David Gordon — a life in classical music
“A model of style and charm, and an irresistible performer”
- Washington POST
From Carnegie Hall to Tokyo, from Berlin to Buenos Aires, David Gordon has warmed the hearts of music lovers with singing the Boston GLOBE describes as "stirringly poetic, with absolute clarity of execution, great conviction, and glowing beauty."
David has received international critical acclaim as guest soloist with virtually every major North American symphony orchestra, and with other prestigious orchestras, operas, and music festivals on four continents.
“Outstanding vocal splendor, brimming with life.”
- Berlin MORGENPOST
David's solo vocal repertoire spans eight centuries and eight languages. He has collaborated in concerts, operas, and studio recordings with leading international conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Robert Shaw, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Helmuth Rilling, Peter Schreier, Yoel Levi, David Zinman, Gerard Schwarz, Bruno Weil, and James Conlon.
David has recorded Medieval music for Delos; major works of Bach, Beethoven and Schubert for Telarc, Delos, Vox, and Dorian; and 20th-century music for Naxos, BMG, and RCA Red Seal. Complete discography here.
On the Opera Stage
“David Gordon, a virtuoso singer and actor”
- Salzburg NACHRICHTEN
David made his operatic debut in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1973, after completing Lyric's apprenticeship program. Since then he's sung 59 roles in more than 700 performances with Lyric Opera, the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper, and other companies.
His operatic repertoire encompasses the music of Monteverdi, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Smetana, Massenet, Wagner, Moussorgsky, Leoncavallo, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, and Stravinsky.
He has performed dozens of lyric roles such as Nemorino (L'Elisir d'Amore), Almaviva (Barber of Seville), Tamino (Magic Flute), and David (Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg) but he is also known for his detailed and colorful portrayals of weird, scary or hilarious characters like Mime in Wagner's Ring, Bardolfo in Verdi's Falstaff, and the three crazy dudes in The Tales of Hoffmann.
“A marvel of slimy evil” - Chicago READER
Operatic credits include the Yurodivi ("Simpleton") in Boris Godunov in a season-opener at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Mime in Wagner's Das Rheingold at San Francisco opera and with the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi; Nemorino in Donizetti's Elisir d'Amore with the Staatsoper in Hamburg, Germany; Stravinsky's The Rakes Progress at the Kennedy Center; Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria; Puccini's Turandot at the Chicago and San Francisco Operas; Bardolfo in Verdi's Falstaff with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony, and in Japan with Maestro Ozawa and the New Japan Philharmonic.
In the concert hall
“Crystal intonation, effortless coloratura, impeccable style”
- Prague LIDOVA DEMOKRACIE
David Gordon is a distinguished concert soloist, and has been featured in concert and on recordings with major orchestras in North and South America, Europe, and Japan. Known for his wide repertoire, he has performed Berlioz' Romeo and Juliette with Valery Gergiev and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Haydn's Creation with the St. Louis Symphony; the Britten Serenade at Carnegie Hall; Rossini's Messa di Gloria with the Berlin Philharmonic; Britten's War Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra; Berlioz' Te Deum with the Boston Symphony; Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers with Helmuth Rilling and the Czech Philharmonic; and the world premiere of Charles Fussell's Funf Goethe-Lieder, written for Mr. Gordon and the Seattle Symphony.
J. S. Bach
“One of the world's great Bach tenors” - Chicago TRIBUNE
David Gordon has won particular praise for his performance of the music of J. S. Bach, in hundreds of concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, and Japan. He is especially known for his vivid portrayal of Bach's "Evangelists," the supremely demanding narrator roles in Bach's St. Matthew and St. John Passions.
“One of the greatest interpreters of the Evangelist of our time” - St. Louis POST DISPATCH
David has toured internationally as Bach Evangelist with the Bach-Collegium of Stuttgart, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, and the German Chamber Orchestra. He has performed Bach's major works at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York; Kennedy Center; Symphony Hall (Boston); Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco); Chandler Pavillion and Hollywood Bowl (LA); Philharmonic Hall (Berlin); Théatre des Champs Élysée (Paris); Musikverein (Vienna); NHK Symphony Hall (Tokyo); Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires); with Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academies in Stuttgart and Tokyo; and with innumerable other orchestras, ensembles and choral societies around the world.
“David Gordon was truly in a class by himself. One of today’s consummate Bach tenors, Mr. Gordon gave a thrilling interpretation. Even Bach could not wish for a grander portrayal.”
- Baltimore DAILY RECORD
The Carmel Bach Festival
In July 2018 David celebrated his 30th and final season with the Carmel Bach Festival in California. He made his Festival debut as the Evangelist in the St. John Passion, and in his fifth season he was invited to join the senior artistic team.
He presented most of the Festival's pre-concert lectures, produced English supertitles for vocal and choral performances on the Festival's main stage, and frequently served as narrator for concerts. He also led and greatly expanded the Festival's annual Vocal Master Class for young professional singers.
In 2014 David published Carmel Impresarios, the 400-page biography of the two visionary women who founded the Carmel Bach Festival and helped put Carmel, California on the map in the 1920s and 30s. Learn more.
“A superlative performance by David Gordon, in exquisite tone, deep commitment, and fabulous ease of technique.”
- New York DAILY NEWS
David Gordon appears on seventeen classical music CDs on RCA Red Seal, Naxos, London, Decca, Telarc, Delos, and other labels. The repertoire spans eight centuries, from the middle ages and renaissance, through the baroque and romantic eras, to several world premieres written especially for David.
Particular favorites include Bach Arias for Tenor with Greg Funfgeld and the Bethlehem Bach Festival Orchestra; the Bach Magnificat with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony; Stravinsky's Pulcinella with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood; Dreames and Imaginations, a collection of Elizabethan songs for tenor and consort of viols; and the role of Acis in a complete recording of Handel's opera Acis and Galatea with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony.