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Melissa E. Givens

Assistant Professor of Music; Voice
With Pomona Since: 2018
  • Expertise

    Expertise

    American soprano Melissa Givens moves and excites audiences and critics alike with a rich, powerful tone, crystalline clarity and intelligent musical interpretations. Especially noted for her expressiveness and elegance on the stage, she’s been hailed as a singer whose music making is “consistently rewarding” and “a pleasure to hear.” Givens is also an extremely versatile artist, regularly performing repertoire from the Baroque era through music of the 21st century.

    Recent performances include the national tour of Craig Hella Johnson’s groundbreaking oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard with Conspirare. Givens also performed in George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children and the premiere of Die Schöne Mullerin Report by Tom Flaherty, both with Pomona College faculty and guest artists. In addition, she performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (chamber version) with the Greenbriar Consortium. Upcoming events include a duet recital with baritone Timothy Jones, and the release of her second solo recording, The Artist at Fifty, a recital of art songs from the composers’ fiftieth year.

    A champion of collaborative musical endeavors, Givens performs with various chamber music groups, including Grammy© nominated Conspirare, the 2015 Grammy© winner for Best Choral Performance. Her solo appearances on their major label releases have received enthusiastic reviews. She can also be heard on her debut solo CD, let the rain kiss you.

    Research Interests

    • Voice
    • Reception history
    • Harlem Renaissance
    • African American art song, opera, spirituals
    • Art song

    Areas of Expertise

    • Voice
    • Music history
    • Diction
    • Vocal pedagogy
    • African American art song and spirituals
  • Work

    Work

    Selected Discography

    • The Artist at Fifty, solo vocal CD, Shannon Hesse, piano (Centaur Records, forthcoming).
    • Conspirare: Considering Matthew Shepherd (soloist and ensemble), Craig Hella Johnson, Harmonia Mundi USA, 2016.
    • Conspirare: The Sacred Spirit of Russia (ensemble), Harmonia Mundi USA, 2014.
    • Conspirare: Sing Freedom! (soloist and ensemble), Harmonia Mundi USA, 2014.
    • Houston Chamber Choir: Psalmi ad Vesperae (soloist), G.P Colonna, MSR Classics, 2012.
    • Les Ballets C de la B: Pitié!, (soloist) J.S. Bach/Fabrizio Cassol, Cypres, 2008.
    • let the rain kiss you, solo vocal CD recorded with Dr. Joby Bell, 2001.

    Selected Performances

    • Mahler, Symphony No. 4, with The Greenbriar Consortium, Houston, 2019.
    • National tour performances of Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard with Conspirare: Company of Voices (soloist and ensemble), 2017-2019.
    • Solo recital of The Artist at Fifty on the Music at Pomona concert series, 2019.
    • Solo recital of The Artist at Fifty on the Grace Song, Inc. concert series in Houston, 2017.
  • Education

    Education

    DMA, University of Houston

    M.M., Rice University

    B.A., Davidson College

  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Pomona College, Wig Curriculum Development Grant, 2019.

    The Recording Academy: Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance: Conspirare, The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia Mundi USA, 2014), 2015.

    National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Lady Washington Chapter:
    Outstanding Performing Arts Award, 2013.

    Sigma Alpha Iota, Houston Alumnae Chapter:
    Patroness/Friend of the Arts, 2009.