About Kevin Deas
Kevin Deas has gained international acclaim as one of America’s leading basses. Lauded for his "burnished sound, clarity of diction and sincerity of expression" and "fervent intensity" by Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein, Deas has been variously called "exemplary" (Denver Post), "especially fine" (Washington Post) and possessing "a resourceful range of expression" (The Cincinnati Enquirer). He is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, having sung it with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego, Utah, Houston, Minnesota, Baltimore and Montreal symphonies and the Ravinia and Saratoga festivals.
Next season is full of prestigious engagements. It starts with Missa Solemnis at the Berkshire Choral Festival, continues with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, followed by a number of Messiah performances with the Kansas City Symphony, National Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony, and culminating with the concert version of Porgy and Bess with the Vancouver Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony. In summer 2012 he sings Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Pacific Symphony and performs selections from Porgy and Bess at the Moscow International Performing Arts Center and the Vail Music Festival. Missa Solemnis at the Bekshire Choral Festival conclude the summer season.
2011/12 brought repeat visits to the National Philharmonic, return engagements with Boston Baroque, Musica Sacra, Oratorio Society of New York and Princeton Pro Musica, as well as the Requiem by both Fauré and Mozart with the Vermont Symphony and a Dvorak program with the Buffalo Philharmonic and North Carolina Symphony. He also performed Porgy and Bess with the MDR in Leipzig under Carl St. Clair.
Deas’ 2010/11 season highlights consisted of appearances with the Calgary Philharmonic in Porgy and Bess, Boston Baroque with Messiah, a Richmond Symphony Beethoven Symphony No. 9, St. John Passion at the Winter Park Festival, Philip Glass’ Passion of Ramakrishna with Pacific Symphony, Paukenmesse with Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony of Costa Rica on occasion of the orchestra’s 70th anniversary.
Other recent highlights include the New York Philharmonic in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges under Lorin Maazel, the world premiere of Derek Bermel’s The good Life with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and Hannibal Lokumbe’s Dear Mrs. Parks with the Detroit Symphony. He also sang Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of Daniel Barenboim with Filarmonica della Scala in Accra celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Ghana, Copland’s Old American Songs and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro with the Chicago Symphony, Messiah with the Cleveland Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Handel & Haydn Society, an opening performance at the Newport Jazz Festival with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Colorado Symphony and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and performances of Brubeck’s To Hope! in Salzburg and Vienna. He also sang at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and Carnegie Hall, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Chicago Symphony and Barenboim, Mozart’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the Houston Symphony. Other orchestras include the symphonies of Atlanta, Virginia, Winnipeg, Modesto, and the Buffalo Philharmonic and Boston Baroque.
A strong proponent of contemporary music, Kevin Deas was heard at Italy’s Spoleto Festival in a new production of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors in honor of the composer's eighty-fifth birthday, videotaped for worldwide release. His 20-year collaboration with Dave Brubeck have taken him to Salzburg, Vienna and Moscow in To Hope! and his Gates of Justice were presented in a gala performance in New York during the 95/96 season. He also performed Tippet's Child of our Time with the Vancouver Symphony and in 1992 debuted with the Chicago Symphony in a concert version of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X by Anthony Davis, later repeated in New York and recorded.