her professional life. Throughout her career she has championed works by female composers in both her recital selections and recorded repertoire. In 2004 she performed the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Gathering Paradise, a setting of poetry by Emily Dickinson, with the New York Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel that was recorded and released in 2006. In 2002 she released an acclaimed recording, Clearings in the Sky, featuring songs by Lili Boulanger of which Gramophone said “Murphy’s crystalline soprano and expressive generosity prove an ideal combination to bring this varied repertoire to vivid life.”

She has recorded for Koch International, New World, the New York Philharmonic’s private label, Naxos, Arabesque, PS Classics, Delos and Deutsche Grammophon. In 2009 her roles as a singer and mother were brought together on a recording especially close to her heart called Lullabies and Nightsongs adapted from a 1965 songbook of the same name featuring melodies by composer Alec Wilder and illustrations by Maurice Sendak. San Francisco Classical Voice said “It’s hard to imagine a finer singer for this material than Murphy. The beauty of her pure, shining voice and the simplicity of her delivery caress Wilder’s music with infinite charm.” This recording and several others feature her husband, the noted pianist, conductor and opera coach Kevin Murphy, demonstrating their longtime musical partnership.

In August 2011 Ms. Murphy was appointed to the faculty of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music as an adjunct professor of practice, teaching private voice lessons, diction courses and leading the opera scene programming. In October 2012 Ms. Murphy received an Honorary Doctorate from Western Washington University, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in music performance. Ms. Murphy resides in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and children.