Each season, Gustavo Gimeno selects guest artists whose virtuosity and versatility he wishes to showcase. In 2023/24, these Spotlight Artists will be Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo and Canadian violinist James Ehnes. In addition to performing in two programs each, they’ll participate in ancillary TSO events and educational activities.
2023/24 Spotlight Artists
Hailed by The New York Times as “one of the world’s special young singers,” Emily D’Angelo has continued her meteoric rise and firmly established herself as one of the most exciting and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Called “wondrous and powerful” by The New York Times for her recent US recital début, the mezzo-soprano is the first and only vocalist to have been presented with the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. A 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist, one of CBC’s “Top 30 Under 30” Canadian classical musicians, and among WQXR NYC Public Radio’s “40 Under 40” singers to watch, D’Angelo made her stage début, at only 21 years of age, as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Spoleto’s Festival dei Due Mondi, where she was awarded the 2016 Monini Prize.
In past seasons, Emily D’Angelo made a string of widely acclaimed role and house débuts, further cementing her status as one of today’s most sought-after performers. Highlights include her house and role début as Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea) at Zurich Opera; her house and role début as Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) at the Royal Opera House in London; her role début as Idamante (Idomeneo) at Bavarian State Opera; her house and role début as Angelina (Rossini’s La Cenerentola) at Semperoper Dresden; Prince Charming (Massenet’s Cinderella) at the Metropolitan Opera; her house début as Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and her role début as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) at Teatro alla Scala; and her house début at Paris Opera presenting, in another role début, Siébel (Gounod’s Faust) and Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Emily D’Angelo is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive recording artist. Her début album, enargeia, was named one of the 50 best albums of 2021 by NPR and the best Canadian classical album of 2021 by the CBC, was featured on NPR’s 100 best songs of 2021, and received JUNO and Gramophone Awards in 2022.
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism, and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest at the world’s most celebrated concert halls.
Recent orchestral highlights include the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony, NHK Symphony, and Munich Philharmonic. Throughout the 2023/24 season, Ehnes continues as Artist in Residence with the National Arts Centre of Canada and as Artistic Partner with Artis—Naples. During this season, he will make débuts with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Alongside his concerto work, Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall (including the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas in 2019/20, and the complete violin/viola works of Brahms and Schumann in 2021/22), Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Verbier Festival, Dresden Music Festival and Festival de Pâques in Aix-en-Provence. A devoted chamber musician, he is the leader of the Ehnes Quartet and the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including two GRAMMY® Awards, three Gramophone Awards, and 11 JUNO Awards. In 2021, Ehnes was announced as the recipient of the coveted Artist of the Year title in the 2021 Gramophone Awards, which celebrated his recent contributions to the recording industry, including the launch of a new online recital series entitled Recitals from Home, which was released in June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of concert halls. Ehnes recorded the six Bach sonatas and partitas and six sonatas of Ysaÿe from his home with state-of-the-art recording equipment, and released six episodes over the period of two months. These recordings have been met with great critical acclaim by audiences worldwide and Ehnes was described by Le Devoir as being “at the absolute forefront of the streaming evolution.”
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of 5, became a protege of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin at age 9, and made his orchestra début with l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at age 13. He continued his studies with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation in 1997. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, where he is a Visiting Professor.
Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.