Baritone JESSE BLUMBERG is an artist equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages. In 2007 he created the role of Connie Rivers in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at The Minnesota Opera, and later made his Utah Symphony and Opera debut in the same production. For his 2007 performance in title role of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses to His Homeland with Opera Vivente, the Baltimore Sun raved, “Jesse Blumberg commanded the stage, physically and vocally. His virile baritone grabbed the melodic lines with remarkable dynamic force, lighting up the hall with his every appearance.” In 2008 Jesse sang John Brooke in Little Women with Opera Delaware and reprised his role in The Grapes of Wrath with Pittsburgh Opera. In 2009 he performed Silvio in Pagliacci with Annapolis Opera and then debuted with the Boston Early Music Festival, as Mercurio in L’incoronazione di Poppea and Adonis in Venus and Adonis.
In concert, Jesse has performed with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Berkshire Choral Festival, Handel Choir of Baltimore, and the Waverly Consort. In 2005 he joined the Mark Morris Dance Group for a tour of the United Kingdom, performing in such venues as London’s Sadler’s Wells, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, and the Concert Hall at Snape Maltings. In 2007 he sang performances of Carmina Burana with the Pennsylvania Ballet at New York’s City Center.
As a chamber musician, Jesse has collaborated with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players and the Ensemble for the Romantic Century. He has had the fortune to premiere two important chamber works for baritone: Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death (with pianist Jocelyn Dueck and violinist Colin Jacobsen), at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in 2006, and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers (with the Miami String Quartet), at the Vail Valley Music Festival in 2008.
An avid recitalist, Jesse has performed many of the major works of Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf. In 2006 he and pianist Thomas Bagwell gave a recital of Wolf Lieder at the Austrian Embassy, which the Washington Post described as “no less than revelatory.” Also that year he and pianist Martin Katz presented an On Wings of Song recital for the Marilyn Horne Foundation, which has since been heard on various radio broadcasts nationwide. Jesse has given song recitals all over the United States, as a member of the Horne Foundation’s artist roster, and under the auspices of the Liederkranz Foundation, the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, the National Federation of Music Clubs, and other organizations. In 2009 he made recital debuts in Paris with the Mirror Visions Ensemble, performing song cycles by Russell Platt and Tom Cipullo.
Jesse has been recognized in many song and opera competitions, and most recently was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. In 2007 he took first prize in the 5th International Hilde Zadek Singing Competition in Vienna. Earlier in 2007 he was awarded first prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Auditions, and in 2006 took second prize in the Lieder Division of the Liederkranz Foundation Awards. He was named a New York District Winner in the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and has also been recognized by Opera Index, Inc. and the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists. In 2004 he was named a first place winner in the Art Song category of the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Vocal Competition. In 2003 Jesse was awarded third place at the 10th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria and in 2002 he won first place in the 2nd International Yrjö Kilpinen Art Song Competition.
Jesse holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan, and participated in young artist programs at The Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Ravinia Festival. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Five Boroughs Music Festival, a new concert series in New York City.