Sanford Sylvan, baritone

American baritone Sanford Sylvan is perhaps best known for his acclaimed participation in the John Adams operas Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer; other operatic appearances have generally been just as well received. However, Sylvan's career has been much more intensely focused on the art song repertory -- a commitment that has not gone unnoticed by recital goers and lieder/chanson-loving record buyers.

Sylvan was born in New York and as a teenager studied at the Juilliard School preparatory division; he later enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music for undergraduate work. The international spotlight first shone on him when he created the role of Chou En-Lai for the 1987 Houston Opera premiere of Nixon in China; the original cast recording of the work received a Grammy Award in 1989. Sylvan has since been nominated for several additional Grammys. The entire range of the repertoire has been represented in Sylvan's opera career, from Mozart (including the role of Figaro in a PBS Television broadcast of Le nozze di Figaro) through Stravinsky (The Flood). John Adams called on Sylvan again for the Klinghoffer opera in 1991, and also for a setting of Walt Whitman's The Wound Dresser (1988), and a number of other major contemporary composers, among them Philip Glass and John Harbison, have followed suit by employing Sylvan's considerable gifts.

When performing and recording art songs, Sanford Sylvan invariably casts David Breitman in the role of pianist; their collaborations, especially of Gabriel Fauré's chansons, are treasured. In 2000, Sanford Sylvan and David Breitman presented The Glass Hammer, a new song cycle by Jorge Martin, to a Carnegie Hall audience.