Ms. Blythe has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris. She has also appeared at the Tangelwood and Ravinia Festival, and at the BBC Proms. The many conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, the 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presenter by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court at the invitation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Shriver Hall in Baltimore.
A champion of American song, she sang the premiere of Vignettes: Ellis Island, a song cycle written especially for her by Alan Smith which was featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones. Her next collaboration with Mr. Smith was Covered Wagon Woman, a piece commissioned for Ms. Blythe’s residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble on its own label, CMS Studio Recordings. She also premiered Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, by the late James Legg in Town Hall in 2010. In 2011, Ms. Blythe and the Tanglewood Chorus premiered Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere, his work for mezzo-soprano and unaccompanied chorus, based on the poetry of Walt Whitman, and commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During the 2011-12 Season, she premiered John Coriglano’s masterwork of four orchestrated songs, One Sweet Morning, which was commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic.
Ms. Blythe starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice, Il Trittico, Rodelinda, Das Rheingold and Die Walkure. Her recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award.
At the USC Thornton School of Music, Professor Smith served as the chair of Keyboard Studies and still serves as the director of the Keyboard Collaborative Arts Program, one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind the country. Having studied with the legendary Martin Katz, Alan Smith has become a teacher of renown himself; among his awards are the Virginia Ramo Award for excellence in teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Thornton School and the Inaugural Mellon Award Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Mentoring. His current and former students maintain important positions internationally in the field of collaborative piano and coaching. He has served for 23 years as a member of the vocal coaching faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center in western Massachusetts, was formerly that program’s vocal program coordinator, and most recently served as the coordinator of the piano program, for which he held a named chair as the Marian Douglas Martin Master Teacher.
His own compositions for voice and piano have received performances in many parts of the world by some of the world’s most acclaimed artists, in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, and the Ravinia Festival. He was commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center for a set of songs for a world premiere gala concert in 2002, celebrating the 80th birthday of American soprano, Phyllis Curtin. Alfred Publishing released his Four Folksongs for Soprano, Viola, and Piano in September of 2003 and his song cycle, Vignettes: Ellis Island, was recorded for public television in New York by mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and pianist Warren Jones, and was aired in January of 2004. The performance has been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York.
He was commissioned to compose a new vocal chamber work, which was premiered by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in February of 2008. The composition, on texts taken from the diary of an American pioneer woman who crossed the continent in a covered wagon, Covered Wagon Woman was commissioned to be performed by Stephanie Blythe, and pianist, Warren Jones. The most recent performance was at the Tanglewood Music Center with Ms. Blythe and with the composer at the piano. The program also included the world premiere of An Unknown Sphere, a piece for mezzo-soprano soloist and unaccompanied chorus that was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Ms. Blythe. Dr. Smith has had articles published in Piano and Keyboard magazine and his articles and reviews on various aspects of collaborative artistry have appeared in the magazine, The American Music Teacher. He is president of the Eta chapter of the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society.