Dann Coakwell, Tenor

Dann Coakwell, tenor, has been praised as an “eloquent … vivid storyteller,” “with clear, attractive tone” (The New York Times), a “fine voice, admirably produced” (San Francisco Classical Voice), and he has been commended as “the standout vocal soloist … with utterly natural diction,” expressing “a gorgeous lyric tenor that could threaten or caress on the turn of a dime” (The Dallas Morning News). Dann is much sought-after as a performer of Bach, Handel, and their contemporaries, specializing in J.S. Bach’s Evangelist roles. Additionally well versed in the repertoire of Benjamin Britten and other composers from the last century, he also actively seeks out opportunities to collaborate with modern composers and perform new music.

Dann has appeared as a soloist in several productions at Carnegie Hall in New York, such as Handel’s Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline directed by William Christie, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with horn player William Purvis, and as the lead role of Andrey in the world premiere of Prokofiev's newly discovered and reconstructed opera act, Dalyekie Morya (Distant Seas), under the direction of piano virtuoso and Prokofiev scholar Boris Berman. Internationally, Dann has performed the role of Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Italy under Masaaki Suzuki, and he has served as soloist under Helmuth Rilling in Germany for a series of J.S. Bach’s cantatas. Under both artistic directors Helmuth Rilling and Matthew Halls at the Oregon Bach Festival, Dann has appeared numerous times as a soloist, where he has shared the stage with such internationally acclaimed singers as Thomas Quasthoff, baritone, and James R. Taylor, tenor. With Grammy Award-nominated Conspirare, under Craig Hella Johnson, Dann has performed as a featured soloist in major works such as Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Mass in B-minor, and upcoming in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, for the ensemble’s 2013 twentieth-anniversary celebration concert. Dann can be heard as a soloist on the harmonia mundi record label in the 2009 Grammy Award-nominated album, Conspirare: A Company of Voices, and upcoming in 2014 on The Sacred Spirit of Russia (working title). Recent world premieres of new works include the role of Ted Deakin in Paul Crabtree’s chamber opera, The Ghost Train, at the Carolina Chamber Music Festival (September 2012), and The Illuminator in David Evan Thomas’s oratorio, The First Apostle, in Houston (November 2012).

Other recent and upcoming highlights include appearances with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in the San Francisco Bay area, where Dann performed Handel’s Alexander’s Feast under Nicholas McGegan in April 2012, and returned under Masaaki Suzuki in December 2012 for Handel’s Messiah, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, and cantata BWV 63, Christen, ätzet diesen Tag. As Bach Evangelist, he performs St. Matthew Passion with the Colorado Bach Ensemble and Christmas Oratorio (including arias) under Julian Wachner at Trinity Wall Street Church, New York, in 2013. In 2014, he will perform St. John Passion as Evangelist under Craig Hella Johnson in Victoria and San Marcos, Texas. As Bach aria soloist, Dann performed St. Matthew Passion under Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2012 alongside rising star Nicholas Phan as Evangelist, in 2013 he reprises the same role in New York with world renowned English-German Evangelist Rufus Müller under John Scott at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, and he performs St. John Passion with Voices of Ascension in New York. Additionally in 2013, Dann rang in the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth year with a performance of Britten’s Canticle III: Still Falls the Rain in Houston, after having concluded 2012 with performances of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings in Norfolk and New Haven, Connecticut.

Originally from the Austin area in Texas, Dann currently lives near New Haven, Connecticut, where he also teaches a voice studio of Yale University undergraduate students. He holds an Artist Diploma in Vocal Performance from the Yale University School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Texas Tech University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Last updated February 2013

Gregg Rooklidge Photography