Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” soprano Tony Arnold is internationally acclaimed as a leading proponent of contemporary music in concert and recording, having premiered hundreds of works by established and emerging composers. Since becoming the first-prize laureate of both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Tony Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage, and shares with audiences her “broader gift for conveying the poetry and nuance behind outwardly daunting contemporary scores” (Boston Globe).
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. She has toured the U.S. extensively as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble, and has become the voice most associated with Crumb’s music since the beloved Jan DeGaetani. She regularly appears with leading ensembles including the JACK Quartet, Orion Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Talea Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Now, Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
A strong advocate for the creation of new music, Tony Arnold’s artistry has attracted many of the most gifted composers of our time. The growing repertoire of vocal chamber music now includes major works written for her voice by Georges Aperghis, Eric Chasalow, Philippe Manoury, Josh Levine, George Crumb, Pamela Madsen, Fredrick Gifford, David Liptak, Brett Dean, Christopher Theofanidis, Jason Eckardt, Hans Tutschku, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Jesse Jones, Nathan Davis, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, John Zorn and David Gompper, amongst others. In 2012, Arnold and violinist Movses Pogossian were the recipients of a Chamber Music America Commissioning Grant to support the creation of Seven Armenian Songs by Gabriela Lena Frank.
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 varied musical background to the study of orchestral conducting. Following graduate school, she was a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival (as both conductor and singer), and she enjoyed success as the music director of several orchestras in the Chicago area. In her early thirties, Tony reconnected with her love of singing, and discovered a special ability for making the most complex vocal music accessible to every audience. Having been inspired by many mentors, she is especially indebted to the teaching of sopranos Carmen Mehta and Carol Webber, conductors Robert Spano and Victor Yampolsky, and composer György Kurtág.