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Steven Kimbrough (Baritone)

Born: December 7, 1936 - Athens, Alabama, USA

The American baritone, Steven Kimbrough, studied at the University of Birmingham, Alabama, and at Princeton Theological Seminary (graduated in 1962). He had further studies in Italy.

Steven Kimbrough made his operatic debut in 1968 in the role of Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème at the Teatro Sociale in Mantova, Italy as a winner of the American Opera Auditions. He has appeared in Mannheim, Frankfurt, San Francisco and Philadelphia. He was a member of the Bonn Opera Company in Germany from 1971, where he was for a number of years leading baritone. He appeared in 1989 in Essen as Wozzeck. He made concert tours of the USA, Germany, Italy and Austria. He appeared as a guest at the opera houses of Vancouver and Cincinnati (1983). He has performed on the operatic, concert and musical stages of North and South America, Europe and many other parts of the world including: Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Torino, London, Barcelona, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Detroit and Miami. He has sung some forty-four leading baritone roles and his repertoire includes also roles in operettas and musicals. He is well known in Europe and the USA for his portrayal of leading musical theatre roles such as Emile in South Pacific, Hajj in Kismet, Tony in The Most Happy Fella’, Cervantes in Man of La Mancha.

Kimbrough is well known as a recital and concert singer through many appearances at New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and with symphonies in the USA and abroad. He is the foremost interpreter of the "turn-of-the-century" school of Viennese composers (most of whom were effaced by Hitler's Third Reich), as is demonstrated by his many highly praised recordings. He has presented in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere a recital of their songs under the title "Forbidden Composers."

Steven Kimbrough is an internationally known protagonist of contemporary opera and has appeared in twenty-two world premieres of operas including Christophorus by Schreker in Freiburg in 1978; Siegfried Matthus' Count Mirabeau at the opera house in Essen, Germany. At the Teatro Regio in Torino, Italy he sang the first Italian-language performances of Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, and he performed the German premiere of Zemlinsky's Op. 20, Symphonic Songs (Africa Sings, African-American poets in song) with Dennis Russell Davies and the Beethovenhalle Orchester Bonn in Bonn, Germany.

Steven Kimbrough has been described as "a remarkable singer, with a cultivated, easily flowing baritone of fine quality and a rare command of words and rhythms" (The New Yorker), and a "master of vocal art" (La Stampa, Rome). His voice has been praised as "magnificent" (Journal de Genève), "mellow, dramatic, elegant" (The New York Times), and "pure liquid gold" (The Birmingham Post Herald).

Among his many recordings for EMI (Electrola), CBS (Columbia), Acanta/Pilz, Capriccio, Arabesque, Koch/ Schwann two CD’s of these composers' German art songs (Alexander Zemlinsky and Erich Wolfgang Korngold) received nominations by Ovation magazine as "Best Vocal Record of the Year." He has collaborated with distinguished pianist, Dalton Baldwin, on a number of recordings: “This is the Life” (Kurt Weill Songs, Arabesque), “Erich Wolfgang Korngold Lieder” (Acanta/Pilz), “Wilhelm Kienzl Lieder” (Koch/Schwann), “Rossini Songs” (Arabesque), and “Heinrich Marschner Lieder” (Koch/Schwann). In 2005 VMS Recordings released his “The Art of American Song: Songs of the Wild West”. In 2006 VMS released an additional Kimbrough recording entitled, “Korngold Hollywood Songbook”. A frequent guest on European radio and television networks, Kimbrough has appeared in such television films as Man of La Mancha and Katharina und Potemkin. Koch/Schwann has also released Kimbrough’s acclaimed CD performances of “Classics from Hollywood to Broadway” and “Kurt Weill on Broadway”.

Steven Kimbrough lived for many years in Bonn, Germany. He is now living in Durham, North Carolina. He is a retired member of the North Alabama Conference. A Native of Birmingham, he served United Methodist Churches in the following annual conferences: North Alabama, North Carolina, Southern New Jersey, and in Germany and has taught on theological and university faculties in the USA and abroad. He also served as director of music for the General... He published The Lyrical Theology of Charles Wesley: A Reader (Wipf & Stock, 2010).

Source: Steven Kimbrough Website; International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Bits & pieces from other sources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2013)

Steven Kimbrough: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works under his name

Links to other Sites

Steven Kimbrough (Official Website)

Steven Kimbrough - About the Artist (Arabesque Records)

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