The National Association of Teachers of Singing is pleased to announce the addition of singer, activist, and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Rhiannon Giddens to the Virtual National Conference program, June 24-30. Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times, and won once, for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. She was nominated this year for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019), an album that is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville. Giddens has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS last fall. In 2019, Giddens also formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players and contributed to and produced their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”
Giddens recently composed, Omar, an opera that was to be premiered at the 2020 Spoleto Festival prior to its cancellation this summer and will now premiere in the 2021 season. This composition brings her full-circle back to opera, as she trained as an opera singer at the Oberlin Conservatory at Oberlin College where she graduated in 2000. Giddens will highlight the plenary session of the conference on Sunday, June 28th at 11 AM.
Watch and Listen to Giddens’ video of Trees on the Mountain from her new album there Is No Other.