Skip to page content

Barbara Hannigan

About this Artist

Embodying music with an unparalleled dramatic sensibility, soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan is an artist at the forefront of creation. Her artistic colleagues include Simon Rattle, Sasha Waltz, Kent Nagano, Vladimir Jurowski, John Zorn, Andreas Kriegenburg, Andris Nelsons, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph Marthaler, Antonio Pappano, Katie Mitchell, Kirill Petrenko, and Krszysztof Warlikowski. The late conductor and pianist Reinbert de Leeuw was an extraordinary influence and inspiration on her development as a musician. 

The Canadian musician has shown a profound commitment to the music of our time and has given the world-premiere performances of more than 85 new creations. Hannigan has collaborated extensively with composers including Boulez, Zorn, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, Dean, Benjamin, and Abrahamsen. 

The 2020/21 season presented both challenges and opportunities, and true to form, Barbara continued at her own speed of light, premiering a new live video production of La voix humaine—in which she both sings and conducts—created in collaboration with video artist Denis Guéguin as part of her residency with l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. She performed across Europe with colleagues including Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic, and festivals in Ludwigsburg and Aix-en-Provence. She celebrated her 50th birthday at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, conducting the Ludwig Orchestra in works by Haydn, Copland, Barry, and two Kurt Weill songs arranged for her by Bill Elliott. 

The 2021/22 season saw her return to La Monnaie as Lulu in the much-awaited remount of her first Lulu production with Warlikowski from 2012. Her La voix humaine production will take her to London Symphony Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic, and she happily returns to Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra as well as to her younger colleagues of the Juilliard School. She will sing the world premiere of a new work by Zosha di Castri with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and present several concerts of vocal works by John Zorn in Antwerp, Hamburg, and Modena. 

Hannigan’s 2017 album as both singer and conductor, Crazy Girl Crazy, won the 2018 Grammy® Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album and numerous other awards, including an Edison and a Juno. Other albums include Vienna: fin de siècle, and Satie’s Socrate, both with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw. In 2020, she released the album La Passione, on Alpha Classics, with works by Nono, Haydn, and Grisey. Three new recordings for the Alpha label are also being released. 

Hannigan’s commitment to the younger generation of musicians led her to create the mentoring initiative Equilibrium Young Artists in 2017. In 2020, she created Momentum: Our Future Now, an initiative that encourages other leading artists and organizations to support and mentor younger professional musicians. In 2020, Barbara was awarded the Dresdener Musikfestspiele Glashütte Award, and May 2021 saw her awarded Denmark’s prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize. The financial component of both awards was donated to young-artist initiatives. 

Originally from Nova Scotia, Barbara resides in Finistère, on the northwest coast of France. 

August 2022