American soprano Melissa Givens moves and excites audiences and critics alike with a rich, powerful tone, crystalline clarity, and intelligent musical interpretations. Especially noted for her expressiveness and elegance on the stage, she’s been hailed as a singer whose music making is “consistently rewarding” and “a pleasure to hear” (Houston Chronicle). Givens is also an extremely versatile artist, regularly performing repertoire from the Baroque era through music of the 21st century. An Early Music America review of her performance in the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Concerts praised her voice as “beautiful and rich, [singing] Baroque music with conviction.”
A writer for Classical Net marveled, “Melissa Givens has a voice you imagine coming from the goddess Erda” in a review of Conspirare’s 2012 recording of spirituals on the Harmonia Mundi label, Sing Freedom! A featured artist for the 2016 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists, recent performances also include Mozart’s Requiem with the Concord Chorale, Handel’s Messiah with Ars Lyrica Houston and the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and appearances with the Greenbriar Consortium and the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project. Givens toured Europe and Africa in Pitié!, an adaptation of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with the Belgian dance collective Les Ballets C de la B. She can be heard on the soundtrack recording on Cyprès Records and is featured in a documentary film about the tour produced by ZDF/Arté.
Givens remains in demand on concert series throughout the United States and internationally, including recent concerts in Minnesota, Indiana, Calgary, and Houston. A champion of collaborative musical endeavors, she performs with various chamber music groups, including Conspirare, the 2015 Grammy Award recipient for Best Choral Performance, and Grammy-nominated Ars Lyrica Houston. Her solo appearances on major label releases from both groups have received enthusiastic reviews, and she can also be heard on her solo CD, let the rain kiss you.
Currently on the voice faculty of Augusta University in Georgia, Givens earned the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, a Master of Music from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, and a Bachelor’s in Music from Davidson College.