“Soprano Tony Arnold is a luminary in the world of chamber music and art song. Today’s classical composers are inspired by her inherently beautiful voice, consummate musicianship, and embracing spirit,” wrote the Huffington Post. Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” she is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, having premiered more than 200 works “with a musicality and virtuosity that have made her the Cathy Berberian of her generation” (Chicago Tribune). Since becoming the first-prize laureate of both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition, Tony Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage, and shares with the audience her “broader gift for conveying the poetry and nuance behind outwardly daunting contemporary scores” (Boston Globe). “Simply put, she is a rock star in this genre” (Sequenza 21).
As the soprano of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Tony Arnold is a catalyst for dozens of groundbreaking projects, the most recent of which is David Lang’s Whisper Opera in ICE’s touring production directed by Jim Findlay. Her regular appearances with leading ensembles worldwide include Ensemble Modern in the 2013 premiere of Beat Furrer’s La Bianca Notte; the San Francisco Contemporary Players in the 2014 premiere of George Crumb’s Yellow Moon of Andalusia; and the Orion String Quartet in the 2014 U.S. premiere of Brett Dean’s And Once I Played Ophelia at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She is a frequent collaborator with Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella, the JACK Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Talea Ensemble, eighth blackbird and many others. She has toured the U.S. extensively as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble.
With more than two dozen discs to her credit, Tony Arnold has recorded a broad segment of the modern vocal repertory. Her recording of George Crumb’s iconic Ancient Voices of Children (Bridge) was nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award. Other notable releases include a CD/DVD set of György Kurtág’s monumental Kafka Fragments (Bridge) with violin virtuoso Movses Pogossian; Olivier Messiaen’s mystical song cycle Harawi (New Focus) with pianist Jacob Greenberg; Jason Eckardt’s uncompromising Undersong (Mode) and Tongues (Tzadik) with ICE; and the crystalline chamber songs of Webern on Robert Craft’s most recent Webern edition (Naxos).
Tony Arnold is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University. Growing up in suburban Baltimore, she composed, sang, and played every instrument she could persuade her parents to let her bring home, but never intended to become a professional vocalist. Instead, she applied her broad musical background to the study of orchestral conducting. Following graduate school, she was a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival (as both a conductor and singer), and she enjoyed success as the music director of several orchestras in the Chicago area. In her early 30s, Ms. Arnold reconnected with her love of singing, and discovered a special ability for making the most complex vocal music accessible to every audience.