Dashon Burton — In Conversation



Tanglewood (297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240)

Internationally acclaimed and Grammy awardwinning Bass-baritone Dashon Burton, a core member of the Grammy awardwinning ensemble Roomful of Teeth, joins the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) in an informal conversation to share elements of his work and his life.

Dashon Burton is a native of the Bronx, N.Y. Praised for his “nobility and rich tone,” (New York Times) and hailed as “excellent,” (Akron Beacon Journal) and “robust,” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) he is active in a wide range of repertoire and feels privileged to have worked with artists and ensembles all across the U.S. as well as in Cameroon, Canada, Italy and Germany. Recent collaborations include Pierre Boulez, Masaaki Suzuki and Steven Smith. He began his professional studies at Case Western Reserve University and graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

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Immediately upon graduation, Burton was invited to join Cantus, a professional men’s classical vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis. The nine-member ensemble travels across the United States performing concerts, teaching clinics about ensemble singing to students of all ages, and collaborating with renowned organizations and artists including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Pops, James Sewell Ballet and Bobby McFerrin.

He appears on albums recorded with the ensemble, including the eponymous album, “Cantus,” which was singled out by National Public Radio as a top ten recording of 2007. After completing his tenure with Cantus in 2009, Dashon completed his Master of Music at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, studying voice with Professor James Taylor.

His solo repertoire includes such diverse works as Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Superintendent Bud in Britten’s opera Albert Herring, and Ned Rorem’s song cycle, War Scenes.


Burton has established a vibrant career appearing regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe in favorite pieces, including Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the Mass in B Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

He opened the 2021–22 season with the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston led by Marin Alsop for Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 which he will repeat later this season with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero. Throughout the season he makes several notable orchestral debuts, including with the Chicago Symphony in Handel’s Messiah led by Nicholas McGegan, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Michael Tilson Thomas for the maestro’s new song cycle Meditations on Rilke, with the Pittsburgh Symphony performing Dvořák’s Te Deum as led by Manfred Honeck, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Seattle Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard.

He continues his relationship with San Francisco Performances as an Artist-in-Residence with appearances at venues and educational institutions throughout the Bay Area and makes a debut with Celebrity Series of Boston in recital.

Operatic engagements in recent seasons have included Strauss’ Salome at the Salzburg Festival led by Franz Welser-Möst, Peter Sellars’ production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus throughout France and Germany, Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux with Les Talens Lyriques.

A multiple awardwinning singer, Mr. Burton won his second Grammy Award in March 2021 for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album with his performance featured in Dame Ethyl Smyth’s masterwork The Prison with The Experiential Orchestra (Chandos). He also received top prizes in the ARD International Music Competition, the Oratorio Society of New York’s Vocal Competition, and Bach Bethlehem Vocal Competition.

As an original member of the groundbreaking vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, he won his first Grammy Award for their inaugural recording of all new commissions, including Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for 8 Voices.

His other recordings include Songs of Struggle & Redemption: We Shall Overcome (Acis), the Grammy-nominated recording of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road (Naxos); Holocaust, 1944 by Lori Laitman (Acis); and Caroline Shaw’s The Listeners with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. His album of spirituals garnered high praise and was singled out by the New York Times as “profoundly moving…a beautiful and lovable disc.”

Mr. Burton received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. Deeply passionate about education and bringing as much music as possible to the next generation, he is proud to be a member of the board of Chorus America, a service organization devoted to advocating for the power of collective song. He is also an active member of the Recording Academy.

Mr. Burton is an assistant professor of voice at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.