Melissa Givens

Performing Thursday, June 23 at 8:30 - 10 PM, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church 

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 Sing Freedom!, Conspirare’s 2012 recording of spirituals on the Harmonia Mundi label. Givens most recently appeared as the Soprano II soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Boulder Bach Festival. Other recent performances include Mendelssohn’s rarely heard solo cantata Infelice with Symphony North, the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Camerata Ventapane and the Baroque Music Festival of San Miguel de Allende, and Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Houston Symphony. Givens also 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 Cypres Records and is featured in a documentary film about the tour by ZDF/Arté.

She remains in demand on concert series throughout the United States and internationally, including recent recitals in Georgia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and back home in Houston. A champion of collaborative musical endeavors, she performs with various chamber music groups, including Conspirare: Craig Hella Johnson and Company of Voices, 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 teaching voice at Sam Houston State University and Texas Southern University, 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. 

Closing Concert

Saint Hildegard's Vision

Melissa Givens, soprano and narrator
Aaron David Miller, organ
John D. Schwandt, organ

Houston Symphony
Brett Mitchell, conductor

Introduction and Welcome                                                                                 The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.
                                                                                                                         Rector, St. Martin's Episcopal Church

Greeting International Space Station                                                                                      Jeff Williams, astronaut

O eterne Deus                                                                                                                      St. Hildegard von Bingen

Melissa Givens

*Interstellar: Cornfield Chase                                                                                                                 Hans Zimmer
                                                                                                                                                                      (b. 1957)

                                                                Aaron David Miller and John D. Schwandt                    arr. Aaron David Miller
                                                                                                                                                                          (b. 1972)

Laus Trinitati                                                                                                                         St. Hildegard von Bingen

Melissa Givens

Improvisation on Laus Trinitati                                                                                                        John D. Schwandt

Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings, Op. 22/3 (1926)                                                                    Howard Hanson

Aaron David Miller
Houston Symphony

O virtus Sapientie                                                                                                                St. Hildegard von Bingen

Melissa Givens

Improvisation on O virtus Sapientie                                                                                               Aaron David Miller

Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings in G Minor (1934-38)                                                       Francis Poulenc

John D. Schwandt
Houston Symphony

*Use of the Interstellar score is performed with permission through the Hal Leonard Corporation