The American tenor, Kenneth Tarver, is a distinguished graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and holds a Masters of Music Performance from Yale University School of Music, where he received in 1992 the Dean’s Award for the Most Outstanding Student in the graduating class. In 1992 he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and from 1992 to 1994 he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera's Young Artist Development Program.
Kenneth Tarver made his European debut in Stuttgart as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the Staatstheater Stuttgart ensemble, where he sang principal tenor roles in operas of W.A. Mozart and Rossini.
Kenneth Tarver is considered to be one of the outstanding belcanto tenore di grazia of his generation, acknowledged for his beauty of tone, virtuosic technique, extensive and even vocal range, coupled with an attractive and elegant stage presence. He has appeared at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Fenton in Falstaff, Ferrando in W.A. Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola & Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello), Wiener Staatsoper (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Ernesto in Don Pasquale (debut role 2003-2004 season), Ein Sänger in Der Rosenkavalier, Tamino in W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Semiramide, Dorvil in La Scala di Seta), Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Belshazzar), Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich (Così fan Tutte, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola (debut role 2003-2004 season), Falstaff), Dresden Semperoper (L’Italiana in Algeri), Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona (Il Viaggio a Reims), Opéra Comique París (Fra Diavolo), Teatro Lirico di Trieste (Il Turco in Italia), Theatre de La Monnaie Brussels (W.A. Mozart's Idomeneo), Metropolitan Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola), Teatro San Carlos Naples (Così fan Tutte) and as Don Ottavio in the Peter Brook production of W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni, Claudio Abbado conducting, for Festival d'Art Lyrique d'Aix en Provence.. He has appeared in Rossini roles at the New York City Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Opera London and at the Liceu in Barcelona.
Kenneth Tarver is a specialist in the most demanding virtuosic operatic repertoire. Recent successes include the role of Orfeo in Haydn’s L’Anima del Filosofo at the Budapest Festival conducted by Adam Fisher, Gluck’s Orphèe et Euridice at Staatsoper Stuttgart, W.A. Mozart's Idomeneo at La Monnaie with Jeremie Rhorer, Haydn’s Orlando Paladino at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Hilversum Radio Orchestra conducted by Alessandro de Marchi and Haydn’s L’Infedelta Delusa at the Musikverein Vienna conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Kenneth Tarver has been invited to perform on prestigious concert stages, amassing an impressive repertoire of both well know and seldom performed masterpieces. In 1998 he debuted with the London Symphony Orchestra in Dmitri Shostakovich's Suit from The Nose, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. Hae has performed with such conductors as Alberto Zedda: Rossini’s Moise et Pharaon (Opera Royale de Wallonie, Liege), L’Inganno Felice, La Gazza Ladra (Rossini Festival Wildbad), La Scala di Seta (Deutsche Oper), Adelaide di Borgogna (La Coruña), Riccardo Chailly: Igor Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam), J.S. Bach's Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) (Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi), J.S. Bach's Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig), Carlo Rizzi: Rossini’s Armida (Edinburgh Festival), Bobby McFerrin: George Frideric Handel’s Messiah (Münchner Philharmoniker), Frans Brüggen: W.A. Mozart's Requiem (Orchestra della Toscana). Other highlights include Rodion Shchedrin’s My age, My Wild Beast (Rheingau Festspiele), a film of Judith Weir’s Armida for Channel 4 TV in the UK, Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Verbier Festival and W.A. Mozart's Requiem at the Tanglewood Festival conducted by James Levine.
As a favoured artist Kenneth Tarver has an impressive recording catalogue. Highlights include collaborations with Deutsche Grammophon: Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra (Berlioz: Les Nuits d’été and Roméo et Juliette), Kent Nagano and the London Symphony Orchestra (Leonard Bernstein: A White house Cantata), works for the label LSO Live: Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédicte, Roméo et Juliette and the highly acclaimed Les Troyens which was awarded Grammy’s for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Recording). He also recorded Messa Solenne by Verdi under Riccardo Chailly for Decca. As an accomplished recitalist, Tarver was also featured on the series of complete Ives songs on the Naxos label. He has also recorded successfully for Opera Rara: Rossini’s La Donna del Lago with Maurizio Benini, and for Harmonia Mundi: Don Giovanni and Idomeneo with the Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by René Jacobs.