Donna C. Balson
Adjunct Associate Professor of Music
New Academic Building 103
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Degrees: BMUS, 1983, Univ Sydney Australia
Donna Balson began her formal musical education in her native Australia at the age of 12, as a student at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney. While continuing her studies to earn a Bachelor of Music Degree, she also attended the Sydney Opera School, and graduated with the Diploma of Operatic Arts and Music Theater. Her operatic debut was with Opera Australia in the title role of the world premiere of The Little Mermaid by Anne Boyd. Currently a resident of the U.S., she returns regularly to the southern hemisphere for concert and opera engagements. Recent performances include the roles of Leonora in La Forza del Destino and the title role in Tosca.
She continued her career in Europe, where she appeared with German companies such as Oper Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kammeroper, Deutsche Oper am Rhein and the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. Her European concert debut was with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra in Amsterdam. She has sung with the Prague Symphony, the Hessischer Rundfunk and the Residentie Orchest Den Haag, among others, in repertoire ranging from Bach through Verdi to Nono.
Her career has taken her to many other parts of the world. She has sung with Canterbury Opera in New Zealand, Opera Australia and Opera Queensland in Australia, Opera Lanka in Sri Lanka and the China National Symphony in Beijing. In the US she has performed with the Long Beach Opera, Bob Jones University, the Tucson Symphony, the Bridgeport Symphony, the National Chorale at Lincoln Center and the Symphony of the Americas among others, in repertoire including the Verdi Requiem, Boito’s Mefistofele and Tosca. As a recitalist, she has performed in Australia and the U.S., as well as in Hong Kong, Dubai, Bahrain, Uganda and Nairobi.
A particular interest is performing works by female composers; she was the featured soloist at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles of Virginia Woolf’s play Freshwater with music by Rebecca Clarke, and recently co-founded the chamber group The Feminine Musique with Hofstra colleague Tammy Hensrud, which is dedicated to showcasing the often neglected but outstanding music written by women including Clara Schumann, Nadia Boulanger, Fanny Mendelssohn and Alma Mahler.
Ms Balson made her Carnegie Hall debut in January 2009 as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and was invited to appear there again in the Rutter Requiem conducted by the composer. She has appeared several times with the Symphony of the Americas and will present the U.S. premiere of operatic works by Lecuona with the Symphony in 2010. In April 2009, she was honored to be invited to sing the National Anthems of Australia and New Zealand at the Washington National Cathedral for the Australian Memorial Day commemoration, ANZAC Day. Also in 2009 she toured north-eastern Australia as performer and associate music director of “Waltzing Our Matilda”, a co-production of Opera Queensland and the Queensland Arts Council.
Trained as a pianist, alongside her performing career, Ms. Balson has coached professional singers and given master classes in the U.S., New Zealand and Germany. In 2005 she joined the voice faculty at Hofstra University and in 2009 was engaged as guest coach for the Young Artist Program at Opera Queensland in Australia.