Patrick Mason, baritone

The distinguished American baritone, Patrick Mason, has performed and recorded an astonishingly wide range of music spanning the last 10 centuries. In the fall of 2007 he premiered a major new work by Pulitzer Prize winning composer George Crumb, Voices from a Forgotten World, with Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia, and he was a Grammy finalist in the category of Solo Vocal Performance in 2006 for his recording Songs of Amy Beach on Bridge Records. In March of 2008 he was heard in the New York premieres of operas by William Bolcom (Musical America’s 2007 Composer of the Year) and John Musto at New York’s Weill Hall. He reprised these works at the Moab Music Festival.

Patrick Mason began his career singing early music with groups such as The Waverly Consort, Schola Antiqua and The Boston Camerata, appearing at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in Holland, the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France and at The Cloisters in Manhattan. He has toured internationally with The New York Ensemble for Early Music’s production of “The Play of Daniel” and has recorded both Medieval and Renaissance works for Sony, Erato, Nonesuch and l’Oiseaux Lyre.

Since 1970 he has concertized with guitarist David Starobin in London’s Wigmore Hall, Merkin Hall in New York and in festivals throughout the United States and Europe. Their many recordings include Stephen Sondheim’sSunday Song Set, a group of four songs from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George arranged for guitar and voice by the musical’s orchestrator, David Starobin’s brother, Michael Starobin.

As a result of an abiding commitment to the music of our time, Patrick Mason has collaborated with composers Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, Harold Blumenfeld, Daniel Kellogg, Paul Lansky, David Leisner, Richard Wernick, Akimi Nieto and as well as Sondheim and Crumb. He created the lead role in John Duffy’s opera, Black Water (libretto by Joyce Carol Oates) to great acclaim in Philadelphia and has reprised the role in Los Angeles and New York. The Boston Globe hailed Mason’s portrayal of the dual lead in Tod Machover’s opera, VALIS, and the New York Times named his recording of that piece “Best CD of the Year.” He premiered the role of Ralston in Randall Shinn’s opera, Sara McKinnon (libretto by Mark Medoff) in New Mexico in 2002.

Mason has appeared with orchestras throughout the United States in works by Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Benjamin Britten (War Requiem) and John Adams (The Wound Dresser). He has sung with the New York Festival of Song since 1990 and at chamber music festivals in San Francisco, Steamboat Springs, Moab, Skaneateles and with the Takacs String Quartet.

In a long and successful association, Patrick Mason has made numerous recordings with Bridge Records:Songs of Amy Beach (Grammy finalist, 2006); Franz Schubert’s WinterreiseMélodies (French songs by Fauré, Poulenc, Ravel and Dutilleux); Stefan Wolpe — Vocal MusicAmerican Orchestral Song, featuring works of Horatio Parker, Virgil Thompson, Charles Griffes, John Alden Carpenter and Roy Harris; and an upcoming release of songs by John Musto (with soprano Amy Burton and the composer at the piano).

Mason is a Berton Coffin Faculty Fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder and is the vocal coordinator of the John Duffy Composer’s Institute (an annual two-week event which is part of the Virginia Arts Festival) where he works with young singers and composers to create new works for the musical stage.

A native of Ohio, Mason has collaborated with his childhood friend, the renowned artist Craig Russell, in adapting operas such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Wagner’s monumental Ring of the Nibelung for the comic books medium (the latter won the 2001 Will Eisner Award). Being raised in the low clay hills along the Ohio River his extra-musical passions are (naturally) hiking and ceramics.