Phyllis Bryn-Julson

Soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson was born in Bowdon, North Dakota, and trained as a pianist at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Encouraged by Gunther Schuller, she undertook vocal study at Tanglewood, later studying at Syracuse University. In 1966 she made an acclaimed début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Berg’s Lulu Suite. This success was followed by engagements with major orchestras throughout the United States, including the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez. Although she has sung a wide repertoire, the purity of her voice, a three-octave range, and perfect pitch have made her internationally renowned as an interpreter of 20th-century music. She has sung the premières of works—many written for her—by such composers as Leonard Bernstein, David Del Tredici, Ned Rorem, Phillip Rhodes, Charles Wuorinen, Krzysztof Penderecki, Heinz Holliger, and Boulez. In 1976 she made her stage début under Sarah Caldwell in Boston as Malinche in the American première of Roger Sessions’s opera Montezuma. She made a critically acclaimed début at the Proms in London the following year and has also appeared in opera at Covent Garden. She has toured throughout the world with the Ensemble Intercontemporain under Boulez and given recitals at the Salzburg and Warsaw festivals, as well as elsewhere in Europe, Israel, and North America. Bryn-Julson has also taught in many venues, including the Britten-Pears School and the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and she is professor of voice at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1988 she became the first American ever to give a masterclass at the Moscow Conservatory.