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Rufus Wainwright, one of the great male vocalists, composers, and songwriters of his generation, has released eight studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums. He has collaborated with a large range of artists, such as Elton John, David Byrne, Mark Ronson, Joni Mitchell and Burt Bacharach. At the age of fourteen he was named Canada’s best young musician and later received the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. His album Rufus does Judy, recorded at Carnegie Hall in 2006, was nominated for a Grammy.
His acclaimed first opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and has since been presented in London, Toronto and New York. In 2010, Wainwright was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony to compose and interpret Five Shakespeare Sonnets, a five-movement song cycle that sets Shakespeare’s Sonnets to orchestra and voice. They have since been performed worldwide by orchestras including the Chicago and Montreal Symphonies.
In 2010, he was the first artist to complete a five-concert residency at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. In September 2014, he had his debut with the London Proms at Royal Albert Hall and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in the Park.
Other achievements include the 2012 world premiere of Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, the feature length music documentary that captured the May 2011 tribute concert honoring Rufus’ late mother, the legendary Kate McGarrigle. In 2013, he sang for Billy Joel at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington. In the fall of 2015, Rufus saw the Deutsche Grammophon release of a double CD/vinyl recording of Prima Donna with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon also released an album of Shakespeare Sonnets set to Rufus’ music in April 2016 in celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The Canadian Opera Company commissioned Wainwright’s second opera, about Roman Emperor Hadrian, to premiere in Toronto in the fall of 2018.