Recognized for her “velvety legato and embracing warmth of sound” (Washington Classical Review) and voice of “sweet clarity” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), mezzo soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith enjoys an active performing career in oratorio and sacred vocal chamber music, specializing in music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque eras.
As a concert soloist, Kristen has earned recognition for her performances of the works of the high baroque, especially Bach and Händel. Her December 2017 performance as Alto Soloist in Bach's Christmas Oratorio with The Washington Bach Consort was praised by critics as "a high point" (The Washington Post) for its "graceful musicality" (BWV 1129). Highlights from recent seasons include Händel's Israel in Egypt at the Washington National Cathedral, Bach's Magnificat with Choralis, and Bach's B Minor Mass with Bach in Baltimore. In previous seasons, she has appeared as Alto Soloist in works such as Bach's St. John Passion, Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610,Praetorius' Christmas Vespers and Mozart's Requiem among others, with ensembles including Apollo's Fire, Dryden Ensemble, Opera Lafayette, The New Dominion Chorale, The Folger Consort, and Bach and Baroque Ensemble of Pittsburgh. In the spring of 2019, Ms. Dubenion-Smith will join The English Concert and The Clarion Choir for an international tour of Händel's Semele. For a calendar of all upcoming performances, click here.
Starting in the fall of 2016, Ms. Dubenion-Smith joined the Choir of Men and Boys/Girls at the Washington National Cathedral as the first woman to be offered a position in this choir. She had previously served as cantor since 2010. In her time with the Cathedral Choir, she has sung for liturgies, commemorations, and events of national importance- most recently, the State Funerals of President George H. W. Bush and Senator John McCain, the internment of Matthew Shepard, the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony and Prayer Service, and the 9/11 services at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Primarily based in Washington DC, she sings frequently with the ensembles of the Washington Bach Consort, Cathedra, The District Eight, and Chantry, in addition to distinguished ensembles such as Apollo's Fire in Cleveland, Ohio, Catacoustic Consort in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Dryden Ensemble in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 2010, Ms. Dubenion-Smith co-founded the award-winning, Washington D.C.-based Eya: Ensemble for Medieval Music. Eya has been presented at a number of distinguished venues and series including the National Gallery of Art, The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington National Cathedral, Columbus Early Music, and Dumbarton Oaks, in addition to numerous colleges, universities, and concert series across the east coast. The ensemble has been featured on Voice of America Radio, Millennium of Music on NPR, and is the recipient of the 2013 Greater DC Choral Excellence Award for Best Specialty Group: Early Music as well as a 2015 nominee for Most Creative Programming and 2018 nominee for Best New Recording. Eya recently released their second full-length album, The Three Marys, in February 2018.
Ms. Dubenion Smith has been involved in a number of commercial recordings with The Folger Consort, Apollo's Fire, Cathedra, and Via Veritae. In February of 2019, she was involved in the premiere recording of The Prison by Ethel Smyth with The Clarion Choir and The Experiential Orchestra. (Information about upcoming release TBA.)
Originally from Michigan, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended Alma College before moving to Maryland to complete her studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.